Alvin & Rose Helen (Jacobovitz) Jacobs

In 1906, following the death of his wife Lena, Hungary native Alex Jacobovitz admitted his son Alvin (8) and daughter Rose Helen (6) to the Home from Nashville, Tennessee. In 1914, Alex reclaimed his children to live in Nashville where he worked as a dry goods merchant. He later changed the family name to Jacobs and married Esther Brown.

In 1924, Rose Helen married Samuel Lefkowitz in a what the Nashville Banner described as a “beautiful home event” that was solemnized by Rabbi Herman Saltzman of Congregation Sherith Israel. The newlyweds moved to Memphis where Samuel owned a grocery and they raised four children. 

On the rare occasions Rose Helen spoke with her granddaughter about the Home, she shared only unpleasant memories. Rose Helen bitterly recalled having her curly hair shaved when she was admitted (a common orphanage practice to prevent the spread of lice) and seeing Alvin with a black eye that she attributed to abusive punishment.

Rose Helen died in 1979 and was buried in Memphis’s Baron Hirsch Cemetery. According to relatives, Alvin, who remained single, died in 2000 at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute where he had resided for decades. 

Alex Jacobowitz with children Alvin and Rose Helen, 1906

Alex Jacobovitz (later Jacobs) with his children Alvin (8) and Rose Helen (6), c. 1906. Photo courtesy of Susan Brooks, granddaughter of Rose Helen.