Jewish Life

In the South African Country Communities 

compiled by David Solly Sandler

If your parents and grandparents lived in or nearby one of the towns mentioned below before 1980 you can read about the Jewish history of the town and there is a good chance they will be mentioned in the relevant volumes of Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities 

Volume 1 Northern Transvaal

Barberton, Belfast, Brits, Bronkhorstspruit, Cullinan, Duiwelskloof, Dullstroom, Graskop, Gravelotte,

Groblersdal, Hammanskraal, Hazyview, Hoedspruit, Komatipoort, Louis Trichardt, Lydenburg, Machadodorp, Marble Hall, Messina, Middelburg, Naboomspruit, Nelspruit, Nylstroom, Phalaborwa, Pietersburg, Pilgrim’s Rest, Potgietersrus, Roedtan, Sabie, Settlers, Soekmekaar, Thabazimbi, Tzaneen, Warmbaths, Waterval-Boven, White River and Witbank

Volume 2 Western Cape and Karoo

Barkly West, Beaufort West, Brandvlei, Britstown, Calvinia, Carnarvon, Ceres, Clanwilliam, Colesberg, Darling, De Aar, Douglas, Franschoek, Fraserburg, Garies, Gouda, Griquatown, Hanover, Hopefield, Hopetown, Jan Kempdorp, Kenhardt, Klawer, Kuruman, Laingsburg, Lambert’s Bay, Loeriesfontein, Mafikeng, Malmesbury, Middelburg, Modderrivier, Mooreesburg, Niewoudtville, Noupoort, Paarl, Petrusville, Philipstown, Piketberg, Port Nolloth, Porterville, Prieska, Prince Albert, Prince Alfred Hamlet, Richmond, Riebeek-Kasteel, Rietfontein, Somerset West, Springbok, Stellenbosch, Strand, Strydenburg, Sutherland, Taung, Touwsriver, Tulbach, Upington, Van Wyksvlei, Vanrhynsdorp, Victoria West, Vosburg, Vredenburg, Vredendal, Vryburg, Warrenton, Wellington, Williston, Wolseley and Worcester

Volume 3 Southern and Eastern Cape 

Aberdeen, Adelaide, Albertinia, Alexandria, Alice, Alicedale, Aliwal North, Barkly East, Bedford, Bonnievale, Bredasdorp, Burgersdorp, Butterworth, Caledon, Calitzdorp, Cathcart, Cookhouse, Cradock, Dordrecht, Elliot, Fort Beaufort, George, Graaff-Reinet, Grabouw, Grahamstown, Hankey, Heidelberg, Hermanus, Hofmeyr, Humansdorp, Indwe, Jamestown, Jansenville, Joubertina, Kareedouw, King William’s Town, Kirkwood, Knysna, Kokstad, Komga, Ladismith, Lady Grey, Maclear, Molteno, Montagu, Mossel Bay, Murraysburg, Napier, Nieu-Bethesda, Pearston, Peddie, Plettenberg Bay, Port Alfred. Queenstown, Riversdale, Robertson, Somerset East, Sterkstroom, Steynsburg, Steytlerville, Stutterheim, Swellendam, Tarkastad, Uitenhage, Umtata, Uniondale, Venterstad, Villiersdorp, Willowmore and Wolwefontein

Volume 4 Free State and Natal

Amanzimtoti, Dannhauser, Dundee, Empangeni, Ladysmith, Margate, Newcastle, Paulpietersburg, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown, Umhlanga Rocks, Utrecht and Vryheid

Volume 5  Southern Transvaal and Witwatersrand

Bethlehem, Bethulie, Boshof, Bothaville, Brandfort, Bultfontein, Clocolan, Dealesville, Dewetsdorp, Edenburg, Excelsior, Fauresmith, Ficksburg, Fouriesburg, Frankfort, Harrismith, Heilbron, Hennenman, Hoopstad, Jacobsdal, Jagersfontein, Kestell, Koffiefontein, Koppies, Kroonstad, Ladybrand, Lindley, Odendaalsrus, Parys, Paul Roux, Petrus Steyn, Petrusburg, Philippolis, Reddersburg, Reitz, Rouxville, Sasolburg-Coalbrook, Senekal, Smithfield, Springfontein, Steynsrus, Thaba Nchu, Theunissen, Tierpoort, Trompsburg, Tweespruit, Ventersburg and Viljoensdrif.

Five volumes have been published and I understand two more volumes are almost complete.

The names of many of the Jewish residents of each town is listed and if your parents or their parents came from a town in the areas published you can learn more about Jewish life and people in that dorp.  

This is an ideal gift or book/s for your coffee table 

The best person to contact for your book and for more information is Elona Steinfeld

Elona  email <>

A World First At Carmel School Perth Australia!

6 December 2018

First time translation and performance of the Partisans’ Song, Zog Nit Keynmol in Nyungar or Noongar, the language of a constellation of indigenous people living in the south-west of Western Australia.

Translation by Jesse John FLEAY – Edith Cowan University, Western Australia on 28 November 2018

Jesse John Fleay


The translation:
Ngay ngayiny birnt 
Mari warabiny maar wombar worl djidar mumbakiy
Kaya wanju wanju yakai yey
Budja daaginy Noongar yorga
Koorl budjara koorbon
Ngay ngayiny
Mirdap ngoop budja
Yakai kwadjet koorl
Ngangk djidar mumbakiy
Waam djenak dja-koorl dhabat
Koora koora nyitting
Koora koora nyitting
Dudjarak ngoop
Dudjarakwombar djerta birak budja
Noongar yorga balay koordidjiny wandanginy
Dudjarak koordidjiny
Ngay ngayiny birnt 
Mari warabiny maar wombar djidar mumbakiy
Kaya wanju wanju yakai yey
Budja daaginy Noongar yorga
Notes by the translator, Jesse John Fleay:
The universal concepts of the song tie in so well to Noongar songs of despair and war. We don’t believe in evil people, we believe in bad spirits that make people do bad things. So I adapted accordingly.
Also, nothing is ‘hidden’ in the Noongar cosmology, so for concealing, I used the smoke from a campfire, as I believed the masking of the smoke from a campfire worked rather poetically. We also don’t really have palms in the same context of a biblical perspective, so I went with desert (sand plain).
The next stage of the plan is for the choir of Ellenbrook Senior High School to learn and perform the Partisans’ Song in Noongar, under the direction of musical director, Stuart Rhine-Davis.
For more information, including all 25 language translations, visit our education portal: LEARN THE PARTISANS’ SONG
Our home page:

With Jewish Studies teacher, Michele Galanti and retired JS teacher Shirley Atlas

On 6 December 2018
William Cooper’s Legacy

William Cooper’s Legacy

What is that? Well, as you may know, Uncle William Cooper (1860- 1941) was an Indigenous activist and leader of his community, who also saw the injustices of the world around him, at a time when his own people were struggling for acceptance and their place in Australian society. When he heard of Kristallnacht in far off Europe, he organised for a delegation of Indigenous men and women to march to the German consulate in Melbourne, and presented them with a letter condemning the Jewish persecution. The Germans refused to accept the letter, but simply presenting it made Cooper a hero, especially in the eyes of the Jewish community.


Kristallnacht Cantata 

(press release by Ron Jontof-Hutter)

Alon Trigger is the composer and Ron Jontof-Hutter wrote most of the text. They both studied at the Rubin Academy of Music, Jerusalem, where Maestro Asher Fisch of WASO also studied.
The aim of the project is to educate through art. In this particular piece, the heroic and unique efforts of Aboriginal leader William Cooper are highlighted through the intervention of a most unlikely man, deprived of rights himself, protesting to the the German Consul-General in Melbourne, representing one of the most advanced countries in the world. William Cooper is therefore a role model whose activism was virtually a lone voice during Germany’s break from civilization in the Nazi era.
Ron’s grandfather, Otto Jontof-Hutter, was one of those arrested during the Kristallnacht pogrom and sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp that 9 December 1938.
The story of William Cooper and Jontof-Hutter appeared in various overseas newspapers in 2015 which is the basis of the Cantata.
While the Cantata describes the metaphysical bond between those two men, despite never having met, artistic licence is kept to the minimum. People, events and text are for the large part genuine.
The Cantata is scored for a 45 piece orchestra, 10 voice choir/2 soloists and is about 37 minutes in duration.
 A mini promo version of the duet between Cooper and Jontof-Hutter is available.
Kristallnacht Cantata promo Full Version

Kristallnacht Cantata promo Full Version

Kristallnacht Cantata; A Voice of Courage On November 10 the Nazi German Government ordered pogroms throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. Thousand…


There  are 3 sections 1-  The chaos and creativity of Weimar/Nazi Germany, leading to 2- Kristallnacht and the bond between Cooper and Jontof-Hutter. They sing a duet describing kindness and decency as human values. The last section is about a better world where tolerance and kindness transcend different cultures as common values for all. The Cantata ends with messages for hope and optimism.
The intention is to perform the Cantata in Melbourne around April 2019. There have also have been expressions of interest to have it performed in Zurich, Germany, Los Angeles and Perth.
Alfred (Uncle Boydie) Turner, Cooper’s grandson, as well as Auntie Daphne Milwark his grandniece are both supportive of this cantata.
 Viv Parry – Aboriginal People and the Holocaust Programs 
Film – Ties That Bind

Uncle Boydie and Moshe Fiszman

Barbara Miller Books

 WE ARE HERE! An Education Program That Inspires Upstanders.

Huge Fire At Arthur’s Road Shul

My cousin Sonia Bloch in  Cape Town sent me these photos a short time ago – feeling sad!




Some history

The official signing on 28 March 1953 – Arthur’s Road, Sea Point.

On the left is my paternal grandfather, Rev. Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz and on the right my maternal grandfather, Socher Zeldin.

Chabad signing 1953

Chabaad Arthur's Road 1953

Framed photo in the shul


Article in Maccabean Weekly newspaper, Perth, Australia 2013

Arthurs Road

Rabbi Sam Thurgood giving a lesson.


My interview with Philip Goldman on 22 December 2013


The shul website:

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 12.24.18 am

From my post in 2013:

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 Library at the Gardens Shul complex.

I have a personal interest in the shul as both my grandfathers, Rev. N M Rabinowitz and Socher Zeldin were present on 28 March 1953 at the signing of the documents establishing the shul in Sea Point.

Furthermore, my late cousin, Phyllis Jowell and her husband Cecil were linked with the restoration of the shul in more recent times.

The Shul Today


From my previous posts:

The original shul was in Buitenkant Street. Documents from Kaplan Centre at UCT. Thanks to Veronica Belling.

Buitenkant St Buitenkant St Shul 3 Buitenkant St Shul

StitchSCAN0047-SCAN0049 Chabaad group photo SAJC s


Buitenkants St Shul News

Framed photos found in the shul under the ladies’ section. Thanks Wendy Berger.


The names of the men in this photo were found in a newspaper article on the same day  at the Kaplan Centre, UCT.


Second framed photo found at the shul.



The shul then moved to Virginia Ave, Vredehoek

Virginia Ave Shul Virginia Ave Shul 2

100th Anniversary Brochure – article by Philip Goldman

Arthur's Road 100 Anniv 0

Arthur's Road 100 Anniv 1

The plaque in memory of Lily Segall, mother of Bubbles and daughter of Israel Kellner.





Rabbi Shalom Coleman Turns 100 Today!

5 December 2018

Rabbi Shalom Coleman – 100 – Mazeltov!

The People’s Rabbi

Rabbi Shalom Coleman

Who Am I!

Watch Video:




The Community Rabbi

With Rabbi Dan Lieberman

With Rivka Majteles

With Rabbi Dovid Freilich and the Blitz Family

With Rabbi Marcus Solomon, Eli Rachamim & Eli Rabinowitz

With Eli Rabinowitz & Joanna Fox

Spiritual Treasure – Book Launch at the Perth Hebrew Congregation


Rabbi Coleman and The Bloemfontein Reunion

Rabbi Coleman and Bloemfontein Reunion

Rabbi Coleman reminisces about his time in Bloemfontein as Jewish Spiritual Leader – 1949 to 1959.  Perth, Australia 3 February 2016

Watch Video: