Transit in Istanbul


Arrived in Istanbul at 8am and took a cab to Neve Shalom Synagogue to attend the service. Security was very heavy.

Sephardic service. 


The saw the other Ashkenazi synagogue nearby from the outside.

Had another delicious fish roll, walked through the Spice market again and the busy narrow streets to the amazing Grand Bazaar.

Waited in line for over an hour to get tickets for the Topkapi Palace where the Harem was the highlight for me.

Flew to London at 5:30pm


The Ashkenazi Synagogue



Walking the Streets




The Grand Bazaar



Topkapi Palace and the Harem


Last Day in Israel


Phillip and Rochelle said goodbye at Kefar Saba station and I took the train to Tel Aviv University



I met Elissa Rosenberg, my third cousin who discovered me on the internet a few months ago while doing a roots project with her daughter Hadass.

We visited the museum at Beit Hafutsot.

We then met her cousin Ruth Heymann (nee Rabinowitz) at Gillys at the Port for a delicious “afternoon” brunch. It was lovely meeting them.



At 5pm Ruth dropped me off to meet my cousin Bertha Berger. Bertha and I went to the Marina at Herzlia Petuach and then to cousin Hannah and Isaac for dinner. 

I met Saul Issroff, his girlfriend Sally from England and Miriam Lazarus.

Saul edits the SA SIG group on JewishGen and was the one who put cousin Feri and me in touch with each other in 2001. That led to this big adventure!



Eytan and his girlfriend Brenda took me to the airport at 1am and my flight to Istanbul was at 6am



While I was showing some photos of my Mom found in the Riga archives, this is the message that came up in iPhoto – amazing!


With a little help from family and friends


Today I took s bus from Ra’anana to Jerusalem.  Chatted all the way to Eli from Long Is about Poland and Central Europe.
In Kiryat Moshe in Jerusalem i fortuitously bumped into my cousin Nachi.

Nachi helped me purchase a becher at Hazorfim, but we also had Jill, Dean, Les and Jons in Sydney help us via skype. It must must have been an unique sale for Hazorfim – having two groups in Jerusalem and Sydney discussing the options and deciding!

We then went to his apartment for lunch and met the family before going across to Feigele Gold and her family to look at photos of Orla and to talk about my visit there.



After returning to Ra’anana, Phillip, Rochelle and I had a delicious Israeli supper.



Israel – Family & Friends


Here are some photos of family and friends

Sorrel, Gidon and family

Aunty Sarah Stepansky, Hadara and Nachi

Aunty Rae Gurland and Diane

Phillip Levy and Eytan

Tony Sachs



And one photo that Aunty Sarah found of her uncle Moshe Rabinowitz taken in Orla in 1920. He is the man on the left side of the photo with the school children.


Views of Israel


My arrival in Israel and some views of Gan Yavneh and Jerusalem



The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, the Hechal Shlomo Museum and views from the roof of the museum.



The Hurva Synagogue in the Old City.

My third Great Grandfather Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tsoref, a student of the Vilna Gaon, was responsible in 1836 for obtaining the rights to build the synagogue. He was later assassinated.

My great grandfather Michel Avraham Herison was a gabbai at the shul in later years.

The note from my friend Tony Sachs got me through security into the shul.

Once they found out about my ancestry – I showed them my family tree on my iPad –  I was introduced to the English speaking guide, Naama, who gave me a superb one to one tour of the shul.

It was amazing how quickly news travelled and several members of the guide staff came up to greet this Antipodean descendant of Tsoref’s!




Ronen and I drove up to Kibbutz Bar’am on the Lebanese border via the Dead Sea, the West Bank and the Kinneret. Here are some of the views.



Early the next morning I was back in the car first with Adi’s dad Moshe Harel to Herzlia and then with Eytan to Ashkelon:



Here are some of the views of Ashkelon and its rapidly growing community – thanks to an excellent tour by Gidon


Walking Istanbul


Here are my images of my walking tour of Istanbul. Fascinating city.

The Galata Tower, Neve Shalom Synagogue (they wouldn’t let me in!), Jewish Museum, Fish Sandwich opposite Spice Market, Underground Cisterns, Atasofa, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Gardens, Spice Market and dinner with Mehmet.

Local team won nstional soccer tournament – great excitement!





Our walking tour of Buda


Here are images of our walking tour of Buda, on the other side of the Danube.

We first started off at our hotel with a great breakfast, visited the market and then crossed over one of the bridges.

The Gellert Baths, the memorials and the Castle Hill areas were very interesting to visit. Great views.

Neil and I then had apple strudels at the famous Gerbauds on the Pest side.


We met Feri back at our hotel, before visiting his nearby apartment for drinks, where we met the rest of his family and looked at books, photos and a very interestingly painted room.


Another Historic Meeting – this time in Asia!


Flew to Istanbul yesterday afternoon. Seated across the aisle from my cousins Mehmet and Billur.

I am staying at the Point Barbardos Hotel on European side. Excellent hotel.

They picked me up around 8pm and we drove down to the Bosphorus. With them was Yasemin, their charming daughter – my second cousin once removed!

We waited for the restaurant boat and crossed to Asia where I met Mehmet’s brother (and my 2nd cousin) Ahmet and his wife Pinar.

I had a lovely evening with them. Catching up on our pasts kept us talking all evening!

Ahmet is also an Economist, so I was able to discuss Lipsey and Steiner and Samuelson, which was fun.

I enjoyed talking to someone who understood the term “ceteris paribus” as opposed to my numerous accountant friends who love to fox me with their debits and credits!

Interesting and delicious food.

Here are some photos. Some taken on the restaurant boat are blurred.

The last photo from left to right is:

Eli, Pinar, Ahmet, Billur, Mehmet and Yasemin