Samuel Silberstein, the son of an Austrian general, immigrated to Pittsburgh from Vienna, Austria, in 1881. He was one of the first Jews to settle in the Homewood section of the city, where he established a furnace and tinware business. An inventor, he gained local attention in 1897 for designing a compressed air motor that he believed would revolutionize the streetcar industry, although its promise surpassed its impact. Samuel Silberstein (1865-1932) married Sara Tannenbaum (1871-1930). They lived on Hamilton Avenue and had six children, Gertrude, Sadie, Ethel, Joseph, Herschel and Florence.
Gertrude Silberstein married Harry Shapera. They had two children, Richard and Jean.
Sadie Silberstein (c.1889-1964) married David Alter, an immigrant from Austria-Hungary, who was trained as an engineer. Alter purchased the Jewish Criterion in 1909 to save the paper from bankruptcy and spent decades as its publisher. He also published the Baltimore Jewish Times. Sadie Alter took over the publishing operation after her husband died. A civic leader, she founded the Planned Parenthood Association of Pittsburgh, was the president of the Urban League, and attended the World Disarmament Conference in Paris in 1932. Sadie and David Alter had a daughter, Geraldine.
Ethel Silberstein married Joseph Goldsmith and had a daughter, Evelyn. Joseph Silberstein married Cecile Balter (c.1898-1966), who was involved with the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, and became the president of the organization. They had two sons, Robert and Richard.
Herschel Silberstein married Floryn Greenberg. A prominent real estate broker, he owned the 6th Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Homewood and “never collected rent,” according to his family. He gained some local press attention in 1934 when a house he owned in Penn Township was “stolen.” He suspected that neighbors stripped the house to its foundation for kindling and building materials. Herschel and Floryn Silberstein had a daughter, Celeste.
Florence Silberstein (1901-1970) married Louis Reizenstein. She was a well known activist, especially for her work to improve interracial and interfaith relations. In 1975, a public middle school on Penn Avenue in East Liberty was named in her memory.