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ROSENTHAL, ABRAHAM

ROSENTHAL, ABRAHAM (1860?–1945). Abraham (Abe) Rosenthal, businessman, son of Rabbi Beryl (Bernard) Rosenthal, was probably born in 1860 and raised in a small community of Latvia, though some sources say Russia. At an early age he was enrolled in a yeshiva in Königsberg, East Prussia, where he was trained as a hazan (cantor) and a shohet (an approved slaughterer of animals for kosher consumption). When the brothers of Rachel Myers of Rochester, Minnesota, were sent to Europe to find a suitable husband for their sister-someone trained in Jewish laws and traditions-Abe was recommended to them. He accepted their invitation for this arranged marriage. He and Rachel were married in Rochester about 1880. At the time, St. Paul was a center for meat packing. Abe and Rachel moved there a few years after their marriage so that Abe could learn more about the industry. He worked in kosher slaughter in the packing houses of St. Paul and learned the rudiments of the meat business while there. During their time in St. Paul, Rosenthal brought over his entire family from Europe. His father became the second rabbi of the Sons of Jacob Synagogue in St. Paul, where Abe was cantor and shohet. Abe's mother is buried in the synagogue cemetery there. The family subsequently moved to Chicago for a short period. In 1900 they moved to Dallas, Texas, where Abe had been hired by Congregation Shearith Israel as cantor. It has been said that he also opened a kosher meat market in Dallas and later started a second market to sell the unkosher parts of the butchered animals. Rosenthal purchased cattle at the newly built Fort Worth Stockyards, and his sons drove them to Dallas for slaughter. The Dallas Morning News published a picture of the Rosenthal brothers driving steers down Lamar Street in front of the old Sanger Brothers store in downtown Dallas; the brothers were fined because the herd was too large. In 1908 the Rosenthals moved to Fort Worth, where Abe remained. He established the Packing House Market, the largest meat market in town, at the corner of Twelfth and Houston streets. The Rosenthals had twelve children, six of whom followed their father in the meat industry; they operated businesses in Fort Worth, Galveston, and Houston. Abe was president of Ahavath Sholom Congregation in 1930–31, and he often participated in the services of the congregation as a lay leader. He died on June 1, 1945, and is buried in Ahavath Sholom Synagogue Cemetery, in Fort Worth. In 1987 a building on the campus of Texas A&M University was named for the Rosenthal family.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989).

Fay Brachman

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Fay Brachman, "ROSENTHAL, ABRAHAM," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/frojp), accessed October 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.