Carnegie Rabbis

Rabbi Rudolphe Weiss

When this conversation started, I thought it would a simple one. But it has yielded some very interesting comments and I realized I should have posted it here on the blog so that everyone could see and comment.

This dialogue started with a request from Lynn Donovan asking who were the rabbis when she was a member here between 1958 to 1965. Since my source of historical data, Stan Roth, is no longer with us I sent out an email asking for information. Let me post the responses here and you all can continue the conversation directly.

From Brenda Miller I received the following:
“my husband Larry (Izzy Miller Furniture) and I were married in 1960. Rabbi Rudolph Weiss was the Rabbi who officiated and was the rabbi until 1965. He may have been here longer than that but I do know after he went elsewhere we interviewed a number of rabbi’s, but I don’t remember any being hired. I started teaching Sunday School around 1966 and the only person I recall taking charge was Stan Roth.Hope this helps. I was the one who went to the rabbi’s from Beth El and Temple Emanuel to see if we could start sending our children to one of their Religious school’s. We were taken in by Temple Emanuel, they gave membership to the families who had children in religious school. Some of the families joined on their own after their children were Confirmed. During the High Holidays we hired student rabbi’s to conduct services.”

From Roger Wilk,
“I believe the Rabbi at the time you refer to was Rabbi Rudolph Weiss. I will try and find a document that states that, but since I lived there at that time and Morris was President until 1963 I believe I am correct.”

From Morry Miller,
“Rabbi Rudolph Weiss was a holocost survivor and bore a numbered arm tatoo. Prior to Rabbi Weiss was Rabbi Helfgot. My brother Larry and I had our Bar Mitzvah in the Shule in December of 1949. The Party was held in the downstairs social hall.”

Lynn adds a follow-up question,
“Do you know why Rabbi Weiss left and where he went?

The photo of Rabbi Weiss is from the Shul’s 1953 Jubilee book. At some point I will scan in the entire book and post a link.

In the meantime, please feel free to add your answers/questions/comments below.


Filed under History

22 Responses to Carnegie Rabbis

  1. Lynn Donovan

    Does anyone know what years Rabbi Weiss was at the shul and where he went when he left?

  2. Carla Brandon

    What was Rabbi Weiss’ wife’s name? Is he still alive?

  3. Gerrie Isaacs Ketler

    Rabbi Weiss went to Pompano, Fl. after he left Carnegie. I believe his wife’s
    name was Irene. I don”t now if they are living at present. There was a Rabbi Racz who followed for a short time.

  4. harry zemon


  5. Paul Lederstein

    Rabbi Weiss was the one that officiated my bar Mitzvah in 1958. He left our Shul for a higher salary.

  6. rick

    Note: Roger Wilk adds the following comments:
    As Morry Miller noted Rabbi Weiss was a victim of the Nazi atrocities. His first wife and several children were killed by
    by the Nazi hordes. After surviving in a concentration camp Rabbi Weiss was released and spent some time in a DP camp.
    He then came to Carnegie to be our Rabbi. He spoke little english and we spoke no hebrew. I can tell you that hebrew school was quite an adventure.
    Within a short time he mastered english to the point where he was more
    qualified in the language than native born Americans. He married a wonderful women, Irene and had two boys.
    He left Carnegie because the congregation was too small to permit him to earn a living. The most important part of his being our Rabbi was he instilled a love of being Jewish and belonging to a synagogue. We should all be indebted for the effort he gave to our community.
    PS. He went to Florida and served as a Rabbi in several places and died. He was buried in Israel sometime in the late 90’s.

  7. Jeffrey Bernstein

    Rabbi Weiss departed before 1965. Rabbi Racz, who was also a holocaust survivor, officiated at my Bar Mitzvah in June of 1964.

  8. Adlai Neubauer

    I just returned from visiting a friend who lives in Forest Hills on Newport Rd. just off of Ardmore. While visiting her, we discovered that there is an old Jewish cemetery up the street from her house. She didn’t even realize that it was there because she’d never had any reason to go the extra two blocks up the hill! I am wondering if this cemetery is associated with your synagogue? I was unable to find any reference to it on your website.
    If there is a connection between this cemetery and your synagogue, do you know of anywhere that more information can be found about this cemetery, or who has access to it, as the gates were locked.
    If this cemetery is in fact associated with your synagogue, I am curious why it is located relatively far away from Carnegie in Forest Hills?

  9. Rick D'Loss

    There are at least two cemeteries in that location, Ahavath Achim and Agudath Achim. And there may be one more as well. These cemeteries are associated with congregations in the Mon Valley, specifically in Rankin, Braddock, and Homestead. I am not familiar enough with the history of the Mon Valley shuls to tell you further. That particular Ahavath Achim cemetery is not associated with our shul in Carnegie. That name was a common name for shuls, and in fact there were 3 shuls in the County named Ahavath Achim. The third one was in McKees Rocks and it closed in the 1970’s. The cemetery for the McKees Rocks shul is still in use (in Kennedy Twp.), i.e., there are still burials taking place there even though the shul itself is long closed. Our shul maintains an informal relationship with that cemetery since they are the Ahavath Achim Cemetery without a congregation and we are the Ahavath Achim Congregation without a cemetery.

    The cemeteries in Forest Hills used to be maintained by Milton Zelkowitz, who was also our high holiday cantor in Carnegie for about 10 years. Milt passed a few years ago and I believe that his son Louis now tends after the cemeteries. We buried Milt in the very cemetery that he tended. Louis lives in Squirrel Hill and would be an excellent source of information.

  10. Dave Bertenthal

    The cemetery in Forest Hills are really two cemeteries. They are known as the Braddock Cemetery and Sixth Street cemetery to me. They coexist now and still have buriels Milt and now his son Louis Zelkowitz were in charge of maintaining the cemetery. My maternal grandparents are buried in the Braddock Cemetery. Ira Frank, a cousin, can be contacted for more information (412-281-4064). Ira is also president ofour downtown synagogue.

  11. Paula Perry

    Rabbi Weiss officiated at my Bat Mitzvah in 1972 and my confirmation (can’t remember the year) at B’nai Israel Synagogue in Pensacola, Florida. He also officiated at my older brother Bar Mitzvah–I’m thinking 1966?

    Paula Perry

  12. David Shifrin

    Hello All –
    I’m David Shifrin. Originally from Oakdale, and my parents – Victor and Julia – retired in 1962 to Carnegie (223 Marshall Avenue).
    I just came across this site while looking up information on Rabbi Weiss.
    I can tell you that he was the full time rabbi at Ahavath Achim when I started Cheder there in 1951. He had been there prior to that time, but I don’t know for how long. There were several students who were then when I arrived, including Philip and David Raskin (their younger brother Victor came later), Eddie Sherman, David Moskowitz, and Dicky Roth. Judy Nord (now Judy Whitman who lives in Boca Raton – in the same community as I do – Boca West) and Gerry Isaacs had a double Bat Mitzvah a while before my Bar Mitzvah (January 1st of 1955).
    Rabbi Weiss’s wife’s name was, in fact, Irene, and their two sons were Harry and Jeffrey.
    I have fond memories of Ahavath Achim from those days, and would like to hear from any of you who were there during the early 50’s.

  13. Rabbi Weiss went to Bnai Israel in Pensacola, Florida. I was his first Bar Mitzvah in 1965.

  14. Wendy Zirkin

    Rabbi Weiss officiated at my wedding in 1974 at B’Nai Israel in Pensacola,FL. He was the rabbi there until sometime in the 1980s. He and Irene were wonderful people, and I have fond memories of eating Shabbat dinners at their house.

  15. Steven Harvey Hirsch

    This link is to a 1988 publication listing Rabbi Weiss as a volunteer chaplain in Plantation, FL.

    Harry Weiss passed away in Sacramento on April 4, 2018.

  16. Rachel


    The rabbi being discussed here is my grandfather. Unfortunately, the comments above of Zemen and Lederstein are incorrect and meant to spite a wonderful rabbi and person. Should there be further questions regarding my family, I’m happy to answer them.

  17. Johannah Knudson

    I read the comments above about Rabbi Racz. He was my grandfather. He died of a stroke in 1969, before I was born. I’d like to know anything I can about him. If you have information, please contact me via email. Thank you.

  18. Johannah Knudson

    There are some unkind comments above about about my grandfather, Rabbi Racz. He was a Holocaust survivor and a learned Rabbi. He published the only existing textbook for Hungarians to learn Hebrew. I was never able to meet him, as he died before I was born. One of my deepest wishes is to have been able to meet him. I found this web site by doing a Google search, which means others searching for him will find these rumors, as well. For the person asking for more information about rumors about my grandfather, may I ask why? This is very disrespectful.

  19. michael

    to what comments are you referring?

  20. Johannah

    Michael, the comments are above about my Grandfather. Someone disparages his “past” and asks people to call with further information about it. Please refer to the comments above to see what I’m referring to. It is simply wrong to publicly disparage him this way. I ask for the disparaging comments to be removed.

  21. michael

    I have removed the comment

  22. Johannah

    Thank you, Michael.

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