Evelyn Kozak: The world's oldest Jewish person


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The Independent Online

The world's oldest Jewish person, Evelyn Kozak, whose family fled Russia to escape anti-Semitism, died at the age of 113 on 10 June the day after suffering a heart attack. She was also the world's seventh-oldest person. The world's oldest person, Misao Okawa of Japan, is 115; her compatriot, Jiroemon Kimura, died at the age of 116 two days after Kozak.

Kozak was born in New York on 14 August 1899. Her family had moved from Russia to escape anti-Semitic attacks. She spent much of her adult life in Miami, where she ran a boarding house for many years. "She always said a good conscience was the secret to a long life," her granddaughter, Brucha Weisberger, said.

Though Kozak had no formal religious education, she was religious, keeping kosher and observing the Sabbath. When she was 110, she started covering her hair, as many orthodox Jewish women do. She was married twice but had been a widow since 1957. She had five children, 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.