Harry Ruby's local celebrity grew, and by 1917 he was on the cusp of a storied career as a songwriter and motion picture composer. 

In March of that year, Joseph Rabinowitz, the patriarch of Walter's large family, passed away. It was a sorrowful time for his widow Lena and the nine Rabinowitz children, but in some ways it was also a blessing.

Joseph had been a force that bound the family to its Russian roots and traditions. His death might allow Walter and his siblings to strike their own life course, including in their ways of fitting into the American culture. 

Family Story: