Rose, Rosie, was born at home at 112 Humboldt Street in Brooklyn, NY on Dec. 8, 1900. She was the 6th child born to Morris and Esther Feldman.
Her family moved around a lot.
- In 1905, when she was 5 years old, they lived at 306 Bushwick Ave. in Brooklyn.
- In 1910, they lived at 187 Beaver Street in Brooklyn.
- In 1911, her mother, Esther, died, but her father kept the family together.
- In 1915 Rose was in high school and lived at 1855 Prospect Street.
- In 1920, Rose was 19 years old and lived with her family at 787 Vermont Street.
On June 30, 1924, Rose, married a lawyer named Manuel Dittenheimer. According to the 1930 census, they lived on Anne Street in Ellenville, NY, in the Borscht Belt in the Catskills.
The Borscht Belt, also known as the Jewish Alps, was a nickname for the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in New York. Borscht, a soup associated with immigrants from Eastern Europe, was a colloquialism for “Jewish”. The hotels often started as bungalow colonies or boarding houses and often the working and middle class families of mostly Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants stayed there in the 1940’s 50’s, and 60’s. Often, these same Jewish families were denied accommodations elsewhere due to anti-Semitism. Many Jewish comedians and musicians got their start there. Some of them included Woody Allen, Rodney Dangerfield, Jerry Seinfeld, Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Billy Crystal, Buddy Hackett, Gabe Kaplan, Andy Kaufman, Danny Kaye, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Lewis.
Manuel was born in New York City on June 5, 1898. He graduated from New York University and on November 21, 1921, he received his law degree. He opened a general law practice in Ellenville, New York in the early 1920’s. After he and Rose were married, she moved to Ellenville to be with him.
Once settled in Ellenville, they became members of Ezrath Israel Synagogue. Rose was active in the National Council of Jewish Women, and Manuel was a member of the Order of the Masons. In the early 1930’s, Manuel was Assistant Attorney General of the State of New York. Manuel was also active with the Democrats and knew FDR. He even wrote some of his speeches.
He and Rose had an active social life which was chronicaled in the Kingston Daily Freeman. His professional, social and personal activities appeared many times in the Kingston Daily Freeman. A few examples are:
- In the May 6, 1929 edition, it says he was one of the speakers at the banquet of the Commercial Law League of America, held at the Hotel Martinique in New York Cit the prior Wednesday.
- In the August 32, 1934 edition, he and his family left on a trip to Lake Hopatcong, Asbury Park and Atlantic City.
- In the April 19, 1935 edition, it states that his wife and daughter, Elaine, have returned from a visit with relatives in New York City.
- In the April 2, 1936 edition, it talks about him running as a Democrat for a delegate to the national convention.
- In the Feb. 15, 1937 edition, it states at he and Rose just returned from vacationing in Palm Beach, FL. We also learn that he was the former Assistant Attorney General.
- In the March 21, 1939 edition it states that he a Ed. Vanderlyn were in Washington, DC for a few days on business
- In the Nov. 25, 1939 edition it states that he spent Tuesday in Albany on Business.
- In the April 6, 1946 edition we learn that Manuel was the chief of the Legal Unit of Price Division of O.P.A. since 1944 and as of April 1, 1946 had resigned his position and will reopen his law office.
Rosie and Manny had 3 children:
- Elaine Wilma Rothman (b. April 23, 1926 – d. March 30, 2007 )
- Billy (b. October 16, 1928 – d. April 15, 2010)
- Marlene Etter (b. March 15, 1938 – December 16, 2017).
Although Manuel was a successful lawyer, he invested in other people’s inventions and lost a lot of money that way.
Rose was especially close to Estelle, Ida’s daughter. She invited her to spend many summers with them and Estelle has fond memories of Rose’s home in Ellenville. Once Mannie took Estelle along for a ride when he went to interview a prisoner in jail. He had a lovely house built, but because of his dubiousness investments Rose was unable to furnish it as she wished. Eventually, they lost it.
Rose was a great cook. Every Thanksgiving her niece, Estelle Rosenberg Eisler, makes Rose’s turkey stuffing in memory of her Aunt. For Rosie’s recipe, click here.
Peter Wissner, Birdy Wissner’s grandson, also remembers vacationing in the summer in Ellenville with the Dittenheimers.
In 1975, Rose proudly posed with her husband at their grandson’s Greg’s Bar Mitzvah. Greg was Marlene’s son. In their later years, Manuel enjoyed walking and Rose enjoyed card games with her friends.
Rose died on May 28, 1977, and Manuel died on July 18, 1982. They are buried next to each other in the Hebrew Aid Society Cemetery (aka Ezrath Israel Cemetery), Ulster, New York.
More about the Borscht Belt