22 March 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Rebecca Lerner, Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, New York

Last week's Tombstone Tuesday post was about Rabbi Yoer Lerner, former Rabbi of Labun (Lubin). Today, we address his wife, Rebecca or Rivka.

Here lies
The rabbi's wife from the town of Labin
the modest and pleasant
Mrs. Rivka daughter of
Rabbi Chaim of blessed memory
19th day in the month of Sivan
in the year 5689
May her soul be bound in the bonds of the living[1] 

The Hebrew calendar date corresponds to 27 June 1929 - the date shown on her death certificate.[2Her death certificate indicates that her rabbi father's last name was Gershfield. Her mother's name was not known to whomever was the informant for the certificate.

Yoer and Rebecca stayed in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. While I have located Yoer in a 1925 city directory at 3 Rutgers Place, Manhattan, I have not located the family in the 1925 New York State Census.[3] When Rebecca died, they had been living at 300 Madison Street. 

Rebecca's death certificate indicated she died at the age of 61; however, her passenger manifest from March 1924 showed her as 62.[4] So, the best we can say at this point was that she was born sometime between 1861 and 1868.

According to Yoer's petition for naturalization, he and Rebecca has nine children: Esther (born about 1887), Max (1893), Ita (1894), Yokheved (1898), Simkha (1900), Moishe (1902), Bobel (1903), Shia (1909),  and Khaim (1915).[5] At the time of Yoer's naturalization filed in November 1929, Max and Shia were in New York; Simkha, Moishe and Bobel were in Palestine; and Esther Balin (likely, Dolin), Ita Bosin, Yokheved and Khaim were still in the Soviet Union. 

Perhaps it was fortunate that Rebecca and Yoer died before World War II. They did not have to live with knowledge that several of their children were murdered. There are pages of testimony in the Yad Vashem database submitted by Khaim Dolin in 1992 for his mother Esther Dolin, and his aunts Ita Bosin and Yokheved Gelman.[6]

Rebecca was buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, New York: block 89, gate 156N, line 3L, grave 5.

1.  Special thanks to participants on Tracing the Tribe page on FaceBook: Elihu Romberg, Leah Cohen, Robin Meltzer and Esther Chanie Dushinsky. And thanks to Schelly Talalay Dardashti for all she does to maintain this useful resource.
2. New York County, New York, death certificate no. 17329 (27 June 1929), Rebecca Lerner; Municipal Archives, New York City.
3. R.L. Polk, compiler, Trow's New York City Directory, 1924-1915 (R.L. Polk Directory Co., 1924-1925), p. 1396, entry for Yera Lerner; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 March 2016)
4. Manifest, S.S. Cedric, 11 March 1924, stamped p. 7, lines 2 and 3, Fre and Rebeka Lerner, ages 61 and 62; images, "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2012).
5. Yoer Lerner petition for naturalization (1929), naturalization file 61152, Southern District of New York; Record Group 21: Records of the District Court of the United States; National Archives - Northeast Region, New York City.
6. "Shoah Names Database," index and digital images, Yad Vashem (http://yvng.yadvashem.org/ : accessed 20 March 2016); search on name Lerner and community Labun.


  1. I wonder about those adjectives on the tombstones. They seem oddly translated. From, the modest and pleasant Peter Myers

  2. Well, tombstones do not have punctuation. I have no doubt that Rivka was modest and pleasant. :-)


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