Louis and Jennie Friedman immigrated to Pittsburgh from Romania in the 1910s. They lived in the Hill District with their four children, Morris, Fannie, Sarah and Sophie.
Louis Friedman died about 1919, leaving his wife to raise their children. “When we brought a chicken to Rabbi Kochin and he said it was ‘trafe,’ not ritually fit to eat, we threw it out,” their daughter Sophie Friedman Masloff told the Jewish Chronicle in 1977. “We never mentioned that we could not buy another one that week. We ate yesterday’s old bread. In fact, we were hardly ever able to buy fresh bread for a long time.”
Morris Neiberg (c.1911-1955), who had a different surname than his siblings, spent 17 years on the Pittsburgh Police Department, mostly as a motorcycle patrolman.
After graduating from Fifth Avenue High School in 1935, Sophie Friedman (1917-2014) held several government jobs before becoming a clerk in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, where she remained for the next 38 years. She married Jack Masloff, a salesman with the Equitable Life Insurance Company. They had a daughter, Linda.
A lifelong Democrat, Sophie Masloff successfully ran for Pittsburgh City Council in 1976. She retained her seat on City Council for 12 years, serving alongside Mark Pollock. When Mayor Richard Caliguiri died in office in 1988, Masloff became mayor. She was the first woman and the first Jew to serve as mayor of Pittsburgh. “This is such a sad personal occasion for me,” she said in her inauguration address. “To become mayor as the result of the tragic death of Mayor Caliguiri causes me great sorrow.”
Masloff ran unopposed the following year. During her full term in office, she oversaw the privatization of the Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary, Phipps Conservatory and the Schenley Park Golf Course; the refurbishment of Market Square; and the implementation of a Remote Water Meter Program. She also continued the urban renewal program started by her predecessor. At the end of her term, she declined to run for re-election.
Masloff remained in public view after leaving office. She appeared in commercials for local companies and occasionally gave her thoughts on current events in city politics.