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Max Rosenberg

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Poland
Death: Died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Rosenberg and Mollie Rosenberg
Husband of Della Howell
Father of Adeline Elizabeth Friedman
Brother of Sarah Goldberg; Anne Stuller; Faye Cohn; Harvey Rawson and Revell Hoffberg

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Max Rosenberg

Meet Hillary Clinton's Grandmother, Della Rosenberg --
The Feisty Wife of a Yiddish-Speaking Jewish Immigrant
Family Secret's a Boost For Her Senate Chances
By SETH GITELL
FORWARD STAFF
WASHINGTON -- As she embarks on her campaign to represent New
York in the Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be able to tap
a little-known aspect of her family background -- her maternal
grandmother was married to a Russian-born Jew named Max
Rosenberg, and Mrs. Clinton's half-aunt, Adeline Friedman,
was a Jew who was interred at a Jewish mortuary.
While Mrs. Clinton has been the subject of at least three
book-length biographies and numerous newspaper and magazine
profiles, the colorful story of the first lady's grandmother, a
feisty woman who carried the name Della Rosenberg, has until now
been unknown even to many of Mrs. Clinton's closest friends.
After the Forward asked about the matter this week, Mrs. Clinton
said through a spokesman that she had "very fond memories" of Max
Rosenberg. Two members of the Rosenberg family told the Forward
this week that Mrs. Clinton remained in contact with her
half-aunt Adeline until Adeline's death last year.
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to run for Senate in a state where
Jewish voters are an important swing vote, the fact that the
first lady had a grandmother named Rosenberg may provide a boost,
some political analysts say. To be sure, Mrs. Clinton is herself
a Methodist, and Jewish voters in New York have a record of
paying more attention at the ballot booth to policy than to
religion or cultural background. And no one is comparing Mrs.
Clinton's story to that of Secretary of State Albright, whose
parents hid their Jewish roots from their daughter. Still, the
Rosenberg story opens a window into Mrs. Clinton's warm relations
with the Jewish community and into the concern for family issues
that have marked her involvement in public policy.
"Jews will now feel that she's almost one of their own. It will
make it easier for Jews to connect with her," said a New York
political consultant, Hank Sheinkopf, a Democrat. "People will
feel that she's more like them and they'll be more likely to
listen to what she has to say."
Mr. Sheinkopf cautioned that "the professional Hillary-haters
will say, 'why didn't she tell us sooner,' but it won't matter.
It will help her with the Jewish voters immensely. The overall
impact will be favorable."
The director of New York University's Taub Urban Research Center,
Mitchell Moss, said the news will have a positive effect on Mrs.
Clinton's campaign. "I think it humanizes her. Hillary's family
background is going to be both engaging and interesting to the
voters of New York," said Mr. Moss, speaking from Jerusalem.
"This new revelation humanizes Hillary and points out that she's
not only a wife and a mother, but also a granddaughter."
Asked about Max Rosenberg, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton's Senate
exploratory committee, Howard Wolfson, said the first lady "has
very fond memories of him. They spent a fair amount of time
together. He took her to a place called Kiddieland, which was an
amusement park in Chicago." As for Max Rosenberg's religious
background, Mr. Wolfson said, "her memories of him are not in a
religious context. I did not ask her if she remembered seeing the
Yiddish Forward around the house."
Mrs. Clinton's grandmother was born Della Murray in Aurora, Ill.,
on June 17, 1902, according to a copy of her birth certificate.
Census records show her parents were of French Canadian descent.
Della Murray and Edwin Howell were married by a Baptist minister
in 1918 in Chicago, according to a copy of the Cook County
marriage license. A year later, the couple's first child was
born: Dorothy Emma Howell, Mrs. Clinton's mother. The record of
that birth shows that Edwin Howell was working as a chauffeur,
while Della Murray was a housewife. A second child, Isabelle, was
born five years later. But the marriage did not last long. In
1926, Mr. Howell filed for divorce.
In her 1996 book, "It Takes a Village," Mrs. Clinton hints at the
trouble within her own family's background that prompted her
commitment to children's issues. "When my mother was only eight
years old and her sister barely three, her father sent them alone
by train to Los Angeles to live with his parents, who were
immigrants from England," Mrs. Clinton writes. "When my mother
first told me how she cared for her sister during the three-day
journey, I was incredulous. After I became a mother myself, I was
furious that any child, even in the safer 1920s, would be treated
like that." In an interview with Talk magazine published earlier
this week, Mrs. Clinton refers to the "terrible obstacles" her
own mother, Dorothy, faced, and she says, "My mother...vowed that
she would break the pattern of abandonment in her family and
did."
The story, as detailed in Cook County Superior Court documents,
is even darker than Mrs. Clinton suggests. In his divorce
petition, Edwin Howell said that when he came home from work one
day in January 1926, his wife "insisted on wanting to go out,
which she had been doing right up to date for a period of five or
six months ... I couldn't go. I worked most all the time. She
became abusive and angry, and scratched and bit me, flared up at
me." While claims of violence made in the context of divorce
cases can be questionable, especially since at the time they were
one of the only ways to win a divorce, the accusation was in this
case corroborated by two witnesses. Della Murray's own sister,
Frances Czeslawski, described Della Murray's "violent temper,"
and the confrontation on that day in January. "She wanted to go
some place, and I guess Mr. Howell didn't have the circumstances
to take her. She flew at him and scratched his face." An employer
also testified on Edwin Howell's behalf. The divorce was
finalized in 1927. Edwin Howell obtained custody of the two
girls, whom he sent to live with his parents in California.
Enter Max Rosenberg. Born in 1901 in Russia, the son of Joseph
and Mollie, by 1933 Max Rosenberg had made his way to Chicago,
where he married Della Murray. A city court judge performed the
ceremony, according to a copy of the marriage license. His
mother, Mollie, was a member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
and the Sisterhood of Agudas Achim North Shore congregation,
according to a death notice published in The Chicago Tribune.
Mollie was a subscriber to the Yiddish Forward, according to
court records of her estate. (A Chicago attorney and genealogist,
Charles Bernstein, assisted the Forward with the documentary
research for this article.)
In 1936, Della Rosenberg petitioned the Cook County Superior
Court for custody of her two daughters, who had visited Chicago
from their home in California two years earlier. Max Rosenberg,
she contended, wanted to adopt the two girls. Della Rosenberg
alleged that her ex-husband, Edwin Howell, "failed, neglected and
refused to make suitable provision for herself and their two
children." According to the documents, daughter Dorothy -- who
would become Hillary Clinton's mother -- was working as a
domestic in California at the age of 16. Della Rosenberg argued
that she could now take better care of the daughters, and that
she and her husband were "abundantly able to support, maintain
and educate" the two children. Court papers filed on her behalf
said, "she has remarried; that her husband with whom she is
living ... in the city of Chicago is Max Rosenberg; and he is as
much interested in the welfare of said children as if they were
his own; and he is desirous if such a result could be legally
consummated, to adopt them as his own." The attempt failed. The
court ruled that the girls remain in custody of Edwin Howell.
Mrs. Clinton writes in her book that a family for whom her mother
worked encouraged Dorothy Howell to finish high school. A year
after the custody dispute, Dorothy, who would become Mrs.
Clinton's mother, moved from California to Chicago and promptly
met Hugh Rodham. They married in 1942, and Hillary was born five
years later -- into what numerous accounts have described as a
solidly middle class, Park Ridge, Ill., upbringing as the
daughter of the owner of drapery company.
In the meantime, Max and Della Rosenberg and their daughter
Adeline, who had been born in 1934, lived at 6341 North Campbell
in Chicago until 1960. Sometime after then, Max Rosenberg moved
his family to Los Angeles. Max Rosenberg died there in 1984 after
a career in real estate.
Max Rosenberg's youngest sister, Revell Hoffberg, is still alive
and living in a suburb of Chicago. Although reluctant to talk,
she said she remembers the pairing between Max and Della. "I'm
the last of the family," Mrs. Hoffberg said. "Della died a long
time ago." She had heard that her niece Adeline had recently
passed away. Asked if she had ever had any contact with the first
lady, Mrs. Hoffberg said, "No, Adeline did." Della Rosenberg
never converted to Judaism, Mrs. Hoffberg said.
Adeline Rosenberg's step-son, David Friedman, said that Adeline
converted to Judaism, married Clarence Friedman and became a
lawyer late in life. David Friedman, who works at Verisurf
Software in Anaheim, Calif., said he and his children, who
referred to Adeline Rosenberg as "Grandma Addie," spent secular
and Jewish holidays at her house. He recalled that Adeline was in
contact with both Mrs. Clinton and her mother, Dorothy Rodham.
Adeline "was quite a gal. She was constantly helping others," Mr.
Friedman said. Mr. Friedman also recalled that Adeline served as
a delegate to state political conventions. Adeline died in 1998
and was interred at Mount Sinai Mortuary.
The accounts of Mr. Friedman and Mrs. Hoffberg suggest that Mrs.
Clinton is familiar with her family history. The backdrop of Max
and Della Rosenberg's life puts some aspects of the first lady's
relationship with Jews into a new light. Some of her oldest and
closest friends and associates include Jewish women -- Sara
Ehrman, Ann Lewis, Patty Kenner.
During the 1992 presidential campaign, an aide to Bill Clinton,
Steve Rabinowitz, was known by the nickname "Rabbi." The use of
that nickname stretched from Mr. Rabinowitz's work on the
campaign into the White House. On one occasion, Mrs. Clinton
began to follow the common practice and refer to Mr. Rabinowitz
as "Rabbi," then stopped herself and called him Steve. Mrs.
Clinton is the only person Mr. Rabinowitz can ever recall doing
this. "I always assumed she didn't know if it was appropriate,
ethnically pejorative or somehow not right. I always respected
her for it, because she cared enough to wonder if it was right.
I assumed it was somebody trying to do the right thing," Mr.
Rabinowitz said.
Another interesting episode involves the first lady's involvement
with the historic Breed Street Shul in Los Angeles. The Breed
Street Shul is the last remaining synagogue in Los Angeles's
Boyle Heights neighborhood. Mrs. Clinton designated the shul a
"Save America's Treasures" site and visited the synagogue at the
height of the impeachment struggle last December. The Los Angeles
Jewish Federation and the Getty Trust have provided $30,000 to
preserve the building.
The president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern
California, Stephen Sass, said he was impressed by the first
lady's knowledge at the ceremony. The Jewish Historical Society
has been spearheading the effort to save the shul. "She was very
much aware of the community and the Jewish history of the
neighborhood. She seemed very much aware of it. I can't speak to
how she got the information," Mr. Sass said. "She very much
understood the significance of the shul and what it meant to the
Jewish community."
Mrs. Clinton spoke with "really great empathy and connection and
as someone who was undergoing great personal difficulties," Mr.
Sass said. Following Mrs. Clinton's speech she was swarmed by a
group of elderly members of Temple Beth Am, a Beverly Hills
synagogue.
Speaking on a platform in front of the synagogue, Mrs. Clinton
said, "We believe there must be continuity between generations.
Boyle Heights immigrants can think back to those immigrants 60 to
70 years ago who did not speak English -- they spoke Yiddish."
She added, "In honoring this particular building, we honor the
past."
Little did the audience know that Mrs. Clinton's grandmother,
Della Rosenberg, was married to one of those Yiddish-speaking
immigrants.

* Updated from MyHeritage Family Trees by SmartCopy: Sep 19 2015, 4:12:19 UTC

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Max Rosenberg's Timeline

1901
October 21, 1901
Poland
1934
September 1, 1934
Age 32
Illinois, United States
1984
March 2, 1984
Age 82
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States