New info on Chaim Rabinowitz's wife and daughter

Email from Walter on Sept. 20:

I had a nice discussion this morning with our relative in Rehovot, Shmuel Elchanan. He noted that his father submitted testimony to Yad Vashem in 1955 as to the existence of a daughter of Chaim Rabinowitz (our great-great grandfather), the son of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor. Her name was Bluma Rabinovich the daughter of Chaim and Feiga Rabinovch and she lived from 1871-1944 in Kovno (Kaunas), having been killed by the Nazis either in the Kovno Ghetto or in a death camp. Shmuel, who himself lived in the Kovno Ghetto, remembers her very well, as a school teacher who never married. He remembers that she was a very kind woman. So Bluma was either the sister or half-sister of Joseph Rabinowitz, our great-grandfather who emigrated to New York. I need to check to see if we have a record as to whether Feiga was Joseph's mother as well.

Shmuel mentioned a book entitled Ethical Wills: A Modern Jewish Treasury, published in New York in 1983 by Shocken Books that includes the will of Rabbi Spektor, in which he asks that his rabbical post be given to his second son Tzvi Hirsch Rabinowitz, as well as a letter that Shmuel's own mother wrote in the Kovno Ghetto in June 1944, which was somehow miraculously acquired by his family in Palestine.

Shmuel told me that when he and his family arrived in Haifa aboard a ship in November 1945 as olim (new immigrants) they were greeted at the pier by Aharon Spektor, either the son or grandson of the brother of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor, who immigrated to Palestine during the mid-19th century. That brother whose name I have in my notes at home, became a pharmacist in Jerusalem. Aharon Spektor was known as the mukhtar (an Arabic term that might be translated as unofficial mayor) of Carmel, the Jewish community atop Mt. Carmel, which is now part of Haifa. As such he was sanctioned by the British authorities to carry a revolver, which he had with him when he mmet Shmuel and his family at the dock.


Wow, this is wonderful new information, which I've plugged into my family tree file. A few observations:

* Joseph Rabinowitz was born in 1855, so Bluma would be 16 years younger. So your speculation about them being half-siblings seems plausible. Feiga may or may not also be Joseph's mother.

* Rabbi Spektor's mother-in-law (wife Soro Yesersky's mother) was named Bluma. So if Chaim Rabinowitz named a daughter Bluma in 1871 (just three years before he died), he would have been honoring his deceased grandmother.

* The name Feiga also appears more than once. Our knowledge of Rabbi Spektor's brother Yakov David Spektor's family is spotty. Through JewishGen, I have some information, though it should be regarded as unconfirmed. Yakov had a daughter Chaya, who had a daughter Feiga Rachel, who maried Nachum Weissfish and had 11 children. That Feiga would have been a non-blood-related niece to Chaim's first or second wife Feiga.

* If Aharon Spektor was descended from Yakov David Spektor, it is improbable he is a son, since that would make him 85 or older in 1945. If he was a grandson, he would have been 50 or older at that time. If he was a great grandson, he could have been anywhere from 20 to 70 or so in 1945. Since the Spektor name passed on to Aharon, we know that Chaya must have had a brother, who was either the father or grandfather of Aharon.

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