26 January 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Morris and Dora Reitman, Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, NY

I have featured Julius Reitman in a couple of blogs (here and here) about the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association. Today's post features his parents: Morris and Dora.[1]

Morris Reitman was born in Lubin (aka Labun), Russian Empire and emigrated in 1913, leaving his wife and children behind.[2]

Unfortunately, World War I and the Russian Revolution got in the way and Morris' family was not able to join him in the United States until 1921.[3] The original family name, as written on their manifests, was Chaitman (or Chajtman).  

An Eternal Remembrance

Here lies
Our beloved father
An honest and honored man
who occupied himself with the needs of the community
Mosche son of Levi Yitzchak
Died 3 Shevat 5795
May his soul be bound in the bonds of the living.
DIED JAN. 7, 1935

As indicated on her tombstone, Dora's Yiddish name was Dovtsi and the letters of her name were used as the starting letters for the rhymed epitaph on her stone.
Here lies
Her ways were upright
She pursued truth and righteousness with love
She conducted her life in the ways of Torah
She conducted herself modestly in public
Her hands were open to the poor and destitute
Dovtzi daughter of Baruch
Died the first day of the intermediate days of Passover 5702,
May her soul be bound in the bond of life
DIED APRIL 4, 1942

On Dora's tombstone the date (1st of the intermediate days of Passover) means 17 Nisan 5702. Passover always starts on 15 Nisan and the intermediate days start after the first two (seder) days.

Both Morris' and Dora's epitaphs speak to community service and helping those who cannot help themselves. This seems in-keeping with the essays penned by Julius and discussed in the two previous blog posts. Surely charitable work was an important part of their family life.

Dora's maiden name, gleaned from her manifest (where she indicated her relative left in the old country was her brother M. Kanczyk), and bolstered by her children's marriage records, indicate that her maiden name had been something pronounced like Kanchek.

Morris Reitman, like so many Lubiners in New York City was a glazier. The 1925 New York State census records Morris and all his sons, four years after the sons immigrated, as glaziers working for the family business.[4]

Morris and Dora had six children: Julius (b. 1 April 1900), Lillie (1 December 1901), Sam (15 October 1904), Louis (3 December 1907), Anna (15 January 1912) and Fannie (15 January 1914).[5]

In doing this research on the Reitman's I have found that they were likely shirt-tail relatives of mine. On his manifest of arrival in 1913, Morris indicated he was going to see brother-in-law N. Garber of 60 E. 3rd Street in New York City. When the family arrived in 1921, they indicated they were going to Dora's husband Moische (the children's father) at 242 Madison Street. My great uncle (my paternal grandfather's brother) was Nathan Garber a butter-and-eggs man whose long-time business was located at 242 Madison Street. 

Additionally, Morris' tombstone indicates that his father's name had been Levi Yitzchak. Nathan Garber's wife Yetta's tombstone shows her father as Levi Yitzchak. Since she and Nathan married in Labun and since there are no extant vital records for that town, the best we can say at this point is that it is likely that Yetta and Morris Reitman (Chaitman) were siblings. Where I am a tad confused by this, is that Yetta listed her last name as Shapiro on her daughter Sarah's death certificate. Guess the next step is to a copy of Yetta's 1950 death certificate.

Dora and Morris Reitman are buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot at Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, NY, block 89, gate 156N, line 11L, graves 5 & 6. 

1. Special thanks to Robin Meltzer, who not only is an outstanding translator but also hugely knowledgeable of the intricacies of Hebrew tombstone inscriptions. Shoshanna Goldstein Sanders and Aaron Schwartz also came to my rescue helping to make these epitaphs understandable. They all responded to posts I placed on Tracing the Tribe FaceBook page. Thank you all!
2. Manifest, S.S. Prinz Freidrich Wilhelm, 31 March 1913, stamped p. 79, line 15, Moische Chajtman, age 42; images, "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 December 2010).
3. Manifest, S.S. Kroonland, 9 August 1921, stamped p. 119, lines 6-12, Baba Chajtman, age 50; images, "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 December 2010).
4. 1925 New York State Census, New York County, enumeration of inhabitants, Manhattan, assembly district 6, election district 15, p. 8. entries 3-8, Morris and Dora Reitman family; image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 January 2016); New York State Archives, Albany.
5. Morris Reitman petition for naturalization (1925), naturalization file 69471, Southern District of New York; Record Group 21: Records of the District Court of the United States; National Archives - Northeast Region, New York City.

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