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Gerontology Wiki
Evelyn Kozak
Evelyn Kozak
Evelyn Kozak at age 107.
Birth: 14 August 1899
Eastside, New York, USA
Death: 11 June 2013
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Age: 113 years, 301 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Evelyn Kozak (née Jacobson; 14 August 1899 – 11 June 2013)[1] was a validated American supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living Jew[2][3][4][5] until her death at the age of 113 years, 301 days. She was also the oldest verified Jew in history after surpassing fellow American Adelheid Kirschbaum's age of 113 years, 83 days on 6 November 2012.[6] Kozak remained the oldest Jew ever until she was surpassed by Goldie Steinberg on 28 August 2014. In addition, at the time of her death she was the eighth-oldest person in the world and the twelfth-to-last person born in the 1800s.


Early life

Eva Chavka Rivka "Evelyn" Kozak was born on 14 August 1899 on the Lower East Side of New York City.[7] Her parents, Isaac and Kate (Chaikin) Jacobson, had moved from Russia, and had nine children.[8][9][10]

Kozak attended grammar school in Brooklyn, where she was valedictorian, and grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn.[9][11][12]  She then worked for a paper box company that her parents owned.[9][13]

Early adulthood

Kozak was married in 1921, and had five children, two of whom are deceased as are her two husbands.[9][14]

Kozak moved to New Jersey as an adult, and then to Miami, Florida, after she got married.[14][15] She lived and worked there for over 50 years as the operator of a motel on Miami Beach.[12] She lived in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from the age of 90.[9][11][16][17]

She was an avid Scrabble player until she turned 95.[12]  When someone observed once that she was very honest, she responded: "Honesty doesn't come in degrees. You are either honest, or not."[18]

Centenarian years

Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields declared August 5 to be "Evelyn Kozak Day" in Pittsburgh in 2009 in honor of her 110th birthday, saying that she was the oldest living Pittsburgher.[9][11][19][20]  Kozak said, "So much hoopla!  I am not entitled to all this kowtowing. Old age does not necessarily equate to wisdom."[9]

After she turned 110, she lived in the Kensington section of Brooklyn with her granddaughter Brucha Weisberger and her family, which when she moved in included eight great-grandchildren under the age of 13.[12][21][22]  Kozak loved reading, and enjoyed being read to.[9][12]  She was devoted to Judaism and the State of Israel.[9][20]  In her later years, when asked the secret of her longevity, she tapped her heart and replied, "a good conscience."[23]

When she was 111 years old, she asked relatives to look for an older eligible bachelor for her.[12] When they located for her a 115-year-old Israeli manTemplate:Source?, Kozak said: "He's too old for me.  I don't want to be alone in my old age."[12][21][24]


Kozak died in a Brooklyn, New York hospital[1] on 11 June 2013, the day after she had a heart attack. She was 113 years, 301 days old. Kozak was the last surviving Jew born in the 1800s.[25] She had five children, 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.[26] She was survived by Goldie Steinberg, also of New York, born 30 October 1900,[27] which was within the 19th century but not the 1800s. The article previously cited that referred to Kozak as the last Jew born in the 19th century, should more properly have described her as the last Jew born in the 1800s.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Boro Park: Oldest Jewish Person Dies At 113 Years-Old; Levaya To Be Held Today". Yeshiva World News. June 11, 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  2. "Australia's Oldest Jew Passes Away". August 2, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  3. "Australia's oldest Jew turns 110". JTA. March 6, 2011. 
  4. "'Oldest' records". March 25, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  5. Emma Silvers (August 4, 2011). "Elsie Rich of Santa Rosa is turning 110 — she was among the oldest Jews in the world!". Jweekly. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  6. "World's Oldest Living Jew Dies at 113". 19 June 2013. 
  7. Haughney, Christine (August 15, 2010). "Checking on Two of New York's Genuinely Oldest". The New York Times. 
  8. Evelyn Kozak Dead: World's Oldest Jewish Person Dies At 113 (VIDEO)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Kevin Kirkland (August 11, 2009). "Oldest Pittsburgher has her day and then some". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  10.  Angela Leibowicz (2009). "City honors its oldest Jewish resident Kozak". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Drew Fitzgerald  . "Pittsburgh woman, 109, says she has 'lived the right kind of life'". TribLIVE. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 "Searching for New York’s Oldest, and Finding Them", by Christine Haughney, The New York Times, August 15, 2010
  13. "Evelyn Kozak: Super-Centenarian". WQED. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Kevin Kirkland (August 15, 2006). "Century Club: No stopping energetic centenarians". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  15. "Entry An Ancient Treasure". The Jewish Chronicle. 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  16. Leibowicz, Angela (2009). "City honors its oldest (Jewish) resident – Kozak". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  17. "USA: Pittsburgh woman, 109, says she has 'lived the right kind of life'". Seniors World Chronicle. August 5, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  18. "Seniors: No Stopping Energetic Centenarians". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Aug 15, 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  19. "Woman Turns 110, Gets Day Named After Her In Pittsburgh". August 4, 2009. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Douglas Shields (August 3, 2009). "Resolution of Council of the City of Pittsburgh". Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Jaya Saxena (August 16, 2010). "New York's Centenarians Still Kicking". Gothamist. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  22. Haughney, Christine (August 15, 2010). "Searching for New York's Oldest, and Finding Them". The New York Times. 
  23. Eller, Sandy (June 12, 2013). "Brooklyn, NY - World’s Most Senior Jewish Person Dies At The Age Of 113". Voz Iz Neias. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  24. Amira, Dan (August 16, 2010). "The Pastimes of New York’s Very, Very Old People". New York Magazine. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 
  25. The Last Living People Born In The 1800s Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  26. "World's oldest Jewish person, Evelyn Kozak, dies in NYC at 113; family had fled Russia". NY Times. Retrieved 14 June 2013.  Template:Dead link
  27. "New York's Second Oldest Resident Celebrates 113th Birthday". CBS New York. October 30, 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2015.