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Who is Ruben Safir? Good question.

Born into a poor Jewish Canarsie family in 1963, Ruben is a life long Brooklyn resident from a long line of Brooklyn Residents. Currently a father of 6 children, all from the same wife, divorced, and a huge Free Software advocate. He is a published author, programmer, teacher, speaker, political activist, Pharmacist, and father. I've reached 50 now so I've decided to go to graduate School for an MS on Computer Sciences. The kids have grown and they are gone. It is a bit lonely. Growing old is lonely.

Esther and her great grand children
This is our family, past and present:

I just added a mailing list for the Barcan Family. It is a low volume list just for sharing tibits from and to the family: Barcans

Just as a notice, my sister, Heidi, passed away today, October 10th, 2021.

Details for the funeral can be seen on the Barcans mailing list.

Mother's Side

I just wrote an rather long and detailed history of my mother and her early death. I think it is family history that needed to be written down for future generations as I am getting old.

My mothers side of the family comes from the Postofsky and Post Branch on my Grandmother's side of the family, through her Mother, Rose Post.
Post Family in Polotsk Belurusia This image was taken in Polotsk, Belarus where the family lived during this period of the exile, at about 1905CE. The young girl in the upper left is my Great grandmother, who I am named for, the previously mentioned Rose Post. I have found similar images on the internet from Polotsk, with the same exact background, which makes me believe that there was a local photographic studio which produced these. If your family comes from this town, it is likely that you can find a similar photograph. Of course, this is where the family first emerges from the cloud of history, into a photographic and historical record of individuals, with names and faces. In this photograph is Itka Post, Lazar Post, and the very young cousin, Louie Post, all who came to New York. The clan itself, largely migrated to the Bronx, NY. My Grandmother, Esther, grew up surrounded by some 20 cousins who lived in her neighborhood.

Louie Post
Louie Post

Sam and Rose Barcan
Sam and Rose Rose and her daughters, Esther, Hilda and Ruth Barcan
Rose and her daughters, Esther, Hilda and Ruth Barcan

Rose Barcan

Sam Barcan and Daughter Esther Rose's Husband, Sam Barcan, formed the second half of the Polotz family tree. A more cultured and radicalized man, with strong leftest leanings, he fled the Russian empire and became a printer for the Yiddish Language Forward. Wealthy by the standards of the day, his steady work, and access to inside information, allowed him to purchase property along the planned Grand Concourse in the Bronx and move the family to the hinderlands of the Bronx, first moving all the way up new Gunhill Road, which was all but farm country at the time, and then on the request of his wife who was becoming lonely, back south to 871 Fairmount Place, not far from the southern entrance of the Bronx Zoo. The pictures we have here show him very well dressed. Evidently that wasn't just for the occasion, he was well dressed all the time and we have many roses pressed in books, a tradition of his from the time period.

Sam and Rose, with the help of the Hebrew Aid Society, found Sam's younger brother in the ruins of Revolutionary Russia. My Grandmother, Esther, would describe going to Ellis Island with her father to pick up the boy, Harry, who Esther called her "Brother" (although he was really her uncle). She described how he looked like the icon of a refuge, with a bloated stomach from malnutrition and diseased. They raised the boy only to see him drafted into Patton's Army in WWII where he survived the entire European invasion from Italy to Germany.

Harry Barcan in Patton's Army
Harry Barcan in Patton's Army

Sam Barcan died in 1936, leaving the family in limbo, smack in the middle of the Great Depression. Fortunately, he was a smart man who invested in real estate up and down the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and had a decent death benefit. Rose took the benefit and paid off all the mortgages, and collected rent for the rest her life, although she suffered severe grief, and for a short time was unable to take care of the girls. She never got over her grief. They had a large house of 871 Fairmount Place and she opened up someof it as a boarding house to supplement income. And there are warm stories of Herny, the French boy, who stayed with them for a while. And before that, The Post cousins would share in taking care of their grandmother and grandfather. Their Grandmother, Chaya, used to wathc movies on Shabbos at the local theater, The ticket would be purchased and arraigned for my my Grandmother, Esther. This was the silent movie era.

It also came down to us, stories of the telephone. They had the only phone on the block and people would take the liberty to call members of the community at the Barcan Phone. Esther was also sent scurrying about to fetch neighbors and tell them they had important calls, often about family overseas.

The Grandfather, Lazer, would learn Gemora in the house, and art and passion which seemed to be lost on the later generations. Esther gave some vivid descriptions of him learning Torah and swaying, which is quite a cocktail with Sam and is intelligentsia and left leaning atheists in the house all the time, sipping on tea and solving all the worlds problems.

Sam had a very close relationship with his older daughter, Esther, and took her too all the Yiddish plays that he could lay free tickets on (through his work at the Newspaper). They also took in museums, poetry readings and all kinds of active culture. Without the distractions of Cell Phones and TV, there was a rich banquet of culture available which they participated in. And it all came to a crashing end upon his death, the facts of which Esther, just refused to confront. She developed a stubborn defiancy towards all adversity in life.

My Mothers Father side of the family tree is Israeloff. My grandfather on that side of the family, Abraham (Al) Israeloff, and his father, Nathan, had a tie factory in New York City about 6th Avenue on 18th Street, in the flatiron district. It was called Better Bows, and I can recall seeing it function, with large looms of cloth laying out material being cut, as late perhaps as into the 1970's. Nathan's wife was Fanny. That side of the family had property in Manhattan Beach and on East 29th Street in Brooklyn. Fanny was a bit of a land speculator herself, evidently a common trade in that time as the Five Boroughs was being built up and expanded. They founded synagogues on Oceanside Avenue and Ocean Parkway.

Nathan Israeloff
Nathan Israeloff and his grand daughter, my Mother, Sherry.

Wedding of Sherry Israeloff and Morris Safir (My Parents)

My mother, Sherry Iris Israeloff, died young, in 1988, right after Talyah was born. It was a tragic end to a tragic struggling life. I grabbed all her photographs when she died, and today they are starting to deteriorate. She annotated every picture. So I tried to digitalize them insitu, in her photo albums. That archive is here:
Sherry Israeloff Photo Archive

Safir Family - Father's side

My fathers side of the family is more of a mystery for several reason. First, this side of the family has been in the states longer and as such seems to have had less of a need to stay connected in my lifetime. My father, Morris, divorced my mother after I was born, in what seems to have been an ugly affair. My grandfather, Nathan, who went by the name Emile, had a wife Toby who died very young. My first daughter, Talyah, was named after her at his insistence.

He lived for decades on Columbia Street in a housing project near the Williamsburg Bridge on the Lower East Side. After I got married we connected with him and he dragged us from cemetery to cemetery to pull the ivy and weeds off of graves. It was there that I first came to understand that there were Morris Safir and other Safir gravestones dating into the 1800's. Obviously the family had been here far longer than my mothers side of the family with roots connecting to Ottoman Romania and Hebron into the 1830s and 1860s.

Hiram, Grandmother Toby and Ruben (Me - the baby)
Hiram Safir, Grandmother Toby Safir, and Ruben (Me - the baby)

During the First World War, he worked in Fort Green at the Navy Yard, and they had significant connections to Fort Green and a Rabbi Furst. There was some connection with the Boy Scouts and Martin Schean, who became my step-father. But that is really all I know for certain.
Hiram Safir and Ruben Safir
Hiram and me

My mother and my Grandmother Esther (and her husband Al) will get their own pages as their relationship and mine is very deep and an emotional saga.

The Kids and the New Safir Clan

On December 28th, 1987 I married a handsome women of Northern European Luthern extract who converted to Judaism a few years before our marriage. We had six children, who I love dearly and mean the world to me.
Rabbi Shmuel Zev Friedman
Rav Shmuel Zev Friedman - Family Rav for 2 decades

At one time, every child in the house had their own Linux Computer and webspace. Being that the youngest, Shmueli-Bear, is now 19 (in feb 2016), they have largely out grown there home pages, although they still more or less exist. I've started to adopt them for their own family history information. Hopefully they will continue to grow there families and have many children, and few spouses.

Their growth, in fact, is the reason for this organization. It is no longer sufficient to just put up family pictures on this website like one sticks pictures on the refrigerator, because there are just too many of them, and each child deserves there own story. So I will try to adapt their own home pages for the things we wish to share with the public. Aside from the children, we now have two grandchildren. And the kids are all over the globe now, from Alaska to Israel. They haven't always had it easy, but they are special kids, every one of them special and heads and shoulders above there peers.

All Six Safir Kids together

Aviva was born

Passover Pics: Note these are taken before Passover

Sedar Table on E17th Street 2000 from my Sony Picturebook Sedar Table on E17th Street 2000 from my Sony Picturebook Any Chumitz Here?


Grapes and Strawberries for Purim
Grapes and Strawberries are the Shachmots tradition for our family

Grapes and Strawberries for Purim
Costume Fun

tookster - The other member of our family

Central Park

Brooklyn Bridge Schuel-Leib Eliezar Safir in Tzfat - 2016

OK - so I left my Picture Book Laptop on the shelf with clear instructions not to touch it. It was one of the first computers with a camera and we had it running Linux. See the result after leaving the kids with the computer alone for 2 hours

What I don't understand is how the Parot took its own picture

Rock Plaza Ice Skating


Shoshana Rivka Safir and Robert Menachum Klein were married on Sunday, August 24th, 2014 Mazal Tov Shani!
Newly Married Shoshana and Menachum Klein
The Loving Couple, Shoshana and Menachum

Dovid, Shmueli, Aviva, Itka

Shani and Abba
Shani and Me on a quiet birthday in happy times
Wedding Pictures

Shani's Wedding Video

Aviva Rochel Safir and Benjomin Rutner-Ellis married in December of 2014! in ramat Beis Shemesh in Israel

Aviva and Benyomin's Wedding video

So it has been a full family life and now we are growing old with Grandchildren.

First Shoshana and Menachum had a baby boy, Yaakov Gavreil, born in the Summer 2015. Mother and Baby are fine as the boy was born in Good Sameritan Hospital near Suffern, NY.

Shani and Yaakov Gavriel
Pinion HaBen
Yaakov Gavriel and Me!
Aviva and Benyomin had a son, as well, Yedidya Chanoch
I have to say this is the cutest baby I have ever seen.

Israel in Jan 2016

Yedidya's Bris

Aviva and Benyomin's Second Boy! - Daniel!

This is the most special story the the Safir family at Coney Island as told by their father, Me! It is actually a great read. Aviva's Coney Island Passover Story
Daniel in 2022 - in Givat Shmuel having a GREAT day
Akiva in NYC 2022 - having a good day