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September 5, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 PAGE 13A Howard Schoenfeld Howard Schoenfeld and his daughter Zahava stumbled upon a mysterious gravestone while strolling on the Long Island beach, July 2014. By Hillel Kuttler The "Seeking Kin" col- umn aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends. BALTIMORE (JTA)- How- ard Schoenfeld and his teenage daughter Zahava set out for a stroll along a Long Island Beach in New York on a recent Sunday morning. Zahava likes to collect shells, so after parking at Oak Beach, a popular spot for vintage-car enthusiasts, they walked along the inlet. Eyes cast downward, they stumbled upon an unlikely find-- a gravestone. It read: Our beloved daughter Hannah Schnur Died Nov. 30, 1924 Age 27 Years Above the English ap- peared eight lines in He- brew, each of the first letters spelling out the deceased's first and middle Jewish names, Hinda Rachel. The middle of the stone had her name and her father's, Simcha Asher. Neither Schoenfeld nor his daughter knew what to make of the sight. Why would a gravestone be lying in the water, nowhere near a cemetery? Turns out the Schnur gravestone wasn't the only one. Schoenfeld said an "uncountable" number of flat-lying gravestones com- bined to form the jetty they encountered that day. All but two - the other didn't seem to be for a Jewish per- son - faced down, he said. "They couldn't have washed up somehow," Schoenfeld said. "They had to have been put there." But by whom, and why? And who was Hannah Schnur? Schoenfeld, a comput- er salesman from nearby Queens, used his smart- phone to record the water splashing onto the graves. He posted the video on the Facebook page of Dan's Deals, a Web-based bazaar popular in the modern Orthodox community, and asked for assistance. It drew the attention of "Seeking Kin," which asked Rabbi Avidan Milevsky of Baltimore to read and de- cipher the elegy's blurry Hebrew words. Milevsky said they came not from Scripture but apparently from a distraught father whose daughter led a hard life. It read: Woe, treasured soul Our forefathers will cry bitterly Their crown has fallen Knowledge she learned [unintelligible] She chose the straight path She endured many pains She lived in pain and bit- terness In anguish she left her forefathers A subsequent article in the New York Post news- paper didn't mention the Schoenfelds or Schnur, but said the town of Babylon, where Oak Beach is located, had utilized gravestones to reconstruct a jetty damaged during Hurricane Gloria in 1985. A town official said the granite stones were solicited from monument compa- nies and cemeteries, which donated those containing misspellings or other flaws and apparently were going unused. The jetty's grave- stones were supposed to be placed face down, the article said. Schoenfeld, meanwhile, also posted an appeal on, an- other Jewish website. One reader wrote that he learned of Babylon's using more than 800 gravestones for several jetties. Another FailedMessiah reader found in research- ing Hannah Schnur that she was buried in Brook- lyn's Washington Cemetery. The reader, who logged in as Mee-Samcha?, said he visited the cemetery the morning of July 22, several days before the Post story, and went to the gravesite, confirming through the death date and the Hebrew names of the daughter and father chiseled on the stone that itwas the same Hannah Schnur. The only discrep- ancy appeared to be in one letter of her Hebrew name. The present-day marker, the writer added, covers Hannah and her mother, Es- ter, who apparently died in 1962. Mee-Samcha? posited that "when Ester Schnur passed away, the existing (and in my opinion beauti- ful) stone was discarded and was replaced by a modern, simple joint stone." Han- nah's sister Fannie, who died in 1967, is buried nearby. Her grave, to.o, states in Hebrew that she is the daughter of Simcha Asher, Mee-Samcha?wrote. "Seeking Kin" called Washington Cemetery and learned from an employee that no one named Fannie Schnur or Ester Schnur is buried there. No next of kin for Hannah Schnur appears in the cemetery's records, he said, but a woman named Bella Schnur was paying for annual care of the grave until about 25 years ago. The employee added that he could not determine whether the same informa- tion applied to Fannie with- out knowing the surname. As to the original grave- stone's ending up at Oak Beach? The man didn't know, but indicated that the cemetery today would not be involved. "If there's an error on the stone, the family would have to deal with the monument company," the employee said. "We're not allowed to touch the stones." Pat Vassilaros, a Penn- sylvanian who has assisted "Seeking Kin" on sev- eral searches (http://www. religion/in-berlin-giving- wronged-olympians-their- glory) verified through U.S. and New York City census records that all were mem- bers of the same family. In 1920, she said, Han- nah Schnur worked as a bookkeeper for an importer. Her father, Samuel, owned a dance hall; he and his wife, Ester, were immigrants from Galicia. The family lived at 90 Columbia St. on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Hannah was the sec- ond of six children living there, with sisters Sadie, Annie, .Bella and Fannie along with brother Jacob. By the 1940 census, Vassi- laros said, Samuel was dead and Ester, Annie, Bella and Fannie were living dn West 173rd Street in the Washing- ton Heights neighborhood. Schoenfeld said he feared that the gravestone found at the water's edge may have been desecrating the per- son's memory -- a similar feeling that had struck him two years ago in Barce- lona when he saw a Jewish gravestone embedded in a brick wall. If Schnur kin come for- ward, "I'd tell them I saw [the gravestone is] there," Schoenfeld said. "What else is there to tell them? They'd have to decide what to do with it." Please email Hillel Kut- tler at if you know the relatives of the late Hannah Schnur. If you would like "Seeking Kin" to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends. Please include the principal facts and your contact information in a brief email. "Seeking Kin" is sponsored by Bryna Shu- chat and Joshua Landes and Howard Schoenfeld This gravestone found on a Long Island, N.Y., beach set off a search into how it reached there and who was Hannah Schnur, the name on the stone, JuO12014. family in loving memory of their mother and grand- mother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people. T LI If you're like most people, you'll probably wait until the last minute to send your annual Jewish New Year greetings. And, like most people, you will probably truly regret having waited so long. However, once a year, prior to Rosh Hashanah, you have the opportunity to wish your family and friends and the Jewish community "A Happy and Healthy New Year" through the Special Rosh Hashanah Edition of HERITAGE. No Postage -- No Problems -- No Excuses! Having your personal NewYear Greeting appear in the HERITAGE Special Rosh Hashanah Edition, shortly before the holiday begins, will save you time, money, inconvenience and worry about whether or not your cards were delivered.You won't leave anyone out, because your family and friends will be among the thousands of members of the Jewish community reading this special edition. Deadline for Greetings is September 10, 2014. BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR YOUR NAME A $19.70 lVZ'x 2" D $78~0 31/4"x 4" May you be inscribed inthe oo of foT" a %appy and Hea- hy Year (or your personal message) YOUR NAME May the New Year be ever joyous /o, You andYour Family (or your personal message) YOUR NAME DATE OF ISSUE: $9830 3""x 5" September 19, 2014 L "Shana Tova Tikatevu (Or your personal message) YOUR NAME B $39.40 31/4"X 2" C $59.10 31/4"X 3" REETINGS lAND BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY NEW YEAR (Or your personal message): YOUR NAME I Mail to: HERITAGE GREETING, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730 I Please run my greeting in your holiday issue. I would like ad (circle one) A B C D E. I am e'nclosing a check in the amount of $ (all ads must be paid for in advance). Or please bill my credit card (check one): Visa Master Card: Card No. Expiration Date Signature Name Address I I I [ City/State/Zip I I Name(s) on greeting should read: L If you have any questions, call HERITAGE at 407-834-8787.