Rosa Newmark: Matriarch of the Los Angeles Newmark Family and Founder of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society

Rosa Roth Newmark 

Mrs Joseph (Rosa) Newmark

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Born in London in 1808, Rosa Levy met Joseph Newmark and married him in New York in 1835.

They had six children. The family made several moves, first to St. Louis, then to Dubuque, Iowa, back to New York, and finally, around the Horn on a clipper ship, to San Francisco, where they arrived in 1853.

Joseph and Rosa did not do well financially in the city, so they moved to Los Angeles where business opportunities seemed more promising.

Family records describe Rosa as “a woman who had few peers among either Jews or Christians, in sweetness of disposition and in all that is calculated to made [sic] a dutiful, affectionate wife, and a good true mother in Israel.”



Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society

Rosa Newmark was a founder of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society in Los Angeles in January, 1870.

Mrs. Newmark never accepted a position in the society, but was its driving force.

The charities afforded by the Society were devoted originally to the women and children of the Hebrew faith, but was always available to help other charities when called upon.

From its inception the society prospered and florished. The Society:

“alleviated distress, nursing the sick back to health, burying the dead with all the sacred ceremonies and comforting the afflicted ones with their sympathy.”

The original charter membership was 39 members.

In 1892 it was 97 members.

It was from the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society that today’s Jewish Family Services traces its beginnings – almost 150 years ago.

Rosa, Joseph, Edward, Sarah, Caroline, Harriet & Matilda Newmark, 1885


Rosa Newmark passed away in 1875


Their son Meyer J. Newmark was elected Los Angeles City Attorney in 1862, the first Jew to hold that office.


More information can be found in the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • Newmark, Rosa; Letter from Mother to Daughter; Los Angeles to New York; 1867; Los Angeles; Newmark, Rosa; 5/4
  • Newmark, Rosa Roth; Letter from Los Angeles to a European Cousin; 1910; Los Angeles; Newmark, Rose Roth; 10/1


Rosa Newmark Photo Gallery

Joseph and Rosa Newmark in the Alps, 1888

More Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers

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