Jacob (c.1866-1940) and Ryna Horne Radbord (c.1874-1948) immigrated to Pittsburgh from Lithuania after World War I with their eight children, Julius, Harry, Irvin, Lena, Libby, Sarah, Pearl and Rose. They lived at 1850 Webster Avenue, in the lower Hill District. Jacob Radbord was a baker with the Caplan Baking Company, which was on the same block of Logan Street as Sam Reznik and Sons and Cazen’s Meat Market.
Julius and Harry Radbord started Radbord Brothers, a wholesale men’s shirt company on Fifth Avenue. Their younger brother Irvin and sister Lena were both clerks in the store.
Sarah Radbord (c.1895-1970) married Irving Raffle, of Chicago, in 1924. They had a daughter, Gloria (1926-). The family lived on Fifth Avenue in Uptown, near the Brady Street Bridge. “Unfortunately it was not a successful marriage, and when I was three years old my parents were divorced,” Gloria Elbling recalled in a National Council of Jewish Women oral history in 1990. Sarah and Gloria Raffle lived with the Radbords.
The Radbord family moved to Pocusset Street, in Squirrel Hill. A friendship with Rabbi A. M. Ashinsky led them to attend Chofetz Chaim Congregation on Beacon Street. They later joined Beth Shalom Congregation. Gloria Raffle was a teacher at Beth Shalom and at the Hebrew Institute. Through her involvement with Beth Shalom’s Youth People’s League, she met Irving Elbling, who was also a member. They married in 1946. They had four children, Julian, Cookie, Howard, and Denise.
Irving Elbling (1920-2000) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1943, after graduating from Northeastern University, he came to Pittsburgh to conduct war-related research for Westinghouse Corporation, where he remained for his entire career. During his career, he patented 18 inventions, including a plastic-like coating used on dishwasher racks.
Gloria Elbling started her volunteering career in 1948, when she joined the Zionist and Jewish women’s equality organization Pioneer Women, now NA’AMAT. She rose through the ranks, becoming the president of her chapter and president of the Pittsburgh Council before serving a term as president of the national NA’AMAT USA organization. When she assumed the national position, the city of Pittsburgh temporarily renamed a stretch of Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill, calling it Elbling Avenue. At her election in Tel Aviv, a delegation of 30 Pittsburghers donned Pittsburgh Pirates caps and waved signs reading “Gloria, Gloria, Hallelujah” and “Everybody is Wild About Gloria.”
In addition to her work with NA’AMAT, Gloria Elbling volunteered with the Pittsburgh Conference of Jewish Women’s Organizations, working closely with its president, Mollie Lyon. Elbing also served on many boards, including Beth Shalom Congregation, the School for Advanced Jewish Studies, the United Jewish Federation and the UJF Women’s Division, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Hebrew Institute.
Irving Elbling was a past president of the B’nai B’rith Pittsburgh Council and the District Grand Lodge No. Three, which served a four-state region. This work brought him in touch with Dr. Henry Goldstein. Elbling was a past chairman of the Hillel Foundation Advisory Board of Pittsburgh and a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees of Beth Shalom.