Rabinowitzes of Harlem

1965 engagement of Arthur Zimkin's son is announced in a Canadian Jewish newspaper

Unlike some other names that turn up huge numbers of search results, there are not a lot of Arthur Zimkins. The one we are interested in is the son of Sadie Rabinowitz Zimkin and her husband David. Speaking with Harriet Berkowitz over the weekend, she mentioned that Arthur was married to Frieda and that they may have had a child.

I had searched on Arthur before but when I did it again yesterday, this very interesting citation came up. It is the November 5, 1965 edition of The Canadian Jewish Review, in the section on births, deaths, marriages and engagements. Under the heading of Montreal Engagements we see this very interesting announcement:

Mr. and Mrs. Mac Schwartz, 1357 Van Horne Avenue, announce the engagement-of their daughter, Miss Phyllis Penny Schwartz, to Mark Raymond Zimkin, son of. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Zimkin, of New York.

Here is the image (click to enlarge). Look for the Schwartz Zimkin notice in the second column from the right near the top. It isn't necessarily the right one, but the ages are about right and as I say there are not a lot of Arthur Zimkins. This gives us a hopeful lead toward tracking down another living Rabinowitz line.

David Zimkin lists Arthur J. Zimkin as next of kin

Ancestry has a host of records for David Zimkin, husband of our great aunt Sadie. We see census records for 1900 and 1910 as well as the 1920 and 1930 we already knew about; draft registration cards for both World War I and II; and his Social Security death index. He died in New York at age 80 in 1966. (Note that he was born in Riga and that there is lots of information available about Zimkins in Latvia, but I don't have time for that now.)

Here is his WWII draft registration. Notice that he lists his only son Arthur J. Zimkin as the "person who will always know your address." Why is this significant? Because it is the first confirmation of Arthur's middle initial, which further links him to that Montreal engagement.

Graves of Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz

Here are photos of the gravestones of Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Queens. Note that Joseph is identified in both Hebrew and English as "Yehuda Noah" and not Yosef, which raises the question as to why he has come down to us as Joseph. He is also identifed as the son of Abrhaham Yoel and Leah as the daughter of Abraham Yaakov.
I am still working on the Hebrew translation, especially of Joseph's grave, which is quite poetic with the first line saying something like "For these, we are weeping" and the third line something like "From my head fell the crown".
Lena's grave identifies her as "our dear mother" and something like a "woman of righteousness"--but let me get the full translation because I am missing some important stuff from both of them.
Gene and I were moved by the cramped setting with a factory smokestack looking over the old cemetery which is clearly a slightly earlier and decidedly less opulent setting than Mt. Hebron several miles east where Walter and Selma Ruby are buried. More as soon as I get full translations...

Meet Arthur Zimkin (and Rebe Eisenstein)


Readers of this blog know that we've been trying to track down all the lines of the Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz family to find any living relatives and learn what became of our various cousins. A big step ahead came when Harriett Berkowitz, the daughter of Seymour Rabinowitz, came forward. She provided fantastic new information, including her memories of her cousin Arthur Zimkin, who was the only child of Sadie Rabinowitz Zimkin, the oldest daughter of Joseph and Lena.

I was able to follow up on that with some Internet research and learned that Arthur had a son Mark, who lived in Toronto, where his mother Frieda Zimkin passed away in the late '70s. I covered that information in the blog.

Then early this year, I received an email from an Isolde Goldman of Hornell NY, who had read the blog and wanted me to know that she was a member of the Zimkin family and that her older cousin, a Rebe Colman Eisenstein of Hackensack NJ, knew Arthur well and would be willing to share information with me.

I contacted Rebe by mail and within days she reached me by telephone. I could immediately tell that, though elderly at age 90, she was sharp as a tack and full of memories about Arthur and other Rabinowitz family members. I said that I would be in New York in July and she invited me and Walter to come for a visit.

We did visit Rebe at her home in July (she the photo at left). She served us a lovely lunch and shared stories and photographs about Arthur Zimkin and his family, as well as of her own interesting history.

Arthur himself was a photographer, and the image topping this post is a self portrait.
I've delayed reporting on our fascinating meeting with Rebe because I have not yet fully reviewed the three-hour recording. I was not otherwise taking notes and I want to make sure that I get all of her revelations down accurately.
Now that I've posted this preliminary item, I will make it a point to listen to the tape and post the highlights as soon as possible.

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