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Rabbi Yitzchok Eliezer Benkovitz

June 14th, 2010 · 14 Comments

Rabbi Yitzchok Eliezer Benkovitz

יצחק אליעזר ב"ר אליקום געציל

Rav, Congregation Tzemach Tzedek, Chelsea, Massachusetts

Date of Death: Sun. May 5, 1963 - Iyar 11 5723

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Cemetery Details
232 Fuller Street
Everett, MA 02149
United States

Phone: 617-244-6509
Contact: Barry Ostrow


Cemetery Map:


Directions to Kever: Everett Jewish Cemeteries located just north of Boston, in Everett, Massachusetts is comprised of many smaller cemeteries (societies). Most are owned or managed by JCAM. Location: Section: Needed

Biographical Notes:

Photo Caption: Congregation Tzemach Tzedek, Chelsea, Massachusetts, Credit: Leon Benkovitz

Photo Caption: Rav Benkovitz at a wedding, Credit: Leon Benkovitz

Credit: David Weider, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Tags: Boston, MA · Everett Jewish Cemeteries - Boston · Massachusetts

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 YD Miller // Jun 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Rabbi Benkovitz was believed to be the oldest American rabbi at his time, when he passed away some obituaries have him aged at 109 years old (see Chicago Tribune May 7 1963)

    While the Daytona Beach Morning Journal in August 1955 wrote that he was then 102 years old making him the oldest person to hold a Social Security Card in that region, if that is true then he was almost 110, 8 years later when he passed away.

  • 2 Leon Benkovitz // Jul 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Rabbi Benkovitz was my zaide. He lived on the first floor of our two-family house in Chelsea with my grandmother. My parents, brother and I lived upstairs. I still remember walking to Shul with him on Shabbos and going downstairs to learn Gemara with him.

  • 3 YD Miller // Jul 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm


    How old was your Zaide when he passed away?

  • 4 Leon Benkovitz // Aug 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm


  • 5 Farshlufen // Aug 20, 2010 at 11:34 am

    In the American Jewish yearbook of 1900 he is listed as the rav of cong. Adas Israel, union st. Fall River Mass.

  • 6 Leon Benkovitz // Aug 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    This is a mistake; my Zaide arrived in America in the early 1920’s. As far as I know, he was the Rav of Zemach Zedek (on Everett Avenue); Sha’arei Tzion (on Orange Street); and the Third Street Shul.

  • 7 Jacqueline Friedberg // Jun 15, 2011 at 7:05 pm To: Bostonrebbe
    Date: Thu, Jun 9, 2011 6:54 pm

    Thank you in advance..maybe you can please help to find out more information about Pincus Smith/ Kusnetz..I was told his studen’t name was Kwartin…

    Attached is a picture of him and his student..
    Thank you

    – Jacqueline Friedberg
    you for your time in advance..

    If it is possible can you give me any information.. re: my great grandfather Pincus Smith (Kusnetz).Origionally from Bobruisk in 1912, became a scribe and Sofer in Boston, until1936. .Please read below…I was on line and found a site about Chassidic ‘s and Boston.. Pincus (Kusnetz)–changed to Smith lived at 91 and 95 Everett Avenue between the yrs 1918-1935

    —–Original Message—–
    Please, can you help me identify my Great Grandfather and his Town of Origin..It’s possible that through his Shukl/ Temple affiliation I can figure out where is Belarus/Bobruisk , he and his family came from…Enclosed are pictures of headstones, names and town of decent.
    thank you
    Subject: Fwd: Re: Pincus Smith

    —–Original Message—–
    Sent: Sun, Feb 20, 2011 11:11 pm
    Subject: Re: Pincus Smith

    Thank you, before hand.
    Dear Sir
    Enclosed is an attachment, obituary from The Chelsea Record, 1936. JCAM is an over-seer for Chevera Chai Odom. You should have information about him, as he is buried in grave #6, “New Right”, off of the Fuller Street entrance, right by Slotnick’s building.
    Please go through your records. I Would appreciate the help. I would also appreciate information about Congregation Zenith Zedak on Everett Avenue, in Chelsea. If possible to locate his Memorial Plaques, and any other information regarding him. He was married to Leah Endleman..Leah Smith
    Thank you.
    As expected Hebrew name is, Pinchas – Pinya
    My dear father, a simple honest man
    A scribe (of the Torah, Mezuzah, etc)
    Son of Avraham Yitzhak died 16 Av 5696
    May his soul be bound up…

    I thank you so much for your efforts.. I’ve only been to Boston once..We had a hard enough time finding the cemetery..I thank you again

    If you don’t have them already, here are the translations for the two tombstones:

    My dear mother, a modest woman,
    Chaya daughter of Yitzhak died 23 Shevat 5695
    May her soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

    My dear father, a simple honest man
    A scribe (of the Torah, Mezuzah, etc)
    Son of Avraham Yitzhak died 16 Av 5696
    May his soul be bound up…

    I hope to locate a Pincus Smith death notice or obituary for you in the newspaper microfilms at the Boston Public Library.

    Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.—-
    Subject: Obituary 8/4/1936..Pincus Smith

    ..just updating, corrections on Pincus smith. On Ellis Island, 9/2/1912 # 56 Pinchus Kusnetz, Bobrojoisk, Russia, listed as Cantor..When you read the manifest it is listed ad Pinchus Kusnitz, Cantor/pastor working in synogouge (with his family) headed to Simon Kusnetz(Kurnitz?) 324 Harrison Street, in Chelsea Mass. later to have change the last name to Smith..When he died his residence is listed as 279 Chestnut Street, Chelsea, Mass.His death certificate states he was in Chelsea for about 18 yrs. .. His obituary stated he was a sexton and cantor at Zeneth Zedek..
    One of these photo’s are of Cantor Pincus Smith (?) with a student of his. I was told possibly a soundex of Quatrim

    –thank you, again,
    -Jacqueline Friedberg

    Hi..I thank you for your time.

    I am searching for my Great Grandfather.
    His name was Pincus Smith.
    He was an Orthodox Jewish man and a Cantor and Scribe.
    that Lived at 91 and 95 Everett Avenue, in Chelsea, Everett Massachusetts, for 24 years.
    He is buried in Chevera Chai Odom, Cemetery in at the Fuller street were held at Torf Funeral home.
    His date of death is 8/4/1936.
    He came to Massachusetts circa 1912 and was associated with one of the orthodox Shules.
    If you have any information 1912-1936, regarding his name, your efforts would be appreciated
    I am hoping that there is some notice in one of the papers at that time. It might be in the local paper, or the papers written in Hebrew.. Again, all and any information would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Jacqueline Friedberg
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  • 8 Jacqueline Friedberg // Sep 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Dear Mr. Benkovitz,
    I found my G-Grandfather Obit. It is stated that his funneral was officiated over by R.Hochman and Israelite. My GG lived on Everet Avenue for almost 18 years…in Chelsea..I wonder if you would have any information regarding the Shul Temple Zemech Zedek. I would love to hear your memories of your grandfather.and the Temple….He might have known my G-G and the whole family.. thank you..I can be contacted at

  • 9 Morton Covitz // Sep 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    To Leon Benkovitz,

    My father, Joseph Covitz, was the last President of the Litvacher Shul on Everett Avenue in Chelsea. Your Zadeh was the Rov. After he died, his son (Your father?) remained active in the Shul and was very close to my father. You refer to the Shul as “Zemach Tzedek”. My dim recollection was that it also was known as “Anshe Lubovitz” Am I correct?
    Both of my older brothers were Bar Mitzvad there. I would love to hear from you. I now live in New Jersey (Semi retired Lawyer)

  • 10 Leon Benkovitz // Jul 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Mr. Covitz:

    Sorry about the four-year delay in responding to your request. My father Aaron Benkovitz took over after my zaide Rabbi Icik Benkovitz passed away.

    The full name of the shul was Zemach Zedek Anshe Lubavitz, and yes, I do remember your father. He and my dad were very close.

    Leon (

  • 11 jay freedman // Oct 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    i have great memories of going there as a child in the 1960s. my great grandmother would sit in the woman’s area in the balcony and we would visit here. in my family we referred to it as the Lubavitz shul

  • 12 Mo Kennedy // Oct 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Mr Leon

    was your zaida a lubavicher chosid

    kind regards

  • 13 Leon Benkovitz // Sep 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    While my zaide davened from a Nusach Ari siddur, as did my father, my brother and I were brought up in a modern orthodox environment. We went to school at Maimonides (Brookline, Mass.). My zaide dressed in a long black coat with a top hat on Shabbat while my father dressed in a suit or sportsjacket. So the short answer is that my zaide was a Lubavitcher.

  • 14 m.kennedy // Sep 13, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for getting back to me

    did your zaida have any connection to the lubavitcher rebbes

    kind regards

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