Australias Oldest Jew is turning 110

The oldest Jewish person in Australia is turning 110 and just last week discovered her real birth date.

Published: February 24th 2011
in News » World

Mary Rothstein with family

Mary Rothstein, Australia’s oldest Jew, is set to turn 110 next weekend. She lived the majority of her life in England and has made hats for the Royal Family.


Rothstein’s actual birth date is unconfirmed though. She doesn’t have a birth certificate because her family escaped from Russia soon after she was born in 1901. Until this year, her family in Melbourne celebrated her birthday on February 27th. Rothstein had told her daughter, Ruth Cavallaro, that she had been born on Purim in 1901 and believed that fell around February 27th,


Earlier this year, a long lost cousin named Helene Joseph in London who is married to Dr Anthony Joseph, the head of Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, contacted Cavallaro.


“It was only when Anthony looked it up a couple of days ago that we found out the real date for Purim 1901 was March 6,” Mrs. Joseph said.


With this new information in hand, Mrs. Rothstein’s daughter, two grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren will get together at her nursing home in Melbourne to celebrate.


Rothstein came to Australia in 1957 for a holiday and return permanently in 1959. She worked at Myer department store until she was 70, never informing management of her true age.


Now, at the nursing home, Rothstein is visited by her daughter twice a day to give her lunch and dinner.


“She’s never eaten in an ordinary restaurant, only a Jewish restaurant. She’s very, very kosher.”


Mrs. Cavallero and her mother still walk to synagogue every Saturday.


When asked about her mother’s secret to a long life, Cavallero said, “The only thing I can honestly say about her is she’s never drunk, never smoked and worked very hard.”


Rothstein isn’t the oldest Jew in the world though, according to Robert Young, a senior researcher at the US based Gerontology Research Group.


“The oldest verified Jewish person is currently Evelyn Kozak of New York City, [who was] born August 14, 1899,” he said

Related articles: (Australia, geneology, oldest Jew, purim, rothstein, )
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