Wednesday, October 31, 2012


There's nothing like the storm of the century to free up time to write your blog entry.   I hope everyone stays safe and comes through this storm all right.

It's that time of year and we lead off this blog entry with a Golden Oldie from the archives of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Trenton.   Wendy Nardi, at the Trenton Free Public Library on Academy Street had this beauty waiting for me when I stopped by recently to do some research.   Anybody have any idea when this is from?   Where it was taken?  And who is in it?

Hit the ADD A COMMENT button at the bottom of the blog entry (it's a long one today, so keep scrolling) and let me know.

The purpose of my most recent visit to the library was to do some research for a speech I gave on October 16th to the Trenton chapter of Hadassah  at the Runway Restaurant at the Trenton Mercer County Airport.

During the weeks leading up to the speech I had received a number of phone calls from members who had been at my talks at Adath Israel who were wondering whether I would be covering the same material at the Hadassah meeting.  Of course, now, the pressure was on to freshen up my research, so I wound up at Academy Street.

Wendy, the curator extraordinaire, was waiting for me with two volumes of papers,  pictures, buttons and memorabilia from 79 year history of the local chapter.  

To be honest with you, my prior knowledge of the organization was pretty well limited to Allan Sherman's shout out to the "Ladies of Haddasah" during the multiple repetitions of the chorus of "My Zelda" from his album, "My Son the Folk Singer" album.  He also immortalized them in another song, "Westchester Hadassah", sung to the melody of Winchester Cathedral.  Music is a great way to warm up an audience, so that's where my talk started.  Sherman's song pokes fun at the fundraising prowess of  Hadassah, but as I started my research, I found out that Hadassah was, in fact, something a little different when it started 100 years ago.   Henrietta Szold, the founder, studied at the Jewish Theological Society, at the time under the direction of Solomon Schecter.  She was allowed to study there as long as she agreed not to press for ordination. 

Szold went to pre-Israel Palestine in 1908 and it changed her life for ever.  She founded Hadassah in 1912 and the Women's Zionist Organization dedicated itself to providing health services.   It's first mission was to send two nurses to Palestine with pastuerized milk for infants.  Eventually Hadassah was instrumental in setting up the Israeli Medical service.   But, the organization was different from other American Zionist organizations.   While searching the Internet for background, I came upon a book called Western Jewry and the Zionist Project by Michael Berkowitz.  In addition to positing that had Szold been born a hundred years later, she probably would have been a Rabbi, Berkowitz talks about the tension that Hadassah caused, because it not only raised money to send to Israel, but it made sure to maintain control over how those funds were spent.

Twenty-one years after the organizing of the national organization, a group of women in Trenton started their own chapter.    At their first meeting, on March 15, 1933, Mrs. Robert Szold, who became President of Hadassah in 1929 was in attendance and accepted the charter.   

Three weeks later, at the home of Mrs. Hyman Peretz, the first board meeting was held and the minutes from that meeting can be found at the library.

There was no initial membership drive, in fact, the decision was made that membership was "open to those women who earnestly desired to join."

The first president of the chapter was Dr. Hannah Seitzick-Robbins, an ob-gyn.  At the meeting at which I spoke, one woman proclaimed, "She delivered me!" and another confided that Dr. Seitzick-Robbins was her doctor.  As you can see in the minutes above, the first order of business was to set up committees and chairs.

Dr. Seitzick-Robbins served two years as president and a copy of the letter she wrote upon her resignation is also part of the library's collection.

I can only imagine that Dr. Seitzick-Robbins would have been glad to know that, not just 25 years later, but 77 years later, her role as President of Senior Hadassah was being remembered and celebrated.

Also included in the letter were the names of the 16 women who attended that first meeting in 1933.

The archives has many newspaper articles that trumpet events held through the years for Junior and Senior Hadassah, Young Judea and many of the other intiatives undertaken by the Trentonians.   One that caught my eye, and which I presented at the meeting caused quite a stir.  I selected this picture because this was the contingent that the local chapter sent to the first Hadassah National Convention after the creation of the State of Israel.   Two of the women pictured here are the mothers of two of the current members.   The then-President of Sr. Hadassah was Mrs. Leon Entin, whose daughter, Bonnie Perlman was ecstatic to see the picture.   The current President of the Trenton chapter’s mother, Mrs. Herman Wolfer was also shown.

27 years later, Sayde Entin was still active in the chapter when the Youth Aliyah Dinner featured Marvin Hamlisch.   Hadassah really is a lifetime passion for its members. 

My last Hadassah photo of the evening was published in 1996.   Included in the picture were; Ernestine Urken, who invited me to speak and current member Florence Lipstein.

A wonderful evening.

Also in attendance was Mark Melmed, who has been a frequent contributor to the Trenton Jewish Project’s Facebook page.  Mark has a working theory that everyone from Old Jewish Trenton is related to each other through marriage.  Even though he is not a Trenton native (his wife is), he has amassed a pretty impressive bit of research to, if not totally support his theory, at least makes the premise plausible.  He has been working on a project through and has linked some 400 Trenton names through the web-based genealogy program.   Here is the list.

Trenton Jewish Genealogy Connected Surnames
Kohn – Urken – Vine – Reichbart - Goldstein
16 Oct 2012 Rev 2
These family trees (Kohn, Urken, Vine, etc.) - which interlock with each other through marriage - also draw in many other Trenton families. In, there are about 2,000 Trenton Jews so far. The surnames (including non-Trenton surnames) are:
Abelow, Abrahamson, Abramsohn, Adler, Albert, Alexander, Allison, Alves, Anderson, Anmuth, Archer, Aroniss, Armony, Aronson, Azarchi, Azorsky
Baches, Bakol, Bar, Barone, Bartoo, Bash, Basile, Baum, Belets, Bellick, Benson, Berger, Bergman, Berkman, Berkowitz, Bernfield, Bernstein, Besselate, Binder, Blaise, Blenheim, Block, Blumberg, Bock, Bojecka, Bolan, Bosses, Bowie, Bowling, Bowton, Brock, Brod, Brody, Brodner, Brooks, Brown, Budik, Bunks, Burke, Burnett, Byer, Bynum
Cantor, Caplan, Chester, Chrysler, Clark, Cohen,
Dana, Danzig, Davidovitz, Davis, DeClerq, Delvanthal, Dershowitz, Derweiler, Desey, Devine, Dobin, Donahue, Downey, Dreyer, Drucker, Dubin, Dutrow
Eckhaus, Edwards, Eisenstadt, Englander, Epstein, Estes
Faber, Fabricant, Falkin, Farber, Feigenbaum, Feldman, Fielding, Fieman, Finn, Fischoff, Frank, Frankel, Frankfort, Fried, Friedlander, Friedman, Fromkin
Gamce, Gansky, Garb, Garfing, Gass, Gelfand, Gellard, Gerber, Geronemus, Gershonowitz, Gilinsky, Gillman, Glasser, Glauser, Gleason, Glick, Gluck, Glickman, Goldberg, Golden, Goldfarb, Goldin, Goldman, Goldsmith, Goldstein, Gorson, Gould, Granite, Green, Greenberg, Grossweiner, Gruber, Gunches, Gurney, Gwertsman,
Haas, Habas, Halperin, Hannah, Haranoff, Herlick, Harnick, Herring, Harris, Herst, Hesselson, Heyman, Hinckley, Hirsch, Hitt, Holender, Holland, Homesy, Horwitz, Hume, Hurowitz
Ingall, Iserson
Jacobs, Jacobson, Jacoby, Jeffreys, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Josephson, Jucha
Kadesh, Kahr, Kalapas, Kalfin, Kallen, Kamenetzky, Kaminsky, Kamoroff, Kane, Kaplan, Kasher, Katz, Kaufman, Kazen, Kennedy, Kent, Kessler, Kimmelman, Klempner, Knop, Kody, Koenig, Kohn, Komaroff, Koplin, Koslow, Kritzer, Kronick, Kruger, Kuchka, Kuperberg, Kurtin
Lang, Laster, Lavine, Lefkowitz, Leibowitz, Leonard, Lester, Levene, Leventhal, Levi, Levin, Levine, Levinson, Levy, Lewinter, Lichtenfeld, Lidsky, Liebeskind, Linefsky, Lipkin, Lipkowitz, Lipshutz, Litoff, Litowitz, Litvak, Loeb, London, Lowenstein, Lowman, Luben, Lurie
Mallizia, Manes, Maniewicz, Marcus, Markowitz, Marrow, Marshall, Martindale, Matthews, Medved, Meltzer, Mertz, Meselsohn, Meyer, Michaels, Michal, Miller, Millner, Mittleman, Morowitz, Moshnich
Neiman, Nelson, Newman, Nitzberg, Nochumson, Nusblatt Olden, Ogram, Oreland, Orsborne, Oxhandler
Pace, Palay, Passoff, Patinkin, Patricof, Peitzman, Pepper, Pilus, Plotnik, Podlish, Poffenberger, Pollard, Popkin, Porecca, Press, Price, Pristoop
Rabinowitz, Ragsdale, Randelman, Rappaport, Rauch, Reed, Reichal, Reichbart, Rifkin, Ringler, Ritter, Robinson, Rogowsky, Roitman, Rose, Rosen, Rosenberg, Rosenblum, Rosenthal, Ross, Rosenfield, Rossman, Rounds, Ruttenberg
Sable, Sachsman, Salkofsky, Salway, Samuelson, Sanders, Saperstein, Satterwhite, Saul, Saunders, Sawyer, Scheel, Schenkel, Scherr, Schiff, Schinkel, Schriber, Schultz, Schwartz, Scildhorn , Scott, Selesnick, Selsman, Senderov,
Shafer, Shapiro, Sharlin, Sheehy, Shelton, Sherby, Shevelove, Shields, Sholin, Short, Shupe, Siegel, Siegle, Silverlieb, Silverstein, Simon, Singer, Sklar, Slack, Slotnick, Smith, Smock, Sollod, Solomon, Spence, Spiegel
Stailer, Star, Steinglass, Steinmetz, Stern, Stiefel, Stolar, Stoldolsky, Stone, Studley, Stutzer, Sumholz, Sutnick, Swantko
Tanker, Tanzer, Tercy, Tietjens, Toll, Toltzis, Troll, Tucker, Twist Ullman, Unger, Urken
Vandroff, Veghte, Vegotsky, Vine
Wagner, Wallstein, Walov, Watson, Wedeen, Weihe, Wein, Weinberg, Weinstein, Weisberg, Weiss, Weitz, Weney, Werksman, Weston, Whitman, Wiener, Willner, Wineberg, Winkler, Winnard, Wish, Wishnow, Wollin, Wollner, Wones, Worth, Wray
Zankel, Zimmerman, Zimmett
All of these families are related through marriage.
1. To view or modify the Urken Tree (Shlomo Zalman) (299 people), go to:
2. To view or modify the Kohn Tree (Tzvi Mordechai Kohn) (129 People), go to:
3. To view or modify the Vine/Wein Tree (Orel Wein) (541 People), go to:
4. To view or modify the “Trenton Jewish Community” Project), go to:

I also want to take a moment and let you all know about the work of Arthur Finkle.  In my last blog, I included a chapter of Arthur’s research on “Jewtown”.  Arthur has been very supportive of my initial research and has really spent a lot of time at the library and researching this subject.  His family tree extends back to one of the founders of Isaac Levy, who was the first President of Brothers of Israel.  Art has started a blog and has published his book online.  You can find it at:

Some of you responded with corrections to some of Arthur's information from last week and I want to pass those corrections along.

Shirley Nabutovsky sent this in:

Errors - Dr. Bloom was not a physician. He was a dentist. He was my childhood dentist and I cried every time we passed his building whether I had an appointment or not.  He and his "outdated dental tools" really frightened me.
Max Nabotovsky was actually my great uncle - Morris Nabutovsky who owned an auto parts store and I believe was also a known card shark.
Finally - Memorial Day cemetery Video - I bet you shot the Nabutovsky grave stone thinking that it was my parents. Actually it is for Morris' brother Nathan and wife Esther. My parents have individual grave stones and are to the right past the side walk from Great Uncle Nathan and Great Aunt Esther.  I also have quite a few other Nabutovsky and Bash family members buried throughout that section of the cemetery.

Mickey Kuzma chimed in:

My memories of "Jew Town where I was born in 1933 and riased till the 60's recall others in your list of "Merchants"
The "Dr. Bloom" you mention, was a dentist, not an MD. Larry Goldman MD for a time had an office in this row along Market St. at the top of the Hill. Larry ultimately moved to another Location just above Broad St. a block before the beloved Dr. Jake Berman MS, who took eggs in lieu of a fee for his service.

The "Jewtown" I recall, began at Market and Broad where Market St. began it's descent into the Valley of the Isrealites" as Harry Berkowitz described it. It extended to the river since many businesses were on Bloomsbury St. From Market St. it extended South to Bridge St. and encompassed all the streets in between; Cooper, Lamberton, Union, Mill, Decature, Fall, New, (no not "Nu") and Water Streets.
Beyond the big Schul where your map stopped, was Steingrob's grocery Store with the huge peanut roaster in the Window. two doors down was Edward's bakery ( who could forget "Fran") directly across Union St. was Frey;s Bakery, and Lavine's Dept. Store run by Sam, who was the consumate merchant. The Short 200 block of Fall St. had yet another fine bakery; Feldman's on the corner of Decature. Directly across was "Sada Hannah's (Mrs. Blank) dry goods and notion store. Other Merchant's on this block were Barney Horowitz butcher, Jules Leahman butcher and often bookmaker, a fruit/produce stand Arthur Finklesteins United Meat market, where Arthur always offered me a fresh hot dog to nosh on when shopping with my Mom. On the corner across from the big Schul ("Worker's of Truth/People of Truth?) was Union meat market run by the Millner's, who along with Jake Dana owned the Delaware Packing Co. just two blocks west on Fall/and Bloomsbury St. across from Scmulkie Berger who you failed to recognize as a "Cattle Dealer" Just beyond Bloomsbury St. at the River Was Sokalner Brother's Hide's and Skins. My dad worked for this wonderful family for 40 years, and they were like family to us. Some of my siblings, including my self were named after members of their family.
Warren St. had "Tomor's Department Store", Bobby Binder's Electrical supply, Urken's hardware, Stan Stern's mish mash shop of drek.
The peddler's you note brings to mind the "Horsenally" situated next to the Princeton Worsted Mills on Bloomsbury St., and running to the River. This is where the peddlers with horse drawn carts would house their mighty steeds each night. We kids would sneak in after dark, take the horses out, and ride lik Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers along the grassy strip besides the Delaware River.
And the most glaring of omissions in your notes was "Ben's Deli" on the corner of Lamberton and Market. This was the reason business bustled in Jewtown. People for miles would travel to our little enclave by the river to enjoy the best corned beef this side of NYC.
Of course this is not what I told Alex Segal of Playhouse 90 fame and whose father had the deli a few doors up Market St. next to Kohn's bakery. During a casting call for a movier made by Alex Segal in Trenton, I yelled out that his father had the best Pastrami in Town.
This got me a two line speaking role in his film "Some most honorable Men" starring Van Heflin, and Peter Fonda.

These are the memories of the little Shabazz Goy.

What wonderful memories of a great neighborhood, and neighbors, where there were never locks on the doors, and all were welcomed!

and he also added...

It was not Bessie Baker who I delivered live Carp for, it was Minnie Binder.
Her "holiday Grocery was in a row house a few doors north of Smitty the Banana Man. There were many other businesses situated beyond Market and Union Sts, and in time we'll talk about them.

To everyone-  The only way that we get the real story of Old Trenton is if you send in what you know.   Please.  This is not a test, there are not right ad wrong answers.  There are facts that we want to get right, but there are also points of view, which will always be open to interpretation.  In preserving the past, we need both.  So, if there are factual errors, please feel free to point them out.  If there are differences in opinions, please feel free to refute them, but do it politely.  

One final announcement.   This one on behalf of my wife, who is on the publicity committee for the Women’s League Comedy Night and Raffle at Adath Israel on Saturday night, November 17th.  3 NYC stand-up comedians, dessert, beverages.  What could be better?   For information, please call Ellen Botwin at the Adath, 609-896-4977.


Every time I go to the library, it seems that Wendy has one picture that she hopes we can identify.  She has a soft spot in her heart for pictures of soldiers, so here goes.   Does anyone know who this is?

Let us know.   Click on the ADD A COMMENT button below.



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