S.F.-born musician Israel Izzy Rosenbaum, 89

When Michael Rosenbaum was growing up, it wasn’t unusual for him to wake up for school in the morning and find Louie Armstrong or Tony Bennett jamming with his father in the living room.

Rosenbaum’s father, Israel “Izzy” Rosenbaum, died Oct. 27 in Stockton. He was 89.

Israel Rosenbaum was born in San Francisco on May 30, 1914, the son of Polish immigrants; his father was in the grocery business.

He began playing the violin at age 7 and turned out to be a child prodigy, giving concerts all over the Bay Area. After graduating from Laurel High School, he attended a music program at U.C. Berkeley for a short time but then transferred to the Juilliard School of Music.

He also took up the bass fiddle and made his living as a professional musician, playing with such greats as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Bennett.

Though he was raised in an Orthodox home, as an adult, he belonged to San Francisco’s Congregation Sherith Israel, and he sometimes played Kol Nidre on violin for Yom Kippur services.

After a divorce, he married Laura Rosenbaum in 1968. His son recalled that in addition to music, his father was a great sports fan.

“We used to play baseball together,” Michael Rosenbaum said. “We were a very good team, and we would beat everyone in the neighborhood.”

Until he died, Israel Rosenbaum was the oldest living member of the Musician Union of San Francisco Local #6. He had moved to Stockton in the last decade.

In addition to his wife, Laura, of Stockton and son Michael of Foster City, Rosenbaum is survived by stepdaughter Lauraine Vargas of Arkansas, one grandson, two step-granddaughters and one step-great-grandson.

Donations can be sent to Temple Israel, 5105 N. El Dorado St., Stockton, CA 95207.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."