The History Of The Great Synagogue, Gardens, Part 2

The author of this article is Howard Phillips, Professor of History at UCT. I met Howard on my recent visit to Cape Town. We had a delightful chat on our Sunday morning walk around Claremont and Wynberg. It was a magnificent summer’s day.

My thanks again go to Solly Berger and the Board of the Great Synagogue for allowing me to post this series on my blog.


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Muizenberg Shul, Cemetery and Pharmacy


I visited Muizenberg a couple of times in the week before Christmas.

Here are some photos taken at the Muizenberg Shul. There  was a healthy minyan for shacharit!

I then visited Gerald Musikanth, another Jewish icon of Muizenberg.


I spent time with Gerald at his Rustenburg Pharmacy, where he has an amazing collection of photos and Muizenberg memorabilia:


An intro from Gerald:

See the video:

Some locals outside the pharmacy:


I then visited the Jewish cemetery. Here are some of my photos:

Rav Frank’s matseva




Visit Rav Frank’s page on Muizenberg Kehilalink:

The Memories of Muizenberg Exhibition will be in Sydney soon – Save The Date

Opening 5pm Sunday 9 Feb 2014

Muizenberg Sydney

The Great Synagogue, Gardens, Cape Town

Visiting the Gardens Shul is always on my itinerary when I visit Cape Town.

This last December was no exception!

I want to thank Solly Berger, the Chairman of the The Cape Town Hebrew Congregation, for allowing me to post this article he wrote in 2005 for the Centenary of the Shul.


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My photos from 2012

Images found at the Jagger Library UCT. Thanks to Solly Berger for allowing me to post these.




The Albert Road Cemetery, Woodstock.

Woltemade Cemetery Gate 8





Raymond Ackerman with Rabbi Osher Feldman, Nov 2012


With Jill and Solly and Cora Berger, November 2012


With my family December 2013 – this is the spot where Jill and I were married 36 years ago!


Checking our ketuba in the shul office.


Audio from our chuppah, 31 July 1977.

The quality of the recording is not great, but the choir is!

Just married!

J & E Wedding 32

A Giant Leap for Mankind: My Small Step into Genealogical DNA!

I received my Family Tree DNA kit from Texas in the mail today.

Family Tree DNA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Family Tree DNA
FamilyTreeDNA (logo).png
Industry Genealogical DNA testing
Founded 2000
Founder(s) Bennett Greenspan, Max Blankfeld, and Jim Warren[1]
Headquarters Houston, TX
Area served International
Products Autosomal DNA TestingmtDNA TestsY-SNP TestsY-STR Tests

Family Tree DNA is a division of Gene by Gene, a commercial genetic testing company based in Houston, Texas. Family Tree DNA offers analysis ofautosomal DNAY-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA to individuals for genealogical purposes.



The Kit.

Family DNA 322088 2

The Collection Method.


Like brushing one’s teeth!


The guys at Bunnings (a large hardware chain in Australia) had a go at testing it on their pool water testing machine.

The result:  I need chlorine and some stabiliser. It was 38 degrees centigrade in Perth today!

Any bets on me finding some famous skeletons in my cupboard? I will keep you posted!

Why we need to share our photos and stories!

Chabaad Arthur's Road 1953

These two photos were taken in March 1953. They represent a series of threads I have researched and the amazing stories I have uncovered and their outcomes!
If you are interested in Jewish family history and want to know why we should share photos and stories, and the consequences of doing so, please read my blog this week:

Chabad signing 1953