Tombstone Tuesday: John Jacob ‘Zelig’ Broida

Mount of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel. Public Domain via Wikipedia.
John and Fannie Broida have tombstones somewhere in Mount of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel. Public Domain via Wikipedia.

Broida Family (Click for Family Tree)

Sadly we have no image of the tombstone for John/ Zelig Broida who is buried in Mount of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem, Israel, but we do know that he is buried there. The cemetery is now online, but they do not have a record of John or Fannie Broida being buried there, per their staff. We have a photo request out for an image for his Find A Grave memorial, and that of his second wife, Fannie (Rubinstein?) (Cohen?) Broida, and are hoping some persistent cemetery walker will find their final resting places.

We do, however, have an account of his death, which is maybe even better than just a tombstone. It is very hard to read as it is a copy of a carbon copy, so we have transcribed the translation of this original letter.

13 Nov 1938 Letter from the brother of John Broida to his family concerning his death in Israel, part 1.
13 Nov 1938 Letter from the brother of John Broida to his family concerning his death in Israel, part 1.

The letter is from Abraham Avi Pinchoe/Pincus, the brother of Jacob Mordechai Pincus. Mordechai was married to Ethel Broida who was discussed in yesterday’s post. Mordechai and Ethel were in the United States, where John’s sons and grandchildren lived. Ethel is the 8th ‘child’ John mentions, and the mystery ‘daughter’; they were to help distribute his estate.

It is obvious that the Broida family was close to the Pincus family, if John Broida trusted them enough to have Abraham be by his side while dying, and to write this letter to his family back in the states.

The nephew of John’s first wife is also mentioned, although not by name; research has not yet provided that name. John’s first wife was Gitel Frank Broida, and she died in 1901. John remarried, to Fannie ___ (likely Rubenstein), and we have a picture of her with John that is dated 05 July 1929. Fannie apparently died before John as she is not listed in his obituary, and the letter notes that John had purchased a plot near to hers [at Mount Olive Cemetery]. John died 10 Nov 1938.

13 Nov 1938 Letter from the brother of John Broida to his family concerning his death in Israel, part 2.
13 Nov 1938 Translated letter from the brother of Mordechai Pincus concerning the death of John Broida in Israel, part 2. (Click to enlarge.)


Transcription of Translation:

Tel Aviv 19th Heshvan, 5699

(November 13, 1938)


To my dear brother Mordecai-Jacob, his wife and their dear children–

May they live and prosper!


It is a great privilege to bring good news, but we may quote our

Rabbis’ interpretation of the Biblical verse:

“And God saw….and behold it is very good” — “very good” refers

to the Day of deathe; then & only all is perfect, for–quotoin again

the Bible –“then the tired ones will rest.” During our life time

we go through many events, but nothing is perfect. And when the

Eternal-blessed be His Name-says: “Very Good” one has to understand,

that perfection exists only on the Day of Death. Particularly, this

can be said concerning one who has lived a long life, and whose

conscience was clear, while his balance-sheet showed no liabilities

neither to men nor to God. Such a man is an anger, a happy one.

Such was the case of the Late Mr. Zelig Broida. Three weeks ago he

came to Tel Aviv, and while visiting me he said: “I wish to leave

for America.” He knew that I would not give my consent. I saw

a great change in him. Next day, his nephew-of his first wife-

came and told me: “Mr. Broida wishes you to come to the Hospital

Assuta; he is critically ill.” Naturally, I went immediately –

to grant his wish. When I came, he told me, that he had a very

bad night, but now he feels better and wishes to tell me some

Important matter concerning a will, the second, previously made

when he had his house.

Now about the money. He told me that he made a will, and gave all

the details to the Consul in Jerusalem, instructing how to deal

with his capital. “I wish you to take notes, “ he told me,”and I

will send you later a copy. I have in the Bank ‘Kupat-Am” LP 3,000

not including the accrued 5% interest–since I deal with them a long

time and in addition to this there is a sum of LP 135 current money.

These LP 3,000 should be divided thus: First, the grandchildren and

the Great grandchildren–each one should be given $100. Second,

LP 50 approximately to be given to Jerusalem Institutions–which

ones, exactly, I don’t know. He did not send me the above

mentioned copy. But the Consul and his brother have the list of the

recipients from LP 30 to LP 50. Among the grandchildren he definitely

stated, that your children are to be considered as his grandchildren

because of their mother, namely your wife, whom he considered as

his own daughter; in addition to his seven sons she is his 8th

daughter because of her good deeds towards him, and therefore she

is to receive an equal part. Also your children whom he considers

as his grandchildren each one should receive his share and buy

something in memory of grandfather, thus he writes in his first will.


Who can tell whether one’s Hands are clean in dealings with his

fellow-men; it is quite possible that one did not resist the

temptation of embezzlement, cheating, [?], etc.–no one knows how

such, and who is the person involved, therefore, there is only one

remedy: giving back to the community, taking a part equal to the one

assigned to each of the heirs, since other people’s money

cannot be given to your children. And so he asked to take one

part which at that time was $280, deposit the sum in a reliable

bank as a permanent fund on hisname, and every year on the day



of his departure (he departed on Firday, 18th of Heshvan 5699 at

3:30 P. M.) to take out the interest, and give the money to the

Home for the Aged and talmud Torah of Pittsburgh in equal shares. It

is quite possible, that now this share is larger.


In such a case, it is possible to add the difference to the the

amount he left for the Institutions in Jerusalem, LP 30 or LP 50.

Surely, I know, my dear brother, that you will bring everything

in best order.


He mentioned another thing as a certain matter. But he told me:

“All is known to my dear beloved Mordechai-Jacob”–I am confidnet,

that he has written to you. Now let me tell you the way he died,

while in his clear mind. “Iwonder how a man travels from Tel Aviv

to Jerusalem”; these were his last words: “I am not afraid of

my death. I do not pretend to live fore ever. The years granted to

me are 82. I made a full account of what I owe, as well as the

expenses in the Hospital and the funeral “–At this moment he

raised his hands and continued: “I think, I am going to die without

any debt.” He took leave and departed. Previously, he repeated

the confessional prayer after me, rather[?] understood every word.

He had a burial lot in the cemetery in Jerusalem near his wife–

may she rest in Peace!– and so when they came to ask me what shall

be don in this case, since it is quite dangerous to travel–I

answered: while alive he came safely from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, so

now also he will be taken safely to his place in Jerusalem. And so

they did. His nephew has a position in the Government and a

special permit to carry [?], so he left today, Sunday morning

at 10:00 A. M.


My son, Rabbi J. L. went to the Chevra Kaddishah and brought

everything in best order with full respect to the departed and

his family. He also wired to Jerusalem to prepare everything

through Mr. Hershell Kurliansky, the step-brother of his mother-

in-law. He is a member in the Chevran Kaddishah in Jerusalem.

He will attend to everything. I believe, that they will give a

full account either to me or to Rashe-Leah. Be in good healthe

and hope to hear good news. It is high time! The Dark Ages are

back! Conditions of our people are terrible. There is no man

who could describe the troubles of Israel. May the Eternal put

an end to all our troubles!


Your brother faithfully,

Abraham Avi Pinchoe


Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest.

2) Find A Grave Memorial- no image of grave yet, but request is pending.

3) Mystery Monday: Ethel Broida Pincus-…-broida-pincus/


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2 thoughts on “Tombstone Tuesday: John Jacob ‘Zelig’ Broida”

  1. Hi,

    In case you have never seen this, I have a copy of his death notice. Could not see how to post it for you.


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