Sophie Epstein to Be Honored on 100th Year
By CHARLOTTE DUBIN
If you know Sophie Epstein. don't
tell her she's going to be 100 years
old May 18. Her family is trying
to keep it a secret from her.
Mother's Day will take on added
significance for the children ( 9 ).
grandchildren (5), great-grandchil-
dren (13) and great-great-grand-
child of Mrs. I
who is. in every
ered queen moth-
er of the A. S.
on Muirland Ave.
daughter, has ar-
ranged a "little
gathering" of 28 Mrs. Epstein
family members for this Sunday.
Mrs. Epstein's son Alfred, founder
of Associated Brewing Co. (Pfeif-
fer's) will be there with his family
(son Herbert is president and
Chairman of the board of Asso-
ciated Brewing). The Rogoffs'
children, Dr. Jerome Rogoff of
Boston and Mrs. David (Evelyn.
Madison, will be present, as will
Jack Epps. Detroit businessman.
and his sister, Mrs. George Cr .
Reinitz, children of Mrs. Epstein' ,
late son, Elias Epps.
Until she came to live with Dr.
and Mrs. Rogoff 11 years ago.
Mrs. Epstein kept her own apart-
ment, even cooking for fainil
gatherings. She still takes a
lively interest in the goings-on
in the Rogoff home, staying up
late to visit with the compan y
she loves, playing an occasional
game of casino.
Although Mrs. Epstein must bal
ance herself with a walker—after
she fell and „fractured her arm 1 1
years ago—she dresses herself and
combs her own hair. "She used to
benshen after every meal." said
Mrs. Rogoff. "but occasionally she
forgets now." She can still recite
some favorite Yiddish rhymes and
"reads" the newspaper — mostly
headlines, but news nevertheless.
For the first time last year, Mrs.
Epstein missed Yom Kipur and
Rosh Hashana services at Cong.
Shaarey Zedek. She kept a strict
Shaarey Zedek means a great
deal to Mrs. Epstein. And she
means much to the congregation.
which came to know well the grand
old lady in the magnificent hats.
whom the late Rabbi Morris Adler
used to accompany to a seat of
honor next to his wife in a front
Although white haired. Mrs. Ep-
stein still has the fine skin that
requires no makeup. Vain — as
beautiful women are — about her
appearance, the sweet - toothed
that she's gotten "too fat" and
plans to climb and descend the '
stairs until she's worked it off.
Four years ago, she had surgery
but recovered quickly.
On many visits to Grossinger's
with her husband (he died in
1942), Mrs. Epstein became a
well-known figure to the resort
clientele, who dubbed her "Queen
Mary," and to Jennie Grossin-
ger, the proprietress, who hon-
ored her on each occasion.
Pro-Arab Group Agitating
for 'Palestine State'
JERUSALEM (JTA) — A pro-
Arab American group called the
American Friends of the Middle
East has been reportedly circulat-
ing a document among West Bank
Arab leaders calling for the estab-
lishment of a Republic of Palestine
in the Israel-occupied territories.
But Arab notables have been wary
of it and express no views on the
future of the territories to demand
Zsrael's withdrawal. There are two
factions among West Bank Arabs.
one of which advocates a separate
Palestinian state and the other re-
unification with Jordan.
In Michigan you are never more
than six miles from a lake or a
Born in Bialystok. then Russia,
Mrs. Epstein was the daughter of
a well-to-do lumber dealer. He, too,
lived a full life but died at 86 of
Pneumonia after being knocked
down by German soldiers and
breaking his hip.
Sophie was brought up in the
Orthodox manner. At age 17, a
- chance meeting" (arranged by a
cousin) with a certain young Sam-
uel Epstein from a nearby village
resulted in marriage. "If my par-
ents had wanted me to marry, I
would have nrirried anyone they
! Picked,'' she s; 'd, but added that
!Samuel "was a handsome man."
Mrs. Epstein has some recollec-
tion., of life under the czars, par-
ticularly a pogrom in 1905 when
neighbors saved her and her fam-
ily from the murderour mobs. A
German woman next door switched
ho,ise, with the Epsteins, hid thim
in a wardrobe and placed a cross
on the wall. The Epsteins' anti-
Semitic landlady was inclined to
inform on her tenants. but Gentile
neighbors threatened her if she
(niter relatives of the Epsteins
%%ere not so fortunate. The peasant
rioters killed several of Mrs. Ep-
Prior to World War I, the Ep-
-reins' oldest son Elias left for
America to avoid the notorious
Russian army. lie sent for his par-
ent , . sister and brother in 1921,
following a war that had seen
Bialystok bombed almost every
day. Mrs. Epstein is sure that her
legs started to fail in World War I,
when she had to walk miles and
miles to acquire flour for bread.
They arrived in this country in
time to meet the Depression.
But somehow, The family man-
aged to stay together, Mr. Ep.
, stem working as a shohet, as he
had 'dime in the Old Country.
Mrs. Epstein has her own ideas
about family life in America and
what it's coming to. "Parents
should be stricter with their chil-
dren," she said. "Years ago, chil-
dren did everything their parents
told them to." She thinks mini-
skirts are "terrible" and prefers
her own dresses at a comfortable
Long before her children flew in
an airplane, Mrs. Epstein was
winging back and forth with her
husband between Florida and De-
troit. At age 93, she visited Eng-
land to see her grandson Jerome
marry a girl he had met in Israel,
while he was a medical student.
(Mrs. Epstein wanted to visit
Israel with the Rogoffs seven years
ago. but they convinced her it
would be a bit much.
(Her father- and mother-in-law
were buried in Palestine in 1904.
Ardent Zionists, they had gone to
the then-desolate land with the
idea that they would one day die
Mrs. Epstein. who has seen her
contemporaries pass away one by
one, still maintains a number of
womanly arts—one of them being
that thing about age. "When she
was 80," Mrs. Rogoff recalls, "we
took Mother to an eye doctor, who
asked her how old she was. She
said she was 75, but privately let on
that 'The rest is in my pocket.' "
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, May 9, 1969-21
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