Weather Updates

Rahm Emanuel bumps into violinist from his parents’ past

Mayor Rahm Emanuel arrives Northtown Branch Library visits with Allen Rubwho played violwedding Rahm's parents.  | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

Mayor Rahm Emanuel arrives at the Northtown Branch Library and visits with Allen Rubin who played violin at the wedding of Rahm's parents. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

storyidforme: 33673364
tmspicid: 12304730
fileheaderid: 5608117

Updated: July 16, 2012 6:46PM

You never know who you’re going to run into at a Chicago public library. Sometimes, it’s the guy who played in the band at your parents’ wedding.

That’s what happened to Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday as he was leaving the Northtown Library, 6435 N. California.

An 83-year-old man approached the mayor to say that he had played violin at the 1955 Rogers Park wedding of Benjamin and Marsha Emanuel, the mayor’s parents. The mayor looked genuinely surprised and delighted to meet Allen Rubin, exchanged small talk with him, then posed for a picture.

“Did you play professionally?” Emanuel asked.

“No. I did when I was in high school. I went on the road with a band,” Rubin said.

“Allen, it’s an honor to meet you,” Emanuel said.

“My privilege, mayor. … Regards to your parents,” Rubin said.

“No, it’s my privilege. Thank you so much. ... Now, we know who to blame,” Emanuel joked.

Afterwords, Rubin said he doesn’t remember a thing about the Emanuel’s wedding. Not even where it was held or what kind of music the band played.

The only thing he remembers is that he met the mayor’s father at Mount Sinai Hospital, where the elder Emanuel was a pediatrician and Rubin worked as a lab technician.

Does the 83-year-old still play violin?

“Please. I’m lucky if I can get my fingers to move, let alone play the violin,” Rubin said, laughing out loud.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.