A ceremony was held on Wednesday to thank those in Kedainiai, Lithuania who organised the recent cleaning of the Jewish cemetery and the matsevot.

Tzvi Friedl, Natan Katzel, Jill Rabinowitz and I  joined those at the meeting at the Atzalynas School in Kedainiai  just after 8pm Perth time. We joined online from CHABAD Perth, Australia. We thanked those involved in undertaking this huge mitzvah. There are no Jews living in Kedainiai today.
Here is the report from teacher Laima Ardaviciene in Kedainiai – translated from the Lithuanian below:

Valentinas Tamulis, governor of the town of Kėdainiai and Rimantas Žirgulis, director of the Kedainiai Regional Museum, visited Kėdainiai Atzalynas gymnasium. During the meeting the members of the gymnasium community thanked them for their cooperation in carrying out project TILTAI-BRIDGES-בריקן activities related to the Jewish community in Kedainiai. The students shared a recent presentation about the old Kedainiai Jewish Cemetery. Eli Rabinowitz (Australia), rooted in Kedainiai, and Rabbi Natan Katzel joined the meeting virtually and thanked the headman of Kėdainiai for his contribution to the old Kedainiai Jewish cemetery in honor of the Kedainiai Jewish people, Jewish music was played by Tzvi Friedl. Further cooperation activities were discussed during the meeting. The guests were presented with the Kedainiai drawings.

Atžalyno gimnazijoje lankėsi Kėdainių miesto seniūnas Valentinas Tamulis ir Kėdainių krašto muziejaus direktorius Rimantas Žirgulis. Susitikimo metu gimnazijos bendruomenės nariai padėkojo už bendradarbiavimą vykdant projektą TILTAI-BRIDGES-בריקן apie Kėdainiuose buvusią žydų bendruomenę. Gimnazistai pasidalino pastaruoju metu sukurtu pristatymu apie senąsias Kėdainių žydų kapines. Susitikimo metu prisijungė Eli Rabinowitz (Australija), kuris kėdainiečių žydų vardu padėkojo miesto seniūnui už jo indėlį tvarkant senąsias Kėdainių žydų kapines, padėkos žodį tarė ir rabinas Natan Katzel, o muzikiniu kūriniu pasidalino Tzvi Friedl. Susitikimo metu buvo aptarta tolimesnė bendradarbiavimo veikla. Svečiams buvo padovanoti gimnazijos mokinių piešti Kėdainių miestą vaizduojantys piešiniai.

We made three videos:

Participants in Kedainiai:

Valentinas Tamulis, the headman of Kėdainiai                    
Rimantas Žirgulis, the director of the Kėdainiai Regional History Museum
Gintaras Petrulis, the director of Kėdainiai Atžalynas gymnasium
Rasa Cicėnienė, the assistant of Kėdainiai Atžalynas gymnasium
Lina Blinstrubienė, the assistant of Kėdainiai Atžalynas gymnasium
Giedrius Galvanauskas, a student
Aistė Vosilytė, a student
Šarūnė Makaraitytė, a student

More about the project – Building Bridges In Kedainiai

Building Bridges In Kedainiai

Kedainiai Atžalynas gymnasium students continue the Project: TILTAI-BRIDGES-בריקן . We thank Valentinas Tamulis, the mayor of Kedainiai, and Rimantas Žirgulis for organising cleaning activities in the old Jewish cemetery. Not a single tombstone is covered by a growing tree or a bush now. All the matsevot remind us about the Jewish community that lived in Keidan. We are presenting the recent view of the Old Jewish Cemetery of Keidan.

Source: elirab.me/bridges/

The video of the cemetery

The 59th Yahrzeit of Isocher Zeldin

Socher’s passport. He was born in Dvinsk (today Daugavpils)  Latvia
He re-established himself and his family  in Cape Town South Africa
On Muizenberg Beach 
 Socher’s descendants around the world
Socher and Chasa Zeldin
and their six daughters  left Riga for South Africa between 1927 to 1937.
Two sons were left behind. Moisey died in the Holocaust, David survived.
Socher and Chasa, their 5 married daughters and their husbands.
Socher’s other children
David Zeldin
Chana Zeldin


11 of the 15 his Cape Town grandchildren.

Leon Spiller’s Barmitzvah – Socher is not in the photo!
With his mate Charlie Slivkin
Socher passed away on Guy Fawkes Day – 5 Nov 1958 aged 77.
Family reunion in Cape Town in the 80s
Socher’s late grandson Mendel and Mendel’s daughter Bella, Mendel’s nieces Alla &  Mira, and Mendel’s great niece Angela.
Socher’s 2 x great grand daughter Lucy’s wedding in NY in 2010
Socher’s grand daughter Zara and her late brother Mendel’s NY & Toronto families in 2017
Socher’s grand daughter  Zara, her daughters Mira and Alla and Avram-Yakov in Toronto
In Brooklyn NY with Bella, Lucy, Estee, Jonathan, Alex & my brother Michael – meeting for the first time.

Rachel Rabinowitz, Concert Pianist

It began when I started searching “Rachel Rabinowitz” on Google.

My aunt Rachel Rabinowitz had been a concert pianist in South Africa from the 1950s onwards.

I found this on YouTube:

The comments read:
Published on 24 Jan 2014

‘Three Inventions’ by composer Stefans Grové (pictured above), in a performance by pianist Rachel Rabinowitz. The work has three sections: Tokkate; Pastorale; Fuga. Other works by Stefans Grové have been recorded and are available for purchase at the below links:



Here is the recording

I  had never come across any vinyl recordings of Rachel’s playing, let alone anything on the web!

I wrote to noochinator who had posted this recording on YouTube.

This is what he said:
I got the recording from a South African LP issued in the 1960s. I don’t own the LP, so I don’t have any more information on it. I have no other recordings of the pianist. You could check at the IPAM, it’s a piano archives at the U. of Maryland.

I found the album cover at

International Piano Archives at Maryland
Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library
University of Maryland College Park

Thanks to Donald Manildi, curator of IPAM and Maxwell Brown,  Project Manager.

Here is the album cover:





 I then asked the classical music reviewer for the West Australian Newspaper, Neville Cohn, an old friend of the family,   if he would review the recording for me.

Review by Neville Cohn

Rachel Rabinowitz was at the forefront of those musicians who worked tirelessly to bring music by South African composers to a wide audience both in South Africa and abroad. In those mid-20th century days, there was too often an indifference to new music written by compatriots and it says a very great deal for Rachel and her fellow musicians in this arts arena. This recording of three pieces by Stefans Grove is a model of its kind, thoroughly worthwhile music that could so easily have slipped into oblivion without the pioneering attitude of these artists. In these pieces, we can hear the quality of Rachel’s artistry: impeccable memory, wondrous clarity of presentation and a faultless sense of style.

During my years as, firstly, official accompanist to the SABC and, later, music producer, I was present at just about every recording session by Rachel of programs intended for later broadcast. I noticed then a quality which placed her in a unique category. She would invariably play her recitals entirely from memory. I recall an occasion when she’d been contracted to record a particularly complex and demanding score. But although I suggested it might be less taxing to use the score during the recording session, she insisted, as ever, on committing the work to memory – and performed it faultlessly.
Rachel and my teacher Anne Sher (who was also my aunt) had been fellow students at the College of Music. They would occasionally play piano duets which, as a child, I found a delightful entertainment.
Rachel’s brother Leib and his family, lived across the road from us. Very occasionally, Leib would play the violin for us. I also recall vividly meeting, and listening for the first time to, Leib’s brother Harry. On this particular occasion, Leib had set up a tape recorder to record Harry’s singing. In those days, this was a VERY rare experience – and I listened in awe not only to Harry’s fine voice but the recording of it when played back. I would have had no idea then of how much recording of music would figure in my life during innumerable pre-recorded performances at the SABC studios in Sea Point years later. I’m also old enough to recall playing in a ‘live’ broadcast – in the Young South Africa series (I was 12 years old at the time) – in the original SABC premises squashed between the Del Monico restaurant and the old Royal cinema.
Neville Cohn
Some additional notes from Neville Cohn:
I could write a book about your family as neighbours.
Your uncle Leib had a movie projector and a number of movies from the silent era. We would watch them again and again and again – never got tired of them. We used to invent what we thought they were saying amid gales of laughter. Such delightful, innocent fun – now a vanished world.
Leib lived across the road from us – and I recall a session there with your Dad singing into a very early tape machine which was followed by you singing Tzena Tzena! very loudly. How’s that for a recollection? This might have been in the early 1950s,.


The Rabinowitzs were a musical family:

My zaida was a chazan, as were two of his three sons, Leib and Harry, my dad.

Isaac was a medical doctor.

The sisters Rachel and Sarah were both pianists – Rachel a concert pianist and Sarah a music and piano teacher.

Back: Leib, Isaac & Harry

Front: Rachel, Chana Chesha Miriam, Nachum Mendel & Sarah

My dad Harry, me, my mother Rachel, my aunt Rachel and my bobba, Chana Chesha Miriam.

Here are a couple of pieces Rachel played when we visited her long after she retired.

My brother Michael also joined in

She remembers Neville Cohn in this short clip:

Building Bridges In Kedainiai

Atzalynas High School, Kedainiai

Drawings by Julija Chomenko featured in the video below.

Julio completed her schooling  at Atzalyno High School last year.

From Laima Ardaviciene, teacher:

Kedainiai Atžalynas gymnasium students continue the Project: TILTAI-BRIDGES-בריקן . From the bottom of our heart we thank Valentinas Tamulis, the headman of Kedainiai, and Rimantas Žirgulis for organising cleaning activities in the old Jewish cemetery. Not a single tombstone is covered by a growing tree or a bush now. All the headstones remind us about the Jewish community that lived in Keidan. We are presenting the recent view of the Old Jewish Cemetery of Keidan.


​      Kedainiai Atzalynas gymnasium

Source: bridges2015.weebly.com/why-bridges.html

Keidaners in Israel

Atzalynas Gimnazija Kedainiai Visit 2017

The Keidaner Family tree on Laima’s classroom wall – an unique work of art! The complex of two synagogues and the tree featuring the names of Keidaners, including  my 3rd great grandfat…

Source: elirab.me/atzalynas-gimnazija-kedainiai-visit-2017/

 With Viktorija Orlovaite in 2014
Her sketch of the two synagogue complex

The Wiener Family History

From Dennis Wiener

Netanya, Israel


A family geneaology takes on a life of its own, a continuous evolving science, as new facts from new sources come to light and once verified, need to be documented. Added to this is as the geaneologist becomes more experienced in the science so he becomes more adept in moving forward at a faster rate, being better able to differentiate between the important information relating to his study and the vast amount of chaff existing on the periphery.

Since publishing the book in October 2016 I have  made some major discoveries:

  1. The discovery and confirmation of direct descendancy of the famous KALONYMOS family through Bunlin Günzburg, daughter of Rabbi Shimon Günzburg, and wife of Goan Eliyahu Oettingen. This family lived from the 8th century in Lucca, Tuscanny, and are known to be one of the first Jewish families to live in Germany. This virtually doubles the genealogical timeline I am researching and there is a lot more work I need to do on it
  2. The discovery of more of our relatives who survived the Holocaust, the most prominent of which was the WIENER-COHN family living in Raanana, Israel. The story of how we met up is fully described in this edition.
  3. The phenomenal discovery of the DUCKESZ REPORT ON THE WIENER-RIES-OETTINGEN LEVYTE FAMILY which was a direct result of meeting up with the COHN family mentioned above. This document proved that my research was highly accurate in essence but also disproved a hypothesis I made concerning 3 generations was incorrect, at the same time giving full information of the correct lineage. This to me is The Holy Grail of my research and I have appended it at the end of this book. This can also be read as either an alternative or supplemental addition to my research – it certainly details a lot more family information than what I originally had.
  4. The above report also includes new and different branches in my family lineage – including the well-known SPANIER and WARISCH families. These will also need further investigation.
  5. Updated information in research relating to the Levite R1a1a research.
  6. Discovery of many more family graves in the Konigstrasse Jewish Cemetery in Hamburg including inscriptions and date of deaths.
  7. Various other bits of information regarding the family.

You can download this book, free of charge, from Dennis’s website:


The Power Of Words

The Power of Words by Tali Feinberg

tangential travel

Don’t Give Up Hope!

Read about the next stage of the project.

Learn about the meaning, context and significance of Hirsh Glik’s words in your language.

Source: elirab.me/hope/

Visit the website for additional resources


Zog Nit Keynmol

With thanks to Joel Schechter

The Partisan’s Song: A Lesson Plan

Source: elirab.me/study/

The Partisan’s Song: A Lesson Plan

Teaching The Holocaust Through Poetry Lesson Plan Grades 9-12  Subjects: History, Language/Arts, Media, Social Studies. This website is translatable into 103 languages…..