Guide to the Icik Benkovitz Papers


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Processed by Lindsay Sprechman

Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS

99-101 Newbury Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Phone: (617) 226-1245



© 2019, Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS. All rights reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Lindsay Sprechman in June 2019. Finding aid was encoded by Lindsay Sprechman in June 2019. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rabbi Icik Benkovitz
Title: Rabbi Icik Benkovitz Papers
Dates: 1922-1956
Abstract: This collection contains marriage and divorce records performed by Rabbi Icik Benkovitz in Chelsea, Massachusetts and surrounding cities and towns. 
Languages:   The collection is in English and Yiddish.
Quantity: 3 folders and 1 OS folder
ID:   JHCP-0005
Repository: Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS
Location: Located in Boston, Mass.

An entry from Benkovitz's ledgers recording the marriage of Saul Silberberg and Eva Tatelbaum Singer on August 3, 1952 in Chelsea.

Historical Note

Rabbi Icik Benkovitz (also spelled Benkovits and Benkowitz) was born in 1853 in either Šiauliai or Anykščiai, Lithuania. He married his wife Malka, and they had four sons: Aaron, Svi, Alex, and Nechiama. In 1922, Benkovitz and his wife immigrated to the United States, settling in Chelsea, Massachusetts. That year, he became the rabbi at Zemach Zedeck (Tzemach Tzedek) in Chelsea, and in 1937, he also began serving as spiritual leader at Shaare Zion (known as the Orange Street Shul), also in Chelsea. Benkovitz died at the age of 110 on May 5, 1963, and before his death, was believed to be the oldest living rabbi in the United States.  


Materials from this collection.

"Rites in Chelsea for Nation's Oldest Rabbi." Jewish Advocate, May 9, 1963, p. 1.


1853 Benkovitz is born.
1922 Benkovitz immigrates to the United States.
1922-1963 Benkovitz serves as rabbi at Zemach Zedeck (Tzemach Tzedek).
1937-1963 Benkovitz serves as rabbi of Shaare Zion (Orange Street Shul).
May 5, 1963 Benkovitz dies.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains ledgers recording marriage performed by Rabbi Icik Benkovitz. The ledgers give information including the names, ages, addresses, number of marriages, occupation birthplace, parents’ names (including maiden names) of both the groom and bride, as well as the date and location of the marriage. Photocopies of the marriage ledgers are included, as well as a searchable database. This collection also contains certificates (in Yiddish) of gets (divorces) Benkovitz administered. 


The collection is arranged into a a single series as follows:

  • Series I: Rabbi Icik Benkovitz Papers, 1922-1956

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact

Related Material

Aaron Gorovitz Papers, P-87
Ber Boruchoff Papers, P-157

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Rabbi Icik Benkovitz Papers; JHCP-0005; box number; folder number; Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at NEHGS, Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Leon Benkovitz and Michael Benkovitz, 2018.

Access Points

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Subject Individuals:

Subject Topics:

Subject Places:

Document Types:

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I: Rabbi Icik Benkovitz Papers, 1922-1956


Arranged alphabetically.

Scope and Content:

See Collection Scope and Content Note.

Box Folder Title Date
OS 1 Gets 1922-1956
1 1 Marriage Ledgers 1922-1956
1 2 Marriage Ledgers (photocopies) [1 of 2] 1922-1956
1 3 Marriage Ledgers (photocopies) [1 of 2] 1922-1956