Ben, Mollie, & Jacob Greenberg

Polish-born Samuel (S.I.) Greenberg, the first service leader and shochet at Congregation Ahavath Achim in Tyler, Texas, died of pneumonia in 1905. Two years later, his wife, the former Jennie Bergman, sent to the Home their three youngest children: Benjamin (10), Mollie (7), and Jacob (5). By 1912, the three siblings returned to their mother in Tyler.

S.I. Greenberg headstone

S.I. Greenberg was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Tyler, Texas.

According to Ben Greenberg’s son, Fred, “My father had a very hard life in New Orleans” and, after joining the Army, was stationed in France during World War I. In 1924, he married Dora Levy, with whom he raised his two sons. By 1934, Ben was living in Corpus Christi where he became an independent oilman and was considered a pioneer in the oil field supply business. He was a member of Tempe Beth El, a Shriner, and a 32nd degree mason. Ben died in 1968 at age 71.

Ben Greenberg with Sally, 1958

Ben Greenberg with granddaughter Sally Greenberg Berkowitz in 1958. Photo courtesy of Sally Greenberg Berkowitz. 

Dora, unidentified man, and Ben Greenberg, 1968

Ben Greenberg, at right, with wife Dora and unidentified man at an oil well, early 1968. Photo courtesy of Sally Greenberg Berkowitz.

While in the Home, Jacob was among the children who, at the Home’s 1909 anniversary celebration, took to the stage to perform “Under the Reign of Spring” while dressed as flowers, butterflies, and vegetables. After his return to Texas, Jacob married, raised a son, and became the manager of Texas Pipe and Supply Company in Kilgore, Texas. At the young age of 33, he was killed in a car accident when he attempted to dodge an oncoming vehicle. According to his obituary in the Longview News-Journal, Jacob knew that “time in this world is brief.” That’s what the clipping in his pocket related, along with the advice, “If you expect to go places and be somebody you must start to work as soon as you can, and remain in the battle as long as you can.” With the clipping was a $10 bill.

Jacob Greenberg headstone

Jacob Greenberg was buried in Beth Yeshurun Cemetery in Houston.

After her discharge from the Home, Mollie continued her high school education at John Tyler High School before moving to Houston where she married Michael Levis in 1917 and raised three children. When she died in 1987, at age 86, the Houston Chronicle reported that Mollie had been a member of Congregation Beth Yeshurun, its sisterhood, and Hadassah.

Mollie Greenberg Levis headstone

Mollie Greenberg Levis was buried alongside other family members in Beth Yeshurun Cemetery, Houston.