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.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Email from Walter on Sept. 20:
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Bravo! Walter's 3,000-word article Some Things Are Illuminated plus sidebar in today's Jewish Week ties together the strands of the Ruby family story in the context of others interested in taking roots trips. In laying out the narrative arc of the story, it reads like the introduction to a book-length treatment.