The family chronicles
 Family photos
 The descendants of Joseph Shraga...

Group Title: The Rev. Benjamin Safer Collection: Dibobes Family
Title: The third volume in the history of the Dibobes, Witten, Falis, and Safer families
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00103125/00002
 Material Information
Title: The third volume in the history of the Dibobes, Witten, Falis, and Safer families
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Safer, Edwin
Donor: Edwin Safer ( endowment )
Publisher: Unpublished
Place of Publication: Jacksonville
Publication Date: 2004
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00103125
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Table of Contents
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    The family chronicles
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    Family photos
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    The descendants of Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza
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Full Text

The Safer, Witten, Falis, Family Crest represents the three branches of the family
descending from Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza Dibobes. In the upper left corner
a cup of wine signifies the joy of family and how close the seven families have
remained for over one hundred and thirty years. In the upper right corner is the
book that is Hebrew for the family name "Safer." In the lower left a quill
and ink well, in which our Patriarch Joseph Shraga used to write "Torah".
His sons David Ben-Zion and Benjamin were both considered "scribes." The lower
right corner are musical notes that represents our family's enjoyment of music.
The life of the Debobes Clan includes Joys of" Family", "Learning" and the "Arts".

The Families







In 1994 four of your cousins, Bruce and Stacey Goldring and Harriet and I made a trip to our
ancestral home, Lithuania. Although we had prearranged a meeting with a local Archivist, we were
not certain as to what information we would be able to retrieve. The trip was awe-inspiring and the
data we collected was phenomenal. We attained copies of birth records, marriages, and death
records of members of our immediate family and those of our extended family. This information is
recorded for your enjoyment.

We also received many surprises. First, we found the Family name was Debobes. Next, the
family's origin was a village in northern Lithuania called Birzai instead of Panevezys. Next, when
we tried to find the cemetery and the grave of our Great Grandfather Joseph Shraga we were shown
the site of the cemetery, however after World War II, the Russians converted it into a park with
only a stone marker designating it as the former Jewish Cemetery of Panevezys.

This is our second edition of the Debobes Family History (the first, being printed in 1995).
Since our first publication we discovered new information as a result of tireless hours spent on the
internet, at the Family History Center and with further information that has come to our attention.
Therefore, this edition will contain some of our original documentation plus a section devoted to
the records from Ellis Island and the date of entry of the family to the United States. We now have
the addresses where the family lived while in New York and some exciting photos n recently

I would again like to dedicate this second edition to our Matriarchs and Patriarchs,
David Ben-Zion and Sara Sheva, Benjamin and Freda Leah, Jacob and Ida, Ida and Max, Sara and
Morris, Harry and Fanny, Max Mendel and Ethel and Freidal. And a special dedication to our
ancestor Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza and the parents of Joseph Shraga, Benjamin and
Chaia(Sofer), and the first Debobes Joseph Faivish, who was born circa 1760.

Let me recognize my Investigative team of Bruce and Stacey Goldring who makes sure the data
is correct and to my wife Harriet who provides me the right word when I reach a senior moment.
Last a note to our future family who will read this when we are long gone that this was their
heritage and be thankful that our ancestors had the foresight to come to America.

Cousin Edwin Safer


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The historical background for the Safer, Wit ten, and Falis families has been traced to our ancestor
Joseph Shraga Debobes and his wife Hinda Reiza Sweetgal. Our original thought was that the family
home was Panevezys, Lithuania. However, we now have evidence that the family came from the village of
Birzai, a town in northern Lithuania about 15 miles from the Latvian border.

Earliest Roots

Birzai was founded in the fifteenth century and served as the capitol for the Prince Radzivill
(ed. note: the sister of Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Lee and she was married to a member of the
Radzivill family). In Birzai in 625, there was a Karaite settlement. The Karaites originated in a region
near the Black Sea called Khazar. In the ninth century, the King of Khazar and many of his subjects
converted to Judaism. After the destruction of the Khazar Empire, many of the people migrated
Northward into Russia and Lithuania. Although these people claimed that their ancestors converted to
Judaism, the main stream Jews of Lithuania known, as Litvaks did not recognize them as co-religionist.
And, for that matter, the Litvaks did not accept the Hasidic Jews either. The Karaite settlement of Birzai
ended in the eighteenth century and their synagogue was taken over by Rabbinical Jews. The Jews of
Birzai were considered Mitnagdim, a name describing the anti-Hasidic movement that swept through
Lithuania in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. There were some Hasidic Jews in Birzai who
maintained their own synagogue.

Birzai was a city of Torah and Learning. The town was also known for its great educators.
Apparently Joseph Shraga was identified as one of these great scholars as noted on his tombstone.
The number of Jews living in Birzai during the time our family lived there represented about 57%
of the general population.

A book titled Lithuanian Jewish Communities written by Nancy and Stuart Schoenburg
(Garland Publishing, 1991) is the source for information relating to the city of Birzai as well as other
cities where the family lived. Unfortunately, the book does not refer to the Debobes, Safer, Witten or
Falis family.

Before moving to Panevezys around 1877, Joseph Shraga and family lived in a village called
Popilan. The town is a short distance between Pushulat and Panevezys. It had a rail line and the
Jewish population totaled 1000 with several Cheddars and a small Yeshiva. Because of his strong
Jewish education, it is likely that Joseph Shraga took a job as a teacher at one of the "Cheddars" in the
village before moving his family to Panevezys. Tanta Sarah (Falis) was born in Popilan. (See Birth
Records with her registered birth name, Cipa).

Panevezys "Little Vilna"

In their book, the Schenburgs describe Panevezys as having the third largest Jewish Population
in Lithuania after Vilnius and Kaunus (Kovno). A Jewish cemetery was established in the western
suburb of the city. It was here that Joseph Shraga and his wife Hinda Reiza along with other
members of the Debobes family were buried. Unfortunately, during the Russian occupation of
Lithuania, after World War II, most symbols of Jewish life that were not destroyed by Nazi Germany,
were methodically removed by the Communist regime. In 1952, the Jewish Cemetery of Panevezys that had
existed for nearly 200 years was leveled and converted into a public park. The bodies of our ancestors
remain there in unmarked graves. There is only one marker in Russian and Hebrew that states, "Here once stood a
Jewish Cemetery" on this site. The pictures below are of the park and the lone stone marker, the only mark
of this being sacred ground.


Public Park of Panevezys, once the Jewish Cemetery Marker noting the sight of the Jewish Cemetery of Panevezys

The Tombstones were removed by the Russians to make marble steps and other decorations in the city.
The marker below shows site of the Jewish Ghetto of Panevezys.

These are two examples of the homes of Jewish families on Remagola Street, the wealthy section of Panevezys.

In 1897, two years before Jacob and his brother-in-law Max Witten came to America from South Africa,
the Jewish population of Panevezys was over 6000. This represented approximately 50% of the general
population. Most of the Jews lived in an area known as Slobodka. This was a section of town between
Hoifsher and Remagola Streets. Most of the homes were built of wood and the two houses above are
examples of the homes where our family lived at the turn of the century.

The Family Name Debobes

The name Debobes along with Safer, Witten and Falis appear on the Family Crest. The family has
always been intrigued as well as amused by the name Debobes. If, in fact, this was the original family
name, certain questions come to mind: Where did it come from? How did we end up with the family name of
Our initial thought was that Benjamin, who arrived in Jacksonville in 1902, adopted the Safer name, even
though in the Jacksonville City Directory of 1903 he was listed as Benjamin Saffer. Once we found the documents
from the Ellis Island Archives, this theory has been thrown out and part of the mystery has been solved.
However, this will be covered in a later section.

The name Debobes is quite unusual. It was definitely not a "common" name. In my research, I was
unable to find any other family with a surname of Debobes except for our own and of our extended family.
How the name came into being is any one's guess. The present senior family members had ample opportunity to
find the answer, along with answers to such questions: What was life like in Lithuania? How
did your parents make a living? Did you know your grandparents, etc.? Unfortunately, like most kids,
no one was interested. Everyone was an American and no one was interested in the past: at least until now.
We can only piece together fragments of the family history and hope we are close to being correct.
David Safer, son of Benjamin and Freda Leah, once said jokingly the name Debobes came
from the fact that the "kinda"(children) would go and visit their "Bubbie" thus the name Debobes. David used to
tell the story with a grin on his face; but he may have been closer to the truth than we thought. The Bubbie must
have been a wonderful Grandmother to be honored is such a way.


The Tsar's Edict

In 1795, after the annexation of the Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by Russia, the
Empress Catherine ordered all Jews of Russia and those in the provinces be assigned a surname.
Some Jews had already taken family names but many still retained the traditional use of the father's first
name as the "family name." Thus, your name may have been Itzhak ben Mayer or Chana bat Sholomo.
After the edict, you became Isaac Mayer and Chana Solomon. In the shetel, everyone knew who you were.
However, this was not adequate for the governing authorities who had the responsibility of taking the census,
collecting taxes and conscripting the young males into the Russian Army. For every edict published,
the Jew found a way to circumvent it. Some would take the name of a deceased relative or even a stranger to
avoid the severe decree.

Historical evidence indicated the naming of a family was the responsibility of the local official. The
official assigned you a name based on where you were born, your profession or what ever name he thought
was appropriate. Therefore, you may have become the Ligum family if you were born in the village of
Ligum, or Moscowitz if you were the son of a parent born in Moscow. Witz in Russia is the same as
Mac in Scotland or ben in Israel, meaning "son".

In the case of our own family name, we can only assume that it wasassigned under Catherine's Edict.
We know the name was Debobes since it appears on the tombstone of our Patriarch, Joseph Shraga.
However, as the tombstone reads "Joseph Shraga from the House of Debobes". Since we can assume we
were not a Royal Family of Lithuania (i.e. House of Windsor) we have no answer as to why "The House of
Debobes" was used unless the original Grandmother was a very prominent woman in the shetel of Birzai.


The middle name of our ancestor was Shraga. There is an interesting story relating to the origin of this
name. Our own Joseph Shraga was not the only Debobes to carry this name. There were at least two other
extended family members that shared this same name. In all likelihood, the two probably were cousins of
our own Joseph Shraga. One of the cousins was given the name Faivish.

The name Faivish or Faivel is Yiddish for Shraga. Shraga, in Aramaic (the spoken Hebrew of ancient
Israel) meaning Light. This is not the usual type of light but a" light of the future,", a blessing for a special
child. The name Faivel or Shraga was bestowed upon a male child whose father may have died before the birth
of the child or possibly the mother dying during childbirth. Quoting from a book called "A BOOK OF JEWISH
NAMES", the name Shraga (Faivel) was a prayer that "life be granted this orphaned child". The name is
referenced in Proverbs 20:27: "The Soul of Man is the Lamp of God".
The purpose of the name was not only to safeguard the child but to comfort him in his time
of bereavement. If a child was orphaned at birth, who would be the most qualified person to raise the boy, none
other than his Grandmother or in this case "Der Bubble".

We can only surmise that Joseph Shraga was named for a deceased relative, possibly his grandfather,
whose name was Joseph Faivish Debobes. Although the middle name Shraga (Faivel) was a common name
of the time, it may have been referenced to the quotation from Proverbs: "The soul of man is the Lamp of God'.
From the records we obtained from Lithuania, we were able to establish Joseph Shraga was the son of
Benjamin, the son of Joseph Debobes. We can calculate the original Joseph Faivish Debobes was born
circa 1765-1770, and died circa 1830. Benjamin, father of our ancestor, was born circa 1805 and died circa
1870. Further, our records indicate Joseph Shraga was born in 1839 and died in 1912.


From the Genealogical Records we obtained in Lithuania, the first Joseph Faivish Debobes had at least
4 sons: Itzhak (1801-1866), Benjamin (1803-1869, the father of our Joseph Shraga), Grish (1813-1868) and
Yankel (1819-1897). The Debobes Family Tree appears in the appendix along with other genealogical records.
We can assume the children of the first Joseph Faivish Debobes were born between 1803 and 1813 however,
those records were not available to us.

Benjamin, the father of our Joseph Shraga, was born in the village of Birzai around 1803. We have no
record to the identify of Benjamin's wife but from all the women in our family named Chaya (Ida),
there is a good chance Benjamin's wife was either Chaia or Chana. In all likelihood, her maiden name
was Sofer, or some derivative thereof. Benjamin and Chaya had at least four sons and a daughter.
The boys were named Yankel, Chaim, Moshe and Joseph Shraga and the daughter, Gilka.
We found genealogical records of the children of the brothers and sister and these records appear in the
Genealogy Charts in the appendix. We have also included records of the Sofer family from Birzai and
We estimate that Benjamin and Chaya were married around 1825, he dying circa 1869 at 66 years of age and
she died circa 1875 at the age of 70. Although we have no evidence but it is likely that Benjamin also was
given the title of "Shtayim" a writer of Torah, Tefillin and Mezzuzah.

As for the family name of Safer, we have no proof of why the family name was change once the children
came to America. It was however, not uncommon for families to use both the paternal as well as maternal
surnames in fact on some of the documents of the birth of his children Joseph Shraga was identified as
Debobes as well as Safer.


This is an early photograph of Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza. The portrait was taken in Panevezys
and brought to this country by their children when they left Europe.

Joseph Shraga was born in Birzai in 1839 and his wife Hinda Reiza Svetgal was born around 1841.
Joseph Shraga's parents were Benjamin and Chaya Debobes and the parents of Hinda Reiza were Faivel and
Vita Getel Svetgal. Vita is neither a Hebrew or Yiddish name but one derived from Latin meaning
"Life". The Yiddish name would have been Chaya or Chana. Vita Getel was a revered mother and
grandmother for which the following grandchildren were name. The Children of David Benzion: Freida Vita
(Freidal Safer) and Chaim Goodman Safer (Hyman Safer). Benjamin's children named for the grandmother
were Vita Bluma (Haimowitz), and Ida (Goldberg). Jacob named his daughter Faye (Silverman).
Sarah (Falis) named her son Harry in memory of Vita Getel. Brother Harry named a daughter Annie and Max
Mendel named his daughter Ida Getel.

Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza were married circa 1860 in Birzai. We have very little information on
the life of our ancestors however it is evident that Joseph Shraga attended the Yeshiva in Birzai and was
considered a very learned scholar in all aspects of the Jewish religion. On his tombstone he was recognized
as a "Writer of Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzah". This title is only bestowed on the most righteous person. In
addition to their seven children who came to America, the couple had at least one more son, Sholomo who
was born in 1861 and died in 1868. The following are the children who came to America, David BenZion
(1863-1927), Benjamin (1872-1959), Jacob (1876-1942), Chaya Reiza (Ida Witten, 1877-1954),
Sarah (Cipa, Falis 1879-1953), Harry (Chaim Girsh, 1881-1947), Max (Israel Mendel, 1883-1955).
Since David BenZion was born in 1863 and Benjamin in 1872 it is likely that Joseph and Hinda had other
children who may have died in early childhood. We have very little knowledge on the life of Joseph Shraga,
but great granddaughter Miriam (Safer) Rose said her mother Freidal told her that Joseph Shraga was a
wonderful person, full of song. During the Jewish holidays and especially on Simchas Torah he would sing
and even dance on the tables during the celebration. He lived a very rich and fulfilling life. He died at the age
of 73, March 6, 1912. The death certificate list the cause of death as cancer of the urinary bladder.

The above photo is believed a picture of Joseph Shraga taken around 1900 at the age of 61 years.

The picture was sent to Elias Pilton of Jacksonville. Mr. Pilton was a member of the recently founded
B'nai Israel Synagogue. Many members of the congregation were from Lithuania, and lived around
Panevezys. They either knew Joseph Shraga personally, or by reputation, as he was a renowned Jewish scholar.
They were interested in hiring him to be the religious leader for the Jacksonville Orthodox community.
As I remember the story, Joseph Shraga felt he was too old to make the venture and America, especially
Jacksonville, which was too goyishh". He recommended his son Benjamin for the position. The rest of the story is
the beginning or our history.
I heard a story that Joseph Shraga predicted the time of his death. Returning home, he told his wife
to prepare the Shabbat dinner for he knew he would die on the Sabbath. Unfortunately for the story, the date
of his death, March 6, 1912 fell on a Wednesday and not Friday. However, his piety was not a legend. The
following is a translation from the Tombstone of Joseph Shraga.
"A markerfor the soul of our Father, our Teacher,
Glorious crown of our head the dear and honored bessed days.
Vay, Vay, People Sigh, The Joy of our Holidays have ceased
Fruitfulness of Joseph Shraga who brings us honor
Making Joyful every Heart and sad soul
Holy feelings did He arouse in them
He made Great our Joy and Strong our Happiness
But in the place of our Father, He put
As Days of a Holiday is the Place of His Coming
Only to Honor God and not for himself
At then death of ourfather, our teacher
All these Blessings were sealed off and disappeared from our eyes
His hands and body labored in Holiness quickly in his labor, a holy labor
His day has come, He has passed on and is No More
God with gather His Soul into His Dwelling Place
He will remember for him his merits and righteous acts
To Resurrect Him with all the Deceased of His People
The Great Rabbinic Eagle so Well Known Fearing God in all Things
Our Teacher, Joseph Shraga ben Binyamin Shtayim*
Of the House ofDebobes
Deceased 17Adar, 5672** And of the age of 73 years at
The time of his Death May his Soul be bound up in the Bond of Eternal Life
* "Writer of Torah, Tefillin, and Mezzuzah" ** March 12, 1912

This photograph, taken in 1913, at the unveiling of the tombstone of Joseph Shraga is very interesting.
The first Hebrew letter of each line on the tombstone spelled out Joseph Shraga in Hebrew.
(See above photo). Present at the unveiling was Hinda Reiza and his eldest son David Ben Zion who
was living in Lithuania at the time of his death. Hinda Reiza died in 1915, after being hit by a horse drawn
sleigh as she was crossing the street.

The Debobes Children
David Ben-Zion

David Ben-Zion, the eldest son, followed in the footsteps of his father by dedicated his life to study of
Torah. He became a Hebrew teacher and at one time taught at the synagogue in Pushalot. The synagogue
building still stands but it no longer serves as a house of worship.

The Pushalot synagogue was built in the late 19th century. From the side view you can see the door and
the windows above it. This was the entrance for women and children who were required to sit in the balcony.
Behind the synagogue was the Mikva.

David Ben-Zion married Sara Sheva Muller, daughter of Mendel Muller. The wedding was in Panevezys,
August 10, 1888. The couple had eight children however, three died at an early age. The eldest Jonah Yudel
was born in 1889 and died March 9, 1902. Their second child was Freida Vita was born April 18, 1891.
Freida left Lithuania in 1909 to join the rest of the family who now resided in Jacksonville. In 1912, she
married her Uncle Max Mendel who had recently been widowed. Louis, whose Hebrew name was
Shimcha Leib, was born March 30, 1893. He came to America in 1908 joined his relatives in Jacksonville
and lived with them until his marriage.

The next three children Chana Rivka (b. Jan 25, 1896), Dora (Feiga Dvoria, b. Dec. 5, 1901) and
Hyman Goodman (b. June 11, 1904) lived with their parents and all came with them to Cuba. After
the death of his mother in 1915, David-Ben Zion and the family moved to Odessa in the Ukraine.
They remained in Odessa until around 1923 when the family was able to immigrate to Havana Cuba.
The United States had put up restrictions on immigration especially from Eastern Europe.

Through the efforts of his brother Max Mendel and his daughter Freidal, (Freidal married her
Uncle Max Mendel) Ben Zion with Sheva and their son Hyman finally reached Jacksonville in 1925.
They moved in with Mendel and Freidal. David-Ben Zion passed away July 13, 1927. While in Lithuania,
the couple had two other children Mindel (Mindy) born in 1906 and Israel Zalman born June 26, 1910.
Due to an influenza epidemic, Mindy died on December 31, 1910 and Israel Zalman passed away two days
later on January 2, 1911. As for the remaining children, Freldal married her uncle, Max Mendel on
March 3, 1912; Louis married Marsha Kwart in 1914; Chana married Gershon "Max" Talpalar in Havana Cuba,
August 24, 1924. Max and Chana remained in Cuba and finally joined the rest of the family in Jacksonville in
the late "1940's". Dora married Harry Grossman in a civil ceremony in Havana and than in a religious
ceremony in Jacksonville on May 3, 1926. Hyman married Bessie Levin of Jacksonville on March 1, 1931.
After the death of David Ben Zion, Sara Sheva continued to live with Mendel and Freidal until her death on
October 22, 1944.


The above photos of Benjamin and Freda Leah Jacksonville circa 1905

Benjamin, the second son born to Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza, was also a student of Torah. After
completing, his Yeshiva studies, Benjamin was certified as a Shochet, Mohl and writer of Torah, Tefillin
and Mezuzah. Among his talents, Benjamin was an accomplished musician learning both the violin and flute.
During his teenage years, Benjamin served in the military. He served as "Keppel Meister" (Band Director)
of the Military Band in his district. On October 8, 1896, Benjamin married Freda Leah Ziff
Freda Leah was the daughter of Itzak Ziff and Pesa Feiga Yoffe of Panevezys. Itzak was a "Lawyer" for the
Jewish community of Panevzys.

The Ziff family was very prominent in Lithuania. They were listed as Rabbis, Industrialists, Food
Wholesalers, etc. The family had relatives in Kelme, Kaunus, as well as Panevezys. (A genealogical chart
of the Ziv family appears in the appendix.)

In 1897, Benjamin and Freda Leah had their first child, Vita Bluma. Bluma was named in memory of her
paternal great grandmother Vita Getel Svetgal. The following year Benjamin accepted a position in the
village of Pokroi located about 20 miles north of Panevezys. He served as butcher, mohl and chazzan for
the local synagogue. The synagogue of Pokroi, like that in Pushalot, has long been in disuse.However,
both buildings still stand today. In fact, the building that housed the synagogue of Pokroi is one of the last
"Wooden Synagogues" of Eastern Europe. The Lithuanian government has named the Pokroi synagogue
as a National Historical Site, thus guaranteeing its future existence.

The above pictures are of one of the houses in which Benjamin and Freda Leah may have lived in Prokroi
and the other is the Synagogue as it stands today.

The photos seen above are of the Prokroi Synagogue as it existed in the early days. The picture to the right is of the Holy Ark
with its adornments. The pictures below are of paintings that were on the walls of the Synagogue

Freda Leah was pregnant with her second child when she and Benjamin moved to Pokroi. Jonah Avigdor
(Jacob Victor) was born in December, 1898. He was named in memory of his maternal Great Grandfather
Jonah Avigdor Yaffe. In October, 1900, Yankel Mayer (Max J.) was born. Apparently the house was
too small for the growing family so Bluma was sent to live with her Grandparents Chaim Itzak and
Pesa Feiga Ziv in Panevezys. In early 1902 Benjamin was offered a position as Spiritual Leader of the
B'nai Israel Congregation of Jacksonville Florida.

Before his passing in April of 1996, I had an opportunity to interview Jacob V. of his recollections of his
first four years in Lithuania. Unfortunately, he did not remember anything about his relatives in Panevezys.
However, his one recollection was the time his father took him by the hand to a river where a group of old
men were standing and throwing things into the water. He said it was very cold and some man wrapped
a coat around him. What was the great event Jacob V. had witnessed and where was this river?

As we were driving through the countryside between Panevezys and Pokroi, I searched for this elusive river
but saw nothing. We arrived in Pokroi and proceeded down a dirt street lined with small houses which were
built in the 19th century. The residents still have to draw their water from a well located on one of the lots.
As we approached the bottom of the street, I shouted to the others, "Oh no! There's J.V.'s river. Sure
Enough, at the bottom of the hill and adjacent to the synagogue, was a stream no more that three to four feet
wide and possibly six to eight inches deep. What J.V. remembered was the Tashlich ceremony which
takes place on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah and to a lad of three years old this stream was surely the
largest river he had ever seen.

Freda Leah was now pregnant with her fourth child when Benjamin left in June 1902 for America.
In December of that year Chaim Itzak (Edward Herman better known as Eddie) was born. Freda Leah
had moved back to Panevezys to await the birth of Eddie. He was named for Freda Leah's father,
Itzak Ziv, who had passed away earlier that year. Eddie was born on December 25 and his bris was January 1.
Eddie felt he should have been a New Years Baby so he adapted January 1 as his legal birthday. Freda Leah
and the four children left Panevezys traveling across Europe to Liverpool where they boarded the Etruia
for their journey to America. They arrived in New York on July 11, 1903 and was met at the dock by her
brother-in-law Max Witten. J.V. recalls the trip was horrible. His mother was sea sick through the entire
voyage. Being in steerage they shared bunk beds and J. V. said he was constantly rolling out of the bed
onto the floor.

Jacob, Harry, Max Mendel

Shortly after the marriage of brother Benjamin to Freda Leah Ziv, the three younger brothers decided
Lithuania offered very little to them except conscription into the Tsar's Army. The three, Jacob age 20,
Harry 15 years old and Max Mendel 13 years old, along with their brother-in-law Max Witten left for
South Africa. Members of their paternal grand mother's family, the Svetgal, had relocated to Johannesburg.
The exact date of their travel is not known, but it can be assumed that it occurred between 1896 and 1898.
Apparently, they were able to get some work in South Africa. We know that Jacob worked as a cutter in a
clothing factory, and Max Witten was peddling milk. It is certain that Harry was learning how to be a tailor
and young Max Mendel ended up waiting on tables in a restaurant, washing dishes and even cooking. Life in
South Africa was harsh but they did avoid conscription in the Russian Army and I am sure they would send
some of their wages to their parents in Lithuania.

Cousin Miriam Rose (daughter of Max Mendel) remembers stories her father told about his life in
Johannesburg. He said that the boys resided with their Svetgal relatives and he referred to his Aunt as
"MehMah". Unfortunately, he never revealed the actual name of the Aunt. Curious about the title
"Mehmah" I asked Rabbi Gary Perres, former Rabbi of Beth Shalom Congregation in Jacksonville as to
its meaning. He explained that in German and Yiddish, an aunt was called "Tante" but in Russia, an aunt
was called Mehmah and since Russian was the official language of Lithuania it is easy to see how the term
would have been used. Since the publication of our first book on the family new information has been found
about the family's arrival to the United States. These documents became available through the Ellis Island
Foundation and copies of these entries and the manifests are included in this new addition.

Jacob and Max Witten were the first to leave South Africa. This fact is certain because they arrived in
New York on December 31, 1899 aboard the SS St. Louis sailingfrom Southampton, England. They
were met at Ellis Island by a gentleman designated as "Uncle" Ber Marov. Their first address in New York
was 163 Forsyth St. The ship's manifest listed their place of origin was Transvall ( Johannesburg, South Africa).
Jacob declared his occupation as a painter and he had in his possession $112.00 in cash. Max Witten
stated he was a milk dealer and he carried a bank draft for $237.00. In today's funds, this would equal
about 6 month wages. Harry and Max Mendel remained in South Africa until 1905 and 1906 respectively.
Harry along with Max and Ida Witten and Sarah came to Jacksonville soon after his arrival. Max Mendel,
arriving in 1906, came directly to Jacksonville.

Ida & Sarah

Ida was the first daughter to be born to Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza. She was named in memory
of her grandmother Chanah Sofer Debobes. Although we have no documentation as to the date of her birth,
it can be assumed she was born in 1877 or 1878. The second daughter was Sarah whose Hebrew name
Cipa. She was born in Panevezys on April 11, 1879. Like the other children, we have little information
about the early years of the sisters in Lithuania. We have recently found evidence that Max Witten may
have lived in Pushalot which is about 18 miles north east of Panevezys. With a very active "Matchmaker"
Max and Ida were wed. The exact date of the marriage is uncertain probably in 1897 with Ida being 20 years
old and Max, 21. Shortly after their marriage, Max left for South Africa along with his brother-in-laws, Jacob,
Harry and Mendel. Ida was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in 1898. Cousin Joe Witten describes his
father Max as a shrewd businessman. He said he would buy milk from the "Local Arabs" and then sell it in the
white neighborhoods of Johannesburg. Apparently, he was quite successful in this venture because of the
considerable amount of money he had with him on his arrival in New York.

In 1900, Ida Sarah left for America on the SS Palatia out of Hamburg Germany. Ida's infant daughter
must have died before their departure because the child was not included on the ship's manifest. Joe Witten
remembers his mother saying the child died of Summer Cholera Complaint, a dysentery of infants. The
sisters arrived in New York on July 20, 1900. Joe Witten said his father, who had arrived in December,1899,
worked in a cigar factory as a "roller". Max was too much a business man to be stuck with such a mundane job.
He became fascinated with the abounding amount of "Soda Shops" he saw in New York. He saw each soda shop
was adorned with marble counters and he remembered that marble was plentiful in South Africa. So with his
monetary fortune in hand, he returned to South Africa to buy marble which he would then ship back to
New York and become the supplier of Marble tops to the new soda shops in the city. In fact when he returned
to New York on December 30, 1900, he was listed on the ship's manifest as a dealer in marble.
He arrived in relatively good shape after the long voyage but not so for the marble. The rocks did not take
the trip too well and all that remained was some marble dust. However Max insured his precious cargo
before sailing but according to his son the Insurance Company failed to pay him for the loss.

Max returned to New York a little poorer but not discouraged as we will see when he and his family, wife
Ida and sons Louis and Ike reached Jacksonville in 1906. Jacob met Ida Bloom and were married in
New York, December 15, 1903. Their daughter Celia was born in 1904 and their son Moe was born in May 1908.
Moe was just 6 weeks old when Jacob and Ida too decided to join the rest of the family in Jacksonville. It would
not be until 1925 before the eldest brother David Ben-Zion would move to Jacksonville and at last, the Debobes
family was together again.

Coming to America

Since our first publication, of the Family Chronicle we have been fortunate to find all the documents of the

family and the date of each arrival in the New York. The search for these documents was most difficult due

to the fact that only one of them entered the country using the family name of Dibobes. This was Louis,

the son of David Ben-Zion. Freidal's name listed on the ship's manifest was Dubobes. On the following

pages you will see the documents along with the spelling of their names in the order of their arrival.

I intended to include a copy of the ship and the ship's manifest, but the printing was not legible. If you are

interested in seeing these additional documents for your particular relative, I would suggest you log on to

EllisIsland.com and pull up the individual's record.

l`P~lSS1=1S"1 FaML11=1011MMINQ1


TrZ,r 1
31 Dec 1899
St~. Louis
England, UK

Fl, oW Pdrci


Mrr,,a SthOr
Sh~pO T~v
Peao atun


St. Lows
England, U..

-wittenq Nax

30 Dec 1900
New York

England, UK

Document for the Second Voyage of Max Witten in 1900

*- C r. .*..d.~

imuu aI~pls .m m IMl ~N PITRXEE

sla, of'.

The first to arrive in America was Jacob Safer and Max Witten on December 31, 1899. Jacob's last
name was recorded as Soffer and Max Witten was listed as Marks Welton but since they followed each
other on the manifest and they were greeted by the same individual, it is certain to have been Max Witten.
The two left from South Africa where they had resided with their Svetgal relatives. Upon reaching
England, they boarded the "SS St. Louis" for their voyage to New York.. Jacob's age was listed as 22 and
Max Witten, 23, If this was correct we can assume Jacob was born in 1876 orl877 and Max in 1875 or

The ship's manifest includes a lot of information that may be fact or fiction depending on who gave the
information and how it was written down. Jacob listed his profession as a painter
and Max as a milk dealer salesman. According to Joe Witten, Max's youngest son, his father bought milk
from the "local Arabs" and sold milk to the white people of Johannesburg. As for Jacob being a
professional painter, this is questionable. When Jacob first arrived in South Africa he worked in the
garment industry.

Max Witten returned to South Africa sometime during 1900 because another record was found that he
again arrived in New York on December 30, 1900.(Read the story of Max Witten's adventure in the Marble

On the ship's manifest, Jacob did not use the family name Dibobes or anything that resembled it.
Instead, he was listed as Jacob Soffer. So sometime after leaving Panevezys and before arriving in New
York he decided to use Soffer as the family name. The next to arrive were Ida and Sarah and even though
they attempted to use the Dibobes family name, you can see how the ship's purser had them listed.
However when the younger brothers Harry and Max Mendel arrived in New York, they traveled as Soffer
and Saffer respectively.

Ida Witten

(Note the spelling of Dibobes)

me Akobes, Chine
.._.................. ................ ARk besi .... h~.. e ..... ...................
'---- ... .Russian............
Sof Residence: Soroky
feofAmva 20 Jul 1900
r on Arrival. 20y
o..{..st.. : ............................ s.....
under F
rtal Status: S
p ofTrsve Palatia
' of Departure Hamburg, GermanY

Name.. Akobes. Dwore
*-_ .... .."---- --- -1... .s a.. ................ .............. . .
senicit--- Russian
Place ofResi ce Sor ...... .....................
a..... ...................... i. ............. ... ..............
aeofoAn...a 20 3ul 100
Age on Anival y
Gender F
Marital Status S
.--. ..... .......... ..... ........... ....a... .- . ........ ..
..D^ ^ ......-.....5amer .n....

Pace of Residence: PETROCS
Date ofArrival: 19 Apr 1902 ___
Age on Arrival. 24Y
Gender M
Marital Status: S
Ship of Travel Cassel

Morris Falis

Sarah Falis

It is 1900, and some major events are about to happen in the family. Max Witten fell in love with
America. According to a story related by his son Joe, Max was fascinated by the amount of soda shops and
ice cream parlors he found. Even more amazing, each of the shops used marble counters and marble
tables. Max knew South Africa had teeming amounts of marble which could be purchased at a very
reasonable rate. (Don't forget Max arrived in New York with an enormous amount of money, a bank draft
for $237.00). He thought he could return to South Africa, buy up the marble, place it on the ship and on
returning to New York he would corner the market for marble selling it to the soda shops and ice cream
parlors. He returned to New York on December 30, 1900 on the SS New York out of Southampton, UK.
The ship's manifest declared he was a marble dealer and that he could read and write English. According
to his son Joe, he never did learn to read or write English.

Max was greeted at Ellis Island by his wife Ida,whose name on the manifest was listed as Harece. By
now the family had relocated to 195 2nd St., New York. The story does not have a successful conclusion.
It seems that the ship's crossing of the Atlantic must have been very rough because when they began to
offload the cargo it appeared the marble did not survive the journey and all that was left was marble dust.
Don't fret, Max was not discouraged and as we see he will find his niche once he arrives in Jacksonville.

On July 20, 1900, the Dibobes sisters Ida and Sarah arrived in New York on the SS Palatia out of
Hamburg, Germany. Finding their records from Ellis Island was like a "Cold Case File" story. Although
Ida was already married to Max Witten, she and Sarah traveled under their maiden name of Dibobes.
However the German Purser on board the ship probably did not speak either Yiddish or Russian and could
not spell Dibobes or Chaia Reisa or Sarah, so they are listed as Chine Akobes and sister Dwore Akobes
traveling with the worldly sum of $12.00(between the two of them.). They lied to the authorities and said
they were both single (Sarah was single, but Ida was married). They even lied about their age, Ida was
born in 1877 and would have been 23, she claimed to be 20 and Sarah who was born in 1879 (21 years old)
claimed to be 17. Themanifest list they were met by a stepfather"(which they did not have) Elke Lurie
who lived at 90 Parker Street. They also said they would be living in Boston. Oh well, they got here, and
as a result, the Witten and Falis children can be thankful. As a side note, both sisters each had 4 boys.

On April 19, 1902 Mathias Falis, later to become Morris Falis arrived in New York aboard the SS
Cassel out of Bremen, Germany. The manifest stated he was 24 years old (born 1876) and was from
Petrocs, Hungary or Slovakia. The records list both. Morris somehow made it to Jacksonville, met Sarah
and they were married at the Finkelstein's boarding house May 13, 1906.

Benjamin Safer
(Name and place of origin incorrect)
(However we know this to be
the correct document)

Dobos, Jeko
icky Galicy
,ce of Residece. Predu iawies
eofAmiva: June 11, 1902
9on Anivat 30y
nder M
jial Status. M
p of Trave. Bremen

Freda Leah Safer
(Used the Family name Dibobes)

Name.............. Dibabes, Freide
a o: f......... ..........Russia, Hebrew
Pl.ac of Residence: Li ban
..edr F -.-..... ...l-J. . ....
Date ofAriva t: 11 Jul 1903
Age on Arrvat 26
Gender. F
Mari Sta tus. M
Ship of Tra ve Etruria .
.......^ ....... iE e .

Benjamin was the next to arrive at Ellis Island. Unlike his brother Jacob and brother-in-law Max,
he was already employed by the Orthodox Congregation B'nai Israel of Jacksonville, Florida.
Locating the Ellis Island document was the hardest of the fourteen documents found. Nothing about
the information was correct.

After searching for every possible name I could think of, I felt we would never locate the information
about Benjamin. Fortunately I had his original Naturalization paper so I sent a copy of it to INS and
after a year of waiting, I received a copy of Benjamin's application for citizenship. On the application
it listed he arrived in New York June 11, 1902 on the SS Bremen out of Bremen, Germany.
The next step was to search the ship's manifest and locate one Benjamin Dibobes or Saffer or whatever
name he may have used. Unfortunately, there was no Benjamin Dibobes, or Benjamin Soffer or anyone with a
similar name on the manifest. Knowing the name of the ship and the date of arrival, Cousin Bruce Goldring
and I looked through the 1300 names listed. The only one we could identify as Benjamin is seen above. Now
some explanation. Dobos was probably Dibobes; the first name Jeko is unexplainable;
the Ethnicity Galicy was listed because several people listed above his name came from Galicia and
the purser probably didn't want to write Lithuania or Russia but merely put a ditto marker by his name. The
next, the place of residence was Preduiawies which is close to Panevezys. However, his age was correct 30,
and that he was married. The mainifest listed him as a laborer with $11.00 in cash. The document did not list
anyone meeting him but he listed his residence was 843 Gurleck St. He also said he was going to Philadelphia.

Since Benjamin was not expected in Jacksonville until August to prepare for the High Holidays,

he decided to spend the summer in New York with his brother and sisters. He also figured he

could earn some extra money by going to the Catskills as a "Shochet" so he spent the summer in the mountains

of New York state. As the summer ended, Benjamin boarded the train for Jacksonville where he was greeted as

the new spiritual leader of the Orthodox Congregation. His duties would include serving as mohl, shochet,

open a Kosher Market for the growing Jewish population as well as conduct services and teach at the cheddar.

His son David said his father's salary was $35.00 a week.

Freda Leah, and his three children did not travel with him since she was pregnant with her fourth

child who would not be born until December. After leaving Pokroi Freda Leah and the children

moved back to Panevezys to live with her mother Pesa Feiga Zhiv.

The Four Children of Benjamin and Freda Leah

Born in Lithuania

Bluma (Safer) Haimowitz Dr. Jacob V. Safer

rOibab, Vittee
RussAa, Hebrew
11 Jul 1903
Liveipooql-Eflgqrnd, UK

11 ul1903
LiVerpqqIjnjj -nd--K


MDws. of AM

Pw a -O.P.T-

DibawsQ Jamie
Russia, Hebrew

L~v!pab England, UK

Dibabes, Chaim
11 Jul 1403

Max J. (Makey) Safer Edward Herman(Eddie)Safer

Pbra li~ic




Benjamin, the Religious leader of the Jacksonville Congregation, wanted his wife and children to join
him. Freda Leah had moved in with her recently widowed mother to await the birth of her fourth child.
Her father, Chaim Itzhak Zhiv had passed away the previous year. Chaim Itzhak was recognized as a
"Jewish Attorney" for the Panevezys community. Under the Russian Tsar, Jews were limited to the
professions they could enter. However, certain individuals were given titles
of legal counselors for their community and were allowed to handle certain legal matters including,
divorces and arbitration on the sale of personal property. On December 25, 1902 Herman Edward better
known as Eddie was born. In later years he decided he was more comfortable being a New Years baby
rather than another "Jewish Messiah." His mother and siblings waited until he was 6 months old before
they would sail for America.

When I started gathering information about the family history and what was life like in Lithuania the
only relative still alive who was born in Lithuania was Dr. J.V.(Jacob V.). I sat with J.V. for hours
questioning him on what he remembered about his early years. Unfortunately, he could not recall much but
the one thing that he could remember was the Trans Atlantic crossing to New York.
The interview went something like this.
Q. Where did you sailfrom?
A. Liverpool
Q. Do you remember the name of the ship?
A. The Liverpool
Q. Wasn't that the name of the port you left from?
A. Yes, but it was also the name of the ship.
Q. How was the voyage?
A. Terrible, we were in steerage, we all shared one cabin with bunk beds. It was so rough
that I constantly rolled out of the bed and ended on the floor. My Mother (Freda Leah)
was seasick the entire trip and my sister Bluma (who was 6 years old at the time) took
care of all of us.

Not much to go on but it was a start. The group did leave from Liverpool. (see documents above),
however the ship's name was the SS Etruria not The Liverpool. But how could a boy of 4 years
remember a name like Etruria. Freda Leah used the family name of Dibobes, misspelled on the manifest
but close enough. It was interesting when we would ask Grandma Freda Leah what the family name was in
the "Old Country", she would say Dibobes and everyone would laugh.

The five arrived in New York, July 11, 1903 and was met at Ellis Island by brother-in-law Max
Witten. The manifest indicates that the five had a total of $25.00 probably in U.S. currency.
I would suspect that the Russian Ruble had very little value in the U.S. It is interesting to note the spelling
of the children's name. Bluma was identified as Viltee and a male child. Actually, her Hebrew name was
Vita Bluma, so Viltee would be close. J. V. was named at birth Jonah Avigdor so on the manifest he
became Jamie. (When he changed his name to Jacob is anyone's guess since his brother Makey was
actually named Yankel Mayer). Makey was listed as Zankel and Eddie whose Hebrew name was Chaim
Itzhak was identified as Chaim. After a few days, in New York, the family boarded the train for
Jacksonville and was greeted by Benjamin.

The Final Four Arrives at Ellis Island

Harry Safer Max Mendel Safer

Name. Suffer HarrY
EThnicity: .........E ng Sh ............ ... . ... ...... ........................ .
Place of Residence: London
Date of Ariva 5 Feb 1905
Ageon.....Arrival........24y ........
Gender M
MaBtal Status. S
Shipof Travel. St. Paul ..
Po of Departure. Southampton,
...... ..... .... E. ngl and .U .K. .............

Name Saffer Max
i -.i ... ................................. a.. n.-r ,. # ..X ........... ...........
Ethnicity: Russian Hebrew
------ .................. ............................. ... .e... o.. ......r. --. .........
Place of Residence: Cape Town, Africa
Dage aof) Ar ..ival 5 May.. 1906. ..
Gender: M
Maril Stal Status: S
s .p om T .... .... .. . Philadelpha ..... ..
Po of Departure. Southampton,
.... England, U..K..........................

m _____Dibobes, Schirche
S........._ .... ........................m...e
Ethnicity Russian Hebrew
Place ofResidence. Ponewesh Kowno Russia
------- .. --------- ------ --- ---- -----............... ---.o-n.. --w .h.. .... ..... w ..0.. ... _...... ........
. ..................... ...............
Date ofAmri: 16 Jul 1908
Age on Arrival 156m
Gender: M
Maital Status: S
Ship of Travel Estonia
Pore of Departure.. L.sbon, Portugal

Simcha Leib Dibobes(Louis Safer)

Name Dubobes Freide
. ...................<.....F .e .de... .......
Ethnicity Russia
. ............... ............................. a ......................... .. .......-- .......
Pace ofResdence: ..............Ponewesh, Kowno
Date ofArrival: 19 Jun 1909
Age on Arrival 17
Gender: F
Marital Status S
Ship of Travel: Lituania
Port of Departure: Libau, Posen, Prussia,
_..._ ...e .............................

Freide Dibobes


By 1905, only four remaining members of the family were still to come to America. Only David
Ben-Zion, his wife Sara Sheva, daughters Chana, Dora, and son Hyman would remain in Europe until 1923
when they finally reached Havana, Cuba.

Benjamin and Freda Leah received a New Years gift of twin boys in January 1905 with the birth of
Abba and Israel. Jacob married Ida Bloom in New York and their daughter Celia was born in 1904. Their
son Moe was born in 1908 and shortly after his birth the four relocated to Jacksonville. Ida and Max
Witten with two of their sons Louis and Ike, Sarah and Harry arrived in Jacksonville in 1905

In February of 1905, brother Harry arrived in New York. Harry was a dapper individual; one may say
he was described as a "non-conformist". He had remained in South Africa along with his younger brother
Max Mendel. However, by 1905 he was 21 and he felt it was time for him to join his brothers and sisters in
America. On his entry documents he used the name Harry Soffer( Soffer was the name used by Jacob
when he first come in 1899). He claimed his occupation was a "dealer" and he had currency totaling
$10.00. He also claimed he was English, not Russian or Hebrew as all the others had done. He traveled
on the SS St. Paul out of Southampton, arriving in New York on February 5, 1905. He was greeted at Ellis
Island by his brother Jacob and brother-in-law Max Witten. At the time, the family declared their New
York residence to be 740 E. 5th St. In all likelihood, Harry came to Jacksonville along with Ida, Max and
Sarah. In the Jacksonville City Directory of 1906, he was listed as a clerk at Finkelstein's store and he was
residing with his brother Benjamin, Freda Leah a niece and six nephews. (David was born in January of

In 1906, Max Mendel arrived in New York and like the others, he was greeted by his brother Jacob. He
was now 22 years old and he described his occupation as a grocer. He claimed his residence was
Capetown, South Africa and he too entered the country with a tidy sum of $10.00 US currency. Mendel
spent only a short time in New York because the 1906 Jacksonville City Directory listed Max Saffer,
residing at 315 Bridge Street(now Broad Street) and his occupation was a clerk at Finkelstein's store.

The last two to arrive at Ellis Island were the eldest children of David Ben-Zion. Louis was the first to
leave and he was the first to use the family name correctly "Dibobes". He arrived on the
SS Estonia leaving out of Lisbon, Portugal on July 15, 1908. He was 15 years 6 months. He also claimed
to be a "schoolboy." Like all the rest, his Uncle Jacob was at Ellis Island to greet him. Jacob was now
spelling his name Saffer instead of Soffer. Jacob and Ida's second child Moe was born in May, 1908 and at
the time they were now living in Harlem at 617 E. 135th Street. It was shortly after Moe's birth that Jacob,
his family and nephew Louis relocated to Jacksonville. In the meantime Sarah met Morris Falis and they
were married on May 13, 1906 and at all places, Finkelstein's Boarding House on West Adams Street.

The last member of the family to arrive was the eldest child of David-Ben Zion, Freda. She arrived June
19, 1909 on the SS Lithuania out of Posen, Prussia. She listed her occupation as a tailoress (seamtress)
and guess who met the ship, none other that her Uncle Jacob who traveled from Jacksonville to meet her.
Jacob's address in Jacksonville was 705 W. Adams Street. This was the site of the first Safer's Kosher
Market and Delicatessen. Jacob ran the delicatessen and Benjamin the market.

David Ben-Zion and his family remained in Europe. He is pictured along with his mother at the
unveiling of his father's tombstone (seen on page 11 } Hinda Reiza died in 1916. The story was that a
sleigh ran her down. It must have been shortly after this that Ben-Zion and his family left Lithuania and
moved to Odessa in the Ukraine. This was at the height of World War I and immigration to the United
States was closed. They finally reached Havana in 1923. It would take another two years before David
Ben Zion with his wife and son Hy would reach Jacksonville. Finally, the family was together again.
Chana married Max Talpalar on August 24, 1924. They remained in Havana and finally arrived in
Jacksonville in the late 1940's.

Wanted Orthodox Rabbi
Congregation B'nai Israel


Corner of Duval and Jefferson Streets, Built 1908

At the beginning of the 20th century, the influx of Eastern European Jews to the United States increased
dramatically. The earliest recorded history of Jews in Jacksonville was shortly before the Civil War. The
Jews coming to Jacksonville during this period came mostly from Western Europe and primarily from
Germany and Austria. The first Jewish House of Worship in Jacksonville was actually Orthodox but as
Reformism swept through Western Europe, the Jews of Jacksonville decided to change the direction of
their worship and joined the Reform movement. The few Orthodox Jews of Jacksonville were left without
a synagogue or a spiritual leader.

In the late 1880 and 90's the pogroms of Eastern Europe were increasing and the Jews throughout the
area made an effort to leave so they could practice their religion as they were taught by their elders. By
1901, the Orthodox Jewish population of Jacksonville was growing and they were large enough to consider
hiring a Rabbi, Shochet and Hebrew teacher for their children. They also decided to form a congregation to
be known as Congregation B'nai Israel. Now it was time to find a leader who would fill all their spiritual
needs. Many of the congregants came from Lithuania, from the villages of Pushalot, Linkova, Posvel, and
Panevezys. Some knew of a Religious Icon from Panevezys, either personally or by reputation, Joseph
Shagra Dibobes. The leaders of B'nai Israel communicated with Joseph Shraga and offered him the
position of Spiritual Leader of the Congregation. Actually, Joseph Shraga did answer the inquiry as well
as sending a photograph of himself to Mr.I.H. Pilton,one of the leaders of the congregation.

This is a picture of Joseph Shraga taken in 1900 at the age of 61 years. Apparently, after sending the
picture he may have reconsidered and decided not to leave Lithuania. He felt at this age he was too old for
the change and he felt Jacksonville would be too "goysha" for him, since the Litvaks of Lithuania felt they
lived in the second Jerusalem. However Joseph Shraga did recommend to the new congregation that his
son Benjamin who was quite capable of fulfilling all their spiritual needs and he would be a willing
candidate. Thus in 1902 Benjamin became the first Orthodox Rabbi of Jacksonville, Florida. His other
duties included being the Hebrew Teacher, Mohl, Shochet, and also run the Kosher market..

The Jacksonville City Directory listed the following information concerning the Congregation
B'nai Israel in its1902 edition. The contregation met at the Masonic Temple and the following served as
its leaders:
Rabbi Benjamin Saffer(note spelling of last name)
President Max Frank
V. Pres. I. H. Pilton
Treasurer Frank Bandel

The congregation did not have an official residence until 1908 when the cornerstone for the synagogue
was laid at the corner of Duval and Jefferson Streets. Benjamin served as Rabbi for 10 years until 1912
when Rev. J.B. Menkes replaced him, as Rabbi. Menkes was replaced in 1914 by A.H. Zeligsohn. He
remained Rabbi until 1917 when Benjamin again assumed the pulpit for the congregation. It seems about
every other year a new Rabbi was hired only to be replaced by "Reb Benjamin" in the alternate years.

On June 5, 1922 the following announcement was reported in the Florida Times Union:
"Plans have been formulated for the organization of a new Jewish Congregation among the
orthodox Jews of Springfield and a committee has been appointed, Jacob Safer, chairman, to complete
the arrangements. The name of the organization will be Congregation Kneses Israel under the rules
and regulations of the committee, which has been selected. The congregation will be in charge of Rabbi
Benjamin Safer who for many years has been connected with Congregation B'nai Israel. At present
services are being held in the residence of Chairman Safer, 149 West Third St. Rabbi Safer, during the
past week, conducted the services there in connection with the observance of Shabouth(sic) or the Feast
of Weeks."

At last, the Safer family had their own synagogue. Joe P. Safer, the son of Max Mendel and Freidal
had his Bar Mitzvah in 1927 at Kneses Israel. A house on the corner of 4th and Pearl Streets served as
House of Worship for the congregation.

The B'nai Israel Congregation remained active until the late 1920's when the Jewish population of
Jacksonville left the "Jewish Ghetto" of La Villa and moved to the newer neighborhoods surrounding the
downtown area. Many of the Jews of La Villa moved into Springfield. In fact, all of the family relocated
to Springfield except for Ida and Max Witten who moved to Riverside.

Congregation B'nai Israel remained the Orthodox synagogue for Jacksonville but with the establishment
of the new Conservative Congregation, The Jacksonville Jewish Center in 1928, the life of the older
congregation was short lived. The Center built their synagogue at 205 W. 3rd Street in Springfield, which
happened to be across the street from Jacob Safer on only 3 doors down from Harry Safer. With the demise
of the older congregation, Benjamin continued to conduct Orthodox High Holiday Services in the
Auditorium of the Center until another Orthodox Congregation, Etz Chaim was formed in the late 1940's.

As previously mentioned, Benjamin was hired site unseen however, he was offered a contract for the
whopping sum of $35.00 a week ($1820.00 per annum). This was told to me by his son David.. Norman
Moss, the son of one of the founding leaders added that Reb Benjamin also received a bonus of $500.00
and a percent of the dues collected from new members that he may enlist into the congregation. I must add
a little tale about some of the events of my beloved Grandfather Benjamin. He, like his father Joseph
Shraga, was quite the socializer; he would never refuse "Schnaps" when offered. In the early years of the
congregation, he was responsible for conducting the marriage ceremony. Naturally after each Jewish
wedding the food and schnaps flowed like water. It appears that Reb Benjamin married Norman's parents
however; it appears that he never took the time to record the event. However in the eyes of HaShem they
remained married for eternity.

The early years of the family in Jacksonville seem to be to everyone's liking. By 1907, Benjamin and
Freda Leah's family had increased to eight with the birth of their son Perry. In 1908, Max Mendel married
Ethel Baker and Harry marries Fannie Rosen. Jacob and Ida with Celia and Moe relocated to Jacksonville
and opened the first Safer's Kosher Delicatessen at 705 West Adams Street. Ida and Max Witten had a
third son Sam in 1907 and they resided on Jefferson Street. Max was peddling bottles at the time but was
soon to start up in the dairy business, as he did in his early years in Johannesburg. Sarah married Morris
Falis and in 1908 the first of their four sons, Harry was born. They opened a Dry Goods Store at 702 Davis
Street and like many of the new American citizens, they moved into the second floor of the store.

In the next section, I will try to tell how each family fared in their new community but once again I
would like to relate events between Benjamin and the Congregation B'nai Israel. In 1923 like many of the
years before the congregation was without a Rabbi so again they agreed to hire Benjamin for one year at a
salary of $500.00. In 1923, his sons Makey, Abba, Israel and David had taken over the responsibility of the
Kosher Market and Delicatessen. Benjamin still served as Schohet and Mohl for the congregation. A copy
of his contract from the congregation is printed on the following pages. Read it and enjoy.


Articles of Agreament, made this. day of

A.D.-1923 by and between Cogregation BE:nal Iarael, a corporation
of the firat part, designated hereinafter as the employer, and.

Rev. B. Safer,. of,the. aeconpd Bart, aelignated heraitnafter a tke
L . .;: 44p
^ ildrtlj4^^fawfrethi ,j p -
Said first party- ereby. employees 3sai4 secondd I l.

as Cantor and Reverend of the said Congregation for a period of

one year beginning November 1, A*D. 1925 at a yearly salary of

five imadred dollars, payable at the end of every three months,

said first quarterly parent -to be made three mwaths after the

rirst.pf Ioveiber,..,JD. .1923,

And _n aonaideratt-ontherefft ,. It shall bE the duty

of said second party and he hereby agrees to act and serve in

the capacity of Cantoatnd Reverend far said Congregation for

t.a,..pela4o.f. time above sp.pifted and for the salary above
.. -" - ". .-.-. j. ^, '.. L L S : '
mentioned, .aEtlag and perton at rsand customary

and A'Servis of af Caotoi andiver.nd .... .

S- Said second party. further agree ttst Uowill offi lat
at the cegregation afaresaLid,.:~q each and every Saturday and Je

Ith holiday Ldnrig,:the abov speckledd perigpd, _ang4ftaall .eek

daTp tjan the strow Is read.

.,. Said secondd,pSrty further aresae .that on all Jewish;
h*lidae M p 80 r n.blio, thit e uwill n apg ,

-1d op4d-. pit .." -i -

;- i .%I Sild sa ped pa-ii'itbpro Wee- that b& will offectia

ah.r .b president or tbe &o)Pregaatipr. 9rothfl ffid in oahrge .


It is mutually understood and agreed that said second
party shall for the purposes of this agreement be under the
direction and supervision of the President of the Congregation,
or in the absence of said president acting in such capacity ,
tnfor. tlhr )tfiici-r Jslignated' 1b said congregation, on notice :

In addition to said salary above mentioned, said first
party agrees to pay to said second party ten per cent (10%) of
the amount of all dues collected by said party as and for dues
'from members of said -or.gregtlon during the period of said con-
tract, and also the sum of fifteen per cent (15%) of all dues
collected from members by said second party Iromp'mmbers who at
the time of collecting said dues are notx members, of said con-
gregation, the purpose of this provision, being and the intent
is to pay to said second party fifteen per cent (15%) from new
mesb ers aade a bch ay eid second part, azW Wmen pr aoat pL
old or present members,' It is further agreed that said nercent-
age payments are to be dedunted and paid bys aidfirst party to
said second party at the time of payment f said dues to said
congregation., by said. second party.
tis miuuia ly gere Milt aall moenje collected by

aaid second party shall be turned in to said zoarir-egstlon by
himw at th first "renlar meeting or said congregation next
auccadinc the"eolleatiot of asLd..dAs,.. Lbt is ti y, idd .: 1
second pary.- 1.'to report at eaoh yrguiar meeting ,n all neys
collected by him for said congregation.
v-MwPAVy^ t b- w b ar M 1MuKIJe4YgbadT that saa Id first party
shglr'ave the dght and said first party hereiv exp-eesslvrs.-
serve the rioht to offer the pulpit of said con-regation to

any other cantor or rabbi during the period of thi- agremenlrt
1heetr asldyS irat party so desisea, upon rirL noatifying and

In the event that the said congregation pursuant to the
next above paragraph engages a special cantor for any of the
holidays couuring- daring the period of this agreement, said second
party agrees to permitA 6-Bsaid special cantor to perform the

Mstiafh & vqqow --eethe
sal I sai&od r piys" afo 'atenTot'ad perform the Sehatihris and"
other services incident to and enumerated and specified in this
Said second party further agrees that he will at no time
during the period of this agreement leave the City of Jacksonvill
unless he first obtain the consent of the President of said Con-
gregation, or unless said leave be at a time when his services
to said congregation be not required.
Signed and executed-he day and year first above written
at Jackq onvilla, Florida.

Signed, a eaed and delivered
.:in the. presence of -ua: Congregation B'nai Israel (Seal)

,_ By.-

c.z,- .. r .. .
ZD.j-u r-'....- .I }.-, .

The Next Generation

With the arrival of Jacob and his family in 1908, six of the seven families now lived in Jacksonville.

Each family has a unique story to tell. In this section, we will include the children born to the seven
families, the marriages of these children and the birth of their children that forms the third generation. We
are well into the seventh generation from Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza. As of this writing, our numbers
have increased to over 700. Each family Genealogy Chart can be found in the appendix.

In recording the information, I have only been able to include that which has been supplied to me by the
members of each of the seven families. Unfortunately, there is so much more to tell. We would hope the
current family members would share with us their stories. With the starting of our Family Web site, we
have a great avenue to use by all the participants. We welcome your comments and hope you will share
those endearing stories so they may be passed down from one generation to another Dor V' Dor.

The Family of David Ben-Zion and Sara Sheva

Ben-Zion and Sara Sheva did not come to America along with the other brothers and sisters. Probably
tradition demanded that the eldest son was responsible for the care of his aging parents. In all, the couple
had eight children. The eldest was Jonah Yudel who was born in Panevezys in 1889. He died at the age of
13 in Panevezys. The next children born were Freida Vita, 1891, Louis, 1893, Chana, 1896, Dora(Feiga
Dvoria), 1901 and Hyman, 1904. The last two were Mindel(Mindy), born in 1906 and Israel Zalman, born
1910. Both Mindy and Israel Zalman died within two days of each other in 1910.

The two oldest children Freidal and Louis left for America, Louis in 1908 and Freidal in 1909. The
three younger children came with the parents in 1923 to Havana Cuba. We know that Ben-Zion like his
father and brother Benjamin dedicated his life to study of Torah. We know that he taught in the Hebrew
School of Pushalot. His students gave him a gift of a "Snuff Box" that was passed down to his grandson
Joe P. Safer. According to another grandson, Ben Talpalar said that the family moved to Odessa, Ukraine
after leaving Lithuania. They were very poor and Ben's mother Chana would sell fruits and vegetables on
street corners to help provide money for the family. After World War I, the United States restricted
immigration to America, Ben-Zion and the family finally were only able to immigrate to Cuba in 1923. It
would take another two years before Ben Zion and Sara Sheva would be with his siblings. However, by the
time he arrived in Jacksonville he was in failing health. He and Sara Sheva moved in with his brother Max
Mendel and Freidal. Ben-Zion passed away on July 13, 1927. Sara Sheva remained with Mendel and
Freidal until her death on October 22, 1944.

(The story of Freidal will be included with her husband Max Mendel)

Louis Safer


Louis was only sixteen years old when he left Lithuania for America. He had to travel alone
across Europe and boarded a ship in Lisbon Portugal. He arrived in Ellis Island on July 8, 1908 and was
met by his Uncle Jacob. Shortly after his arrival, he along with Jacob and his family relocated to
Jacksonville. Living with Jacob, Ida, and their children, he was able to get a job with Finkelstein's Pawn
Shop located at 601 West Bay Street. Louis met another newcomer to Jacksonville, Marsha Kwart, who
arrived with an aunt and family. Marsha was an excellent seamstress. During the early part of the century,
Jacksonville was a leader in the new movie industry. With the stars of the day coming to Jacksonville, a
good seamstress was essential to provide the costumes for the actors. Marsha's expertise as dressmaking
was well known throughout Jacksonville and she became a clothes designer for the industry. Louis and
Marsha were married in 1914. Their first child, Ida was born in 1915 in Jacksonville.

She was named in memory of her great great grandmother Chana Safer Dibobes, the wife of our patriarch
Benjamin Dibobes.

In 1919 a second child was born, Charles. By 1922, Louis had worked for Neal Finkelstein for thirteen
years. Finkelstein's were about to expand their business ventures into a new boomtown in South Florida
called Miami. Finkelstein opened a Luggage Shop in Miami and asked Louis to relocate there to run the
business. Paul their last child was born in Miami in 1925.

Ida married Paul Black in 1940. Charles married Helene Bernes in 1958 and Paul married Johanna
Frank in 1949. Charles's love of art drew him to Wometco and Paul completed his education in accounting
and became a CPA in the Miami area. Louis passed away in 1950 and Marsha in 1971.

Picture taken in Jacksonville, Fl, cica 1922. From 1 to r.
Ida Black, Miriam Safer Rose, Hannah Biscow, Charles
Safer, Ida Biscow Cohen

Marsha, Ida, Charles and Paul
Jacksonville Beach circa 1927

Lino. _J= L-.

The Family of Louis and Marsha Safer, 1985
Celebration of the 70th Birthday of Ida Black

Top Row: Leslie Safer, Paul Safer, David Safer, Charles Safer, Melvin Black
2nd Row: Kay Safer, Trish Safer, Johanna Safer, Scott, Deborah and David Sarbey
3r. Row: Katie and Joni Black, Ida and Paul Black, Hedy Sarbey, Miles Black


Chana, the next of Ben-Zion and Sara Sheva's children remained with her parents in Europe. When the
family moved to Odessa probably after the death of Hinda Reiza, Ben-Zion became a "Shamus" at one of
the local synagogue. The family fell on hard times and Chana now about ten years old would sell fruits and
vegetables at the local street markets to help with the finances of the family. Sara Sheva would bake
Chalahs and make wine to sell to the congregants.

About the same time, that the Dibobes family arrived in Havana a young man from Romania by the
name of Max Talpalar was also living in Havana. According to his son Ben, the family name was Vasser
and not Talpalar but so often in Central Europe, particularly amongst Jews, they would adopt the name of a
person who had already served in the Tsar's Army in order to avoid the Draft. So Max like so many Jewish
immigrants from Europe who were denied entry into the United States came to the place closest to the
American shore, Cuba. Being a very personable individual, Max became a member of the Welcoming
Committee for the Jewish Congregation of Havana. It was here that Max met Chana Dibobes and in 1924,
they were married. Ben-Zion never adapted the newer family name of Safer until he actually arrived in
Jacksonville. After their marriage, Chana and Max were the proprietors of the first Jewish-American Deli
in Havana called "La Cubana". All of their four children were born in Havana, Jose in 1925, Rosita in
1928, Ben in 1929 and Bertica in 1935.

David Ben-Zion and Family, Havana, 1925

Standing: Dora (Grossman) Hyman Safer, Chana (Talpalar)
Seated: David Ben-Zion, Sara Sheva, Max Talpalar and son Jose

The Depression of the nineteen thirties also reached Havana and the Talpalar family like others fell on
hard times. Max took the family to Venezuela and then to Columbia to find work and a better life.
However, in a few years they returned to Havana and opened a family restaurant. In 1937 their oldest
child Jose, went to live with his Uncle Mendel and Tante Freidal in Jacksonville. In 1942, Rosita also got a
chance to come to Jacksonville and finally in 1949 Max, Chana and Bertica arrived. Ben had come a little
earlier and enlisted in the Army to insure his citizenship. At last, the entire family had arrived.


Before coming to America, a matchmaker in Jacksonville found an upstanding Jewish man that would
be suitable to marry Dora Dibobes. In fact, the matchmakers were her sister Freidal and her husband Max
Mendel. The man in question was Harry Grossman. Harry, employed by the US Government made
frequent trips to Cuba on official business. Freidal asked Harry to look up her sister Dora while he was in
Havana. It must have been love at first site because his soon to be brother-in-law Max Talpalar arranged
for a civil marriage ceremony in a village outside of Havana. Unfortunately, after the marriage, Harry
could not bring his new bride home with him due to the fact she had no visa to enter the country. Returning
to Jacksonville Harry had some connections with the INS and somehow arranged to bring his new bride
home. Once in Jacksonville the two were married under a Chupah at the home of Uncle Benjamin who
also performed the ceremony. The two made their home in Jacksonville and had three children. The eldest
of the children, David Ben-Zion (he was named after his grandfather who had died a few months before his
birth) was born in 1927. A sister Ilene was born in 1931 and the youngest Sheldon was born in 1938.
David married Sylvia Haber in 1952. Ilene married Arthur Servos in 1952 and Sheldon married Gail Pullar
in 1988. Dora passed away in 1988 and Harry in 1995.

I had an opportunity to interview Harry Grossman shortly before he passed away. I asked him to share
his memories of his father-in-law David Ben-Zion. He recalled that Ben-Zion was a very pious man. Their
conversations were always spoken in Yiddish and that he was addressed as Hershell.

He said that by the time Ben-Zion and Sara Sheva reached Jacksonville, the gentleman was in poor
health. He knew he would soon die and his only wish was to go to Israel and when he died, he would be
buried there. However, he was too weak to travel and on July 13, 1927, he passed away. Harry said that he
was in the room with his father-in-law and Ben Zion requested a glass of water. Harry returned with the
water raised his head so he could drink and at that moment he was gone. Sara Sheva lived with Dora and
Harry for a short time but then moved back with Freidal and Mendel. She died October 22, 1944.


Hyman, the youngest member of the family, was twenty two when he arrived in Jacksonville along with
his parents. The three moved in with Freidal and Mendel who by then had two children Joe P and Miriam.
In the downstairs apartment lived the Levin family who had a daughter. Bessie, age nineteen. Five years
later in 1931, the two neighbors were married and a year later their daughter Beverly was born. Hyman
was employed by Setzer's Groceries, but later operated his own brokerage business, selling packaging and
crates for vegetables. Beverly married Melvin Krueger of Live Oak, Fl in 1952 and moved to Macon
where Melvin was a practicing Attorney. Beverly graduated from the University of Florida and served as a
synagogue administrator in Macon. Hyman died in 1973 and Bessie in 2002.

The Family of Benjamin and Freda Leah

( The Two pictures above were of Benjamin and Freda Leah circa 1907)

Benjamin's motto was "Cheaper by the Dozen". I am not sure if he was trying to equal our Patriarch
Jacob by having twelve sons and a daughter but Benjamin and Freda Leah did help increase the population
of the Safer Family. Their family included eight sons and four daughters. The first four, Bluma, Dr. J.V.
(Jake) Max J.(Makey) Edward Herman (Eddie) were all born in Lithuania. The remaining eight, twins
Abba and Israel, David, Perry, Ida, Ethel (Doll) Joseph, and Pearl were all born in Jacksonville.

Benjamin continued serving the Jewish Community of Jacksonville and the surrounding cities. His
religious duties took him to all parts of Florida as well as the towns in South Georgia. He served as the
spiritual leader of the Orthodox Congregation from 1902 until 1912. The congregation then decided to hire
another Rabbi and Benjamin continued to run Safer's Kosher Market while his brother Jacob ran the
delicatessen. As his family grew and the sons became older, Benjamin reduced his time in the store and
increased his religious studies. During the interim years, he was hired as temporary Rabbi every time the
congregation fired the one employed. On pages 32-35, you can see a copy of a contract dated 1923
between the congregation and Benjamin.

In 1952, now eighty years old, Benjamin ask the family if he could take an extended visit to Israel. It
was his intention to spend the rest of his life there and be buried in the "Holy Soil" of Israel. A heated
debate went on between, "Der Papa, "Der Mama", and all "Der Kinda". At first, Benjamin wanted to move
to Israel with Freda Leah. Children reluctantly agreed, Freda Leah said she would not go. Benjamin said if
the children would let him go for a visit, (his last visit was in 1926 when Israel was a British Mandate.), he
would agree to return in a reasonable time. The term "reasonable time" was not exactly defined. More
family discussions were held and finally the consensus was that Benjamin could go if he would swear to
come back after a reasonable visit.

The picture seen below is of Benjamin on his first trip to Israel in June of 1926. He is standing on board
the ship in Haifa Harbor.

After the High Holidays in 1952, Benjamin left for Israel. He wrote all the family members regularly of
how wonderful it felt being in Israel. The country had won its independence just five years before and
material goods and even food was scarce. However, that did not deter Reb Benjamin because he was in
Israel. He would write "when you ate a potato grown in the soil of Israel, it was sweeter than any potato
grown elsewhere. If you ate an egg from a chicken hatched in Israel, it too looked better and tasted
better than an egg laid anywhere else. Even the milk was better because the cows grazed on the grass of
Israel. We read the letters and ask if anyone wanted to argue about the above statement. 1953 came, 12
months passed, and Benjamin said he was not ready to come home yet. The family was concerned that
their father may have duped them. Finally, in 1954, there was a family conference and Benjamin was given
an ultimatum that he had to come home. Reluctantly, he agreed but said he would only come if he could
stay through Passover. In May of 1954, Benjamin returned home. He was not "a Happy Camper".

He remained in Jacksonville but his heart was still in Israel. More family meetings, more conferences,
and finally the children agreed that their father could return to Israel and fulfill his greatest dream of
"Living out his life and be buried inYerusholiyim". On October 4, 1956 Benjamin boarded the SS Israel
in New York for his final journey. October 24, 1956 he wrote to his daughter Bluma the following letter.

Dear Children...Just a few lines to let you know that after a long journey almost 17 days I have arrived
safely Sunday October 21 about noon. The SS Israel arrived in port ofHaifa. Mr. and Mrs Glasberg
came up to meet me by the port to take me in a taxi to Kafar Baruch. I will stay there, of course. Mr &
Mrs Glasberg are pleasant people.
They really do not know what to do for me. But Kfar Baruch itself is a very small place, just afew
farmers there. Perhaps by next week I am going to see Mr. Janow in Tivon or in Nathanya ......a place
where to stay.
I thank you very much for everything you have done for me. The same thing goes to Gert and to my
dear grandchildren. God bless you all. Father Safer

In August, 1959 Bluma and Abe received the following letter.

Jerusalem Aug 23-59
Dear Children Abe and Bluma
Although I believe no doubt that you heard already the news which I hope you always wanted to hear.
Yet I love to let you know. Just afew lines that a great miracle happened and Mr Ike Witten gave me a
free plane ticket to go for a visit and see Mama and the children. So I hope with Gods help to leave
Israel Sep 15 and will stop in N. Y for 2-3 days to see Ida and Dewey and the children. Then with Gods
help I hope to see you all home. Regards to the children and Mrs Liberman. Father Safer

Now some explanation is required. After being gone for three years, we received a letter from Benjamin
that he wanted to come for a "visit" to see Mama and the children. It seems that his nephew and niece Ike
and Gert Witten were visiting Israel and they went to see their Uncle Benjamin. We have no documents of
what transpired but apparently, Ike convinced his Uncle that he should come home even if it was for only a
short time. Benjamin agreed. Ike bought him the plane ticket. Actually he left Israel on the morning of
September 16, 1959. He arrived in New York that afternoon which was a Friday. Since he could not make
connections for Jacksonville and be home before Shabbat, he went to the home of his daughter and son-in-
law Ida and Dewey Goldberg. He went to Shabbat services with Dewey on Saturday and retired early
because he was to board an early flight for Jacksonville Sunday morning. The family in Jacksonville was
getting prepared for the great homecoming. Everyone was planning to be at the airport that morning to
await the arrival of their "father, grandfather, and great grandfather". I received a call early Sunday
morning from Sally Safer. She informed us that Grandpa Safer passed away about 3 a.m Sunday morning.
Our joy turned to tears. There would be no "Welcome Home Papa", only a funeral we now prepared for.
Freda Leah lived her last years with her son Joe, and in the last year she became a resident of River Garden.
She passed away on December 4, 1966.


This is a photocopy of the Civil Marriage Document of Benjamin
Dibobes and Freda Leah Ziv. Performed on 6th of October, 1896 in
Panevezys, Lithuania. The document is written in Russian and
Hebrew, recorded in the Civil Office.

Top Row: Eddie, Jake, Bluma, Makey, and Cat (name unknown)
2nd Row: David, Israel, Perry Abba


Bluma, the eldest was born in 1897 in Panevezys, Lithuania. Her Hebrew name was Vita Bluma.
She was named for her paternal great grandmother Vita Gettel Svetgal. Bluma married Abe Haimowitz in
1918 and moved to Orlando, Fl. Their first business venture was a Five and Dime Store on Church Street.
Those of you familiar with Orlando, the store was in the exact location of the entertainment center Rosie
O' Grady. A few years later, they relocated to Winter Garden, a small town on the outskirts of Orlando.
There they opened the Leader Department Store. The store was very popular with the population of
Winter Garden. Abe was addressed by his customers as "Mr. Leader" Bluma and Abe had two girls,
Gertrude and Pearl. Gertrude was born in 1919 and Pearl in 1924. Pearl passed away in 1942. Gertrude
married Mosie Cooper of Savannah, Ga.. We always knew our family marched by their own beat so do not
get confused. Mosie was the brother of Gertrude Cooper who in turn married Gertrude Haimowitz's uncle
Israel. Israel's twin brother Abba married a cousin of Gertrude Cooper, Eunice Cooper. Because of the
marriages, Abba and Israel were brothers as well as first cousins by marriage. After Gertrude Haimowitz's
marriage to Mosie Cooper her Uncle Israel and Aunt Gertrude were both Aunt and Uncle as well as brother
and sister in law and Abba and Eunice were also Aunt and Uncle as well as first cousins by marriage.
However, it appears no insanity ran in the family and Mosie and Gertrude had three beautiful daughters,
Susan married Dr. Arnold Signer, Beverly married Lt. Col. (retired) Richard Moss and Nancy married
David Gusso. Abe passed away in 1969, Bluma in 1980, Gertrude in 1967, and Mosie in 2000.

Bluma & Abe Wedding Photo

Jacob V.

Jacob was given the Hebrew name of Jonah Avigdor after his maternal great grandfather, Jonah
Avigdor Jaffe. When he entered the United States he was still identified as Jonah (Ellis Island Records
show "Jamie"). Somewhere along the line he assumed the name of Jacob which was the name of his
brother Yakov Mayer (Makey). As the results of the change Jonah Avigdor became Jacob Victor and
Yakov Mayer became Max J.(initial only, better known as Makey). Jake was the only child of Benjamin
and Freda Leah to attend college. He first received a Certificate from a Georgia school to practice
Pharmacy. He immediately bought a popular pharmacy on Davis Street in La Villa. He did quite well as a
pharmacist and one of his special concoctions was called a Reyno Special. It seem he would mix several
ingredients together which included baking soda for the fizz, cherry soda to add color and flavor, and some
form of a laxative. He would sell this cure all for $1.00 a bottle. He estimated the cost of the potion at less
than 5 cents mostly due to giving them a bottle and a cap. He described his customers as darkiess" who
drank too much on Saturday night and had to sober up by Monday morning. The elixir surely worked
because he made enough money to be able to enroll at the University of Florida in 1923 for his pre-med
studies. He completed his medical studies at the University of Maryland and returned to Jacksonville in
1935 to go into private practice.

Jake had enormous capabilities. At a early age he learned the Morse Code. He even strung a line from
his house to that of a friend and they would send messages to each other so they could practice their skill.
He said it also helped him get dates with the "pretty" classmates at school. It seems he taught them the
essential codes and he would tap his pencil on the desk giving the co-eds the correct answer to test
questions. The teacher questioned him as to why he kept tapping on the desk. His standard answer was
he had a nervous twitch and this help calm him down. No one caught on, at least that was what Jake
thought and all the girls passed.

Jake also put his knowledge to use for financial gains also. When still a teenager, he got ajob as a
telegrapher with the Jacksonville Florida Times Union. In those days without television, a radio announcer
who would get his information of the events over the telegraph and would describe baseball games. Jake,
the telegrapher, would first signal his brother Makey, who was located in the crowd, as to what would
happen on the next pitch. It could be a strike, ball, single, home run etc.

Bluma & Abe in 1943

Makey would then make a bet with anyone in the crowd who was a "sucker to bet him" that he could
predict what the next pitch would be. Naturally, the boys did quite well for themselves financially.

At the start of World War II, Jake was 43 years old. Actually, he was too old to enlist, but that did not
stop him. In 1943 now at age 45, he enlisted telling the Army he was born in 1901 instead of 1898. In
short supply of Doctors, the Army readily signed him up. He went to Chicago for a crash course in Brain
Surgery and shortly thereafter, he was on his way to the War. He got there in time to be a part of the North
African invasion. His stories of the war were a little hazy in his later years. I would not try to describe
them all. He did claim that he used to go out and party with General James Van Fleet (he claims he met
Van Fleet at the U.F. Van Fleet was the football coach at the time) and his other drinking buddy was Gen.
Teddy Roosevelt jr. Whether it was true or not, he never changed the story.

He was retired from the Army and returned to his medical practice in Jacksonville. Jake was an avid
fisherman. According to others, Jake knew the best fishing holes in and around Jacksonville. If he would
extend you an invitation to go fishing, he would blindfold you and then drive around so you would never
know exactly where you were going. Yet true to his word, he would guarantee a fine "mess of fish" at the
end of the day. This was a Sunday ritual, he would always bring the fish home, and Freda Leah would do
the honors and the next Friday Fresh Gefilte Fish would adorn the table. Jake also had a good fishing story
to tell but one of the best was that he went fishing with his brother-in-law Dave Davis. Dave hooked a
large fish and while trying to pull it in, he fell out of the boat. According to Jake, he did not know whether
to pull the fish in or save Dave. The fish survived for another Sunday.

The following is a picture of JV in his favorite pose. Quoting how he described the event is as follows:
"Holding on to a #115 Tarpon plus a back lash of the reel resulting in an avulsion of the left
thumb nail...but held on. #110 test line, Tarpon held bottom for about 1 hour, 300 feet of line and
the feeling you were caught in an old ship wreck---------
JVS May, 1947

Jake at age of 94

Jake passed away in 1996 at the age of 97. He surely was a great storyteller.

Max J.

The third child of Benjamin and Freda Leah was named Yakov Mayer, English translation Jacob Meyer.
Unfortunately for Yakov Mayer, his older brother liked the name Jacob so he ended up as Mayer Yaakov or
Max J.(no middle name) but he was known as Makey. Each of Freda Leah's children were never addressed
by their proper name but each had the syllable "key" attached to their name. In order of their births Bluma
was Blumkey, Jake was Jakey, Max was Makey, Abba, Abkey, Israel was call Sulkey, David was Dovkey,
Perry didn't receive the traditional "key" was called by his Hebrew name Peritz, Ida was Hikey, Ethel
received a nickname of "Doll" and she still answers to that name even today. Joe was Yushky, and Pearl
became Pearlie. Thus, we have identified all twelve children with their beloved names.

Makey was the third child but the second son and since Jake was already destined to be the "chosen
one" to go to college, Makey became the one to enter the family business even at a tender age. He finished
the 6h grade and he was now ready to enter the world as a "Kosher Butcher". Starting out as the delivery
boy, he soon started working in Safer's Kosher Market along with his father Benjamin. Even with a sixth
grade education, Makey could figure out what a three team parley would pay faster than you could, using
a calculator. By 1923, brothers Abba and Israel were old enough to enter into the family business so
Makey left for Miami where he opened a Delicatessen store on Flagler Street.


Max's Delicatessen, Flagler Street, Miami
Makey is second from left and brother -in-law Abe far right

In May, 1926, Makey married Mary Friedman of St. Augustine. According to those in attendance, it
was the largest Jewish Wedding ever held in St. Augustine and probably the same would be said for
Jacksonville. Mary and Makey moved to Orlando shortly after their marriage and in 1929, their son Edwin
(who by the way is the author of this book) was born

They remained in Orlando until 1938 when they returned to Jacksonville and went in partnership with
Abba in running Safer's Kosher Market at 614 W. Adams St.

In 1960, Makey and Mary started Safer's Kosher Catering and Mary continued with the catering after
Makey's death in 1966. I married Harriet Tanner of Ft Myers and we have two children Steven, who
married Ilisa Schneider. They have three sons, Mark, Harrison and Lee. Our daughter Marcia is married
to Jerry Sachs. Our grandchildren besides the three boys include Heather Rowell and Josh Sachs. and our
Great Granddaughter is Chava Joy Rowell. We are the first of the Safer Family to enjoy five living

The following picture is of Makey, Mary's wedding in St. Augustine on May 2, 1926, and the second
picture is of the great and great great grandchildren of this family. Mary who will reach 100 years this
November (2004) has had the joy of seeing five generations in her family.

The Wedding Party:
Perry Safer, Harry Eff, Abe Friedman, Ben Baker, Joe Blattner, David Safer, Charles Shulman, Perry Kantor, Makey Safer
Mary Safer, Ida Strauss, Ida Goldberg, Mabel Kanner, Mamie Snyder Belle Friedman. Carrie Kass ,----- Pearl Safer
Englander Children included niece Gertrude Haimowitz, Sonny Miller and Rosalie (Feigenbaum) Gold.

David Rowell, Chava Joy Rowell, Heather Rowell, Harrison, Mark Safer, Josh Sachs, Lee Safer, kneeling

Edward Herman

Eddie was the fourth child born in the family. He was born on Christmas Day, 1902 according
to the documents we acquired from the Lithuanian Archives. His bris was held on January 1. Apparently
he felt more like a New Years Baby than to use his actual December birth date. So he adopted January 1 as
his official birth date. Eddie was given the Hebrew name of Chaim Itzhak. He was named in memory of
his maternal Grandfather who had passed away a year before his birth. Eddie was just six months old when
he along with his mother, and siblings came to America. Growing up in Jacksonville with so many
brothers and sisters he used to amuse all who listen to him would describe how his mother would call his
siblings using the "key" word attached to each name. Eddie's claim to fame was he was considered one of
the best dancers in Jacksonville. All the young girls hoped he would only ask them to dance. The judges
said that if Eddie entered any dance contest, they automatically gave him the trophy.

Eddie married Sarah Schneider of Lakeland in June, 1934. The moved to Wauchula where they opened
a dress shop. Sarah ran the business and it was Eddie's job to "kibbitz" with the ladies until Sarah could
wait on them. They eventually moved to Miami and opened another dress shop on Coral Way called
Barbara Jane, named after their two daughters. Some years later, they closed the dress shop and Sarah
returned to teaching. During his retirement years, Eddie became an avid bowler and instead of dance
trophies on the mantle, he replaced them with bowling trophies. Eddie and Sarah moved to Cocoa Beach,
the home of their daughter Jane and her husband Malcolm Kirschenbaum and their grandchildren Josh and
Jennifer. Barbara married Fred Chait and had two children Susan and Barry. Barbara is now married to
Leonard Rabin. Eddie passed away in 1978 and Sarah lives in Cocoa Beach where she still has special
teaching duties at one of the local elementary schools.

Picture of Eddie and Sarah Safer

Abba and Israel

Abba and Israel were the first set of twins born into the Dibobes Clan. In fact they were the only set of
twins in the family, so I will discuss them collectively. These two were so identical that it was said their
mother, Freda Leah could not tell them apart. The standard joke was she would pick up one to feed, be
called away and when she returned she could not remember which one got the food. Many days one would
be completely satisfied with his meal and the other would go hungry. The problem was solved by the maid
who worked in the house. She tied a color ribbon around one and not the other. After that, they shared the
food equally. The identification method continued until one winter evening Israel fell into the open
fireplace. It seems that Abba actually stepped on his nightshirt and he fell into the open hearth. His sister
Bluma came running and through a rug over him smothering the flame. Israel, however was left with a scar
and this would became the telling mark.

The two pictures below is proof in the pudding. The one to the left is when the twins were five years
old and the one to the right was taken in 1982 at age 77. In case you cannot tell them apart, Israel appears
on the left and Abba on the right. (I think that is correct)

If you don't think they were identical just look at the spreading of big toe on both the right and
left foot.

If they confused everyone when they were young, it did not get much better when they grew older. It
got if more confusing when the two brothers married two first cousins. Eunice Cooper married Abba and
Gertrude Cooper married Israel, so they were brothers as well as first cousins by marriage. When you add
in their niece Gertrude Haimowitz who married Gertrude Cooper's brother Mosie, well you get the picture.
(Refer to Bluma's section for an explicit explanation)

In their youth, they went to work for their father and Uncle. Abba worked on the market side and Israel
worked with his Uncle Jacob in the delicatessen. My mother Mary claims she could never tell them apart.
When she came to Jacksonville for a social and be in their company, she would ask if the individual was
the butcher or the delicatessen man. Israel had married Betty Berman in 1931 and their daughter Alyn was
born in 1932. After their divorce, Israel moved to Savannah and married Gertrude Cooper. They had two
children Irwin and Sherri. Israel retired from the City of Savannah Department of Corrections. As a side
job, he was the top sales clerk for Yochum and Yochum Department Store on West Broad Street. Irwin is a
doctor and married Deborah Simon and Sherri married Dr. George Warsaw. Israel and Gertrude enjoyed
their five grandsons, Stephen, Adam and Joshua Safer and Benjamin and Ari Warsaw. Gertrude passed
away in 1996 and Israel in 1997.

Abba also married a Savannah girl Eunice Cooper, first cousin of Gertrude. They came back to
Jacksonville and Abba continued to run Safer's Kosher Market at 614 W. Adams Street. In 1938 brother
Makey and Mary returned to Jacksonville and they joined in a partnership on the market side of the
business. Abba returned to Savannah in the 1940's where he opened a Kosher Market first at the Farmer's
Market and then on Jefferson St. In the late 1940's he returned to Jacksonville and rejoined Makey in the
market. Abba and Eunice had three daughters Sandra, Maxine, and Elinor. Sandra married Bemie Deutsch
and their two children Mark, who is now a surgeon in Atlanta and Beth, a school teacher who along with
her husband David Sparks also live in Atlanta with their two daughters Julia Page and Magen Ella. Mark
recently married Debbie Piha. Maxine married Stuart Goldberg and their children include Joel, Keith and
Nicole. Abba passed away in 1999 and Eunice in 2003.

The picture seen below is of Safer's Kosher Market and Delicatessen taken in 1921. At that time, the store
was located at 127 W. Broad St. In the picture are Benjamin, Jacob and Israel.

Left to right Benjamin, Mr. Weiss, Jacob, Israel, "Wheel Boy"
Two women customers in background, unidentified

Abba and Israel inherited their father's musical ability. Along with their father, they formed the Choir
usually for the High Holiday Services in the Orthodox Synagogue. Other congregations may have had
more voices but none as sweet as the Safer Trio.


David was the seventh child and the sixth male born in the family. In fact, he was born just one year
after the twins Abba and Israel. The three got used to celebrating their birthdays together. Many stories
abound from his siblings about David's frugality. He himself admits this trait was developed at a very
early age. Having five older brothers, you had to defend your own turf or lose. The Safer brothers were a
carefree lot. You may say they lived as if they were in a commune. Nothing belonged to anyone and
everything belonged to everyone. That is except for David's possessions. As the story was told Jake, being
the oldest had the best of the clothes regardless of who the original owner was. When it was time to go out
on a date, the boys would rush in and grab the freshly ironed clothes that is, except for Abba.
Abba enjoyed his mother's cooking so much he would continue to eat while the others were picking out the
best attire. Abba usually ended up with whatever the others would not wear.

David, on the other hand, would quietly finish his meal find the maid who had washed and iron the
family's clothes, quietly picked out his own and took them to his room. He would then put them in a
steamer trunk, which was under lock and key, and naturally, he had the only key. All the family was
jokesters, there would be a hush amongst the group, and they listened to hearing the opening of the trunk
and then the click of the lock. Pandemonium broke out because they knew Brother Dave had made either a
deposit or a withdrawal. David always professed that he wanted to go to college and become a doctor like
Brother Jake. However, like his father he was destined to enter the food business.

David met and married Sally Pearlman and moved to Daytona Beach where they opened a delicatessen
store. He decided that Daytona was not the place for him because he was unable to observe Shabbat
especially since it was not financially feasible to close on Saturday particularly in the resort City of
Daytona Beach. David and Sally returned to Jacksonville and opened Safer's Kosher Delicatessen along
with Abba and Makey on Adams Street. David and Sally had three children, Marilyn who married Albert
Wolfson. Their children include Jay and Lisa. Abigail (Gail) married Stanley Greenfield of Savannah and
they were blessed with three children, Jeffrey, Melinda, and Deborah. Jeffrey and Melinda both became
doctors. Michael was born in 1946 and he became a doctor. Michael like Teyve of"Fiddler on the Roof"
fame has five daughters, Havi, Goldie, Sara, Erin and Tess.

During their retirement years, Sally and David dedicated their time to River Garden, Hebrew Home for
the Aged. They would entertain the residents by writing and producing shows using the residents as the
actors. Sally passed away in 1979.Her children dedicated the Activities Room at River Garden in her
memory. David, although retired, continued to sell his preferred customers Matzo and all the trimmings
during Passover. He became one of the founding members of Beth Shalom Congregation and served as
"Gabbi" during the Shabbat and Holiday Services for many years.

David and Sally on Family Reunion trip to Israel, 1978 Sally & Cousin Frank Rose being a little risque in Israel


Perry was the eighth child and the seventh son in a row born to Benjamin and Freda Leah. His Hebrew
name was Peretz and Americanized to Perry. Do you remember how Freda Leah added the "-key" word to
each name but not for Perry, he would be called Peretz. As he grew up he, like his older brothers, served
an apprenticeship in the family kosher market. In fact, he was a pretty good meat cutter. In 1931, he
married a childhood sweetheart Pearl Weiss. Pearl was working as a secretary in her brother's law office
and Perry became a deputy sheriff during the administration of Sheriff Rex Sweat. He carried a badge,
handcuffs and I remember he also had a pistol. I'm not sure it was loaded but it sure looked impressive. In
1936, Perry and Pearl greeted their first child Solomon. This was the third grandson for the Benjamin Safer
group and the second to carry on the Safer name. In 1940, a beautiful little girl joined the family, Marlene
Esta. She was the "apple of his eye. You have to admit she would make a perfect ballerina.

Perry and Pearl on Honeymoon Marlene Esta Sussman

Perry and Pearl on Honeymoon Marlene Esta Sussman

In 1950, Perry and Pearl relocated to Louisville, Ky when he joined the Dovoe Reynolds Paint Co.
After several years away from the family, the couple decided it was time to return to Jacksonville. He
reopened Safer's Kosher Market and Delicatessen after the death of his brother Makey and the retirement
of brother David. Perry passed away in 1972. Sollie was married and his two sons are Timothy and Perry
(named for his grandfather) and Marlene is now married to a childhood sweetheart Dr. Saul Sussman, She
had two children by previous marriages, Michael and Cheryl Bossen.


After seven boys, it was time for a change and sure enough Benjamin and Freda Leah's next child was a
daughter, Ida. I think the one most thrilled with the birth of Ida was the family maid who dubbed the
beautiful little girl "Missy" and the nickname stuck. Many of the young Jewish men of Jacksonville
recognized Ida's beauty but she seem to have eyes for only one. Dewey Goldberg, born in Baltimore came
to Jacksonville to work for his uncle, Morris Wolfson who along with his sons formed Florida Pipe and
Supply Co. Dewey advanced in the company and after World War II, his cousin Louis Wolfson acquired
Merritt Chapman Scott. Dewey was offered an executive position with the proviso he move to New York
City. So Dewey and Ida with their children Larry and Cynthia relocated to the "Big Apple". Larry who
was born in 1934 and Cynthia in 1938 adapted well to the city life and Ida and Dewey were always
gracious hosts to their family and friends who would vacation in the big city. The Welcome Mat was
always out in their Kew Gardens home. When you arrived at the door, you would always be greeted by
their new bundle of joy, which they named DeDe Goldberg. DeDe was a parakeet, but you would never
mention that word in front of DeDe who thought he was a child of Ida and Dewey.
Ida During the Roaring Twenties

Ida and Dewey on a Cruise

After retiring, Ida and Dewey returned to Jacksonville to join their brothers and sisters.
Larry was an executive with Polaroid and married a Boston gal Iris Rubinstein, and they have one son
Steven who recently graduated as a Attorney.

Cynthia married a young man from New York, David Goldring. After their marriage, they too came
south ending up in Jacksonville where their daughter Andrea and son Bruce were born. After moving to
New Orleans their daughter, Ellen was born. All the children are married. Andrea married Michael
Portnoy of Jacksonville and their children are Louis and Reisa. Bruce married Stacey Berg and who are
both my right arm. I would not attempt any family function without them by my side. Bradley and Jeffrey
(Jeffrey is my Godson and was named for Joseph Shraga, our patriarch) round out the family.
Ellen is married to Scott Baliton and their children are Casey Danielle and Parker Lawrence.
David Goldling served several years as Chair of the Safer Family Reunion Committee. David passed away
on December 25, 1997. Ida died in 1992 and Dewey passed away in 1995.


Ethel was the next child to enter the family and she must have been a beautiful baby (by the way she
still is beautiful) because she was aptly dubbed "Doll" and Doll she has been ever since. The best
description of Doll is she is the female version of her brother Eddie. She bubbled with enthusiasm and if
you were in her company, it was contagious. Ethel married David Davis, a Canadian whose family had
relocated in Jacksonville. David worked many years at a local scrap metal yard owned by Joe Bartley and
was given the title of Recycling Engineer. Dave was considered one of the best "scale man" in the
industry. His deftness put him near the to of the trade.

The above photograph was taken in Orlando in 1927. L to R Doll, a friend of the family hold Pearl Haimowitz and sister
Pearl. In front is Gertrude (Haimowitz) Cooper

David loved fishing nearly as much as he loved golfing. I am not sure how good he was in either sport.
However, he would awake early on a Sunday morning and join his brother-in-law Jake at the famous
Johnson Creek. (To this day no one knows the exact location of this fishing Shangri-La). According to
Jake, David was not a good fisherman and he would have to share his catch with him so he would not look
too bad when he returned home.

After Jake retired from his medical practice and moved north, David decided golf would be a lot easier than
fishing. He would join his brother-in-law Dewey Goldberg on a Saturday or Sunday for a round. He felt
that suited his lifestyle and he did not come home smelling like a day old tuna. Doll and David's children
were Linda and Henry Paul.
Linda married Joel Bressler and their children include Deborah, Judy and Ruben. Doll has been blessed
with many great grandchildren. Linda passed away in 1988 and David in 1996.


The eleventh child was another son. Joe was born in 1913 and was name for his grandfather and
patriarch of the family Joseph Shraga who passed away the previous year. It is interesting that each of the
Dibobes children who had children after 1912 would name one of the children after Joseph Shraga. The
first to be born was a daughter to Harry and Fannie and she was name Josephine, then Benjamin's Joseph
was born and he would be called Rabbi Joe. The next was a son born to Mendel and Freidal and he was
Joseph Philip. Joe P was given the Hebrew name of Yoseph Sharga. Harry and Fanny now had a boy and
he was named Joeseph G. The last two Joes were Ida and Max Witten's son who was named Joe and was
called "Baby Joe" and then Sarah and Morris Falis had their last son also name Joe and he was called
"Nachas" If the family were at a gathering and someone called out Joe come here, you could expect to see
five young boys running.

In the family tradition, Rabbi Joe also was called Yoshke, which by the way was the way you addressed
him. I was very close to Joe and with such a large family, you were not allowed to have favorites. It can
now be told that my "Uncle Joe" which was the way I always addressed him, was my favorite. To Joe,
primarily his family came before anyone else. He idolized his parents, his brothers and sisters and his
nieces and nephews were all his children. In a period of doom and gloom, Joe would always have a story
to cheer you up. Few people knew that he was a fan of opera and could identify most operas by hearing
only a few chords of its music. Joe never married and he passed aw in 1979.

Joe is pictured here with three of his sisters At 5 years old, in 1918
Pearl, Bluma, and Ida, Joe tries on his military uniform


Pearl was the last child born to the family in 1918. Her Hebrew name is Pesa Hinda, being named after
her two grandmothers, Pesa Feiga Zhiv and Hinda Reiza Dibobes. Pearl was truly the "All American
Girl". She attended public schools in Orlando while Benjamin served as Rabbi of the Ohav Shalom
Congregation. She was definitely not shy and was always a member of the Jewish Social Groups of
Orlando and of Jacksonville after the family returned to the city. It was in this social environment that she
met a young man named Irvin Kramer. Irvin's family like the Safers came from Lithuania. They were
from the village of Pushalot just a few miles north of the Dibobes family in Panevezys.

S ek. oan f CYr;. 73. o Xr
reif4eal Eke hronour of your presence
t ,a e marriage of jwe-irdaaug ter
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on eCftnday tke sixteenth of Ctehruary
nwnuen kuntdrc and forty one

JTacksonille 'nsfik G3nz,-
d.,- -.-. t,..,-! a ,a

Wedding Announcement of Pearl Safer to Irvin Kramer

Pearl and Irvin was married in 1941. After returning from military service in WWII, the couple moved
to Green Cove Springs and opened Kramer's Department Store. Some years later, they returned to
Jacksonville to continue the business of Irvin's father, Dave Kramer. Kramer's Department Store was
always a place where a niece or nephew could find a Saturday job to make enough to go out on a Sunday
date. I am not sure how we were evaluated as sales people but we were never fired.

Pearl and Irvin's two children are Marsha born in 1943 and Sheila in 1947. Marsha married Marvin
Fish of Pensacola and their children Howard and Lori are now married and have their own children.
Howard married Amanda Levin and together they enjoy two children, Gregory and Marissa. Lori is
married to Lawrence Bard and their two children are Adenna and Eva. Sheila is married to Ronald Baruch
and their two daughters are Kim and Valerie. Valerie recently married Adam Badt..

Irvin outwardly appeared to be very shy "a man of few words" but he was held in high esteem by the
family and the Jewish community. Irvin passed away in 1988.

The twelve children of Benjamin and Freda Leah have never wavered from each other. A call on the
phone was all that was necessary to bring them all together. Each of the 22 grandchildren born in the
family were not just cousins but we were all like brothers and sisters. You were blessed with your own
parents but each aunt and uncle were a parent too. This tradition has passed on to the next generation and
we hope it will always be that way in this family.

Jacob and Ida Safer

Jacob was the first of the Dibobes children to leave Panevezys. He along with his brother-in-law Max
Witten, and Brothers Harry and Max Mendel left their home and traveled to South Africa. He and his
siblings stayed with relatives of his mother and then in 1899 along with Max Witten, he made his way to
America and New York. (See documents of Ellis Island Arrival. He found work as a cutter in the Garment
District. He learned this trade while in South Africa.

Jacob met Ida Bloom in New York. Ida and her family came from Russia when she was sixteen years
old. Jacob and Ida were married in 1903 and their first child Celia was born the next year. In 1908, Ida
gave birth to her second child Moe Benjamin shortly before the family relocated to Jacksonville. When
they left New York, they brought with them Jacob's nephew Louis who had recently arrived from his home
in Panevezys. In Jacksonville, their first home was at 763 W. Duval Street, just around the corner from his
brothers and sisters.

Jacob's brother Benjamin was not only Rabbi of Congregation B'nai Israel but was also operated the
kosher butcher shop. When Jacob arrived, he decided to open a Kosher Delicatessen at 705 West Adams
Street. Thus the first Safer's Kosher Market and Delicatessen was opened..
Jacob ran the delicatessen until the early 1920's when he moved his family to 149 West 3rd Street in the
newly developing Springfield area and devoted most of his energies to Real Estate.

Ida played a major role in the success of both businesses. Not only did she have the responsibility of
raising the children, which included Faye, born in 1912 and Rose, in 1916, but she also made delicious
pickles, pickled herring, gefilte fish and fresh cottage cheese that Jacob sold in the deli. Jacob and Ida had
another child, Louis who was born in 1924.

Picture taken around 1910 with son Moe and daughter Celia
With Jacob and Ida

Jacob knew the only way to succeed in his new adopted country was by education and he dedicated his
life to seeing that all his children received the best education possible even if he and Ida had to make their
own personal sacrifices. Jacob passed away in 1942 and Ida in 1950.

Celia graduated from Duval High School and became a secretary in a government office. Being the
oldest she helped her mother at home caring for her younger brother and sisters while her mother spent
many hours working in the delicatessen with Jacob. Her sister Faye told me that Celia would have to take
her two younger sisters (Faye and Rose) with her even when she went on a date. Baby-sitting was a much
more serious profession than it is today. Celia married Dr. David Schneider and relocated to Baltimore.
David passed away in 1974 and Celia in 1980

Moe attended the University of Florida where he completed his undergraduate studies and then entered
the Law School and received his Law Degree. Moe was not just dedicated to study. He was not only an
excellent student but he also excelled in sports, making the university's tennis team. After graduation, he
returned to Jacksonville and opened a law office. He was instrumental in forming the Law Firm of Mahan
and Safer. After his brother Louis graduated from Law School, he also joined his brother in the firm.
Moe married Rubye Lipschitz in 1937 and their three children. include Sharon, Judith and Jay Gerald. Jay
is an attorney, Sharon and Judy both married attorneys, Sharon married Morton Kesler and Judy married
Herman Paul.

The home at Third and Silver Streets became known as Safer's Hotel. With Moe in college, you could
always expect a mob of college kids spending the weekend in Jacksonville particularly with parties at the
YMHA and other social events taking place. Word also spread amongst the traveling Pious Jews that if
you got off the train in Jacksonville, you could always find a meal and a little charity at the Safer Home.
The Jacob Safer pantry was never low on food. The children described their father of being a little frugal
but when it came to food, he was known to fill the pantry. When Ida sent him for a can of peas, he would
return with a case. Jacob and Ida were always partners in all their adventures. Ida was not the typical
Jewish homemaker of that era. She was a woman with a keen sense of business knowledge. Jacob watched
in amazement the growth of Jacksonville and he decided the road to success was in real estate. This was
atypical of a young man born and raised in a Jewish Shetel of Panevezys especially in Lithuania where it
was unheard of for a Jew to own property. The Jacob Safer's venture into real estate was very successful.

In the 1920's, a sign of a successful businessman was to own an automobile. Jacob bought an auto and
his children name the vehicle the "Big Jordan Car". Actually, Ida was the first to learn to drive but once
Jacob got behind the wheel, he became Lord and Master of the "Big Jordan" and only he was allowed to be
the official driver.

In 1922, Jacob and Congregation B'nai Israel had a parting of the ways. Jacob was very headstrong and
a take-charge individual. It seems his brother Benjamin was a much more kinder and gentler individual
and had served the Jacksonville Jewish community for over twenty years. After serving as spiritual leader
of the congregation most of this time, the B'nai Israel officers felt he was no longer acceptable as a Rabbi
for the congregation. The entire family was very upset with how the congregation had treated Reb
Benjamin but generally what is typical of any Jewish group "if you don't like the current congregation and
its leaders, you start your own". That is exactly what Jacob did. The Congregation Keneses Israel
celebrated its first Sabbath at the home of Jacob and Ida Safer with Rabbi Benjamin Safer officiating.

See Article appearing in the local paper on the next page

i Vhi*i 33 K' dence of Chairmani
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for the organization of a new dui. the ie past
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rang TJe name of the
org il be the .Con-
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the rule regulations of
the committee which has bee
selected. The congregei
will .be in charge of iUsil
b Benjamin Safer who for many
years has been connected
With the Congregation B'na
Israel. At present service.
are being held in the resi

The Jews of the European ghettos developed strong bonds with their Jewish neighbors in the shetels
where they lived. They recognized the importance of helping their co-religionists in time of need in
whatever way possible because the Christian population could care less about the survival of the Jews.

Once Jacob reached Jacksonville, he felt it was necessary for the Jews of the community to start a
Jewish Loan Society. He was instrumental in the founding of the first Gamala Chesed Society in the city.
The society provided the less fortunate Jews a way to get a low interest loan with a minimum payback plan
until times got better. The Jacksonville Gamala Chesed organization evolved into the Progressive Credit
Union. Jacob's son Moe and his grandson Herman Paul served as presidents of the organization.

Education in the Jacob Safer household was always first and a priority. Daughters Faye and Rose both
earned degrees in Education. Faye returned to Jacksonville after graduation and taught at Fishwier
Elementary School before marrying Joe Silverman. The two moved to Gainesville where they ran
Silverman's Department Store. Faye was very active in many community projects including serving on the
State Tuberculosis board. She was instrumental in the formation of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority at the
University of Florida. Their four children included Carol, Gene, Susan and Irene. Joe passed away in 1986
and Faye in 2003.

Rose, after graduation, taught at Beulah Beal Elementary School on 9th and Perry Streets. Rose married
Leroy Miller and their family included Helen, Lee and Jeffrey. The family relocated to Baltimore where
Rose continued in the field of education receiving a Master's Degree. Leroy died in 1988 and Rose in

Louis was born in 1924. He was not only an outstanding student both in public school and at the
University of Florida; he was recognized as one of the outstanding leader of both the Jewish community
and the city of Jacksonville.

Lou entered the University of Florida at the age of sixteen having skipped two grades in elementary
school. At UF he, like his brother Moe, was an outstanding tennis player for the university. He served as
president of the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity and was elected President of the Student Body of the University.
While at the university, he was instrumental in the formation of the AD LITEM program and in later years
the University honored him as one of the most Outstanding Alumnus.

Once Lou returned to Jacksonville, he joined the Law firm of Mahon and Safer and also directed his
attention to the Jacksonville Jewish Community. He served as president of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.
Lou left active practice to enter the political ring, being elected Judge of the Circuit Court. He always
achieved the highest rating as a Judge from the Attorneys of the city. He preferred working with juveniles
and felt proud of the many youths he helped to lead active and beneficial lives in the community. Lou
married Marilyn Soclof of Pensacola and their children include Eliot, who followed his father's example by
becoming an attorney. Their three daughters include Cynthia, Deena and Shana. Louis passed away in
1988 and Marilyn in 1995.

Jacob and Ida's legacy to their children and for future generations was the importance of education and
also the need to share one's good fortune with the less fortunate. Jacob and Ida felt this gave the individual

Ida and Max Witten
,jA... V W

Ida was the first of the Dibobes sisters born to Joseph Shraga and Hinda Reiza. Although we have no
documentation of the date of her birth, it was probably in 1877 in Panevzys. Her Hebrew name was Chaia
Reissa and she was named after her paternal grandmother, Chaia Sofer Dibobes who would have died circa

Ida married Max Witten of Pushalot in 1898 shortly before he along with his brother-in-laws Jacob,
Harry, and Max Mendel left for South Africa. Their son Joe Witten said he recalls that his mother said that
she had a daughter who apparently died of a disease called "Summer Complaint Disorder" a form of infant
dysentery. In all likelihood, the infant died before Ida and Sarah left for the United States in 1900 because
the ship's manifest indicated that a child did not enter the country with them. Ida and her sister Sarah were
living in New York when Max returned after a trip back to South Africa in 1900. The ship's manifest list
that his wife Ida met him.

The first of four sons was Louis who was born in 1901 and their second son Ike was born in 1903. In a
previous section it was mentioned that Max worked in a cigar factory after his financial disaster trying to
corerr the marble market" for soda shops in New York. Although born in Lithuania, which had
temperatures worse than New York, they tired of the cold of winter and decided they would join Brother
Benjamin and his family in Jacksonville. In 1905 along with sister Sarah, brother Harry they all relocated
to Jacksonville. Shortly after their arrival, they moved into a home at 320 Jefferson Street. Like many of
the new immigrants, Max had no professional training and since they did not make cigars or have many
soda shops in Jacksonville, he decided to become a peddler, buying and selling bottles and other used

Ida contributed to the family income by converting some of the rooms in their home so they could be
rented to boarders. Max was still intrigued with the soda shops of New York and he became dismayed with
the peddling business. Since he already had a considerable inventory of bottles, he decided to make a
drinking soda, which he and Ida would concoct, and he would sell it off his cart.
The Jewish people always have had a love for seltzer water. (Do not forget the 2-cent egg cream in NY)
Max decided to add some sweetener to the seltzer color it with caramel and Eureka, the Witten Soda Pop
was born. Now only one problem existed. Max had a very limited amount of capital to invest. Bottles he
had, seltzer water was easy to make and plentiful, the food coloring could be acquired at a reasonable price.
However, the only ingredient that would be costly was the sweetener, which was sugar and Max could ill
afford to buy this ingredient in any great quantities.

A chemical substance called saccharin had recently been introduced to the American market as an
artificial sweetener. Although Max was no graduate chemist, it was easy for him to figure out that if he
used the new substance at a cheaper price than sugar, he figured he would have the most popular drink on
every Jewish table in La Villa, Jacksonville's own shetel. Although he did not know at the time Max
Witten had created the first "Diet Cola". At last, he figured he was on the road to fame and fortune.
Unfortunately a Federal Regulatory Agency felt that what Max was producing was considered an
adulterated product and they ordered him to cease and desist. Little did this regulatory body realize that
they stopped the first product that would sweep the world as Diet Soda. But in the 1900's it was a no-no

Although discouraged by this rejection of his new product, Max would not be beaten. He had a large
investment in his bottles so the next best plan was to open Standard Bottle Works which he did in 1913.
Max ran the bottle business until 1918. This was enough of bottles and he became interested in dealing
with livestock. Remember when Max, as a young man, went to South Africa he was peddling milk to the
populace of Johannesburg. Max always had a dairy cow or two in his backyard on Jefferson Street, which
by the way backed up to the YMHA building. He tried to train his oldest son Louis how to milk the cows
but Louie would have no part of it, so the responsibility fell on son number 2, Ike. Ike would milk the
cows, Chaia Risa would make butter and cheese, and Louie was then given the responsibility to deliver the
finish products to the neighbors. Now with Max doing some livestock trading, money coming in from the
boarders and the sale of dairy products, the Wittens were on their way of establishing a financial foothold
in their new country.

I interviewed Max and Ida's youngest son Joe as to what he remembered about the old days. He said
one thing was he had to check his bedroom each night before retiring because if someone came to the house
that could afford a night's lodging, Joe had to find another place to bed down.

Max and Ida always had room for a family member that needed a place to stay. When Ben-Zion's two
children, Louis and Freidal arrived in Jacksonville, they found lodging at the home of Uncle Max and Tante
Chaia Risa. In fact, Louis stayed with the Wittens until his marriage to Marsha Kwart.

The cattle business became very lucrative for Max. He would buy dairy cows from one farmer and sell
it to another. If by chance the cow delivered a calf before the sale had transpired, he would make an
additional profit by selling the calf to his brother-in-law Benjamin who ran Safer's Kosher Market. Calves
Liver even in those days brought a premium price and do not forget Veal cutlets.
As the years past, and his four sons grew up, the three older sons had no interest in the cattle business.
Louie wanted to be a musician; Ike said he would do anything rather than sit on a milk stool; and Sam
decided at a very early age that he wanted to go to college. Only his youngest Joe would follow in his
father's footsteps. Joe went even further. He also became a veterinarian. He then not only took care of the
dairy he was also able to treat the cattle as well as offer his services to the other dairies in the Jacksonville

By 1918 with the livestock business flourishing, Max decided to divest himself of the Standard Bottle
Works by selling his inventory to his brother-in-law Max Mendel and his own brother, Ben Witten who
was also living in the city. Max Mendel owned a shoe store on Davis Street at the time but felt he would be
better off financially in the bottle business. Thus Max Mendel and Ben Witten opened Southern Barrel and
Bottle Co. This would eventually lead to the formation of Duval Bottle and finally to Duval Container Co.
in which his son Joe P. Safer would be president.

By 1924 and his youngest son Joe only seven years old, it was time for the youngster to learn the dairy
business. Joe's description of his father was that he was a shrewd businessman knowing exactly what was
necessary to "turn a buck". However Max had just one slight flaw, which would have been a major
deterrence for most men. Max never learned to read or write English. So at seven years old, Joe became
Secretary and Treasurer of the Max Witten Dairy. Sophie, Joe's wife, said Joe actually had to write the
checks for the business.

Louie was born in New York in October, 1901. When the family moved to Jacksonville in 1906, Lou
found his cousins Jake, Makey and Eddie ready to greet him. They were all about the same age and would
make great playmates especially since Uncle Benjamin and Tante Freda Leah lived just around the corner
from the Witten home. At an early age, Lou had an "ear" for music, but not to the pleasure of his mother.
It seems Lou picked the percussions (drums) as his instruments of choice. Louie wanted to be a
professional drummer and he started by beating on anything and everything in his house that would not
beat back. He would drive his mother completely insane. In her own defense, and to save her head, she
would send him to Tante Freda Leah's house. Once in the home of his favorite aunt, he would sit at the
kitchen table with two sticks and beat out a rhythm that he thought would surely entertain her. He got a
poor reception from his aunt who would take him by the ear and march him to the door.

Feeling his musical talents was not appreciated; Lou decided he could excel in athletics. Being a well-
built young man, Louis Witten turned to wrestling. That was not the worse thing that could happen to a
nice Jewish boy but he picked as his opponents "bears". This was not the way to go. After only a few
bouts, Louie decided music was the best route. In his early 20's, Lou was hired as a musician at the
Imperial Theater on Forsyth Street. At the time, the theater offered vaudeville acts, which required live
music. Max decided he his son did not need to be in the entertainment business, so he opened him a
clothing store on Davis Street not too far from his uncles Harry and Morris Falis. Although he remained in
the business, his heart was always music. In later years, Lou formed his own band. Louis Witten and his
Orchestra with the Maestro on the drums entertained many Jewish weddings.

Lou married Rose Magrill who was a cousin to Sally Pearliman who in turn married Lou's cousin David
Safer. Louis and Rose had three children, Helen, Harriet and Edward. Lou passed away in 1963 and Rose
in 1991.

Ike, the second son was born, 1903 in New York. His Hebrew name was Itzak Although a northerner
by birth, Ike always felt he was a native Floridian. Like all the children in the Safer, Witten, Falis, Clan,
each child once he became of age was assigned a chore that would in some way make a contribution to the
family's well being. I have already described that Ike made an excellent milker of the family cow at the
age of nine years. Not one to complain, Ike was not pleased with his assigned duties. Across the street
from the Wittens lived the Biscow family. Sam Biscow was a cousin to the Safer's on their mother's side
"The Sweetgals". Sam Biscow had four beautiful daughter one being Gertrude, probably named for his
aunt Vita Gettel Sweetgal, the mother of Hinda Reiza. Ike took a fancy to his distant cousin and not having
too far to travel for his date, the two became childhood sweethearts. The two were married in 1924.

Gert's father passed away from food poisoning, it seems he ate some contaminated oysters. Mrs Biscow
continued the family business, the Bell Department Store. Ike had some secretarial training but after his
marriage to Gert, he entered the family business. Later, the two opened their own Witten's Smart Shop at
302 Main Street. Ike and Gert's two sons, Samuel and Paul Jerry both entered the medical profession,
Samuel as a doctor and Jerry as a dentist. Jerry went in practice with his Uncle Sam and after Sam's
retirement, his own son Andrewjoined him. Ike passed away in 1988 and his son Samuel died suddenly in
January 1995.
Sam was the third son and the first to be born in Jacksonville in 1907. Sam was the first of the family to
attend college. He entered the Dental program at Vanderbilt University. Upon his graduation, he returned
to Jacksonville and opened his practice. Sam married Jean Stein in 1931 and they had two daughters Ina
and Barbara. Ina married Larry Richter, who passed away in 1993 and Barbara is married to Gerald
Glickstein. Sam was not only a fine professional, but he excelled as a Master of Ceremonies. He was in
great demand to tell his stories of "Life in Jacksonville in the Good Old Days". He would capture the
audience and they never wanted him to stop. Sam passed away in 1990 while playing golf his favorite
pastime. Jean died in 2000.
Sam(Dutch)Witten, Star of YMHA Team


Joseph was another grandchild who was named in memory of Joseph Shraga. At a very early age Joe
joined the family business and was his father's right hand man, even though he was too young to even
drive (age 7 ), but he knew he was destined to enter the family business since his older brothers had no
interest what so ever. Joe graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and intended to register at the
University of Florida. The family decided it would be best if Joe would go to Veterinary School and
learn how to take care of the "bread and butter" of the family business. Joe entered the Veterinary
College at Auburn University. This was not an easy task for a Jewish boy to try to enter the veterinary
program and especially in Alabama.

Joe was an outstanding student and he graduated at the top of his class. Upon graduation, Joe returned
to Jacksonville and combined his veterinary practice with the operation of the family dairy business. Joe
is married to Sophie Spiwak. The two were married in 1940 and their children include Bruce who is
practicing medicine in St. Augustine and daughter Maxine who is married to Judge Jerry Funk

Ida and Joseph circa 1923

Max and his Four Sons

From 1 to r: Joe, Max Lou, Ike, Sam

Sarah and Morris Falis


Sarah, the second daughter in the Dibobes Family was born in Panevezys in 1879. Her Hebrew name
was Cipa (see genealogy documents in appendix). Sarah left Lithuania with her sister Ida to come to
America in 1900 at the age of 21.

Naturally, when the brothers and her sister left New York in 1905 Sarah was part of the group to
relocate in Jacksonville. Shortly after her arrival, she met and married Morris Falis. The above picture is
their wedding picture or least the picture was taken on their honeymoon. It seems Morris has his hand
resting on the head of a Gator and his fingers are holding the upper jaw. We know the marriage took place
in 1906 but the family does not know if they met in New York and married there or if they met in
Jacksonville. Whichever story is correct the 1906 marriage date is correct and they then opened a dry
goods store at 702 Davis Street. As was the case in many young married families that had a business, the
back of the store became their residence. Morris ran the store until his passing in 1937. Each of his four
sons were conscripted to work in the store but it was his third son Alex, who would eventually take over the
business and the name of the store was then changed to the Star Department store after the death of Morris.
Alex passed away in 1977.

Harry the oldest son married Celia Engler in 1928 and their daughter Jacqueline was born in 1931. In
1932, Harry became an agent for the Prudential Insurance Co. in Jacksonville and Celia was a secretary in
the Federal Building. Celia was also an accomplished musician, playing the violin for the Jacksonville
Symphony Orchestra for over forty years. During the depression jobs were scarce, Harry found work at the
local Western Union office. After several years, he became manager of the local office. Harry laterjoined
the Multi-Clean Office of St. Paul Mn and became their Southern Representative. Jacqueline married Dr.
Sorrell Wolfson. Harry died in 1974, Celia in 1989 and Jacqueline in 2003.

The Four Falis Boys

Harry, Simon, Alex, Joseph

After the death of his father, Alex took on the responsibility of running the family business. Although
the name was changed, the location remained the same at the original site of the business on Davis Street.
After seventy years, the store finally closed with the death of Alex in 1977. Alex married Rita Zaslow in
1937 and their two children include Marsha and Marvin. Marsha married Alvin Coplan and later Melvin
Jawitz. Marvin is married to Shirley Byrd and they reside in Tampa with their family. Rita passed away in

Simon married Alice Woronow in 1946 and relocated to South Florida. Their children include Karen
who is married to Bruce Roth and Joseph who is married to Cecelia Homick. Simon passed away in 1986.

Joseph Philip was the youngest of the Falis boys and in the tradition of the family he too was named
after his grandfather Joseph Shraga. With so many Joes as cousins, each had a particular nickname and
Joseph Philip became "Nachas" which in Hebrew means joy. Nachas also worked in the family business as
he was growing up but then got ajob with the Setzer Grocery Chain Stores. After completing his military
service, he went to work at Florida Pipe and Supply, a company owned by the Wolfson family of
Jacksonville. Joe married Joan Attmayer and their children included Michael, Marilyn, and Sarah. Joe
passed away in 1957 and later Joan married Bernie Maron of Jacksonville.

Sarah passed away in 1953

Mama Sara

Harry and Fannie

If any member of the Safer family could be described as a bon-vi-vant, it would be Harry.
Harry was the next to the youngest of the Dibobes children His date of birth was 1899 in Panevezys.
Like the rest of the family, we know nothing of his early childhood in Lithuania but we do know he went
along with the other brothers to South Africa in the 1890's. We learned he was employed in a clothing
factory in Johannesburg and it was probably there that he learned his trade.

Arriving in New York in 1905, he went along with the rest of the family to Jacksonville. On his arrival
it appears Harry moved in with brother Benjamin and Freda Leah and their growing family. He
immediately got ajob at Finkelstein's Pawn Shop on West Bay Street. In 1908, Harry married Fannie
Rosen and the following year he opened a shoe store on Davis Street, not too far from the Falis store. In
1909, their daughter Annie was born and surely, she too was named after her great grandmother Chana
Sofer Dibobes. Harry in fact named all his children after his grandparents. or parents. Ben, the next child
was named for Benjamin Dibobes, the great grandfather then Josephine who was born not long after the
death of Joseph Shraga in 1912 was name for him and their final child Joseph G. was also named for
Joseph Shraga.

In 1912 after the birth of Josephine, the family moved to 1103 W. Duval Street only a couple of blocks
down the street from the rest of the family. By 1916, Harry's shoe business was expanding and he decided
to utilize the trade he learned in South Africa so he added a tailor shop to the business. According to
family members, Harry was considered one of the finest tailors in Jacksonville.

The Bris of Joseph G, Nov. 30, 1914


This picture is of the men (also there are 3 women on the back row) of the orthodox Jacksonville Jewish
community. His brothers and brothers-in-law are in attendance.

The women of the Jewish community who attended the Bris. Fannie is still confined to bed rest since it has only
been the eighth day since the birth of her son.
Both of the pictures were taken at the Safer home at 1103 W. Duval Street.

Benjamin's son David, went to work for his Uncle Harry as a shoe salesman. David was no slouch as a
sales clerk but he admitted his Uncle Harry was always one up on him. Harry would offer his star salesman
(his nephew) spiff money (an extra bonus) if he could sell off the old merchandise that was either last
year's model or just the wrong color. David took advantage and made every effort to push the old
merchandise since he was assured of some extra spending money. Dr. J.V. also Benjamin's son described
his Uncle Harry as a regular "guy", who adapted easily to his new adopted country. J.V. said his uncle
always wore the best of clothes and in the off hours when the store was closed, Harry was an avid angler.
After many years of success in both the shoe business as well as his tailor shop, Harry followed his brother
Jacob by investing in Real Estate.

In 1925, Harry was the second Safer to leave La Villa and relocate to Springfield. He bought a home at
1342-44 Silver Street, just 3 doors away from Jacob and Ida. Harry and Fannie stayed in the home until
their passing Harry in 1947 and Fannie in 1952. Of recent note, with the restoration of Springfield, Fannie
and Harry's house has become a landmark. It was sold recently and is being restored. In the official
records at the Restoration Offices, the house is now recorded as the "Safer House"
Harry died in 1947 and Fannie in 1952.

Annie and Josephine remained single both working in office management for various companies in
Jacksonville. Annie excelled in typing. In her first year as a student of Florida Business College, she won
the novice typing championship and the State Accuracy title by typing 73 net words a minute with only two
errors. For her effort, she received a trip to California and represented Florida in an international typing
contest. Josephine died in 1981 and Annie in 1996. Both girls lived in the family house until their death.

Benjamin married Mary Leibowitz of Jacksonville and their two daughters were Carole and Arlene.
Carole married Charles Cherry. Ben was an executive for Florida Pipe and Supply in Orlando. Both Ben
and Mary have passed away Mary in 1996 and Ben about six months later in 1997.

Joe G, the youngest of the family entered the military during World War II and retired as a Colonel.
Joe married Loretta Ludlam and they have two daughter Jo Anne and Kathryn. The family resides in

Max Mendel and Freidal Vita

Max Mendel was the youngest in the Dibobes family born November 5, 1883 in Panevezys.
(See document in the appendix). After conversations with his children Joe P and Miriam, they said their
father did not speak about his early life in Lithuania. We know that he went to South Africa with his
brothers when he was about fifteen years old. He told his children that times were very difficult and he
would take odd jobs like waiting on tables in restaurants for tips and he even became a cook in one of the
establishments. Whatever his income along with that of his brothers, a certain amount was probably sent to
their parents each month.

Mendel and Harry stayed in South Africa after Jacob and Max Witten left. Harry was to leavet in 1905
and Mendel in 1906. I am sure some of the delay was attributed to saving enough cash after living
expenses, to pay for passage to America. Mendel arrived in New York and immediately went to
Jacksonville. The Jacksonville City Directory list Mendel's first address at 315 Bridge Street. (Bridge
Street was renamed Broad Street). Mendel first job like his brother Harry was at Finkelstein's. Mendel's
first wife was Ethel Baker who he married in 1908. Their daughter Eva was born pre-maturely in 1909.
The story was told that Eva was so small that after the parents brought her home she was placed in a
shoebox and the box was placed on the radiator for warmth. The couple and the infant daughter moved to
their residence to 814 Davis Street and lived in the back of the store that was to become Max Safer Shoe

In 1911, Ethel died suddenly, leaving Mendel and his eighteen-month daughter were alone.

Max Safer's Shoe Store
814 Davis Street


Two years earlier, Freidal, the eldest daughter of brother David Ben-Zion, arrived in Jacksonville. She
moved in with her uncle and aunt, Ida and Max Witten. After Ethel's death, Freidal would spend time
caring for Eva. Mendel and Freidal decided to marry. Under Jewish law, an uncle could marry a niece, but
an aunt could not marry a nephew. However under Florida law, and for that matter in most of the United
States, the marriage would be declared illegal. This was except for the state of Rhode Island, who
sanctioned such a marriage. The two boarded a train for Rhode Island and were married March 3, 1912. In
the meantime, Dora Berman, a sister of Ethel asked if she and her husband could raise Eva, since they
were childless. Eva now 2 years old went to live with her aunt and uncle.

Ida Gertrude was Mendel and Freidal's first child born in 1913. She was named after her great
grandmother and great great grandmother, Vita Getel Sweetgal and Chaia Sofer Dibobes.. Their second
child a son, Joseph Philip who was given the Hebrew name of his grandfather Joseph Shraga, was born a
year later in 1914. Mendel and Freidal moved to 316 Jefferson Street, next door to Ida and Max Witten.
They continued to run the shoe store on Davis Street. Davis Street could have been named Safer street
since Sarah and Morris, Harry and Fannie and Mendel and Freidal all had stores within a block of each

Mendel tired of the shoe business so he opened a five and dime store for a short time but in 1918, his
brother-in-law Max Witten sold him, along with Max's brother Ben, the Standard Bottle Company. The
next year Mendel and Ben opened Southern Barrel and Bottle Co. and in 1920, the two ventured into a
business called Jax Auto Parts. They expanded their bottle business to include barrels and they changed the
name to Duval Barrel and Junk Co. In 1927, the City Directory listed two separate business enterprises,
Duval Bottle and Can Supply at 515-25 Davis St. and the other The Bottle and Can Supply Co. at 1104
Davis Street with Max Safer as president, Ben Witten, vice president and M. Cohen secretary and

The business continued to grow and eventually it was renamed Duval Barrel Company and moved to
Myrtle Avenue. Joe P., although he went to the University of Florida and earned a degree in Business, was
destined to come into the family business. The business grew even larger with Joe P. as president.

A cousin, Jose Talpalar also entered the business and after Joe P. retired Jose continued the business until
his retirement. In 1927, Joe P. age thirteen, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the synagogue founded by his
Uncle Jacob, Keneses Israel Synagogue at 4th and Pearl Street. The next year Mendel and Freidal's
daughter Ida passed away. Mendel passed away in 1955 and Freidal in 1973.

The Bris of Joe P. Safer, 1914

a T

From 1. to r: Eva, Ida Safer, Fannie Safer, Ida Witten, Ida Gertrude Safer Sarah Falis and Fredel Safer in the

~i i

Those identified from I to r Harry Safer, Eva (Berman)Safer, Sarah Falis holding son Alex and in the shadow in
Freda Leah Safer and behind her is Ida Safer, Fannie Rosen and Ida Witten. The other women and children
are not identifiable.

Mendel's daughter Eva married Ben Chepenik whose family was in the produce business in
Jacksonville. Eva was very active in the Jewish community as well as Ben. Ben even served as
scoutmaster of Troop 14, affiliated with the Jacksonville Jewish Center. They had six children three girls
and three boys, Ethel Rose, Marcus, Barney, Samuel, Sheva and Iris. Sheva and Iris both live in Israel with
their spouses and children. After leaving Jacksonville, Eva and Ben moved to Pittsburgh where Ben died in
1968. Eva then moved to Baltimore where Ethel Rose and her family as well as Samuel lived. Eva
returned to Florida when her daughter Ethel Rose and husband Morris Goodmark and relocated to
Orlando. It is here that Eva passed away in 1992.

Joseph Philip another grandson to be named for grandfather Joseph Shraga. Joe P. was very active in
the local youth groups as a teenager. He was a member of Scout Troop 14. He attended the University of
Florida and graduated with a degree in Business. Jobs were very hard to come by during the height of the
depression. He turned his sights toward teaching in the public schools. His first assignment was in
Greenwood, Fl located in the middle of the Panhandle. Not discouraged, he did an excellent job His
reward for his effort was a job a little closer to home in Callahan.

At first, Mendel did not want his son to come into the family business. Mendel felt that the job he could
offer his son was not fit for an educator. Joe persisted and entered the family business and the business
under his direction grew beyond Mendel's wildest dreams. Besides the business and naturally his family,
which included his wife Ruth and sons Howard and Donald, Joe dedicated his life to the Jewish community
and the Jewish people wherever they may be.

High Fashion of 1912, Mrs. Ida Witten, Max Mendel and Freidal Safer

Mendel, Freidal with Miriam, Ida, Joe P.

Joe P. Ida, Miriam

Eva (Berman) Safer and Ben Chepenik
Wedding Picture July 3,1932

C- *^'N 8

Joe P & Ruth Safer, Mendel & Freidal Safer, and Howard Safer
Picture circa, 1946-47

Miriam and Frank Rose, 1972

Joe was a founding member of the Beth Shalom Synagogue. He worked untold hours for the good of
the Jewish Federation and was very influential with the formation of the Jewish Community Alliance. He
received many honors from not only local organizations but also those recognized nationally and
internationally, these include those from the Brotherhood of Christians and Jews, Israel Bonds, UJA, JNF
and many more.

Our own family is fortunate to claim Joe P as a relative. Joe P. his wife Ruth, his sister Miriam and
husband Frank Rose came up with the idea of having a Safer Family Reunion. The first reunion was set for
Labor Day, 1972 and held at the Jacksonville Hilton Hotel. It just happened that my son Steven's Bar
Mitzvah was the same weekend, so many of the family came to attend both events. Fortunately, my mother
Mary, who was the caterer, never knew we had so many relatives. Both socials were a great success and
from that start, the Safer, Falis, and Witten families held a total of 26 annual reunions, the last being held
in 1996. Since then we have met periodically for a family cruise, which brought 75 of us together again,
and also we have had some luncheon meetings and Family Passover Seders.

In 1940 Joe P. married Ruth Bograd of Baltimore, Md. Ruth told me that when they got married they
were not sure where they were going to live or for that matter where Joe could find a job. Their two sons
Howard, a CPA and Donald now retired, both reside in Nashville. Joe P passed away in 2000.

Miriam was the youngest of the children born in 1915. As children go, she claims that she was the
feistiest. She told me that she would drive her father bonkers after he returned home from a hard day's
labor. One year Mendel was happy to send Freidal to Cuba to visit her mother and father if she would
agree to take Mickey along with her. Mickey also married a citizen of Baltimore, Frank Rose. Frank was
in the Financial Loan business and they relocated to Miami. Their three sons Stanley, Alan and Stuart all
led active lives. Stanley and Alan were executives in the hotel business while Stuart was a Financial
Consultant in the State of Florida.

Miriam and Frank left Miami and moved to Jacksonville and Frank joined the family business, Duval
Container. Frank devised our first family numbering system to which some of the cousins still refer too. I
myself am "2C-1" I will not go into the details of the numbering system but if you are interested try to
figure your own. As of the date of this current publication, we now have 712 cousins..

Frank passed away in 1994 and Mickey in 2000. With the loss of the two along with Joe P. who also
died in 2000. They will always be in the hearts of those who had the opportunity to know and work with
them. All their kin sorely miss them.

Safer, Witten, Falis Chronology
From 1902-1939

Benjamin Safer arrived in Jacksonville in August, 1902 to serve as the Spiritual Leader of the
Congregation B'nai Israel. His duties also included being the Mohl, Shochet, Hebrew Teacher, and what
other duties they could bestow on him.

The following is the Chronological History of the Family; the data compiled from the Jacksonville City
Directories. The information was limited to the 37 years which covered most of the original family and
their direct descendents.


Congregation B'nai Israel met at the Masonic Temple on Bridge Street (now Broad Street). The following
were the administrators for the congregation.
Benjamin Saffer Rabbi (note spelling of last name)
Max Frank President
I.H. Pelton Vice President
Frank Bandel Treasurer


Freda Leah Safer, arrives in Jacksonville with the first four children Bluma, Jake, Makey, Eddie


Congregation B'nai Israel's officers
Benjamin Saffer Rabbi
H. Hammerman President
M. Wexler Vice President
I.H. Pilton Treasurer
H. Goldman Secretary
Benjamin and family reside at 632 W. Adams Street.


Benjamin Saffer and family now resides at 1207 W. Adams Street. The members of the family come to
Jacksonville. Harry Saffer is a clerk at Finkelstein's at 601 W. Bay Street and is living with Benjamin and
family. Max and Ida Witten are living at 320 Jefferson Street. Sarah marries Morris Falis.


Sarah and Morris Falis open a dry goods store at 712 Davis Street. This is also the address of their
residence. Max Mendel Saffer is a clerk at Finkelstein's and resides at 315 Bridge Street (Broad Street).
This same year the American Jewish Yearbook published by the Jewish Publication Society of America,
Henrietta Zold, publisher, lists the following information about the B'nai Israel Congregation of
Benjamin Saffer Cantor
Isaac Davis President
Morris Glickstein Treasurer
H. Bandell Secretary
The congregation has 75 member families with assets of $1200.00. It conducted daily services, had a
cheddar with 1 teacher and 30 pupils.


Jacob Safer and family moves to Jacksonville bringing with them the nephew Louis, son of David Ben-
Zion. B'nai Israel Congregation establishes a Jewish Cemetery on Rock Road. (Now Evergreen


Jacob Safer (family drops an"f' from the name) runs Safer's Delicatessen and groceries at 703-705 West
Adams Street. The family now resides at 1028 W. Monroe Street. Harry Safer is a clerk at Finkelstein's
and resides at the home of his brother Jacob. Benjamin and family has moved to 352 Madison Street.
Freidal, the daughter of David Ben-Zion arrives in New York and is met by her Uncle Jacob. She comes
immediately to Jacksonville


Congregation B'nai Israel has completed its synagogue at 701 W. Duval Street. Benjamin is the Rabbi and
also is owner of Safer's Kosher Market at 609 West Adams Street. He and the family reside at 831 West
Duval Street.

Harry and Fannie Safer opens a shoe store at 720 Davis Street and are living at the same address. Max
Mendel has opened a shoe store at 814 Davis Street. He his wife Ethel and daughter Eva list their home at
the same address. Sarah and Morris Falis operates their clothing store at 702 Davis Street and have moved
into an apartment with Ida and Max Witten. Ida and Max lives at 320 Jefferson Street. Freidal and her
brother Louis are living with Ida and Max. Louis also becomes a clerk for Finkelstein's


Harry and Fannie move to 1028 W. Monroe Street, the former residence of his brother Jacob. Sarah and
Morris list their home at 1021 W. Monroe Street. Ethel the wife of Max Mendel passes away


Congregation B'nai Israel hires Rev. J.B. Menkes as its Rabbi. Benjamin and family move to 1229 W
Monroe Street. Harry and Fannie live at 1103 W. Duval Street, Jacob, and Ida at 763 W. Duval St. Max
Mendel marries his niece Freidal in Rhode Island. Nephew Louis is living with Ida and Max Witten and
their three sons Louie, Ike, and Sam.
(Joseph Shraga, died and was buried in Panevezys. Cause of death Cancer of the Urinary Bladder)


Sarah and Morris move to 316 Jefferson Street, next to Ida and Max. Max Mendel and Freidal move in
with Sarah and Morris. Max Witten is owner of Standard Bottle Works and the place of business is listed
at his residence, 320 Jefferson Street.


Congregation B'nai Israel hires Rev. A.H. Zeligsohn as Rabbi. Benjamin moves the kosher market to 825
W. Adams St. The nephew Louis marries Marsha Kwart and is still a clerk at Finkelstein"s.


Louis and Marsha reside at 21 Union Street


Harry opens a tailor shop at 720 Davis St. Jacob V. eldest son of Benjamin becomes a clerk for Laser
Klepper. Louis and Marsha move to 617 Hogan St. Max Mendel's shoe store is located at 1003 Davis
Street and his place of residence in 311 Jefferson St.


Benjamin is Rabbi again of the congregation. He along with Jacob has combined the kosher market with
the delicatessen. The business location is 703 W. Adams St. J.V. has become a clerk at Red Cross
Pharmacy. Max Mendel moves the shoe store to 839 Kings Road and his residence is 711 W. Duval Street.


Benjamin and Freda Leah with the twelve children move to 414 Jefferson St. next door to the synagogue.
Eddie, Benjamin's son is clerk at Finkelstein's. Max Mendel and Ben Witten, the brother of Max Witen
open Southern Barrel and Bottle Co. at 1556 Kings Rd. and Mendel and family now resides at 312
Jefferson St. Louis and Marsha move to 316 Jefferson St.


Congregation B'nai Israel hires a new Rabbi for one year, Rev. Salostein. Benjamin and Jacob move the
kosher market and delicatessen to 127 Broad St.


Benjamin is agin Rabbi of B'nai Israel. Harry Falis, the eldest son of Sarah and Morris becomes a clerk in
the family business. J.V. is employed by J.E. Wilson, as a pharmacist. Mendel and Ben Witten open Jax
Auto Parts at 516 Davis St. Louie Witten, becomes a clerk for Harry in the tailor shop. Harry and Fannie
moves to 1036 Monroe St.


Abba and Israel, Benjamin's twin sons enter into the family business. Israel starts to work for Jacob in the
delicatessen and Abba is working for his dad in the market. Ike Witten is a stenographer. Mendel and Ben
Witten open Duval Barrel and Junk at 515 Davis St. Mendel and his family moved to 751 Duval St. Ida
and Max are still living at 320 Jefferson St. Max is referred to as a cattleman.


Israel becomes a clerk for J. Goldstein and J.V. is the owner of Reyno Pharmacy on Davis St. Louis and
Marsha moves to 742 W. Duval St. Makey, Benjamin's second son is working at Safer's Kosher Market.
Jacob and Ida are the first of the family to relocate to Springfield buying a home at 149 W. 3rd St. He
turned over the delicatessen business to Benjamin and he is now in the real estate market. Mendel and
Freidal relocate again, this time to 703 W. Duval St., next to the synagogue. On June 5, Jacob along with
members of the family as well as some other congregants leaves B'nai Israel and form a new congregation
Keneses Israel. The first service held on Shavuot at Jacob's home on W. 3rd St. with Benjamin serving as
Rabbi of the congregation.


Congregation B'nai Israel hires C.A. Press as Rabbi. Sarah and Morris moves to 753 Duval St. Benjamin
and Freda Leah and eleven of the twelve children move to a big Colonial Style home at 725 W. Monroe St.
Bluma, married Abe Haimowitz is now living in Orlando. J.V. is manager of Standard Drug Co.
Max Mendel and family move into the former residence of brother Jacob at 763 Duval St. Louis and
Marsha now live in the house formally occupied by Benjamin and Freda Leah at 414 Jefferson St. Ike
Witten is working as a stenographer for PRG Sjostrom.


Safer's Kosher Market and Delicatessen is now located at 703 W. Adams St. Harry and Fannie relocate to
Springfield and is living at 1736 Silver St. Israel in a clerk for Goldstein's and brother Eddie is a clerk at
Finkelstein's Luggage Shop. Ike marries Gertrude Biscow and enters his mother-in-law Annie Biscow's
business Bell Department Store as a clerk. Louie, Ike's older brother is a registered musician at the
Imperial Theater on Forsyth St.


Benjamin becomes Rabbi of B'nai Israel Congregation for another time. Ike and Gert moves into 638 W.
Monroe St. Harry Falis is a clerk for Western Union and his brother Simon is working for his father and
mother Morris and Sarah. Moe Safer, Jacob's son is a student at the University of Florida and J.V. is
completing his pre-med studies at the University of Florida. J.V. becomes a charter member of the TEP
fraternity at UF.


Harry and Fannie move to 1522 Silver St. Max Mendel is the next family to relocate to Springfield after
buying a duplex at 2262 Laura St. Max and Ida still live in La Villa but Max is listed as a Real Estate
Broker. David Ben-Zion and his wife Sara Sheva is now living with Mendel and Freidal.

Benjamin again becomes Rabbi of Knesses Israel now located at 1553 Pearl St. His nephew Joe P., son of
Mendel has his Bar Mitzvah at Knesses Israel. Harry Falis returns to the family business while his brother
Simon becomes manager of Universal Film Exchange. Celia, the daughter of Jacob is a typist for the
Internal Revenue Service. Perry, Benjamin's son is running the Shulman Confectionary Store at 715 W.
Adams St. and brother David is his clerk. Ike and Gert move to 2055 College St. in Riverside and brother
Louie is clerking at the Bell Department Store. Max Mendel and Ben Witten change the business name to
Duval Bottle and Can Co., Max Mendel is the president, Ben Witten, vice president and M. Cohen,
secretary and treasurer.
David Ben-Zion the oldest brother passed away at the age of 64.


Ida and Max Witten move to Riverside, 2051 College St. They remained at this address until their deaths.
Max Mendel sells the bottle and can enterprise to Mayer Cohen and reopens Duval Barrel and Junk at 515
Davis St with his old partner Ben Witten. The newly formed Conservative congregation purchases
property at 205 W. 3r St. in Springfield. They hire Rev. Samuel Benjamin as the Rabbi and they become
the Jacksonville Jewish Center. Louie moves back with his parents on College St.


David is a clerk at Safer's Kosher Market and Delicatessen. Louie relocates to 738 Monroe St and his
brother Sam opens his dental office at 206 W. Forsyth St, Room 30. Congregation B'nai Israel is listed at
both the Duval St. as well as 3rd and Silver Streets.


Nothing to report about the family.


Morris Falis and his son Harry changes the name of the store to F & F Department Store. Brother Alex
joins the family business and is a clerk. Benjamin is once more Rabbi of B'nai Israel Congregation on
Duval St. Annie, Harry's daughter is a stenographer for the IRS. Faye, Jacob's daughter is a student at
Florida State University. Hyman is a salesman and Benjamin's daughter Ida is a bookkeeper for the
Kosher Market. Moe graduated from Law School and opens his office in Jacksonville and Sam moves his
dental practice to 117 W. Duval St. Room 424.


Bessie Levin Safer, wife of Hyman is a salesperson for French Novelty Shop, a business owned by the
Mizrahi family and Hyman is a clerk for Setzer's Grocery Stores. The kosher market and delicatessen is
now known as Safer Bros. Kosher Market and Delicatessen and is at to 614 W. Adams St. Thestore
remains at this address until the 1950's when it is relocated to 1501 San Marco Blvd. on the Southside.
David is now working for Denmark Produce Co. Joe G., the youngest son of Harry is a student and his
sister Josephine is a stenographer for Peter's Cartridge Co. Moe moves his law office to 108 W. Forsyth
St Room 625. Perry joins the family business and becomes a butcher in the kosher market. Jean Stein
Witten, the wife of Sam is a private secretary for South East Toro Co. and the two now live in Riverside at
2737 College, just a few short blocks from Sam's parents and his brother Ike. Harry Safer is now a Real
Estate Broker. Louie Witten opens his own dry goods store at 902 Davis St.


Sarah and Morris is the next of the family to move to Springfield. Their new home is located at 2015 Perry
St. Their son Harry joins the Prudential Insurance Co as an agent. Benjamin and Freda Leah also relocates
to Springfield moving to a home at 1756 Pearl Street and he is actually listed as Rabbi of the Jacksonville
Jewish Center at 3rd and Silver Sts. Faye is now a teacher at Fishweir Elementary School and Josephine is
now a secretary for the Hajoca Corp. Pearl Weiss Safer is secretary for her brother Harry Katz at his law
office. Perry and Pearl live at 2223 College St. Apt. 4. Perry has joined Setzer's Grocery as a clerk.
Hyman is now a manager of one of the Setzer's Store.


Harry Falis is the next member of the family to join the Setzer Stores as a sales clerk at Store #5. Jacob has
a new business venture known as Nation Dye Works. Setzer Stores now employ Rubye, Moe's wife. Ike
and Gert Witten open a dress shop known as Witten's Smart Shop on Main Street. Louie Witten and his
wife Rose are running his dry goods business at 902 Davis St and they live at 1113 Gilmore St. Sam and
Jean Witten now live at 2829 Hershel St. Apt 13.


Safer Bros. Kosher Market and Delicatessen is now being run by Abba and David. J.V. returns to
Jacksonville and opens his medical practice at 117 W. Duval St. Room 449. Perry becomes an assistant
jailer for the Duval Co. Sheriff s Dept. Rex Sweat, Sheriff. Harry Falis is a clerk for Western Union. Joe
P. Safer is a student at the University of Florida. Abba and Eunice as well as David and his wife Sally are
residing at 1115 Gilmore St. Josephine is a clerk for the U.S. Engineers.


Joe Falis the youngest of the Falis family becomes a clerk in the family business on Davis St.
Abba and Eunice move to 126 W. 6th St. Apt 2. David and Sally now live at 2842 Park St.
Apt 1. Hyman is selling electrical supplies at 321 W. Duval St. Dr. J.V. lives at 348 W. 6th St.
Louie and Rose have moved to 2922 Selma St.


Celia Falis, wife of Harry is a typist for the U.S. Treasury. David and Sally have moved to 2891 Selma St.
Rose,daughter of Jacob, is a teacher at Mattie V. Rutherford Elementary School in Springfield. Makey and
Mary and their son Edwin move back to Jacksonville and join his brother Abba to run Safer Kosher
Market. They reside at 2704 Dellwood Avenue.


Alex Falis is the owner of the family business and changes the name to the Star Department Store. Setzer
Stores employ Joe Falis. Benjamin and Freda Leah, who were living in Orlando for the past several years
return to Jacksonville. Benjamin was interim Rabbi for the Ohav Shalom Congregation in Orlando.
Returning to Jacksonville, they reside at 1905 Silver Street, a house purchased by their son Dr. J.V. Living
at home with the parents are daughters Pearl and Ethel, and sons J.V. and Joe. Pearl is a clerk at the Grand
Department Store. Sam and Jean Witten move to 2632 College St.


World War II begins this year. Most of the second generation is now married and many of the third
generation have been born. Harry Falis becomes manager of the local Western Union while Florida Pipe
and Supply employ his brother Joe. Max Witten is shown as owner of Witten's Dairy on Edgewood

This section covers over a third of a century of the history of the family. It begins in 1902 when Benjamin
arrives in Jacksonville and ends with the beginning of World War II. The information in this section was
found in the Annual Jacksonville City Directories. If an individual name does appear in a given year, the
omission was not intentional but was done because no information existed for the individual in that
particular year.


The 50th Wedding Anniversary of Benjamin and Freda Leah
November 1946

Standing 1 to r: David, Ethel, Perry, Pearl, Joe, Ida
Middle row: Israel Abba
Seated 1 to r: Eddie, Bluma, Benjamin, Freda Leah, Jacob V. Max J. (Makey)

Back row Perry Safer, Pearl Safer, Sarah Safer, Eunice Safer, Joe Safer, Irvin Kramer, Dewey Goldberg

Second Row Sally Safer, Dr. Michael Safer, David Safer, Dave Davis, Abe Haimowitz, Abba Safer Gertrude and
Mosie Cooper, Israel and Gertrude Safer, Mary Safer, Dr. Edwin Safer

Third Row Ethel and Henry Davis, Eddie Safer. and Jane Safer Kirschenbaum, Bluma Haimowits, Benjamin,
Freda Leah, Dr. Jacob V. Safer, Ida Goldberg Pearl Kramer

Fourth Row Larry Goldberg, Barbara Safer Rabin, Marilyn Safer Wolfson, Sandra Safer Weiss, Marlene Safer
Sussman, Susan Cooper Signer, Maxine Safer Goldberg, Dr. Irwin Safer, Linda Davis Bressler, Gail Safer
Greemfield, Marsha Kramer Fish, Cynthia Goldberg Freidlin, Sollie Safer

Family Photos of the Family Benjamin and Freda Leah Safer
The Safer Cousins

On the Sofa L to R: Marilyn Wolfson, Marlene Sussman, Barbara Rabin, Maxine Goldberg,
Linda Bressler and Cynthia Goldling Freidlin
Seated on the floor L to R: Sollie Safer, Sandra Weiss, Larry Goldberg, Cat "Mouser"

The Brother-in-Laws

The Sisters

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Dol IhINI,

Photos of Benjamin Safer


Benjamin's Favorite Pose

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Benjamin, Pictures from Israel
This Picture was taken August 1959 a month before he died

Freda Leah and Dr. J.V.

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Freda Leah Safer

Picture Taken 1906

Freda Leah & Perry
'. : .

1935 in Orlando, Fl
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Benjamin and Freda Leah
Passover Seder, 1956

Freda Leah at 1905 Silver Street

The Arrival of the First Great Grand Child, Susan

Bluma Haimowitz, Benjamin, Gertrude Cooper
Freda Leah, Susan Cooper Signer at one year old

Family Seders, 1944 and 1956

Start of Passover Seder, 1956
L to r: Edwin Safer, Makey Safer Freda Leah Benjamin and Abba Safer

' iii

1. r



The Children of Benjamin and Freda Leah All Grown Up, 1967

Top Center Insert Makey, who passed away in 1966.
Standing: 1 to r: Perry, Abe, Mary, Sarah, Eddie, Irvin, Dewey, David, Gertrude,
Israel, Abba, Eunice
Seated: 1 to r: Dave, Ethel, Bluma, Pearlie, Ida, Sally, Pearl



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