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Rabbi Naftali Hertz HaKohen Zeichik

April 17th, 2009 · 38 Comments

Rabbi Naftali Hertz Zeichik

נפתלי הערץ ב"ר נתן נטע הכהן

Rav, Beth El Yaakov, Des Moines, IA

Date of Death: Wed. January 1, 1947 - Teves 9 5707

Anyone with biographical information is asked to please send it in.
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Cemetery Details
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States

Phone: 515-248-6320


Cemetery Map:

Notes: The cemetery is managed by cit of Des Moines Parks Department.

Directions to Kever: Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, IA, Section: 1, Lot 48, Row 3 of the Beth El Jacob Society

Name Listed on Cemetery Database: Name listed on marker: Rabbi N Hertz Zeichik

Biographical Notes:

ZeighikPic 2
Photo Credit: Judi Argaman
Rabbi Naftali Hertz HaKohen Zeichik was a member of the Agudas Harabonim during the first half of the twentieth century

Credit: Rabbi Levi Goldstein, Windsor Heights, IA

Tags: Des Moines, IA · Iowa

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JJ // Jun 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Is there still a Jewish Community in Des Moines, Iowa?

  • 2 phyllis sarto // Apr 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I am his granddaughter. There is definitely a Jewish community in Des Moines. I have a cousin living there, but I live in Valley Village, California. He died in 1946

  • 3 YD Miller // Apr 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Do you know where he is buried and perhaps a photo of the tumbstone?

  • 4 phyllis sarto // Apr 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    He is buried in Des Moines at Glendale Cemetery. I am curious as to who you are and why the info requested. No photo is available.

  • 5 Rabbi Stern // Apr 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    The shule website:
    According to the website, Rabbi Asher Lippman Zarchi served the congregation prior to moving to Louisville, KY.

  • 6 YD Miller // Apr 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Rav Zeitchik was born to Reb Nussen Nuta Zeitchik in the town of Zhethel in Lithuania, who was working individual and in the side spen a lot of his time studying, he authored a sefer “Nitie Nussen” which was printed by his son in 1935 and is acialable online

    Reb Naftali Hertz married Rivka the daughter of Reb Schmuel Rutkowitz, and served the Des-Moins community for over 30 years.

  • 7 YD Miller // Apr 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    The exact date of his passing was December 31 1946 which comes out to 8 Teves 5707

  • 8 RINA LERNER (ZEICHIK) // Jun 9, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Is any connection to zeichik boston area ma?

  • 9 Chabad of Iowa // Nov 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    There is a Jewish communtiy here in Des Moines. Chabad has a Shul, a kosher Deli and grocery and Judaica store. There are a bout 2500 Jews here

  • 10 Josh zeichik // Feb 11, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I believe this was my great great grandfather. I’m living in Columbia mo right now, and I’m wondering if I have any relatives near by.

  • 11 Allen zeichik // Feb 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Yes, Joshua.
    That is your great great grandfather.
    His son, your great grandfather, was Samuel Zeichik. He was married to Elizabeth Zeichik, your grandmother. I believe that they are both buried near him.

  • 12 A. Zeitchik // Jun 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Does any one know whether Reb Naftali Hertz had a brother named Nechemia Zeitchik? He died in Poland/Russia (Rostov ?) in 1920. Nechemia Z was my grandfather. He was also a Kohen and his father’s name was also Nosson Notte. Wonder of wonders! That would make him my great-uncle! And I have cousins out there whom I’ve never met. Small world!

  • 13 curios // Jun 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    See here, a sefer that R’ Naftali Hertz Zeitchik brought out from his father R’ Nosson Nota:

  • 14 JR Rabinovitz // Jun 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    The address is incorrect for Jewish Glendale Cemetary – it is on University Ave.
    There are still 2 grandchildren in DM (and other surviving grandchildren elsewhere), a few great grandchildren in still reside in DM. – I am one of them.

  • 15 Sheldon Rabinowitz // Jun 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Rabbi Zeichik was my grandfather (my mother’s father). He lived with us when I was born, as his wife had died earlier. He was the Rabbi at Beth El Jacob Synagogue for over 40 years. He is buried at Glendale cemetary, which is on 48th & University. The address shown above is the address for Woodland Cemetary.

  • 16 yaacov zeitchik // Jul 3, 2011 at 12:32 am

    In his sefer Reb Naftali Hertz acknwledges his brother Reuven but no reference to another brother Nehemia Zeitchik my grandfather.
    Perhaps, our grandfathers were cousins named after the same Nosson Nota.

  • 17 judi rabinowitz argaman // Aug 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I am the great-grandaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. My father is Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz of Washington, DC who is 94 years old., brother of Uby and Sheldon Rabinowitz–all from Des Moines. My father grew up in the same home with his grandfather, Rabbi Zeichik. My brother is named after him–Nathaniel Herz. I live in Israel with my husband and three children and grandson.

  • 18 judi rabinowitz argaman // Aug 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    One of Rabbi Zeichik’s daughters was Faye Libby Shenk. She became the international President of Hadassah. She moved to Israel in 1978 and worked with the Jewish Agency. She died on her 72nd birthday in 1981 and is buried on the Mount of Olives near Menachem Begin.

  • 19 judi argaman // Aug 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I am the great grandaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. My father, Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, age 94, is his grandson and grew up in the same home. Stanley Rabinowitz has two brothers–Ronald and Sheldon. Stanley became rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC in 1960. The others stayed in Des Moines. I live in Israel with my 3 children, grandson and husband. One of Rabbi Zeichik’s daughters was named Faye Libby Schenk–who eventually became the international president of Hadassah. She made Aliya in 1978 and worked for the Jewish Agency and died in 1981 at the age of 72. My brother, Nathaniel Herz, is named after Rabbi Naftali Herz Zeichik–our great-grandfather.

  • 20 Dina Rabinovitz Leener // Aug 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I am also a great granddaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. My grandmother, Rose Zeichik Rabinovitz was his daughter. My father was the middle son (of three), Ronald Ruvin Rabinovitz. I grew up in Des Moines. I now live in Maryland. My youngest son is studying to become a Rabbi, following in the Zeichik tradition.

  • 21 Myra Rabinovitz Shindler // Aug 29, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I am also a great granddaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. My father Ronald ‘Uby’ Rabinovitz, rabbi Zeichik’s grandson, was one of the grand- sons that grew up with Rabbi Zeichik while he was living in the home of Rabbi Zeichik’s eldest daughter Rose (my grandmother). I was always impressed by the stories people told of Rabbi Zeichik. For example, when I would meet people around the state, they would tell me that Rabbi Zeichik had performed their wedding. Or my father would tell us about how people would come to their home to receive advice from the rabbi (that is something you don’t hear about any longer), even in his later years. I too am a professional in the Jewish education community, and was surely influenced by my grandmother who carried the torch of her father with her. Many of us have a copy of a very distinguished painting of him hanging in our homes.

  • 22 Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz // Nov 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This posting awakens many warm memories of my grandfather!! He lived with us in his later years. I studied Talmud with him. Not to mention Bible. I learned to write Hebrew while sitting on his lap. This is a wonderful site and service!! I wish it was even longer….

  • 23 Sharon Rabinowitz Chard-Yaron // Feb 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I am another great granddaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. My parents are Anita and Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz. (Stanley Rabinowitz is one of Rabbi Zeichik’s grandsons). My father writes in his memoires about his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1943: ” The ordination ceremonies were impressive. They took place in the Seminary courtyard. Attending for my family were my Mother and my Grandfather. It was a thrilling experience for me and I hope for him. My grandfather stayed at the Seminary over Shabbat. My Mother stayed at the Paris Hotel. The students and the faculty showed him great respect and he was amazed at their learning and impressive behavior. He was also impressed with the Seminary setting, its Library, its faculty and the Sabbath services. Indeed, given his background, it was an eye-opener for him. He never again uttered a word of criticism of the Conservative rabbinate, if he ever did. I never heard him being critical of other movements.” My father recently elaborated on this, recalling how seminary students gathered around Rabbi Zeichik during his visit to engage in introductions and respectful conversation. My father also tells about Patsy: “I had a wonderful dog, Patsy, which I acquired at Bar Mitzvah. Patsy. Even my grandfather, who feigned to dislike dogs, fed her secretly. The dog always embarrassed him by her demonstrative affection toward him. “

  • 24 Sheldon Rabinowitz // Jun 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I was there for Stanley’s graduation from the JTS. We stayed at the Ruxton Hotel on 72nd, near Central Park.

    Stanley, my wonderful brother, died on 6/8/12–his 95th birthday.

    He left a great mark among our family.

  • 25 Sharon Chard-Yaron // Jul 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    David Rabinowitz, great grandson of Rabbi Zeichik wrote the following article published in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle :

    about Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, my father, David’s uncle, Rabbi Zeichik’s grandson:

    My uncle, Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, who for 26 years guided Washington, D.C.’s largest and oldest conservative synagogue, passed away on Friday, June 8. It was his 95th birthday.
    During his nearly three decades as the spiritual leader of Adas Israel Congregation, guests in his synagogue included presidents, Israeli prime ministers, Supreme Court justices, countless members of Congress, government officials and journalists.
    Most of Israel’s ambassadors attended his services, as did Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin and Ambassador Simcha Dinitz celebrated their sons’ Bar Mitzvahs at Adas Israel with Rabbi Rabinowitz.
    His obituary was in the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Forward, Israeli newspapers and carried by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. So I was quite surprised not to see a mention of the death of this prominent man of the Jewish world in The Chronicle.
    Perhaps his most notable accomplishment, Rabbi Rabinowitz served two terms as president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international organization of Conservative rabbis.
    He was especially concerned with Zionism and Israel, and their relation to Conservative Jewry.
    Together with representatives of the Reform movement, in 1977 he successfully negotiated with Israel’s then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the indefinite postponement of a bill to change Israel’s Law of Return and Israeli definition of Jewish identity. The projected changes, if adopted, would have compromised the role of Conservative and Reform rabbis and challenged the status of their converts. The changes were not implemented.
    As RA president, he traveled to Egypt to meet with religious and political leaders. He was a guest in Anwar Sadat’s home.
    President Carter subsequently invited Rabbi Rabinowitz to deliver the invocation prayer at a service at The Lincoln Memorial celebrating the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. He attended the signing itself, and then dined on the White House lawn with the dignitaries at a large formal kosher dinner.
    Rabbi Rabinowitz led his congregation and Washington’s Jewry through much of the turbulent times of race relations in the ‘60s. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at a city meeting my uncle hosted in 1963.
    In 1964, immediately after the assassination of President Kennedy, Rabbi Rabinowitz was invited to give the sermon at Mount Vernon Place Baptist Church, which was attended by President and Lady Bird Johnson. Upon returning home, my uncle received a personal call from the first lady asking him for a copy of his speech. That night, in his televised Thanksgiving address to the nation, President Johnson included the theme of my uncle’s sermon, and quoted from it.
    He danced with Betty Ford at the White House, and received a personal letter from President Reagan upon his retirement.
    Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz was born in Duluth, Minn., and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He was the son of Jacob and Rose Zeichik Rabinovitz. He was the oldest of three sons including my father, the late Ronald Rabinovitz. He was the grandson of Rabbi Naphtali Hertz Zeichik, noted Talmudic scholar and “Chief Rabbi of Iowa,” and the nephew of Faye Zeichik Schenk, international president of Hadassah and president of the World Zionist Organization.
    He was a graduate of the University of Iowa, Yale University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was an honorary fellow of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was predeceased by his wife Anita (Lifson) in 2008, his son Nathaniel in 2007 and his brother Ronald (my father) in 2006. He is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren, a great grandson, a brother and many nieces and nephews (including myself).
    In 1947, one of his earliest professional duties as a rabbi was officiating at the marriage of my parents in Monterrey, Mexico, my mother’s hometown. The ceremony was in Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish and English.
    In his younger days, Rabbi Rabinowitz was one of the original founders of AZA (Kansas City, Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., and Des Moines were the first four chapters in the country), and served as one of the earliest international presidents. Rabbi Rabinowitz was vice chairman of the B’nai B’rith Youth Commission and chairman of its Judaica publishing committee, which published a series of pamphlets for young people, many of which he authored. He was also chairman of the editorial board of the National Jewish Monthly. While he was president of the Rabbinical Association, he helped edit the new Haggadah issued by the Conservative movement. It is still in wide use today.
    Rabbi Rabinowitz was very active in Jewish community affairs as well. He served as Chairman of the Rabbinic Cabinets of UJA and of AIPAC. He was the also the founding president of Mercaz, the Movement for the Reaffirmation of Conservative Judaism.
    He was a scholar, a historian a profound thinker and an author. He was a powerful rabbi, poised and polished. He was eloquent and elegant. Our family was always so proud. But despite the many accomplishments of this great man, to me and all the cousins from Des Moines he was still just our Uncle Stanley.

  • 26 Rachel L // Jul 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    My mother is Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz’s first cousin. I read of his passing and was trying to find some information to send to my mom and found this site. If I am figuring the family tree correctly, I think that Rabbi Naftali Hertz HaKohen, Stanley’s father, would be my great-grandfather–my mother’s mother’s father!

  • 27 judi argaman // Jul 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Rachel: my father, Rabbi Stanley Rabinowitz, is the grandson of Rabbi Zeichik (not his son). His father was Jacob Meir Rabinovitz. Your grandmother, Betty (Rebecca) was a sister to Jacob Meir Rabinovitz–making her an aunt to Stanley. However, Rabbi Zeichik, I believe, is actually not your relative since it is the other side of the family. (through the wife of Jacob Rabinovitz–Rose Zeichik.)

  • 28 Chris Marks // Dec 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    My great grandparents, Joseph Marks and Rachel Arenberg, were married in Des Moines in March 13, 1881. One of Rachel’s brothers married Miss Sarah Rabinovitz on the same date. They had a joint reception. Is there a link between Sarah and any of the Rabinovitz folks who have posted here? Thanks!

  • 29 Phyllis Sarto // Feb 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I am the first one on this long list of relatives in my grandfather’s life. I am so proud to be a part of it. I’m soon to be 89 and still have beautiful memories of the times I spent with this distinguished gentlman. Thank you YD Miller, you really started something!!!

  • 30 Jeannette Gabriel // Oct 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I am a researcher at the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa working on a Jewish Women in Iowa Project. I would be interested in speaking with anyone on this discussion who has information about family members in Iowa. You can reach me at Thank you.

  • 31 Sheldon Rabinowitz // Apr 20, 2015 at 9:31 am

    To Chris Marks–The Rabinovitz and/or Rabinowitz lineage in Des Moines connected to Rabbi Zeichik started with my father, Jacob. He was the husband of Rose Zeichik and they were married about 1915 or 1916, moving to Des Moines from Duluth in the early 20’s. There were other Rabinowitzes in Des Moines from time to time, but they are all long gone and not related to us. I am an 82 year old grandson of Rabbi Zeichik and still live in Des Moines.

  • 32 Dan Sarto // Dec 18, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I am Phyllis Sarto’s youngest son – Rabbi Zeichik was my great grandfather. Many of the people commenting in this thread, and the people like Ubi and Faye Schenk that they speak of, I remember as well. I grew up looking many times each day at a picture of the Rabbi hanging on my family room wall – in grade school I drew a copy of that picture in crayon, which I still have 40+ years later. When I was a young boy, my father Irving played poker each week with a group of men from our Temple. One night an elderly gentleman by the name of Phil Carpe joined the game and as he walked into our house, looked at the picture and exclaimed, “That’s Rabbi Zeichik! He married me and my first wife in 1918!” This was sometime around 1970-72. It ends up Phil had lied about his age when he was 16 and joined the Army to serve in WWI. He came home and got married – I don’t remember if he was in Iowa or Cincinnati. But in any case, it was a truly amazing coincidence.

  • 33 Jonathan Leener // Feb 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Reb Zeichik is my great great grandfather. In June I will be ordained as a rabbi and will continue the families rabbinic legacy. I feel truly humbled to join this great line of rabbis. In fact, seeing Reb Zeichik’s book had a major influence in deciding to become a rabbi. I was really taken back when I noticed that Rabbi Kook (the first ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel) validated the book’s greatness and praised the families talmudic brilliance. I felt a profound responsibility to continue our families rich tradition of building Jewish life and providing spiritual leadership. I live with my wife, Faith, in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. I’m interested in gaining more information about the family history in Europe. Please email me with any info!

  • 34 Sharon Engman and Emily Paper // Apr 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I (Emily Paper) am the great-great-granddaughter of Rabbi Zeichik. I had looked up Zeichik in Duluth to see if any Zeichiks still live there and stumbled upon this feed. My mother Sharon and I both have the same painting of Rabbi Zeichik in our homes. I recently brought the painting into my home as my grandmother Sally Zeichik Nagorner has recently down-sized into a smaller home and passed the painting onto me. This history has been so fun to read.

  • 35 sheryl Prenzlau // Feb 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Hi! I need to be in touch with some of you. My great grandfather was a first cousin of this Rabbi. His grandfather was also Naftali Hertz and His uncle was Nosson Notte. How can we be in touch?

  • 36 Josh Zeichik // Feb 6, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Does anybody know if this man is related to us?

  • 37 Judi Rabinowitz argaman // Jul 19, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    I am rereading. So many of my cousins have contributed valuable info! And my father and sister. And my cousin’s son, Rabbi Jon Leener , who is carrying on Rabbinic study I am writing to say I had the pleasure of spending a thrilling evening with Joshua Z. And lovely wife Harmony. Sharing knowledge—rabbi NH Zeichik is his great great grandfather and my great grandfather. Josh is visiting Israel, where I live, and he made a visit to Faye Zeichik Schenk’s grave on the Mount of Olives. She was Rabbi Z’s daughter. These links are fascinating. Josh is my children’s fourth cousin I believe and my grandchildren and his kids are fifth cousins? Something like that.
    Josh, about your question—the zeichik with Trump. He spells is differently than you do.

  • 38 Josh Zeichik // Jul 23, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Thanks Judi. I wasn’t sure if he was related.

    And we had a wonderful time visiting with you and hearing more about our family history. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Zeichik family reunion with everyone?

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