I finally made it today to the Old Mt. Carmel cemetery in Queens to see the grave of Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz, our great-grandparents, which Dan had discovered online. I found the grave but I am pretty sure this was the wrong couple--at least I hope so, because if these are really our great-grandparents, it would spoil the whole narrative in terms of Joseph having been trained in Talmud and Jewish codes by his grandfather Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor, the Gaon of Kovno, who also found him a wife and then presumably the two of them emigrated together in 19875. The problem is that the Joseff Rabinowitch (note the wierd spelling) buried in the Queens cemetery was 73 at the time of his death on February 11, 1940, which means he would have been all of 7 in 1874 when Joseph's father Chaim Rabinovich (or Rabinowitz) died and his grandfather would have taken him in. That doesnt make sense in terms of the marriage or of Joseph and Lena going off to America together 18 months after Chaim's death.
Also the grave in Queens cites Joseff's father's name as having been Ya'akov, not Chaim. The woman buried alongside Joseff in Queens is named Gruna, the daughter of Reb Moshe, although according to the records in the Old Mt. Carmel cemetery office, she was identified as Lena Rabinowitch when her body was brought to the cemetery a few days after her death on June 16, 1941 at the age of 78.
The burial society known as Karutz Berezer has long been dissolved although the gravestone has been under Endowed Care since 1973, which means someone is paying for it to be taken care of. The only Joseph Rabinowitz buried in Old Mt. Carmel with the correct spelling died in 1935 at the age of 56.
I now called to Sandy Brenner, Stan's cousin, whose family lived with Stan's in Long Beach in the mid 1930's. Sandy, who was born in 1929, knew Walter Ruby and his sisters, Blossom and Meta, as well. She has no recollection of ever hearing anything from Walter, Meta or Blossom about their parents, Joseph and Lena, which leads her to believe they must have been dead by the time she was a kid--unless of course Joseph and Lena were estranged from Blossom and Meta, as well as Walter. But Sandy knows n othing of any estrangement.
So taking it all together, I am chalking this one up as a false 'Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz' sighting. Hopefully in the next two weeks or so I will get to the archives on Varick Street and try to find documents about their arrival as Morris Spector has recommended.
I tried now to attach photos to this posting, but for some reason it isnt working. I may e-mail the photos to Dan and ask him to attach them to this positing. There are two photos of the Rabinowitch gravestone and something even stranger; what very much appeared to be an American Eagle or something very much like it on a tree stump in a cemetery in Queens. I got one good picture of it before it flew away holding its prey in its beak.