Rebbetzin Reva Zilberstein, wife of the Breed Street Shul’s Rabbi Osher Zilberstein, died Feb. 27 just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. Rabbi Zilberstein was head of Congregation Talmud Torah, known as the Breed Street Shul, in Boyle Heights from 1935 until he died in 1973, and was Chief Orthodox Rabbi of Los Angeles. Rebbetzin Zilberstein, known simply as “The Rebbetzin,” was loved and respected for making the synagogue and her home a gracious center of the community, where travelers and residents, from the leaders to the neediest, knew they could always count on a warm welcome.
Rebbetzin Zilberstein was born in Kovel, Poland, and moved with her husband in 1931 to Winnipeg, Canada, where they lived for four years before moving to Los Angeles in 1935. The Zilbersteins were instrumental in building Orthodox life in Los Angeles and in establishing the Los Angeles Jewish Academy — the first Jewish day school on the West Coast — as well as the first Jewish junior high school and post-high school yeshiva.
Rebbetzin Zilberstein stayed in Boyle Heights until 1985, when she moved to the Pico Robertson area and became a member of Beth Jacob Congregation. She was a longtime member of Amit Women.
Reva Zilberstein is survived by daughter Clara (Feigie); stepson Rabbi Harry Silverstein; 13 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by son Aaron; and stepchildren Miriam Zilberstein of Jerusalem, Freda Schaffer and Mary Erlich.