Now Is The Time To Visit Jewish Lithuania

Just launched:

The essential 36 page guide to visiting Jewish Lithuania and its ten key sites which highlight Jewish history and cultural heritage. This is the project of AEPJ European Routes of Jewish Heritage, published by the private Institute for Tourism Development and financed by the Lithuanian Jewish Commuity’s Good Will  Foundation.

One of the sites featured is Kedainiai, previously known as Keidan, a town of great Jewish importance. Keidan just also happens to be my Litvak shtetl!

All you need to build the perfect tour is more information on your own shtetl, and someone familiar with the territory to help you with your shtetl research, itinerary and bookings!

For all this and more, please contact me at


For more details on the guide, click Kedainiai Kehilalink.

[fb_pe url="" bottom="30"]



Kosher Shtetl Tour

Hi All

Do you want to experience an inspirational  tour of Latvia, Lithuania & Belarus, led by highly respected and experienced guide, South African Hugh Raichlin, together with local English speaking guides?

Eddie’s Kosher Travel is offering the following excellent tour next June. All Eddie’s Kosher Travel tours are kosher.


I am helping to promote this tour for Eddie’s Kosher Travel and I am available to answer your queries.

Please contact me at as soon as possible to register your interest, as there are limited spaces available.

There are several other KOSHER tours that Eddie’s Kosher Travel offers, so please ask me about these.

Best regards


Researching De Aar – It is a small world after all!

Wulf Friedlander Family – thanks to Ann Rabinowitz for the photo

Interesting connections come to light when researching for a new KehilaLink, especially when it’s for a small town in the middle of South Africa.

This the case of  De Aar, a town and railway junction in the Karoo.

I was surprised when Susana Leistner Bloch, VP for JewishGen’s KehilaLinks, asked me if I would set up a De Aar KehilaLink. Susana is from Brazil and lives in Winnipeg, Canada, so De Aar seemed a rather strange request.

Well, it turns out that her son in law, Dr Eric Jacobson’s family come from the town.

Then completely unrelated to this, I receive an email from Maxine Clarke, asking if I ever visit Perth Western Australia, where she lives. Her distant cousin, Gene LePere of Hollywood California, has alerted Maxine to an advert Gene has seen, namely about my Litvak and Latvian roots talk in Melbourne this last November!

Litvak Tour 2016 general.001

I call Maxine and tell her that I also live in Perth! During our conversation, Maxine, born in the mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, says that she has strong Jewish and South African family connections. She is in fact halachically Jewish. She tells me that her South African family, the Friedlander – Hirshhorns, were founders of  a  South African town, namely DE AAR!

We meet for coffee at the new Trigg Island Cafe in Perth and she brings with a couple of volumes of an amazing family history, written by Gene LePere, including a chapter on the South African family.

With Maxine Clarke at the Trigg Island Cafe, Perth

Gene seems a fascinating personality. She has written several books, including one on her father, Joseph Hirshhorn, an art collector, whose works are now housed in his museum in Washington, and which form part of the Smithsonian! Another of her books is the story of the three months she spent in a Turkish jail after she was set up, and how she escaped.

Gene LePere Book 3 (1)

Gene LePere Book 1 (1)
Thanks to Maxine Clarke and Gene LePere

Max and Maxine Clarke with Gene LePere (in the centre)

I am also told about another cousin, Hazel Jungbacke, who lives in Sea Point, Cape Town. Hazel has many of the original documents and photos. I track Hazel down via my cousin who is visiting Australia, lives in Sea Point and knows Hazel.

Hazel and I have a lovely chat and I am planning to meet her when I visit Cape Town in February.

In the meantime, I post a message about De Aar on Facebook and I get a response from Ann Rabinowitz of Miami Florida, no relation and not from South Africa,  with a detailed history of De Aar. Ann is a wonderful researcher and communicator.

Wulf Friedlander Family – thanks to Ann Rabinowitz for the photo

I trust you will enjoy the KehilaLink, click below.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.17.01 PM.



Shlome Pinkasovitch – Forgotten Chazan?

cantor pinkasovitch in johannesburg edited

Maoz Tzur

I received an interesting email from S. Leifer in Brooklyn NY:

My favourite cantor is long forgotten Shlome Pinkasovitch (Pincasovich, Pincasovicz, Pinkasovich).

Shlome was the cantor at the WOLMARANS STREET SYNAGOGUE in 1930, returning in 1941 as cantor of the BETH HAMEDRASH HAGODEL, succeeding the famous Cantor Berele Chagy.

In 1946 he retired to London, England and served as a lecturer and Dean of the School of Music at Jews College, until his death on 10 December 1951  (י”א כסלו שנת תשי”ב)

He recorded more that 300 recordings between 1912-1933 on the Gramaphone, Polydor, Odeon and Homochord (Homokord) labels.

I have a large collection of his recordings, and I have his bio (he writes at length about his life in South Africa).

His name sadly vanished from the cantorial arena.

Lately, chazonim and balei tefila are becoming aware of his music and nusach, thanks to groups of chazonim and researchers, who have been spreading the word and sharing some recordings.

We plan on publishing a double cd of his recordings with a booklet containing a well documented bio based on his writings and newspapers cuttings etc.

We have received considerable support from Manchester kehiloth (where he was the cantor in the late 1920s and 30s.

We are still looking for some documentation and photos from his time in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

I was delighted to see your website, that you are actually reviving the history, so I am reaching out to you for you help, if you have anything about him.

Can you help?


cantor pinkasovitch newspaper photo 1941 the zionist newspaper

cantor shlomo pinkasovitch polydor h75068 ben zoma omar  cantor shlomo pinkasovitch polydor h70059 al chet



Al chet = Polydor H70058

Aneinu = Polydor H70204 (year 1930)

Ben zomo – Polydor H75068 (year 1932)

Retzei = gramophone H70014-5 (circa 1924)

Ein kitzvo = gramophone H70002 (circa 1922)

Geshem = gramophone H70044-5 (mid 1920s)

Haneiros = polydor H75018 (mid 1920s)

My friend, Geraldine Auerbach MBE, alerted me to Geoffrey Shisler’s fabulous website:

Geoffrey Shisler is a most interesting man and a visit to his site is a must!

Follow his blog!

Like Pinkasovitch, Geoffrey also taught at Jews’ College.

This is what he has on Pinkasovitch:

I found this LP amongst over 120 chazonis vinyls my dad, Cantor Harry Rabinowitz, left behind.


Ochiloh Loeil


Born Ukrainian Russia 1886. Graduated from the Odessa Conservatoire 1904. Made hundreds of recordings, mainly for Homokord and ‘DGG’. Voice of exceptionally wide range, from lyric tenor to basso profound. Died London, 1951.

This now appears on the Johannesburg KehilaLink at:


The Ponevez Shul, Cape Town

I attended two evening minyanim at the Ponevezher Shul in Maynard Street in Cape Town.

Some photos:

[huge_it_slider id=”39″]


[huge_it_slider id=”40″]



IMG_0761   A video of the enthusiastic Aleinu – Stan Beinart


Harold Idesis introduces Michael Bagraim


With Jewish MP Michael Bargain, who addressed the Kehilah.


[huge_it_slider id=”41″]


A Video history of the Shul – thanks to Ronnie Levy

CT Ponevezher Rebbe

The visit to Cape Town of Rabbi Kahanaman, the Ponevezher Rav in 1953

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 3.01.40 PM

Visit: Panevezys KehilaLink

My blog about Panevezys in Lithuania