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

Rosa Roth Newmark 

Mrs. Joseph (Rosa) Newmark

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Born in London in 1808, Rosa Levy married Joseph Newmark 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 1852.

Joseph and Rosa did not do well financially in San Francisco, 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.”


Los Angeles

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

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

The original charter membership was 39 members. By 1892, there were 97 members.

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

From its inception the Society prospered and flourished. 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.”

Today’s Jewish Family Service traces its beginnings to the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society.

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

Rosa Newmark passed away in 1875.

Her son, Meyer J. Newmarkwas elected Los Angeles City Attorney in 1862, the first Jew to hold that office.


  • Rosa Newmark, “Letter from Mother to Daughter, Los Angeles to New York, 1867,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 5/4.
  • Rosa Roth Newmark, “Letter from Los Angeles to a European Cousin, 1910,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 10/1.

Joseph and Rosa Newmark in the Alps, 1888