Elias Jacobowitz (1879 - 1961)

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Nicknames: "Poppop", "Pop-pop", "Pop", "Eli"
Birthplace: Humenne, Austro-Hungary, Humenné, Prešovský kraj, Slovakia
Death: Died in Englewood, Bergen, NJ, USA
Cause of death: after dimer chocolate
Managed by: David Jacobowitz
Last Updated:

About Elias Jacobowitz

Kreinik #0321+ Pop had a running fight with Mayor "I am the law" Haig. Pop wrote letters to the editor and stood up for civility. He rented Jacobowitz Hall to Norman Thomas, the socialist candidate for President when nobody else would.

In shul, Eli would sit on the east wall and sing out the Hebrew "Bom" when it came up in the text. He was an individual. (Note from personal communication with Walter Jacobowitz, Feb 10, 2010. DWJ)

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Elias Jacobowitz's Timeline

July 23, 1879
Humenné, Prešovský kraj, Slovakia

Born 211 Kilometers from his future bride, Leah Kreinik, in Zblobien, Poland:

Age 3
Humenné, Humenné, Prešov Region, Slovakia

Did she die in childbirth?

LKJ As I Remember: " She was devoted to her scholarly husband, more suited for study than business; worked hard all her life, helping with dairy produce to sell, and died at an early age (37) after a miscarriage,..."

Age 4

Did she already have a child, Beni/Benny, age 14 at the time of this marriage?
Was there another child Isaac born in 1885? Yes, and Morris Eichler as well.

August 9, 1899
Age 20
New York, NY, USA

Elias Jacobowitz Naturalization Hearing, August 9, 1899, New York, NY (New York County) [Thanks to Sol Krongelb and Charlie Hollander for the documents.]

Supreme Court,
Special Term, Part II.

In the Matter of the
Application of Elias Jacobowitz, by occupation, a segar-maker (sic), to be admitted as a citizen of the United States of America.

Examination of applicant and witness before
New York, August 9, 1899.

Elias Jacobowitz, the applicant called and sworn, as a witness in his own behalf, examined by the Court as follows:-

Q How old were you when you left Austria? A. 10 years old, nearly 11.
Q How old are you now? A. 21 and a month and 7 days.
Q Do you live with your parents? A. Yes, sir.
Q Father and mother? A. Father alone, my mother is dead.
Q What business is your father in? A. He is a rabbi.
Q Where? A. By a congregation.
Q Rabbi? A. Yes, sir.
Q What congregation? A. In Hebrew Rofomm (?) Congregation.
Q Are you acquainted with the constitution of the United States? A. Yes, sir.
Q Have you studied it up? A. Yes, sir.
Q Are you familiar with it? A. Yes, sir.
Q And do you know how the Senators are elected? A. Yes, sir.
Q How are they elected? A. By the Legislature.

Jacob Gottsegen, called and sworn and as a witness on behalf of the applicant, examined by the court as follows:-

Q How long have you known Mr. Jacobowitz? A. I know him since 1892.
Q Man of good moral character? A. Yes, sir.
Q How old was he when he came to this country? A. When he came to this country?
Q Yes. A. I couldn't say how old he was; I know him 7 years.
Q You know him 7 years? A. Yes, sir.
Q And how old was he when he (sic) became acquainted with him? A. He was 14 years old.
Q 14 years old? A. Yes, sir.
Q And do you know he is a straight-forward, respectable man? A. I know him as a gentleman, and straight-forward young fellow.
Q And will make a good citizen? A. Yes, sir.

The judgment of the Court is that the applicant be admitted as a citizen of the United States of America.

The Court swears the applicant and the applicant repeats the oath of renunciation as follows:-

I, Elias Jacobowitz, residing at no. 125 Cannon Street, in the city of New York, do solemnly swear that I will support the constitution of the United States, and that I do absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegience (sic) and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentiate (sic), state or sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the Emperor of Austria, of whom I was before a subject.

The stenographer is ordered by the court to make a copy of the proceedings taken on the foregoing application and to file said copy.

- 1906
Age 22
New York, New York, United States

"The years from 1902-1906, when Pop and I were married (1906), were happy ones. My old friends rallied round me, I resumed my membership in 'The Circle' nof the YMBA, (Anna was an active member by this tim), and we had week-end gatherings at home, with music, games, camera parties; no cards needed. Pop was in the crowd, of course, most of them remaining friends after marriage. Pop began courting me in earnest then. The YMBA ran a dance (Ball, as it was called) at the Armory in midtown, and Elias invited me. He came in a horse-drawn Hansom Cab (a left-over of the old horse and carriage days before autos, then used for lovers' rides in the park). When he escorted me down, he expected me to be overwhelmed (as he told me afterwards), but to his secret disappointment I took it in stride, hiding my surprise, and entered the cab as if to the manner born. Had a wonderful time, but danced with the Redhead most of the evening, while Elias looked on. But he never gave up, thank God, though he was warned against me by members of his own family, that I was a TB, would make a sickly wife. We became formally engaged on my birthday (the 23rd [June 13, 1904]), with a big family party.
Eli startled me soon after with the proposition that we move to Denver; he would get a job there, and if the climate was better for me, there we would live."

Leah Kreinik Jacobowitz, As I Remember, 1962, pages 31-32

Lorber's Restaurant in Grand Street, near the Bowery

- 1906
Age 22
Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

LKJ: " Morris and Max entered the cigar making field, I believe, and Aaron the garment business. Elias also learned the cigar making trade, working for nothing quite some time before he received 25 CENTS a week. Morris got married and opened a cigar store in downtown Jersey City. Max joined him in the business, and later Elias, the three brothers eventually becoming a partnership, Elias getting a reluctant Fourth part, though he contributed an equal part of successful effort I do not mean to be bitter about this -- it's too far back in the past, but it irked Pop and caused him to break with them and go into business for himself." As I Remember, p. 77.

Jacobowitz of Jersey City
1902 -1906 City Directory

Jacobowitz Bros. Cigars 7 & 61 Montgomery St.
Jacobowitz, Max 358 York St. (1902)
" 88 Sussex St (1903)
" 341 Montgomery St (1904 - 6)
Jacobowitz, Morris 358 York St (1902)
" 88 Sussex St. (1903-5)
" 63 Grand St. (1906)
Jacobowitz, Elias, mgr 7 Montgomery, home 88 Sussex St (1903)
" mgr h 88 Sussex St. (1904-5)
" mgr h 63 Grand St, (1906)

"Elias is your grandfather, I suppose. Max and Morris were his brothers?(yes). I seem to recall they may have been in Brooklyn before NJ." Charlie Hollander, 17 December 2004

June 13, 1904
Age 24
New York, NY, USA

We became formally engaged on my birthday (the 23rd), with a big family party. LKJ As I Remember, p. 32.

"After I became engaged to Pop (we lived on W. 81st St. in N.Y. and I had my own room),..." LKJ Addendum p. 6. See Leah's dream under Miriam Rivkah Jacobowitz

February 18, 1906
Age 26
New York, NY, United States

Marriage Certificate says Leah is Age 20. She is actually 24. Her name is spelled "Lea Kreinick."


"Wedding invitations were issued one to a family in those days, and that meant the whole family, with just a prayer that the small fry would be left at home. Father Wolf Jacobowitz performed the ceremony, just as in due time, he performed the ritual ceremony for Bud and Norman. The reception was in Manhattan Lyceum on E. 4th St. Over six hundred people came (four hundred invitations issued), besides many gate crashers, and the tables were set four times, yet Mother had some chickens to take home." Leah Kreinik Jacobowitz, As I Remember, 1962, pp. 34-35.

"... our marriage was started with the covenant that we would never go to sleep angry; we would talk things over, make peace. There was no domineering, only cooperation." LKJ As I Remember, 1962, p.79

- 1960
Age 27
Jersey City, NJ, USA

"When Dudu and Popop married, in 1906, they settled in Jersey City, where Popop and his brothers had established a wholesale and retail tobacco business., There was no synagogue in the Bergen section where they lived.

Popop set about correcting that: he became chairman of the building committee. When their babies began arriving, and no Hebrew school for them to attend, Dudu became president of the ladies auxiliary. Her belly big with my brother Bud, and pushing Ruth and Miriam in a baby carriage, Dudu went from Jewish door to Jewish door gathering pledges and money. The synagogue was built, and a few years later, the school. Ruth and Miriam were among its first pupils, and Bud (Eugene) and I in its first graduating class. We took our Hebrew education five afternoons a week, after public school, and we were still pretty good streetball players along with our neighbor kids.

Bud and I, and a cousin also named Norman Jacobowitz (after the same ancestor) took turns reading the weekly portion from the Torah - the five Books of Moses - in the original, at our young peoples' Saturday morning services. These hand-lettered sheepskin scrolls were replicas of the ancient scrolls, with no vowels, no punctuation and no sentence division, and no musical markings to guide us in our chanting. 'Tweren't easy. But it paid off when Bud and I were bar-mitzvahed - two years apart. Each of us read the full weekly portion aloud before the whole congregation, and the weekly portion from the Prophets, Only the Shamus - beadle - the rabbi and a few of the elders knew the original by heart, or could read it, yet you should have heard the rapping from all over the congregation when Bud and I inevitably made a mistake. Those old boys were following us in their completely printed texts, and they weren't going to let us get away with anything. I think this says something about Jews, and about Americans, too; If you hold yourself out as superior, the world will hold you strictly to your own estimate. Jews made the mistake of claiming to be God's chosen people. All the unchosen people have, ever since, never let us make the human errors they do. They vote to eject Israel from the UN for retaliating against Arab terrorism, they condemn the United States for fighting an evil
war in Vietnam, yet the French walked away from Indo-China and the Russians invaded Afghanistan with almost no ripples of any consequence."

Norman B Jacobwitz, Letter to My Grandsons, 1984, Pages 19- 20

Leak Kreinik Jacobowitz, As I Remember, Page 49.
Perhaps at this point I should go back to the beginning of my social life in Jersey City. When Ruth was about six, going to school on Virginia Ave., we began to think about Jewish education. We belonged to a little Synagogue housed in a private house not far from Pop's Bergen Ave. store, too far for small children to go for lessons, and no regular Hebrew school anyway. I had become acquainted with a few of the Jewish people in the neighborhoood: the Richmans who ran the Variety Store on Jackson Ave., the Halperins of the drug store, the Sharrs, photographers, a few on Oak St., and others. We started talking about this, and arranged a meeting. We rounded up thirteen women, all of us with small children ready for a Jewish education, and organized. Without a Synagogue to sponsor us, we called ourselves "The Bergen Auxiliary" -- of whatever Shule would be built in the future. Open your mouth at a gaqthering of this sort and someone is sure to put a "Chair" in your mouth, and you become President, willy-nilly. I occupied that chair for seventeen years, with a two year interval before the last two years, when Hannah Greenside took over. We prospered and grew to be the finest Jewish organization in the Bergen section. At first we rented a hall over a store in the neighborhood, engaged a Hebrew teacher, made a drive for funds, an annual ball with an ad Journal for which we scouted around the city, and ran other little affairs with programs we created oursleves, besides the usual meetings and Board meetings. We grew to about four hundred and fifty members.

The men got busy too, raised funds, in which Pop was very active, and Agudath Sholom Synagogue was built. Classes were held in the Vestry of the Synagogue, and the Auxiliary met there also. We celebrated our third anniversary there, with a skit I wrote, directed and played in, called "The Schatchen" (Matchmaker). That skit, by the way, was plagiarized entirely by the daughter of one of our own members. It was produced on Broadway, in company with other one-act plays, and was given rave notices. I was angry, of courese, and called upl the "author" and asked her how she liked the success of my own play. Of course she denied copying, said she had had that idea long before, etc. It was an undignified thing to fight over, and I let it go; after all, it wasn't such a brilliant idea that someone else couldn't have the brainchild .....

The Auxiliary found itself crowded in the Vestry room, the leaders of the Synagogue objecting to some to some of our programs, and we began saving seriously for a regular Hebrew School. There was a vacant lot in back of the Synagogue, and after due consultation with the elders, we paid a deposit of $100 on this ground, on which eventually The Bergen Hebrew Institute was built. Pop was the Chairman of both building committees; I was the Secretary for the Institute. The Jacobowitz Brothers were on these committees, and contributed generously. Our names are inscribed on the permanent tablets in the building.

April 25, 2013, Charlie Hollander found this in the Jersey City Real Estate Records:
"1915 P 1220 264 Elias Congregation Agudat Shalom 472-4-6 Bergen Ave. Pew*7, Left Balcony, Right 5 ($305)"