Wolff, Max

Plot Location1C16
Given Name(s)Max
Place of BirthKadan Kurland (western Latvia)
Date of Birth (Eng)November 1820 (self-declared) or circa 1815?
Date of Birth (Heb) 
Date of Death (Eng)July 14, 1868
Date of Death (Heb)24 Tammuz 5625
Age at Death47?
Hebrew Nameמרדכי בר זאב וולף
Spouse’s NameFannie Moskowitz
Father’s Name 
Mother’s Name 
Other Surnames 
Marital StatusM
Maiden Name 
Title (e.g., Dr)Reverend
Religious Status (כ/ל/י) 
Cause of Death 
Other Family DataDaughters: Augusta (b. March 20, 1837, Shavli, Vilna governorate, Russia; d. July 25, 1932, Manhattan) and Golde (b. April 15, 1842)
Inscription (Eng)SACRED
14TH JULY 1868
Inscription (Heb)פ״נ איש יקר ונכבד מורינור״ מרדכי בר זאב וולף נפטר ביום ג כ׳ד׳ תמוז ת׳ר׳כ׳ה׳ ת׳נ׳צ׳ב׳ה׳
Inscription (Other)“54” on bottom of pediment
HistoricalGreat-great grandson Bob Greene (US) wrote on November 25, 2011:
“Max’s daughter, Augusta, was my great-grandmother. I knew her.

“Max and Augusta came from western Latvia to New York about 1850. Max’s wife wouldn’t go so he took Augusta. He worked as a minister to the Congregation Ohabei Shalom in Boston and published a book in NY in 1859 entitled ‘Explication of an Engraving Called the Origin of the Rites and Worship of the Hebrews’. In the late 1860s or early 1870s, he received a commission from the Sassoon family in England to be the rabbi in Hong Kong. Somehow he and August reached San Francisco. There, Augusta met Rubin Isaacs and they married. Once he saw his daughter safely taken care of, Max set off for HK. He passed through Japan shortly after it opened and sent word to Augusta that he thought “there is great opportunity here!”, which later had an impact. Then he set off for HK. Shortly after arriving, he died.

“A short time later, Israel Isaacs, the brother of Augusta’s husband, set off for Japan and started a small import/export business which lasted through World War II and later was bought out by the Japanese. Rubin went out to Japan several times but Augusta raised 7 children and I think did not go. She and Rubin moved to New York because there was no market for Japanese goods in California but New York was important. They had an office on Lower Broadway. The building is still there.”

Bob wrote again on October 19, 2012:
“My cousin Josephine, who lives in Lansing with her husband, is related to Max Wolff the same way I am. Her mother is the daughter of Bertha, whose mother was Augusta, the daughter of Max Wolff. My mother was the daughter of Sarah, whose mother was also Augusta. Augusta had five daughters and two sons, and an adopted daughter.”

Maureen Morris wrote on August 13, 2018. She very kindly provided much of the documentation we have on Max, Augusta and Ruben (Reuben):

“Max brought Golde to New York in 1860. He was the VP of the Polish Society of California (in San Francisco) in 1863.”

According to documents, Max left the US for Hong Kong in December 1867. Given his leadership in the Jewish community in SF, it’s possible that the Sassoons heard about him that way or perhaps through the Masons rather than inviting him from Boston. He apparently fell ill just two months prior to leaving the US so perhaps he was already in such a compromised state of health when he arrived that he wasn’t able to cope with the change. Whatever the reason, he died less than seven months later.

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