Our hope for living Rabinowitz relatives paid off when I got a call Thursday night on my cell phone. It took me a moment to understand that the caller had just discovered this blog and disclosed herself as a previously unknown to us member of the Rabinowitz family.
She is Harriet Berkowitz, a 73-year-old retired schoolteacher from Miami Beach who was calling from her daughter's home in Westlake Village CA. She said that she was the daughter of Seymour Rabinowitz, Walter Ruby's older brother, who was mainly known to us as "the truant officer." Seymour was in his late forties when Harriet was born in 1936.
In our call and in a subsequent talk with Walter, Harriet provided quite a bit of interesting new information. She knew Blossom and Meta, and had met Thad a short time before his death. She had wild new information that brother Henry changed his name to H.V. Lee and operated a restaurant. She mentioned Julius' children Abner and Judith. There are several Arthurs in the mix, Arthur Zimpkin, son of Sadie, but also apparently another son of Joseph and Lena who we don't have on record. Is he younger than Walter?
She described her father Seymour as a brilliant but flawed man. He studied classics at City College but struggled with his own Jewish identity. He had lost an eye in a childhood accident. He tried to pursue an academic career but settled into his work for the school district, just one of two Jewish truant officers in the borough, Harriet said. He also had a gambling habit, which eventually drove his marriage apart. When he was found dead in his apartment in February 1963, he was wrapped in his Jewish prayer shawl.
About our branch of the family, Harriet said she had memories of Walter Ruby's wife Selma from when she was remarried to Jack Prager. That would have been after Stanley and his sister Joan were gone from the household. Harriet said she didn't know Stan and Joan well and had always wondered what happened to them. Seymour was somewhat estranged from other family members and then when Harriet's parents divorced and she went to live with her mother, then later got married herself, she lost track of her Rabinowitz family.
Until the other day when visiting her daughter in Los Angeles and they googled on Walter Rabinowitz. Imagine her delight to land on our Ruby Family History Project and to start reading about all her aunts and uncles. Imagine my delight when she told me who she was on the phone call.
Now that we have connected, there is lots of interest in sharing information, photos and planning a physical meeting for the next time she is in California. I'll have more to add soon, but for now welcome Harriet Rabinowitz Berkowitz and her children and grandchildren to our Ruby/Rabinowitz family.