The Bloch Sefer Torah

Aphraim and Chava Bloch. Chava’s maiden name was Cynkin
Aphraim and Chava’s Ketuba  9 January 1891 –  Mir, today in Belarus

More about Aphraim and Chava and the Bloch & Cynkin Families:

Beverly Jacobson (middle) & her children

The visit to Cape Town from Israel by Beverly Jacobson and her children on a “roots” trip precipitated the search for the Sefer Torah her great grandfather, Aphraim Bloch, donated to Highlands House back in 1948.

The last time it was “seen” by a family member was by Beverly’s brother, Richard Shavei Tzion.

Richard: ‘This occurred in 1998, exactly 50 years after it was dedicated to my Great-grandmother Chava Bloch and to their daughter Rachel who I am named after.

While going through old family documents, I discovered a “Cape Times” article dated 1948, describing the dedication of a Sefer Torah which had been donated by my late great-grandfather Efraim Bloch to the shul at Highlands House, the Jewish retirement home.

Intrigued by this, I spoke to my friend, who together with his sons takes a very active role in conducting the Shul Services there. I asked him if he could identify the scroll, and indeed he found the inscription on the handles of a beautiful Sefer in the Aron Hakodesh. When it turned out that I would be visiting Cape Town, I asked if I could see it. The shul responded by suggesting that I attend a Shabbat Service, act as Ba’al Tefillah and be called up for “Maftir” using the scroll which my great-grandfather had donated. I was of course delighted to accept.

A number of relatives, amongst them descendants of Efraim Bloch, were present at the service. My feelings of family pride, personal humility and a sense of the closing of a circle were compounded when I was called up to the Torah. There I stood, a third generation descendant of Efraim Bloch. The reader pointed to the very first verse of the Aliya to which I had been called up and began to read. Of all the thousands of verses in the Torah, the one that commenced my Aliya read: “And Joseph saw Efraim’s children of the third generation…”’

Eli: ‘In August 2017,  my mother-in-law and grand-daughter of Aphraim Bloch, Ruth Saevitzon Reitstein, and my father-in-law, Leonard Reitstein, became residents at Highlands House.

On 14 March 2018 Ruth wrote to her niece Beverly Saevitzon Jacobson telling Beverly that there was no sign of her Zaida’s torah in the Highlands House shul.’

Ruth: ‘Rabbi Serwator inspected all five Torahs and could not identify the Sefer Torah. The only reason we can think of is that maybe the Torah was loaned to another shul and that’s where it is.

On 15 March 2018 Richard sent Ruth this  picture of the Sefer Torah in its mantle.

Richard: ‘The ID as I remember is a small silver strip on one of the wooden posts.’

On 17 March 2018,  Ruth wrote to her daughter Jill (my wife), here in Perth.

‘Hallelulah!!!!!  We found the TORAH!!!!!!. I went to shul this morning and Gilad Stern, Richard’s friend, took me to the ark and showed me the torah. It has markings on the Eitz Chaim.’

Photos taken by the family on 25 March 2018
Inscription on Bloch Torah
Aphraim Benyamin Bloch

Ruth & Leonard Reitstein at Highlands House. Ruth is Aphraim’s grand daughter
Beverly Saevitzon Jacobson & her children
Bloch descendants (and by marriage) at the Gardens Shul
The Descendants of Aphraim Bloch 
This interesting  article was written many years ago about Aphraim Bloch (mistakingly called Avraham Bloch in this article) and Molotov, the Foreign Miniser of the USSR.
The Geoff referred to in this article was the late Geoff Saevitzon, brother of Ruth Reitstein.  The mystery has never been solved.

I wrote several times to Vyacheslav Nikonov, grandson of Molotov, but he never responded!

Vyacheslav Nikonov – Wikipedia

Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov (Russian: Вячеслав Алексеевич Никонов, born in Moscow on June 5, 1956) is a Russian political scientist.


another torah donated to Highlands House
by Benny Rabinowitz

New home for Torah from Birzh

By: Gilad Stern

Date: 05 August 2015

Sefer Torah donated, with Good Hope

Reading the Torah on Shabbatot and yomtovim is a cornerstone of Jewish life.

But Torah scrolls are not easy to come by.  Both Highlands House Shul and

Tikva Tova, the egalitarian orthodox community, have benefitted from the

donation by Ben Rabinowitz of a Sefer Torah. The Rabinowitz family

originally brought a Sefer Torah from Birz, Lithuania to South Africa.  The

family were congregants at the Bellville Shul for much of the 20th Century.

The Bellville shul closed, and merged with Durbanville shul.  The Sefer

Torah which has now been placed at Highlands House has splendid calligraphy

– a clear script with distinctive character – the sofer (scribe) who created

it must have completed it as a labour of love and commitment.

The Torah cover was made this year at Astra, the Jewish sheltered employment

centre.  The design depicts Table Mountain and Cape Town, and bears the

words Tikva Tova, meaning Good Hope, a fitting design for a Torah cover at

the Cape of Good Hope.  The Torah cover has s dedication to the memory of

Shirley, Ben’s late wife, and to the Rabinowitz forebears who were part of

this community’s history.

Whilst the Torah will be housed at Highlands House, on Rosh Hashana and Yom

Kippur it will be used at the services of the egalitarian shul, Tikva Tova,

at the Herzlia High School hall.  Details on


The Highlands House Synagogue


A Day Out in Cape Town

On this visit to Cape Town, I stayed with family in Milnerton Ridge.

On Saturday we take my two favourite friends Harry & Sally for a walk along Sunset Beach. Mind you, Harry doesn’t allow me to get near him.

Michelle, Sally and Harry
With Sally
Video clips from Sunset Beach:

Sunset Beach – Microlite 1

Sunset Beach – Microlite 2


Milnerton – Wikipedia

Milnerton is a suburb of Cape Town in South Africa situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast 11 kilometres to the north of the city’s centre.


Fashion Show at Cape Town City Hall

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Cape Town City Hall

Cape Town City Hall – Wikipedia

Cape Town City Hall is a large Edwardian building in Cape Town city centre which was built in 1905. It is located on the Grand Parade to the west of the Castle and is built from honey-coloured oolitic limestone imported from Bath in England.


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Video Clip from The Fashion Show

Fashion Show

With Michelle
Woolworths South Africa Headquarters
The Waterfront

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Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront – Wikipedia

The Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront in Cape Town is situated on the Atlantic shore, Table Bay Harbour, the City of Cape Town and Table Mountain. Adrian van der Vyver designed the complex.


Sea Point & Muizenberg

A look at two of my favourite spots in Cape Town

Sea Point

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Sea Point

Sea Point – Wikipedia

Sea Point (Afrikaans: Seepunt) is one of Cape Town’s most affluent and densely populated suburbs, situated between Signal Hill and the Atlantic Ocean, a few kilometres to the west of Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD). Moving from Sea Point to the CBD, one passes through first the small suburb of Three Anchor Bay, then Green Point. Seaward from Green Point is the area known as Mouille Point (pronounced MOO-lee), where the local lighthouse is situated. It is neighboured to the southwest by the suburb of Bantry Bay.


Bantry Bay

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Bantry Bay, Cape Town – Wikipedia

Bantry Bay, Cape Town – Wikipedia

Bantry Bay is an affluent suburb of Cape Town situated on the slopes of Lion’s Head and overlooking a rocky coastline, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Its neighboring suburbs are Sea Point and Clifton. It was originally called Botany Bay after a botanical garden that was planted here for the cultivation of medicinal herbs. The name was changed during World War I.


Jewish Community of  Cape Town


Arthur’s Road Shul, Sea Point

Arthur’s Road Shul – Digging Up The History- from 2013

Arthur’s Road Shul – Digging Up The History

Last week I visited the Arthur’s Road Shul in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa. My previous visit was in November 2012. Both also included research at the Kaplan Centre, UCT and the Gitlin …



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Muizenberg – Wikipedia

Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. It is situated where the shore of the Cape Peninsula curves round to the east on the False Bay coast. It is considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa[citation needed] and is currently home to a surfing community, centered on the popular ‘Surfer’s Corner’. Agatha Christie, famous author and playwright, wrote that after nursing duty she would daily take the train to Muizenberg to go surfing.


The Muizenberg Kehilalink


Muizenberg to St James Walk

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St James
St James, Cape Town – Wikipedia

St James is a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, situated on the False Bay coast between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay.[2] The suburb is situated between the rocky shore and a steep mountain, and measures about 200m by 2 km. Its name derives from the early St James Catholic Church, built circa 1880. Most of the suburb was built between 1910 and 1950, after the railway line was built connecting Cape Town to False Bay.


Muizenberg High School

Muizenberg High School

My Partisan Song Project presentation at Muizenberg High School Muizenberg High School principal Leonie Jacobsen and I first met on Thursday night, 8 February, at a delightful Yiddish music concert…



 The Cellars-Hohenort – Relais & Chateaux Hotel Cape Town

Welcome to The Cellars-Hohenort – Relais & Chateaux Hotel Cape Town

Situated in the lush Constantia Valley, Cellars Hohenort offers a world-class accommodation and dining experience like no other.

The Greenhouse Restaurant   
With Richard Narva of Boston MA
The Menu – The Greenhouse Restaurant
The Butcher Bird

Checking the wines
Our knowledgeable waiter


Herzlia & Highlands House – The Partisans’ Song

On 8 February United Herzlia Schools hosted an international online collaboration on The Partisans’ Song Project

Herzlia High School, Cape Town, South Africa
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Schools that participated in the online collaboration:

  1. Host: Herzlia Middle School, Cape Town
  2. St Petersburg School (#550) ORT de Gunzburg “Shorashim” (Russia)
  3. Moscow School (#1311) “Tekhiya” (ORT) (Russia)
  4. Kiev Educational Complex “ORT” (#141) (Ukraine)
  5. Odessa School “ORT” (#94) named after Z.Zhabotinskiy (Ukraine)
  6. Kishinev ORT Technology Lyceum named after Herzl (Moldova)
  7. Vilnius ORT Shalom Aleichem gymnasia (Lithuania)
My welcome

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Video: Herzlia Ensemble sings Zog Nit Keynmol

Herzlia Online ZNK 2018


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Watching in Sydney, Australia
Miriam Lichterman, survivor
Herzlia school captains
Herzlia – thanks given in Russian
With Ivor Joffe, Lydia Abel, Ivor Lichterman, Miriam Lichterman, Mark Helfrich, Steve Sherman

With thanks to:

Irina Silaeva (Shemyakina)  co-ordinator  “Organization for Educational resources and technological training”  (ORT-Russia)

Mark Helfrich – Herzlia

Ivor Joffe – Herzlia

Steve Sherman – Living Maths

Heather Blumenthal – Spirit Sister

Lydia Abel – Cape ORT

Miriam Lichterman & Ivor Lichterman

Lesley-Ann Knoll

Full collaboration video:
Zog Nit Keynmol – – An international Collaboration
Zog Nit Keynmol – – An international Collaboration


The Concert at Highlands House
The notice board


Lesley-Ann Knoll’s welcome
Mark Helfrich
With the Herzlia Vocal Ensemble

Miriam & Ivor Lichterman
Video – Zog Nit Keynmol 
With survivor Miriam Lichterman and her son Ivor, visiting from Toledo OH.
Zog Nit Keynmol – in Cape Town with Miriam Lichterman

The Partisan Song WE ARE HERE! The Herzlia Vocal Ensemble Highlands House Cape Town 8 February 2018


With Ivor Joffe
The Residents

Miriam Lichterman & Philip Todres
Lydia Abel & Miriam Lichterman
With inlaws Len & Ruth Reitstein
Lesley-Ann Knoll
Residents viewing The Partisans’ Song video

The new video
Yom Hashoah 2018 – A video for your community

Yom Hashoah 2018 – A video for your community

Give meaning to the significance and context to the Partisans’ Song, written by Hirsh Glik 75 years ago. Please ensure that your children and grandchi…


About Us | United Herzlia Schools

About Us | United Herzlia Schools

Herzlia is a Jewish community school and a leader in education in the Western Cape. Herzlia is one of the top feeder schools to UCT. About Us.


World ORT | Worldwide Jewish Educational NGO

World ORT | Worldwide Jewish Educational NGO

World ORT

World ORT is the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation. Specialized in Technology.



Friendly Faces RSA

People I met on my recent trip to South Africa

With Richard Freedman, The CT Holocaust Centre
The audience
With Miriam and Ivor Lichterman
With Marijke Slager (Holland) and Stellenbosch student
With David Lazarus & Harry Kantor
Jill’s family
With Dan Brotman
With Gidon Kerbel and Mercia Strieman

With Richard Narva

Herzlia online class with six schools in the FSU
Miriam Lichterman (standing) & Herzlia students
With the Herzlia Vocal Ensemble
With Ivor Joffe, Lydia Abel, Ivor and Miriam Lichterman, Mark Helfrich & Steve Sherman
Concert at Highlands House

With Herzlia Vocal Ensemble
With two members of Herzlia Vocal Ensemble & Ivor Joffe
Lydia Abel & Miriam Lichterman
Lesley-Ann Knoll

Kalk Bay Theatre
With Caely-Jo Levy
With Julian Reitstein, Leonie Jacobsen & Lesley Abelsohn
With cousins Lesley Abelsohn, Hannah & Isaac Bloch
Fashion Show at Cape Town City Hall
With Michelle Radowsky
Toni and Michelle

Michelle at Woolworths Head Office – owners of David Jones & Country Road
Sunday meetings
With Gerald Potash
With Philip Todres
With Gerald & Celia Musikanth

Muizenberg High School
With Principal Leonie Jacobsen

With students
With school captains
With school captains
With matric students and visitors
With Alice King, US Consul education, Leonie Jacobsen & other visitors
With Lydia Abel, Cape ORT
Cape ORT – robotic demonstration
Other CT
Michelle, Harry & Sally
With Norman Jawno
Kapeluto Family
With Irene & Ian Stein
With Ian Stein & Dimitri Coutras
With the Greeks
With Stan Smookler
With Marcelle Ravid and staff at ORT SA
With Elona Steinfeld at SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth
Rabbi Mosh Silberhaft at Beyachad
Cousin Leon Spiller at Beyachad
Talk at JGSSA at HOD

Talk at Greenside Shul
Rabbi Mendel Rabinowitz
At Greenside Shul

From Gerald Potash’s newsletter of 16 February 2018

My coffee catch-up this week was a very, very early in the morning breakfast with Eli from Perth. Long before the coffee shop opened for orders, in fact only as the first of the staff arrived to clean the tables at Knead in Sea Point, we were chatting away, catching up as we do. Eli has been very busy with the Patriot’s song at schools and also taking the ‘Memories of Muizenberg’ exhibition all over the world. It is always great catching up with Eli and if a third person was with us on Sunday morning they would have to put their hand up into the air to even get a word in. We only meet once a year and there is a lot to talk about.

(I got a call from Eli on Tuesday, he was on a plane back to Jo’burg on his way back home to Perth and sitting next to him is a couple from Oz with whom he started chatting……that’s Eli…….anyway they tell him they have been touring in Cape Town and he asks with whom? Yup, Ian & Sally… on Sunday I was with them both. Small world!)

Row 18 BA CT to Jo’burg with Robyn, migrating to Australia and Ian from Shepparton
Row 17 – Sally, Ian’s wife
With Ishvara at the original Jeppestown Shul

Greenside Shul


The Building and Foyer

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The Main Sanctuary

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Greenside Shul – History

Greenside Shul – History


History of the Greenside Hebrew Congregation

Extract from the Brochure of the Official opening of the Parkview Greenside and Districts Hebrew Congregation Communal Hall, 4th August 1947

To recount the history of the Greenside Hebrew congregation (as it is known today) is to tell the story of South African Jewry from the late 1930’s. We must pay tribute to those many pioneers seeking identity in the dark days of World War II’s atrocity and cherish their memories with admiration and vision, who have through their endeavors laid the foundation of what is today a strong and dynamic congregation under the leadership and inspiration of dedicated leaders who have chosen this calling as meaningful for all. The formula has been reinforced by the Governing Body and the Religious leadership has remained constant. “For the benefit of the Congregation”. It is our fervent prayer that the Almighty may spare us in good health, granting peace and giving us focus to ensure the continued strength and vision to provide a spiritual home for another 50 years and to continue to uphold the proud heritage.

It was in 1938 that the first organized Minyan was held at the Parkview Scout hall, Dorset Road, the sponsors of which were Messrs. Max Goodman, Jack Brook and Oscar Sack, who were assisted by their respective wives in connection with the organization. The Rev. A. Walker officiated. Subsequent minyanim were organized and were held at the “Kirribili”, Dundalk Ave, Parkview.

The formation fo the properly consitituted Congregatoin was first mooted in June 1941, and in the same month a Constitution was drafted and accepted. Mr Max Goodman was elected as the first chairman, a position he has continued to occupy ever since. The Congregation was formed for the purpose of serving the Jewish residents of Parkview, Greenside, greenside east, Emmarentia, Parktown West, Westcliff, Parkwood, Rosebank, Parktown North, Parkhurst and the surrounding districts. At the very first meeting there were 19 people present. The first annual general meeting was held at what was then the Redhill School on Sunday, 28th September 1941. By this time the membership had grown to 35.

Shortly after the Annual General Meeting in 1941, the first social event in the congregations lifetime was held, and this took the form of a concert and social function which was very well attended.
It was during 1942 that the two Chedarim were established in the area, one at the Greenside primary school and the other at the Redhill School.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting held on the 28th February 1943, it was resolved to purchase Stands 621//2/3/4 Cor. Roscommon Road and Kildare Ave, Parkview. An application was made to the Administrator for amendment of Conditions of Title enabling the Congregation to erect a communal hall and place of learning. The application met with considerable opposition from the gentile residents of Parkview who organized a petition signed by 1100 objectors. The opposition based on the fear that the peace of the neighborhood would be disturbed, and that it would be better if the Congregation confined itself to a request for a place of Worship. The congregation then withdrew the application, and made a fresh application for a place of worship. Unfortunately, however, it was found that the same people who had objected in the first place objected again, their objection this time being based upon the fact that whilst they did not object to a place of worship, they objected in principle to the amendment of Conditions of Title which might become a precedent for further application for amendment of Title by others for different purposes. A second petition was signed over by 1000 people, and further matter came up in the Annual General Meeting of Parkview and Districts rate payers Association, which was attended by over 300 people. At this meeting, Mr. Max Goodman, as Chairman of the Congregation put forward the Congregations claim to have a right to a place of worship for the Jewish community.

Mr. Goodman was throughout this time very active on behalf of the congregation in trying to obtain consent for Title to be amended, and finally succeeded in getting the Town planning Committee of the City Council to recommend to the Administrator that our application be granted. However, the works committee of the City Council decided against the recommendation of the Town Planning Committee, which Body, in turn, re – affirmed its previous resolution.

It is very interesting to place on record that His LLOrdship the Bishop of Johannesburg sent to the Chairman a strong letter supporting our application. The Rev. J. B. Webb, Head of Methodist Church, also supported us in our endevour to establish a place of worship.

Whilst this application was pending, the Committee investigated the possibility of an alternative site, finally, the present site in Chester Road was discovered. What was very important was the fact that there was no restrictive conditions of title such as applied to Parkview or Greenside, as the ground does not fall into any of the surrounding established townships. The approval the City Council and the Townships board to the ground being used for the erection of a Social Hall, place of worship, and seat of religious instruction, was readily obtained. The ground is 3 ¼ acres in extent, contiguous to Parkview Golf Course with a large frontage to Chester road and to the golf course. It is on this piece of ground that the communal hall, opened today has been erected.

At the annual general meeting held in September , 1942, the building was inaugurated.

At the beginning of the year 1944, the first social function in the form of a Dance in aid of the Building fund was held at the Redhill School Hall. This was followed by various social functions including a Dance at Northcliff in the following year, and by a further huge social and financial success in the form of a Ball at the City Hall during 1943 in aid of the Building Fund.

At the Annual general meeting in 1944, the system of “Foundation Membership” was adopted, and at that meeting twenty six members signified their intent of taking up suich Foundation Membership. This entails the contribution of £100 towards the Building Fund payable over a period of up to five years.

At about December 1943, regular Friday Night services were now inaugurated and are held in a classroom at the Redhill School. Having no Minister, various members of the Congregation have taken turns in officiating at those services.

The congregation are fortunate in obtaining the services of Cantor S. Inspektor as Baal Musaph for the High Festival Season in 1945. On this occasion, Rev. A.H. Karpelowsky acted as Baal Shacharith. 423 persons attended these services which was a huge success.

The High Festival Services in 1944 were held on the Congregations own site, the 500 worshippers being housed in a huge marquee; all thjose who had the privilege to attend were unanimous in their appreciation of the atmosphere. AS one member expressed “ it was davening in the manner of the Bible”.

In 1943 the congregation became affiliated to the Jewish Board of Deputies. Towards the end of 1943 it was found necessary to appoint a paid bookkeeper.

In July 1945, it was found necessary to appoint an official secretary to the Congregation, and Me Henry Joseph was appointed.
During 1943, the committee raised £7000 for the South African Jewish War Appeal. In 1946 the Congregation again managed to raise £10 000 for the Jewish War Appeal. A building permit was obtained in 1946 and the building operations commenced on the 10th July 1946. The Foundation Stone was laid by Mr. Max Goodman on 24th November 1946. During the early part of 1947 Rev. M.A. Lew was appointed as Minister Rev. Simcha Kusevitsky was appointed as Cantor. A ladies committee was also formed.

This congregation has a great future ahead of it; it has in many directions broken new ground, and had been quoted on many occasions as an example for others to follow.

My Presentation

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The Nursery School

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Troyeville & Jeppestown

With Ishvara

On my recent visit to Jo’burg, my friend Ishvara Dhyan showed me the once thriving Jewish world of Troyeville and Jeppestown – a sampling of his wonderful tours of old Johannesburg.

Thanks also goes out to Marc Latilla for sharing his well researched blogs of these old Jo’burg suburbs.

And to the others whose blogs were included.

Troyeville Hotel

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Kimberly Street Shul

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Thanks to Marc Latilla for his well sourced blog:

Bertrams and Lorentzville

Bertrams and Lorentzville

Bertrams Synagogue – Marc Latilla

Like Doornfontein, Bertams had a sizeable Jewish community due to the influx of immigrants as explained in the piece below:

Despite such official anti-Semitic immigration sentiments, between 1924 and 1930 there was a noticeable rise in the immigration of Jewish refugees from Lithuania, Poland and Latvia to Johannesburg (Adler 1979:71). That a high percentage of these immigrants settled in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg is clear from a 1936 survey which listed Doornfontein, Bertrams and Jeppe as home to the single largest Jewish community on the Witwatersrand . What makes this significant is that almost twenty percent of workers in the area were manual labourers. This was predominantly then a community of workers, not owners.

“Thus it can be established that between 1920 and 1940 there was a concentration of Jewish immigrant workers living in the Johannesburg suburbs of Doornfontein, Bertrams and Jeppe. Their greatest significance however lies in the fact that they were immigrants and that a large proportion of them were manual labourers of the artisan class”.

As the second generation of better educated and entrepreneurial Jews moved away from Bertrams to the northern suburbs, the usage of the Shuls and Synagogues  in the areas dropped. The Bertrams Synagogue (also known as the  Kimberly Road Shul) at 54 Kimberly Road closed in 1982 and is now a private residence. It was originally the Valley Bioscope.


Street signs




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Original Jeppestown (Lithuanian) Shul

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Jeppestown Shul

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From the archives at Beyachad – thanks to Naomi Musiker

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Jeppe Memorial

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Thanks to Marc Latilla:

Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.5 (Osborn Pharmacy, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Jeppestown Synagogue and Joooste & Bryant’s building)

Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.5 (Osborn Pharmacy, Cosmopolitan Hotel, Jeppestown Synagogue and Joooste & Bryant’s building)

Osborn Pharmacy The plans for this building date back to 24 August 1898 and it was evidently built before the Anglo-Boer War by J.R. Koller. A good description is ‘…more leisurely pace …



Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.4 (Grand Station Hotel & Jeppe Post Office)

Jeppestown & Belgravia Pt.4 (Grand Station Hotel & Jeppe Post Office)

Grand Station Hotel 1896 Built to serve miners from the nearby Wolhunter mine, the building which still stands today, is one of the oldest and grandest. It had a close association with boxing and s…


The Neighbourhood

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the OLD Chaddishe Shul in Harrow Road, Berea

Ishvara’s Tours 
Jeppestown Walking Tour

Journey through JEPPESTOWN

Sat., 10 Feb. 2018, 10:00 am: • What we’ll do the Jeppestown Walk ~starts at 10am Saturday 10th February 2018 at ORIGIN Artisan Coffee Roasters corner Berea & Fox Sts MABONENG PRECINCT( near Arts on Mai


Jeppestown Walking Tour

The History of the Jeppe Family | The Heritage Portal

The History of the Jeppe Family | The Heritage Portal

Five Jeppe men were prominent in the early history of the Transvaal and the Witwatersrand Gold fields. Three were brothers, two were the sons of the youngest brother.  Two played significant roles in state administration, two were entrepreneur-businessmen and one was a jurist. But by enunciating these men’s foundation careers, is to tell only part of the story, for they all pursued a myriad of interests, involvements and occupations. All appeared assuredly capable of operating in a broad professional and public arenas.


Old Lorentzville synagogue

Old Lorentzville synagogue

“I am an Afrikaans kugel living in a Jewish synagogue in a predominantly Muslim area, with a buddha.” This is how Jungian therapist Marianna…


Jo’burg 2018

Photos from my visit to Jo’burg

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SA Jewish Report
The impact of tracing family roots

by Mirah Langer 

Ever wondered who your great, great, great- grandfather might have been? South African- born Eli Rabinowitz did and embarked on an intrepid genealogical journey to nd out. It culminated in the discovery of the astonishing life and legacy of Rabbi Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref.

Tzoref, born in Keidan in Lithuania in 1786, was determined to begin an Ashkenazi return to Israel.

Rabinowitz spoke about his ancestor earlier this month while delivering a talk to members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SA in Orchards, Johannesburg.

The first hurdle Tsoref had to overcome when arriving in Israel, in 1811, was a dead man’s unpaid debt. “Zalman went to the Old City and had to disguise himself as a Sephardic Jew.” This was because there was a story that 100 years before, an Ashkenazi Jew had come to Jerusalem and borrowed money from the Arabs, and then died. Thereafter, anyone who came from Lithuania was told: ‘We want the money.’”

Tzoref then embarked on various negotiations to lift the embargo on the debt. In doing so, he paved the way for Ashkenazi Jews to return to their homeland. And, said Rabinowitz, “in 1836, he got permission to establish a settlement.”

After making aliya, Tzoref and his family became signicant contributors to rebuilding the holy land. However, in 1851, he was murdered by those opposed to the work he was doing in re-establishing the Ashkenazi presence in Jerusalem.

“He was recognised as the first victim of terror,” explains Rabinowitz.

The impact made by Tzoref continues to be heralded, most recently with a huge celebration held in Jerusalem a few years ago that was attended by 15 000 of his descendants from all over the world.

“There are stories like mine everywhere,” muses Rabinowitz. “You just have to look for them.”

After discovering his Keidan roots, Rabinowitz returned to the area and made contact with a school in the area. He taught the non-Jewish students there about what, until then, had been a ghost culture of a long- forgotten past.

“ There is not one Jew in this town,” remarked Rabinowitz.

He noted how many South African families had contributed to putting up memorials in towns in Lithuania to mark the areas in which Jews were murdered. “We need to show the Lithuanians that we know what the history was.”

Referring to how transformative genealogical research can be, Rabinowitz explained how the students used a database from a genealogical website and created a tree artwork in their classroom, commemorating all the Jewish families who once lived in Keidan.

“This is what you can do with your information – you can make it powerful,” said Rabinowitz.

“And there is a bigger message. The message is: continuity for the Jewish people.” 

Atzalynas Gimnazija Kedainiai Visit 2017

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…