An American Family History

Riva Leah Shore Levine

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
A tenement is an overcrowded, substandard, multi-family city dwelling occupied by the poor who were often recent immigrants.

Between 1880 and World War I about 2,000,000 Yiddish-speaking, Ashkenazi Jews immigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States.

Riva Leah Shore Levine was born about 1862 in Vilna. According to her death certificate, her parents were Harry (Tzvi) Shore and Leah Shutobtovitz.

She married Mendel Lieb Levine about 1880. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Mendel and Riva Levine.

She immigrated to the United States about 1908.

Rive was 58 at the time of the 1920 census and living with her daughter Bella in Brooklyn. She suffered from arthritis. The census indicated that she could neither read nor write.

She died on December 5, 1925 in New York at Montefiore Hospital. Her address at the time she died was 1365 43rd Street in Broooklyn.

She was laid to rest at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, Block F, Section 7, Line 7 Grave 2. Her tombstone inscription reads:

Our precious mother Riva Leah
the daughter of Tzvi
Passed away on the 19th day of Kislev, 5686
May her soul be bound in the binds of life

The date on the stone is the day after the date on her death certificate. The death certificate says that her mother's name was Leah and the stone gives her second name as Leah so one of those is probably in error. According to the death certificate, she was 64 when she died and according to the tombstone she was 72.

Photo and translation
courtesy of Jonathan Tuller

Vilna in Lithuanian and Yiddish, Vilnius in Polish, Wilno in Russian
Vilna is the capital city of Lithuania. It was part of Poland and Poland was part of the Russian empire. In 1861 a restriction limiting Jewish residence to certain streets was repealed. In 1881 there were anti-Jewish riots. The 1897 census showed 63,831 Jewish inhabitants. Congested conditions and increasing unemployment led to large-scale emigration.

Brooklyn is a borough of New York City, but was an independent city until January 1, 1898. It has the  same boundaries as Kings County


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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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