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Compiled by
Joy Kestenbaum
Copyright 2016
Joy Kestenbaum

Rubenfeld Family

Chaya and Pincus Rubenfeld, NYC
Courtesy Elaine Rubenfeld Gordon

Pincus Rubenfeld (1876-1955) arrived in New York on 19 August 1910 as Pinkas Potasznik, having departed from Hamburg, Germany, on July 28th. He gave the name of his brother Chaim Potasznik* as his nearest relative in Krzywcza. Pinkas was joining his cousin Harry Rosner, who was also from Krzywcza and was probably the Hersch Rosner (b. c1884), who had immigrated seven years earlier. Pinkas left his family in Krzywcza, intending to bring them over after he was more settled. He appears in the 1915 New York State census as a lodger with a family on Cannon Street on the Lower East Side and having the occupation of shoe maker. Later, in 1925, according to the State census of that year, he had became a citizen in 1922 and had a shoe store.**

Pincus went back to Krzywcza after World War I, probably departing in May 1920, according to a notation on the 1921 New York ship arrival list.
Sailing from Antwerp on 14 April 1921, he returned to New York with his family on 4 MayAccording to this manifest, the whole family, that is,  "Pinchas," his wife Chaja (Chaya Zigler?) and their children Szandla (Jennie), Morris, Chaim (Hyman) and Etla (Anna Ethel) were all born in Krzywcza. Pinchas's cousin, M. [Moshe] Ringiel, was listed as his nearest relative in Krzywcza. In New York they were joining Pincus's brother-in-law I. [Isaac is handwritten on the manifest; he was also known as Isidore] Rubenfeld, said to be his wife's brother.

*JRI-Poland lists a couple of other Poteczniks and Potoczniks
who were born in Krzywcza living in nearby Pruchnik.

** Pincus Rubenfeld's Naturalization Petition is recorded in Volume 121 and Record #30205 in Bronx County, NY.

Birth Certificate [Morris H. Rubenfeld]
Civil Registry Office of the Jewish Israelite Community of Krzywcza
From the Birth Register, Isr. Community, Krzywcza, Volume 3, Page 77.
Mojzesz Her[sz], born in Krzywcza, 20 April 1907, House Nr. 83
Circumcised 27 April 1907, Krzywcza, House Nr. 83
legitimate [parents legally married]
[illegible] shoemaker [son?] [illegible]
Daylaborers from [?odakowka]
Sandek Benjamin Galler rabin e Krzywczwy
[Mohel or Circumcision Operator/s]: Mojzesz Schreiber w Krzywczy
[Midwife] Joanna Kasprowicz w Krzywczy [in Krzywcza]
[Place and Date]: Krzywcza, 10 November 1920
Stamped with "Prowadzący Metryki Izraelickie w Krzywczy"
Courtesy Elaine Rubenfeld Gordon

Pinkas Rubenfeld was one of the original directors of the Krzywcza on San Sick Support Society, Inc. (First Krzywcza Am San Sick & Ben. Ass'n), founded in New York in 1920 just prior to Pinkas's return to Krzywcza. He later served as president, as well as Chairman of Cemetery.

Courtesy of Dorot Jewish Division, New York Public Library - [Scan of printout from microform]

From First Krzywcza Am San S.B. Assn's Souvenir Journal: 17th anniversary banquet and ball, 1920-1937 ... Saturday, Feb. 27th, 1937. [New York: s.n.], 1937.

Footstones of Chaya and Pincus Rubenfeld, Beth David Cemetery
Courtesy of Joy Kestenbaum

According to his family, after a disagreement with other members of the landsmanschaft, Pincus requested that the remains of his wife Chaya (1879-1949) be removed from the  Krzywcza society's section to another plot at Beth David Cemetery, next to which he himself - Pincus, son of Moshe HaCohen - and other family members would be buried. The removal and reburial of Chaya's remains is corroborated by the Cemetery's records.

Thanks to June Backer for corresponding with me about her great-grandfather and grandfather and her mother Elaine Rubenfeld Gordon for sharing the photograph of her grandparents and her father's birth certificate.

Neil Perry Gordon has written a novel, A Cobbler's Tale (2018), based "loosely" on his great-grandfather PIncus Potasznik's emigration from Krzywcza and settlement on New York's Lower East Side, taking some liberty with the actual account. The imaginative story describes his fanciful return to Krzywcza to bring his family to New York during World War I, rather than afterwards, and an ahistorical account of the founding of the Krzywcza landsmanschaft.

Cobbler's Tale Cobbler's Tale

Please contact Joy Kestenbaum for comments or contributions.

Compiled by Joy Kestenbaum (
Last November 2016
Copyright 2016 Joy Kestenbaum

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