Kevarim of Tzadikim in North America — Over 1686 Kevarim Online! header image 2

Rabbi Baruch Portnoy

December 9th, 2016 · 1 Comment

Rabbi Baruch Portnoy

ברוך ב"ר שלמה

Rav, Agudath Achim, Brooklyn, New York

Date of Death: Tue. September 11, 1928 - Elul 25 5688

Anyone with biographical information is asked to please send it in.
See CONTACT page for details. Thank you.


Cemetery Details
59-63 54th Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378
United States

Phone: 718-335-2500


Cemetery Map:

Notes: The cemetery is quite large and can be difficult to navigate, a detailed map from the office can be extremely helpful. Check cemetery website for office and gate hours. A $20 deposit is required for a Mausoleum key.

Directions to Kever: Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens maintains computerized records and will provide a detailed location map upon request. Location: Society: MAZIRER, Path: 34R, Gate: 21

Name Listed on Cemetery Database: PORTNOY, BERNARD

Biographical Notes:

Photo Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 10, 1927
Photo Source: Eisenshtat, Doros Acronim

Credit: Moreshes Chachmei America’s Archives

Tags: Mt. Zion Cemetery (Maurice Ave) · New York

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 DH // May 2, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Rabbi Portnoy was born in Mozir, Russia in 1885 and was sent to the Lubavitcher Yeshiva, far away from home, at the age of four. He was fed in the homes of the residents of the city, as was the custom (called “Essen Kest”). He was ordained as a rabbi at 19, and very soon after his ordination he was recruited to replace rabbi Aryeh Leib Halbstein (my great-grandfather) who fled his own village during a pogrom – wherein strong-armed Russian Cossacks would bear down on the town beating and abusing the Jews.

    Most likely through an arrangement made by their respective parents, Portnoy married Esther Halbstein, the daughter of Aryeh Leib. (Esther was the sister of my grandfather, David). They had a daughter, Rose, in 1906. Soon after the birth of Rose, Bernard fled to the United States to avoid being drafted into the Russian army. He arrived at Ellis Island – but I don’t know what year that was. He settled in Brooklyn. Esther and Rose followed shortly after.

    He was the third of five children – he had two older sisters who lived in Boston, and a younger sister and brother who lived in the Bronx. He helped all of them, including his parents, emigrate to America in 1912.

    According to a biography written by his daughter, Bessie (Betty):

    “He was learned in every aspect of the rabbinate, and became renowned for his sermons. People came from afar to hear his sermons, often standing outside when there was no room left inside. He performed weddings, officiated at funerals and unveilings. He had a tenor voice of operatic quality and was the Cantor on Shabbat and the High Holidays. I remember the choir-master training the choir who sang with my father and he and the boys slept over in our home (where so many were put up, I don’t know). Also, people stood outside our home listening to the singing. I was very proud and I wish this had been recorded as was done with famous cantors then. My father drank what he called a “guggle/muggle”, made of milk, egg yolk and sugar for his voice. He presided over the Hebrew school in his Shul as principal. He also listened to and advised couples with marital problems and those wanting a “get” (a divorce needed to remarry in Jewish tradition). He was a Mohel, for newborns and also for converts to Judaism. He was an itinerant Mohel – often traveling to Scranton, PA or Lancaster, PA, rural towns, a distance from where he lived. He walked miles on a Saturday, far from his home, to act as a Mohel. He was also a Shochet (ritual slaughterer) for chickens and cows.

    There is much more about the life of Bernard Portnoy written in Betty’s autobiography, which I have posted on my genealogy website (

Leave a Comment