Walter

More photos for Harriett

I have promised to supply Harriett with more family photos. Here's a few to start. First the three conspirators in this project. Then some of Stan's sister Joan Ruby Felenstein Myers.

Joanne, Walt and Dan at Jo's house in January 2009 celebrating Walt's birthday.
At Joanne's wedding in Chicago in 1983: Joan and Ruby Myers are flanked by the bride's happy parents.

Joan descends the staircase at the loft apartment where the wedding was held.

Combined 75th birthday celebration for Stan and Helga, held at mountain winery in Saratoga CA in 1999. From left: Mel Brenner, Sandy Brenner, Bill Rehm, Twyla Ruby, Dan Ruby, Lani Rehm, Zach Rehm, Stan Ruby, Joanne Ruby, Helga Ruby, Gene Ruby, Ludmilla Ilishaev, Kate Eilertsen. Walter was out of the country and could not attend.

Walter's Madrid conference article is published

Walter's report from the recent interfaith conference in Madrid, "Saudi King's Perestroika Moment," was published today in The Jewish Week. Here is the full article. An excerpt follows:

No one articulated the spirit of Saudi perestroika better than the father- and-son team of Sheik Abdullah Bin Bayyah, vice president of the Jeddah-based International Union of Muslim Scholars and his thirty-something son, Cheikhna Bin Bayyah, who divides his time between business operations in Saudi Arabia and his duties as executive director of the Global Center for Renewal and Guidance in London.

The elder Bin Bayyah, who wore a long flowing robe and keffiyeh, remarked, “Without a doubt, there are a lot of influential people opposed to what the king is doing, but after participating in this historic event, I feel confident that there is no turning back.”

His son, who was clad in a stylish business suit, said he looks forward to the day when he will enjoy the same freedom of expression in Jeddah as he does in London. “What is happening today in Saudi society is a badly needed paradigm shift related to the age of globalization,” he said. “People like my father understand the need to open things up, so let them get on with the task. If they don’t get the job done, my generation is going to step forward and do it for them.”

Walter visits Pleasant Ave.

When sending me his cemetery photos today, Walter also passed along images he snapped last week on a visit to the Pleasant Ave. block in East Harlem where the Rabinowitz family lived in 1900. The actual building is long since torn down to make room for a large new high school that was erected in 1940.

Here is that building today, no longer Benjamin Franklin High School as it was when constructed in 1940 but since 1983 the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics.

The view across the street and the photo of a neighborhood resident may give a better idea of what Pleasant Ave. might have been like in earlier times (minus the modern vehicles).


Wild goose chase

Walt, Sorry you had to take time for a mission that came up empty. I guess that comes with the genealogy territory. You have to be careful not to jump to conclusions. In this case we had a Joseph and Lena Rabinowitch buried together in a Queens cemetery, with no additional data other than their burial dates. Now of course there were many, many Joseph Rabinowitzes in New York in the relevant years, and there were quite a few Lena Rabinowitzes as well. Where I went wrong was in assuming that a married Joseph and Lena would automatically be our family. The odds say there wouldn't be a lot of Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz couples, but now we know there were at least two.

So I don't think the trip could have been avoided. There was nothing online to suggest that they weren't our Joseph and Lena. Sometimes leads don't pan out. I guess the lesson is not to count your chickens.

I came back after talking to you and did some searches for Joseph and Lena death records using the ItalianGen resource that Morris mentioned recently. They have a searchable database of NYC death records by borough (also marriages). Each record contains date of death and age at death so you can calculate birth year. Therefore it was possible to sort through the scores of Joseph Rabinowitzes to find three or four plausible matches.

Thus we have in Manhattan a JR who died in 1920 at age 65, in Brooklyn a JR who died in 1940 at age 84, and in Queens a JR who died in 1941 at age 85. Any of those would be just about right, and there is one more in Manhattan (died 1917 at 60) that is fairly close. Actual death certificates can be ordered for $10 a pop, but there may be ways to narrow the list before doing that. Also, it is possible that our Joseph's record was not captured in the ItalianGen archiving project, so it could be that our JR is none of those four.

Trying the same technique for Lena turned up three possible matches. Using 1858 as Lena's birthdate, we have a LR dying in The Bronx in 1921 at 64 (1857), in Brooklyn in 1916 at 57 (1859), and in Manhattan in 1948 at 88 (1860).

The other Rabinowitz burial records that I discovered along with these erroneous ones are more definitely valid. Julius Rabinowitz, his wife Annie and son Abner are all at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens. Having just undertaken this expedition, I won't ask you to go on another cemetery visit until it fits easily in your schedule. We know this one will be right because the burial record has Julius' father as Joseph and mother as Lena Lincoff.

Oh well, thanks again. I hope it didn't blow your whole day.

Dan

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