Posted in Genealogy, Goldstein/Kessman, Jewish History

Fanny Goldstein My Beloved Wife and Dear Mother

From Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York, I received this photo (via the net) of the headstone of Fanny (Fannie) Goldstein, wife of Isaac Goldstein, daughter of Solomon Dornfest and Chaela Stickio.


I shared the photo on the Facebook page ‘Tracing the Tribe’ asking for help in interpreting what was written on headstone. Thank you to Robin Meltzer for her beautiful rendering of this stone.

L1: [abbr] Here lies buried, L2: the modest and esteemed woman, L3: of tender years [she [passed away young], L4: Mrs. Frieda, daughter of , L5: [abbreviation, honorific] our teacher and mentor, Shimon Zanwil, L6: died, L7: 21 Tamuz 5665, L8: [abbr] May her soul be bound in the bond of life.”

Robin went on to write “The honorific before the father’s name, “moreinu ha’rav,” translates to “our teacher and master” or “our teacher and mentor/guide.” “Rav” does not always mean rabbi, it depends on the context. Here, it is an honorific, and does not in any way mean he was a rabbi.” The reason for the clarification was because Rabbi had been used in another translation, which I had questioned. “Zanwill” is the father’s second given name. It shows up with “Shlomo” as a secular version of “Zalman.” It is also often paired with Shmuel. Also spelled “Zangwill” and “Zangwell” Robin continued.



An adoptee who found both her maternal and paternal side 18 years ago, I began digging into my new found families past. The journey has been amazing connecting and reconnecting lost and found generations.

13 thoughts on “Fanny Goldstein My Beloved Wife and Dear Mother

  1. So if I am reading this correctly, you now have the name of my great great grandfather on my grandmother Rae ‘s side..?

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Yes Allen, you are correct. Isn’t this amazing? I was so over the top thrilled with the gravestone picture! Also, a reminder, I do have an envelope started collecting all documents for sending to you and to Lisa.

  2. So glad you got this translated. Robin does an amazing job on these translations. And I think we had discussed the common error that people make in assuming that “rav” means the man was a rabbi!

    1. Yes, Robin is amazing! We were so blessed to have her notice my post. Your so right we have discussed “rav” When I had gotten a first and only interpretation it simply did not sit right, but I was grateful for the attempt. The day had almost past and I just felt I had to repost my request. I am so glad I did. We would have been off on a wrong tangent for sure.

  3. What a beautiful headstone! Is it really that old in that great condition or was it added later?
    What you say about rav is so interesting, especially to me right now. By the way, I just started a blog for the work on hubby’s family history ( I am working on a post right now about how his grandmother’s father is listed on her headstone as Reb. This was explained first that it meant rabbi. That corresponded with the family story. But Amy told me it doesn’t always/usually mean that. Then somebody else mentioned it is a term of honor, but doesn’t mean rabbi. I googled rav and reb and they might mean different things and rav might mean something closer to rabbi. Maybe I should post that headstone pic at tracing the tribe and ask somebody else to translate it for me. Have you used the group before for something like this?

    1. That headstone is in good condition. I am not sure if it was added at time of death or years later. I posted the pic on TTT and there was quite a discussion that followed about just that, rav and reb. I learn so much from TTT. Yes post your picture and ask. I use the group often. They are a wonderful informational source and a great help. I would love to follow your husbands blog and will have to join.

      1. Do you know how long ago you posted it? I want to go over to the group and search for it and see what was said over there before I post mine :). thanks so much, Sharon!!!

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