Warsaw July 18

Getting there via Dubai on Emirates  – two flights – 19 hours

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Lots of time to prepare for my Maftir and Haftorah Nachamu on Saturday


Shabbat Nachamu

Shabbat Nachamu

Maftir and Haftorah at the Nozyk Synagogue and related stories Back From the Polish and Litvak Diaspora I am pleased to advise that for those of you arriving early in Warsaw for the IAJGS Conf…

Source: elirab.me/shabbat-nachamu

Friday afternoon

The Metro to Nozyk Synagogue with my host, Michael Leiserowitz

Jacob Lichterman was the last cantor at the Nozyk Synagogue before the Holocaust:

On Joel Lichterman’s request, I said Kaddish for his dad in the Nozyk Synagogue this Shabbat.

Just before singing the Haftorah, I announced that this was dedicated to Jacob Lichterman, my Polish ancestors, including my Zaida Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz. Both were from Poland and cantors at the Vredehoek Shul in Cape Town, South Africa.

Source: kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/capetown/Vredehoek.html

The Nozyk was well attended by locals and many visitors, including Rabbi Henoch Dov Hoffman of Denver togther with his students from the USA, Sydney and Colombia.

Rabbi Henoch Dov Hoffman

Rabbi Henoch Dov Hoffman


Source: rabbihenochdov.com

I sent regards back with Rabbi Hoffman to Joel Lichterman and Brian Kopinsky, my Bramley Primary School  (Johannesburg) friend who connected with me last year after over 50 years. Brian alerted me to this interesting information about my Haftorah Nachamu:

“You doing the Haftarah on Shabbat Nachamu at Nozyk is amazing!!!

BTW: A trivia question for you. Which famous oratorio opens with “Nachamu nachamu” (translated)? ……….

…………….The most famous of all oratorios! Handel’s Messiah. Handel probably used that because we believe that Moshiach will be born on Tisha b’Av. Handel was very knowledgeable about Judaism and Tanach, in particular. Primary evidence is that almost all his oratorios are based on Jewish beliefs. Israel in Egypt; Joshua; Saul; Esther; Judas Maccabeus, etc”

More info by Larry Kaufman

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of comfort. On the first Shabbat after Tisha B’Av, we begin our reading of the Seven Haftarot of Consolation. Were our haftarah  read from the King James translation of the Bible, or even its near-clone, old JPS,  we would have heard Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. And all the music lovers in our midst would have mentally transposed the words into the trope made familiar by Georg Friedrich Handel.  Much of the text of Handel’s Messiah is drawn from Chapter 40 and onwards in the Book of Isaiah, which as you probably know was not written by Isaiah at all, but by his cousin Deutero. 

My walk in Warsaw

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Shabbat Nachamu

Maftir and Haftorah at the Nozyk Synagogue and related stories
Back From the Polish and Litvak Diaspora

I am pleased to advise that for those of you arriving early in Warsaw for the IAJGS Conference, I will be reciting / singing my barmitzvah Maftir and Haftorah at the Nozyk Synagogue on 28 July 2018 – Shabbat Nachamu.

My barmitzvah was held on 14 August 1965 – 16 Av 5725 at the Waverley Shul, Bramley in Johannesburg, South Africa.

My good friend Phillip Levy’s barmitzvah book  – our barmitzvahs were on the same day on 14 August 1965. We didn’t know each other yet!

Books as gifts

My zaida, Rev Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz

This is a significant milestone for our family both historically and genealogically speaking. My zaida, Rev Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz, left Poland in 1905 for Jerusalem, and then in 1911 for South Africa. I have sung in shul choirs in South Africa and Australia since 1960, but this will be the first time since 1905 that the voice of one of our Rabinowitz family will be heard in a shul in Poland! My zaida, my father and my uncle were all cantors.

In 2011 in Orla, I played a recording of my zaida from Johannesburg made in 1961


Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz in the Orla Synagogue

Nachum Mendel sings in Orla Synagogue, Poland

Source: youtu.be/vvXPavvJPNo

Now in 2018, I return not to play a recording, but to sing in the only synagogue in Warsaw that survived the Holocaust – a return to my roots!

My lecture at IAJGS: Back From the Polish and Litvak Diaspora: Virtual Journeys That Connect Us To Our Roots, is on Thursday 9 August at 4-5pm.


A repeat of my barmitzvah was held in Perth in 1992 – the invitation


Nozyk Synagogue 2018

Send-off from Noranda CHABAD Thursday 26 July 2018

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Cantor Jakub Lichterman

The last cantor at the Nozyk before the Holocaust


The visit of the Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the Ponevezh’s Rav to Cape Town in 1953. My zaida – Rev Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz – seated third from the left. Cantor Jakub Lichterman 2nd from the bottom right. 

Pinelands Cemetery, Cape Town

Vredehoek Shul Closing 1993


Vredehoek Shul Closing

8 August 1993 Cape Town South Africa – edited speech

Source: youtu.be/RGsYvLVsSpc

Full video here (1 hour 19 mins)


Cape Town Kehilalink – Vredehoek Shul

Richard Shavei Tzion

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of his barmitzvah at Camps Bay Shul, Cape Town 

28 July 2018

Richard Shavei-Tzion Thanks so much Eli for posting the Sefer story. Here’s the continuation: 70 Years after its consecration and 20 years after I first came across and read from it, with HH’s permission I hope to borrow it for a Shabbat. Cheryl and I and our 3 daughters will be spending Shabbat Nachamu, 27-28/7/18 at the Camps Bay Shul, celebrating the 50th anniversary of my Barmitzvah. once again a special connection- the Sefer was installed just weeks after the founding of the State of Israel, now to be used by Jerusalem family with all the significance attached to the number 70 in Jewish tradition. All Blochs-Saevitzons-Sloans-Wienburgs invited to the Brocha after Shabbat morning service. 
Richard Shavei-Tzion
Richard in 1968


The Bloch Sefer Torah

The Bloch Sefer Torah

More about Aphraim and Chava and the Bloch & Cynkin Families: Source: kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/mir/Bloch_Cynkin.html The visit to Cape Town from Israel by Beverly Jacobson and her children on …

Source: elirab.me/bloch-torah/


With Miriam and Ivor Lichterman 2018

The Cape Town Holocaust Centre

Herzlia School 2018

Miriam and Ivor Lichterman at Highlands House 2018

With Cantors Ivor Lichterman & Joffe at Cafe Rieteve 2018

The Global Partisan Song Project 2018


The Global Partisan Song Project

Every year on Yom Hashoah – the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and Heroism, Holocaust survivors and Jewish communities sing the song Zog Nit Keynmol (‘W…

Source: youtu.be/tnaCtuqVBgg


Keidan Yizkor Book

From David Solly Sandler


There are three Yizkor books originating in South Africa. Two Yizkor books, Keidan and Rakishok, commemorate Lithuanian towns while the third remembers Chelm in Poland.  In my humble opinion the articles, stories and memories in the Keidan and Rakishokbooks, more than any other books I have read, tells us about Jewish life in Lithuania as it approached its destruction.

The Keidan Memorial (Yizkor) Book (see full details below) has now been translated into English. Bella Golubchick translated many of the articles into English and all the translations were reviewed and edited by Aryeh Leonard Shcherbakov and Andrew Cassel of the Keidan Associations of Israel and the US. I compiled and published the book.

This is now the second yizkor book originating in South Africa that has been translated into English. The first was the Rakishok Yizkor book published in September 2017 where I assisted with coordinating the translations for Jewish Gen. the publisher.

For more information or to obtain a book please contact

David Solly Sandler. sedsand@iinet.net.au


Keidan Memorial (Yizkor) Book 

The Keidan Memorial (Yizkor) Book, was first compiled in 1977 mainly in Hebrew by the Keidan Associations and Keidaners living in Israel, The US and South Africa to commemorate the 500 years of Jewish life in Keidan that was abruptly ended in July 1941 by the Germans helped enthusiastically by the local Lithuanians.

The book offers a multi-faceted historical view of Jewish life in Keidan – its 500-year history, its religious, educational, social and cultural institutions, youth organizations, portraits of its prominent people, memoirs of witnesses and survivors, the stories of exiles and wars and the Holocaust.

The publication of this Memorial Book in 1977 was the most important contribution of the Keinaner Associations to future generations of Keidaners. Originally released mostly in Hebrew (with smaller Yiddish and English sections), it has now been fully translated into English.

At first glance this book is like all the other hundreds of books published since the end of World War II in memory of the Jewish shtetl in Eastern Europe that had been and is no more. Keidan itself was one of those thousands of towns in the old Pale. Small towns with all their lights and shadows, their geographical and human landscape, their spiritual climate, the Jewish people who worked and toiled all week like busy ants in order to bring food to the family. With its odd and strange figures, whose daily life and golden dreams of the redemption of the nation and salvation of the world. In short, a shtetl, like all shtetlech.

The birth pangs of this book were hard and prolonged. Yet it is natural, and it doesn’t lessen its importance, if we shall consider that the whole book is a product of the common effort of the town’s people who invested in it the most important element – love. Actually, no scientific research works have been included in this book, but memories which sometimes reach the height of true art, and – what is even more important – they distinguish themselves with a clean and refined truth, as it was seen with the eyes of the writers. They described all they had seen in a quiet, restrained way, without any trimmings, yet, for all that these memories speak to the reader with an unusual strength of expression.

One of the main goals of the book is the commemoration of the period of the Holocaust. Very few people have remained from that terrible period. Very few of those who had seen the terror from close up saved themselves by a miracle, and it is their duty to tell about their personal experiences. There are others who succeeded to escape from the Holocaust and to spend the war in wanderings in distant places or in fighting the cruel enemy. Each one told, in his own language, the facts as he knew them. More than once the book contains different versions of the same events. This fact, which can happen in historical scientific works too, will no doubt be forgiven in a book which was written not by historians, but by men who drew their descriptions not from documents in an ivory tower of a library, but from their own memories, that were tortured in the ghettos, concentration camps and forests. This is however the naked truth, rough and not polished, a truth solid like rock from which eternal monuments are shaped.

Still, this book is more than an eternal monument. It is an effort to return to the shtetl in its happy moments as well as in its last hours, to be together with the father and the mother, with the brothers and sisters, at the Shabbat table as well as at the mass grave on the fateful day, to isolate oneself within Keidan, one of the precious stones in the lost crown whose name was Eastern European Jewry.

There is no relief in this book for the wounded soul of a son of Keidan, but there is in it a eulogy and a kaddish which was not said on the grave of the martyrs, and which will be said now whenever we shall take this book in our hands.

For more information or to obtain a book please contact

David Solly Sandler. sedsand@iinet.net.au

Keidan Memorial (Yizkor) Book – the cover

Polin 18 with Michael Leiserowitz

My Sixth Visit To Polin

Another excellent tour of Polin with Michael Leiserowitz

Michael is an official Hebrew and German speaking guide at the Museum.  Come join us for some highlights. The previous visits are at the end of this post. 


With Magda and Jagna in the Resource Centre

The temporary exhibition


Video – Michael

Video – Michael

The Entrance from the bridge

Back View 

Video – Michael

The Core Exhibit

With Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Director of the Core Exhibit, in Melbourne in November 16.

They Call Me Mayer July – her book in the background – drawings by her dad

The famous dialogue of Shlomo Luria and Moshe Isserles

My Katzenellenbogen rabbinic roots

My pink VISA card is back!  – an in-joke!

Waiting for the train!

Model  of the Great Synagogue of Warsaw

Video – Michael

Michael Leiserowitz

 Yiddish May 2018

Source: youtu.be/tM_iOJcXrZQ


Alexander  Harkavy

Video – Michael

Michael Leiserowitz

 Alexander Harkavy Novogrudok

Source: youtu.be/5n-zEPkNCJE

Video – Michael

Michael Leiserowitz

Source: youtu.be/6OW_Pp3Ngdo

Kid’s games   

Monument to the Ghetto Heroes

Monument to the Ghetto Heroes – Wikipedia

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Ghetto_Heroes

2017 visit:

Warsaw Day 2

A brilliant tour of Polin with my host Michael Leiserowitz, official guide. POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews – Wikipedia POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polish: Muzeum H…

Source: elirab.me/warsaw-day-2/

2016 Visit

Warsaw, Poland

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews 

Source: elirab.me/warsaw-poland/

2015 visit:

Polin Museum, Warsaw, Poland

 May 2015 Polin Museum. I have visited the museum twice before in 2013 and 2014, but this is the first time since it officia…

Source: elirab.me/polin-museum-warsaw-poland/

Eli Rabinowitz talks about his family from Orla | Virtual Shtetl

Eli Rabinowitz talks about his family from Orla | Virtual Shtetl

Source: sztetl.org.pl/en/towns/o/682-orla/104-cultural-texts/138762-eli-rabinowitz-talks-about-his-family-orla

Warsaw 18

My Two Day visit – the 8th since 2011

Day One  

Warsaw Old Town

Warsaw Old Town – Wikipedia

The Warsaw Old Town (Polish: Stare Miasto and collectively with the New Town, known colloquially as: Starówka) is the oldest part of Warsaw, the capital city of Poland. It is bounded by the Wybrzeże Gdańskie, along with the bank of Vistula river, Grodzka, Mostowa and Podwale Streets. It is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Warsaw. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place, rich in restaurants, cafés and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls, the Barbican and St. John’s Cathedral.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Old_Town


Warsaw Ghetto

Warsaw Ghetto – Wikipedia

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto


Warsaw Uprising 

Warsaw Uprising – Wikipedia

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Uprising

Warsaw Uprising Monument

Warsaw by night
Hotel Bristol
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Warsaw) 

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Warsaw) – Wikipedia

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Polish: Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza) is a monument in Warsaw, Poland, dedicated to the unknown soldiers who have given their lives for Poland. It is one of many such national tombs of unknowns that were erected after World War I, and the most important such monument in Poland.[1]

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier_(Warsaw)


Adam Mickiewicz Monument, Warsaw

Adam Mickiewicz Monument, Warsaw – Wikipedia

Adam Mickiewicz Monument (Polish: Pomnik Adama Mickiewicza) is a monument dedicated to Adam Mickiewicz at the Krakowskie Przedmieście in the Śródmieście district of Warsaw, Poland. The Neo-Classicist monument was constructed in 1897–1898 by sculptor Cyprian Godebski.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Mickiewicz_Monument,_Warsaw


Day Two

With Wojciech – encouraged me to visit Poland for first time in 2011

Jewish Historical Institute

Jewish Historical Institute – Wikipedia

The Jewish Historical Institute (Polish: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny or ŻIH) also known as the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, is a research foundation in Warsaw, Poland, primarily dealing with the history of Jews in Poland.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Historical_Institute

JHI – Jewish Historical Institute

With Anna and Olinka

With Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich

With Michael Leiserowitz

Polin –  post to follow

Nozyk Synagogue – post to follow

Palace of Culture and Science

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Culture_and_Science

Janusz Korczak 

Janusz Korczak – Wikipedia

Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit[1] (22 July 1878 or 1879 – 7 August 1942[2]), was a Polish-Jewish educator, children’s author, and pedagogue known as Pan Doktor (“Mr. Doctor”) or Stary Doktor (“Old Doctor”). After spending many years working as director of an orphanage in Warsaw, he refused sanctuary repeatedly and stayed with his orphans when the entire population of the institution was sent from the Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp, during the Grossaktion Warsaw of 1942.[3]

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janusz_Korczak


Piano Crossing

With Michael and Ruth Leiserowitz

Zlote Tarasy Shopping Centre


A Walk On The West Side

Western Australia at its best on a stunning Winter’s day.
Jill and my walk from Trigg to Brighton (and back).

One of those amazing days as you will see below! The way back.

Brighton Beach

Scarborough Pool


Scarborough Beach
Always try to include something Jewish in my posts
Rabbi Marcus Solomon – Dianella Mizrachi

The path back to Trigg

South Trigg Beach
Trigg Beach