The 61st Yahrzeit of Isocher Zeldin

Socher’s passport. He was born in Dvinsk (today Daugavpils)  Latvia
 
 
He passed away in Cape Town on Guy Fawkes Day – 5 November 1958
 
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.
 
zeldin_aunts-3
Socher and Chasa, their 5 married daughters and their husbands.
 
Socher’s other children
Moisey?
David Zeldin
Chana Zeldin

bwfamily

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
 
13329_375835325919_504295919_3815710_4550628_n_original
Socher’s late grandson Mendel and Mendel’s daughter Bella, Mendel’s nieces Alla &  Mira, and Mendel’s great niece Angela.
 
zeldin-family
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.
 
 
 
 

Kimberley Ex-Pats Newsletter #23

September 2019

Compiled by Leon Chonin, Toronto

LEON CHONIN <chonin@rogers.com>

It has been so inspiring for me to receive acknowledgement from former Kimberley chaverim who have enjoyed some of my articles that have been published on the Kimberley Jewish Community Kehilalinks website. Your feedback is encouraging and helps us to decide on the most popular material content that will create interest and interaction between our former Kimberley residents. I have covered some aspects of Jewish life in Kimberley, but I am sure there are others that I have not thought of and your suggestions will certainly stimulate research into the topic.

I was so pleased that several Ex-Kimberley people, some of whom have not been in touch before, have emailed us since the article I wrote about Jewish Education in Kimberley. (Eli has now posted this article and you can read it on the website here: https://elirab.me/kimberley-ex-pats-newsletter-22-2-2/)

From Marion Lewis (née Schild) Cape Town simonl@iafrica.com

Hi Leon, I remember in 1952 or 1953 you and I were in school together. We were in Sub A or B at Belgravia Junior school.  I was Marion Schild at that time, and now I am Marion Lewis living in Cape Town with my husband.  We have two children, a daughter Avril, living across the road from us in Sea Point and a son Simon, married in London. We have three lovely grandchildren.

We all had happy childhoods in Kimberley and were free to grow up in a normal society and all had a good education. I enjoyed reading your article on the early days with cheider classes.  Because I was of German parents, there were some children who did not understand much about the holocaust and how could there be German Jews in South Africa! My parents agreed that I did not have to attend cheider any more as the teacher did not want to get involved in the dispute!  Things were different in those days and believe it or not, we survived!

I married Leslie Lewis in 1966 whose sister CynthiaLewis was married to Lampy (Leib) Maresky, he died 6 years ago.  The Lewis’s always bragged that they found their diamonds from Kimberley.  Lampy’s parents were Sarah and David Maresky and his siblings were Mannie (Emanuel) and Ray who married Gummy Gamarov.  Lampy became a very well-loved physician in Cape town and he was highly respected in our community. I was very excited to connect with Harold Hecht a few months ago.  I have been trying to find Ruth Witepski but to no avail.  All I know is that she is married and living in Japan and is a nursery-school teacher.  Michael her brother lives in Johannesburg, but no one seems to know how to get in touch with him. I am in touch with Delia Benn (née Brown) and Bobby in America.  Here in Cape town we are friends with David Diamond, Daphne Gillis (née Toube), Sheila Grant, (née Frank) and Vicky Weinberg (née Capon).

Here is a picture of the Marion Lewis (née Schild) family, Cape Town

From the left: Leslie, Marion, Cathy our daughter-in-law, Avril our daughter and Simon our son. (Cathy & Simon live in London (UK). The children: Naomi (Simon & Cathy daughter), Matthew (Avril’s son) and Reuben (Simon & Cathy son). 

Thank you so much Marion for your email. It’s such an amazingly small world that Mannie Maresky son Neil was married to my brother-in-laws cousin, so we used to see him and Doreen on many yomtavim. (I am delighted to read that we had a crush on each other before I started shaving). Ruth Witepski I believe still lives in Japan and has a daughter. Her brother Michael is a Facebook friend but is non active. 

I appreciate your encouraging comments about my articles. I am trying to leave for our future generations a flavor of what Jewish life was like in the old South Africa but particularly Kimberley. If we don’t document our history, it will be lost and those who came before us will be forgotten.  Please keep in touch and if ever you visit Toronto again please look me up so that we can meet to call back the past and see if we still have that youthful sparkle?

From Beverly Solsky (née Buirski) Sydney solsky@tpg.com.au

Hi Leon
Hope you and your family are well. I read with nostalgia your piece on Jewish Education in Kimberley. I am not sure if you remember my sister Lynette and I? We used to live in Memorial Road a few houses down from the Jacobson’s. I remember my days in Habonim and still remember the songs we sang and certainly have a clear memory of you.

We left Kimberley to live in Cape Town when I was 12. I went to Belgravia Junior School and attended Cheder with Mrs Werner as our teacher. I so enjoy receiving the newsletters and reminiscing of the happy years spent in Kimberley.

We are now living in Sydney and every now and again I bump into Jack Klein, Robin Apter,  Shelley Jawno,  David Goldberg and Sharon Seidel to name a few. I see Shelley more than anyone else as we are socially friendly.

My husband and I are now retired and enjoying our 5 grandchildren who also attend a Jewish Day School continuing in the footsteps of their parents who all attended a Jewish Day School both here and in Cape Town before we emigrated in 1987. (You can see a lovely picture that Beverly sent of Rabbi and Rebbitzen Werner with 50 Kimberley children, including herself and her sister Lynette, and read her family story on the website under ‘Families’ Solsky here: https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/Solsky.html).

I look forward to reading the next Newsletter which I understand you will be editing. We visited your beautiful city some years ago for a few days when we visited Canada and Alaska. Wishing you everything of the best. Fond regards, Beverly Solsky

Beverly, how could I ever forget all my Kimberley chaverim,. I remember you in our Habonim group and I can recall your sister, but the faces seem to be a dim memory. 

 

From Eleanor Kotkis kotkis@worldonline.co.za  

Hi Leon

I am Eleanor Finberg now known as Eleanor Kotkis. My husband and I have been married 46 years and we live in Joburg. We both still work. I work as a pharmacist. We have two children who are now in their 40’s. My how time flies! My daughter lives in Melbourne with her husband and 3 children and my son lives in London with his wife and 3 children. So, we are left here all alone. My children went to King David Linksfield school which gave them a fantastic education. They have followed the trend and their children are now going to Jewish schools in both Melbourne and London. We see them about once a year and were lucky enough to celebrate our eldest grandsons barmitzvah in April in Melbourne. Our youngest granddaughter is 3 living in Melbourne. My parents have both passed away. My mother 14 years ago and my dad, Mickey Finberg, 12 years ago. They were living in Joburg at the time. I wanted them here, so they lived in my house for a few years and then in Sandringham Gardens which is the Jewish home for the elderly

Eleanor. Sent from my iPhone.

Thanks so much Eleanor for your update. I am happy to include your profile in this newsletter we are circulating around the time of Rosh Hashana. Keep well and my regards to Ronny.

From Brenda Nathan (née Garsh) Johannesburg brenmail@telkomsa.net

Hi Leon. 
Have just received your articles on the different aspects of life In Kimberley and so enjoyed reading them. Having left so many years ago I still value the years of growing up there. I left Kimberley for Johannesburg in 1960 but still remember the close

Community life we led.

Kindest regards

Brenda (Garsh) Nathan

 

It was really wonderful to hear from you Brenda after almost 45 years. I think we matriculated very much at the same time. Although I lived in Joburg most of my life we never bumped into each other in all those years. I recall you had an older sister Jill and if I am not mistaken you have family living in Toronto. Please keep in touch and tell us your family stories.  

From Daphne Gillis (née Toube), Cape Town

Hi Geraldine
Thanks for your latest newsletter.  It is always wonderful to go back and think about one’s youth. Just a couple of thoughts about Jewish education for Leon.  Goldberg was a Reverend, not a Rabbi, but he taught most of the Barmitzvah boys; no Batmitzvah in my time.  Also, we had regular visits from the inspector for Hebrew education from Johannesburg.  He was Rabbi Jack Klewansky who was married to my mom’s sister, Lily (née Blumenthal). I did not enjoy his visits as languages were not my strongpoint. I did however go to Cheder classes until the end of my Std 9 year, 1947.  Most boys left after Barmitzvah. and girls about the same time.
Keep up the good work. Kind regards, Daphne Gillis.
(You can read more about the Klewansky family under ‘families’ on the website  https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/Klewansky.html.Also, more on the Gillises (and Toubes) too, on the website under ‘Families’

 

From Trevor Toube, London,(Daphne’s brother)

Thanks Geraldine, for another interesting Newsletter.
Leon, you may not know that Anita Kaplan did Hebrew for Matric in 1955. Because she was doing the course, which included ‘Ivrit Chayah’ (modern Hebrew grammar) as well as Biblical text-works, Ivor Brown and I, who were a year behind her in school, attended all the classes – and that knowledge still informs the basis of my Hebrew. I was also the first child in Kimberley ‘in living memory’ [allegedly!] to layen the whole sedra for my barmitzvah (1952). I think I conducted the Friday evening service as well (I have certainly done that so very many times since – as well as most other services, so I must have learned to do so at some point). All the best, Trevor

Geraldine writes:  I have just come from celebrating Trevor’s 80thwith him and his family on 1 September in London. It began with a wonderful Shabbat Service at his shul, the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater, near Marble Arch, with a professional choir of 8 trained Jewish voices. Trevor, a very important minyan man – and much else for the synagogue, read the haftorah and a member of their choir,Benjamin Till, a professional composer,was commissioned to write a special new Yismechufor the occasion. They also sang Benjamin’s beautiful Ein Keloheinu. This beautiful service was followed by a great kiddush. (There are many South Africans in the community and a few months ago they apparently had a South African ‘brocha’ including chopped herring trimmed with grated boiled eggs and kichel!)  The celebrations continued on Sunday with a brunch at the home in Notting Hill Gate of his daughter Felicity.

Trevor, son of Abie and Violet Toube (née Blumenthal) pictured left at their wedding in the Kimberley shul in 1929) left Kimberley in 1957 to go to Rhodes University. He got his BSc (Hons) in 1960. Then in 1961,he got his MSc at Natal University, and received his PhD from Cambridge in 1965. Trevor – who was always reckoned to be super-bright, rose in the British academic field and was Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Queen Mary University of Londonwhen he retired. He then continued to lecture, this time to students from New York University. He married American, Sharlott Abramsin 1965, and they settled in North-East London, initially in Loughton and later in Woodford. 

Trevor and Sharlott had two children; Felicity, now a Queen’s Counseland David, the Director of Policy of Quilliam. He works in anti-extremism. Sharlott passed away in 2006and Trevor moved to Bayswater to be nearer to Felicity and his three Miller grandsons. Trevor’s son David, and his wife, who is a Judge, live in a village near Colchester with their two children.

Above is an iconic picture of ‘Blumenthal’s Corner’ Pan Road /Jones Street. Where the Toube’s ran their Central Jewellers emporium. It is opposite the SA PERM and Edgars and diagonally opposite the Dee Bee Bazaar with its iconic Clock Tower (once owned by the Klein Brothers) now at the Big Hole Museum.

(More pictures of and information about Jewish businesses can be seen on the website at the bottom of my business survey here https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/Business.html)

Where have we all ended up?

Looking at the spread of our responses, I thought that another topic that would be of historical and communal interest is the migration patterns of our former Kimberley Jewish residents. Obviously, we are all aware were most of our former residents have moved to English speaking countries and to Israel but perhaps it may be of value to know who went where and why they decided to migrate to that country. And if their children have migrated anywhere else! Such a research paper would need the collaboration of those in the various countries and I would need a volunteer from each country to gather the data for me. Are there any chaverim out there interested in helping me.

How Jewish are our grandchildren?

Yet another topic I am considering is the threat of assimilation to the future viability and survival of small Jewish communities and how they can overcome this dilemma. Anti-Semitism is another growing threat to the safety of the Jewish people worldwide and I have considered documenting how we coped in Kimberley with this plague which may also require some impressions from former Jewish residents on whether or not they ever experienced any form of discrimination. Our generation grew up after the end of the Second World War but during the war years there was a very strong Afrikaner movement who supported Hitler and were not well disposed towards the Jewish community. Today the threat is from the fanatical Muslims and the so-called liberal left wing.  Again, I would welcome contributions from all Kimberley Jewish residents and non-residents.

Keeping in touchOur Common Bonds

While we may all live in different cities and countries, we all share that common heritage that we grew up in a small united Jewish community and were a close and vibrant bunch of men and women, boys and girls that gave us the values we hold onto today. Let us try to remember those former days by remaining in contact with each other for as long as we are all able to read and write.

I want to attract regular visitors to our Kehilalinks website. This is an amazing place to record and document the people and events in the Kimberley Jewish Community. The best way I can do it if we can provide interesting and current information. Please send your stories and photos and share our website with all the old Kimberley folk living in your region and ask them to contact me with their family status.

It would really stimulate interest if you could provide us with a recent family picture so that we can give all our old chaverim an idea of our maturing years.  Here below, by way of example, is my own family in June 2018 at my granddaughter Gemma’s Batmitzvah. 

Leon Chonin Family Photo, Toronto 2018

From the left: Kevin Moshal (son-in-law), Melissa Moshal (daughter), Megan Moshal (granddaughter), Gemma Moshal (granddaughter), Jayden Sussman (grandson), Clifford Sussman (son-in-law), Tanya Sussman (daughter), Dylan Sussman (grandson), Barbara Chonin (wife), Leon Chonin. Front row: Benjamin Moshal (grandson), Evan Sussman (grandson)

Have a look at  the visitors’ book section where we post your emails to us https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/Visitors_Book.htmland our Newsletters which  https://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/News.htmlare all up on the site. and fill in the form in the ‘contact’ section to start your own family page.

On behalf of the editorial team, (Geraldine Eli and me) I wish you all a happy New Year and a meaningful Yom Kippur. May you all be inscribed in the book of life for another healthy joyous year and may you all share these high holidays with your loved ones. We look forward to hearing from you.  

Best regards

LEON CHONIN chonin@rogers.com   

Newsletter no 23 Compiled by Leon Chonin, Toronto, September 2019

 

Kimberley, South Africa

KehilaLink

Source: kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kimberley/

 

Upcoming Talks In Israel

KDS Linksfield

Jerusalem,  23 June 19

Telfed Jerusalem Wits Zionist Council Event June 23rd 2019 PDF
Jerusalem Talk 19

 

Ra’anana 27 June 19

Eli Rabinowitz 27 June 2019
William Cooper – The Upstander
Jesse John Fleay, ECU
Bialik Toronto
Herzlia CT
Herzlia & World ORT collaboration
Beis Aharon Bielski School and Orphanage | Yad Yisroel in Pinsk

For more information, visit

WE ARE HERE! An Education Program That Inspires Upstanders

WE ARE HERE! For Upstanders

For Upstanders

Source: wah.foundation

The Maccabean, 7 June 2019

Yom Hashoah At Bialik, Toronto

In May 2017 I first invited schools to participate in a new project for Yom Hashoah.

So it is with great pleasure I share with you a couple of videos made this week by the students of Bialik Hebrew Day School in Toronto, Canada

The Partisans’ Song sung by Grade 6 students

The Partisans’ Song sung by Grade 6 students

Bialik Hebrew Day School, Himel Branch, Toronto Canada   2 May 2019 Yom Hashoah Commemoration assembly. Singing in Yiddish followed by Hebrew.

Source: youtu.be/1I94o3z39Xc

The Partisan Song sung by Grade 5 students

The Partisan Song Grade 5

Bialik Hebrew Day School, Toronto Canada, 2 May 2019  Yom Hashoah Commemoration assembly.

Source: youtu.be/tQSt3CkD5Js

Thanks to:

Assaf Mordachay, Beverley Young and Kathy Friedman

Home – Bialik Hebrew Day School

Home – Bialik Hebrew Day School

The Jewish Day School for Today’s Generation.

Source: bialik.ca

For the expanded and updated project, visit:

Learn The Partisans’ Song | tangential travel

Learn The Partisans’ Song | tangential travel

The Partisans’ Song, Zog Nit Zeynmol, has now been translated into 27 languages, the latest being Mongolian:

YIDDISH, HEBREW, ENGLISH, POLISH, BELARUSIAN, RUSSIAN, GERMAN, SPANISH, CZECH, DUTCH, ITALIAN, ROMANIAN, FRENCH, SWEDISH, PORTUGUESE, NORWEGIAN, JAPANESE, FINNISH, SWISS GERMAN, SLOVAK, GREEK, AFRIKAANS, UKRAINIAN, SERBIAN, NOONGAR , ARABIC, XHOSA, ZULU and MONGOLIAN.

In this way we can all share the song’s powerful and positive message and, at the same time, embrace the legacy of the partisans, of those who were incarcerated in the ghettos and the camps and of the Holocaust survivors. See translations below.

A Project For Your School Recite or sing the Partisans’ Song in your home tongue, or in a language you have learnt. Make a video, which can be as creative as you wish or just a simple recording. For the poem, each verse is made up of four lines. For the song, the last two lines in each verse are repeated.

Source: elirab.me/znk

 

The 60th Yahrzeit of Isocher Zeldin

Socher’s passport. He was born in Dvinsk (today Daugavpils)  Latvia
 
 
He passed away in Cape Town on Guy Fawkes Day – 5 November 1958
 
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.
 
zeldin_aunts-3
Socher and Chasa, their 5 married daughters and their husbands.
 
Socher’s other children
Moisey?
David Zeldin
Chana Zeldin

bwfamily

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
 
13329_375835325919_504295919_3815710_4550628_n_original
Socher’s late grandson Mendel and Mendel’s daughter Bella, Mendel’s nieces Alla &  Mira, and Mendel’s great niece Angela.
 
zeldin-family
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.
 
 
 
 

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.
zeldin_aunts-3
Socher and Chasa, their 5 married daughters and their husbands.
Socher’s other children
Moisey?
David Zeldin
Chana Zeldin

bwfamily

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
13329_375835325919_504295919_3815710_4550628_n_original
Socher’s late grandson Mendel and Mendel’s daughter Bella, Mendel’s nieces Alla &  Mira, and Mendel’s great niece Angela.
zeldin-family
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.

Toronto

My first cousin Zara’s grandson, Alon Gold

Meeting My Cousin Zara Smushkovich

Meeting My Cousin Zara Smushkovich

Toronto, Canada 30 July 2017 I meet my first cousin Zara Zeldin Smushkovich again after 42 years. It is a delightful reunion at a restaurant and then at her condo. The only other time we met was in…

Source: elirab.me/meeting-my-cousin-zara-smushkovich/

Getting There

Meeting My Cousin Zara Smushkovich

Shmoozing in Toronto

Books by Renate Krakauer and David Woolf

Jewish Studies Centre

History of the Jews in Toronto – Wikipedia

History of the Jews in Toronto – Wikipedia

The History of the Jews in Toronto refers to the history of the Jewish community of Toronto, Ontario. Jews have resided in Toronto since the early 19th century. Since the 1970s, the city has been home to the largest Jewish population in Canada and become a centre of Jewish Canadian culture. Toronto’s Jews have played an important role in the development of the city.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Toronto

Mame Loshn Yiddish Exhibition at Robarts Library

Robarts Library

Robarts Library – Wikipedia

The John P. Robarts Research Library, commonly referred to as Robarts Library, is the main humanities and social sciences library of the University of Toronto Libraries and the largest individual library in the university. Opened in 1973 and named for John Robarts, the 17th Premier of Ontario, the library contains more than 4.5 million bookform items, 4.1 million microform items and 740,000 other items.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robarts_Library

University of Toronto – Wikipedia

University of Toronto – Wikipedia

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Toronto

Toronto Eaton Centre – Wikipedia

Toronto Eaton Centre – Wikipedia

The Toronto Eaton Centre (corporately styled as the CF Toronto Eaton Centre since September 2015)[2] is a shopping mall and office complex located in the downtown core of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is owned and managed by Cadillac Fairview (CF). It was named after the Eaton’s department store chain that once anchored it before the chain became defunct in the late 1990s.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Eaton_Centre

Meeting My Cousin Zara Smushkovich

Toronto, Canada

30 July 2017

I meet my first cousin Zara Zeldin Smushkovich again after 42 years.
It is a delightful reunion at a restaurant and then at her condo.
The only other time we met was in Israel in 1975.
I also meet her vivacious daughters – Mira Gold and Alla Khelem and son in law Avram-Yakov Gold.
A very special afternoon!
How Geni posted the story on their blog:

First Cousins Reunited

We love hearing stories of families reunited through Geni. Recently, Eli Rabinowitz finally found his first cousin Zara Smushkovich after being separated for over 35 years! The discovery was made thanks to the help of a friendly person on Facebook who found the family tree on Geni.

Source: www.geni.com/blog/first-cousins-reunited-395092.html

My original post:
This is how my story unfolds, reaching a climax a week before Jewish New Year 5777
screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-3-04-42-pm
 Zara Zeldin Smushkovich
relationship-chart-eli-moses-rabinowitzzara-zeldin
I met my first cousin Zara, known to us as Sofka, in late 1975 on Kibbutz Tzora in Israel.
As far as I can recall, this was our only meeting.
Zara had arrived with her family in 1973 from Riga, Latvia.
img_1878s
I took this photo of Meir, Zara, Ossie, Bessie, Uncle Isaac,
Aunty Luba, Alla, Aunty Esther, and my mother Rachel.
 david_1908_1925raele_1919_1935
Zara’s father David Zeldin and my mother, Rachel were siblings.
genogram-chart-david-zeldin
img_2307cimg_2307bimg_2307a
 Aunty Esther, David Zeldin’s wife, her daughter Zara and grand daughter Alla.
isochor_1881_1927hase_1885_1937
 My grandparents Socher and Chasa Zeldin
and their six daughters  left Riga for South Africa between 1927 to 1937.
Sisters
Five of the sisters Yetta, Annie, Rachel (my mother), Guta and Luba  (taken in the 1970s)
 chana2
 Chana, the youngest sister
zeldin_aunts-3
My grandparents, Isocher and Chasa, the married Zeldin sisters and their husbands.
bwfamily
11 of the 15 grandchildren all born in Cape Town
img_6955
A typical family gathering in the 50s.
Two brothers, Moisey and David were left behind in Latvia.
IMG_6012ss
Uncle Moisey, the eldest, died in the Holocaust, around 1941 while his younger brother David joined the Soviet Army and survived.
mendel-zara
 David’s children, Mendel and Zara,  spent the war years with their mother Esther in a refugee camp near Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
.zeldin-tashkent
 Documents from the Latvian archives showing their refugee status in Uzbekistan.
.
David Esther & Sophka Wedding
Uncle David, his wife Esther and their daughter Zara at her wedding in Riga in August 1957.
IMG_2306
This photo: Aunty Luba, Alla, my mom Rachel, cousin Solly, Zara, Esther, Sorrel and her son Gil in late 70s in Israel.
Zara and her family left Israel for Canada in 1984.
                               ————————————————————————–
In 2001, thanks to Saul Issroff, London based president of South African SIG, I made contact for the first time with Ferenc Koszeg, my Zeldin second cousin in Budapest, Hungary.
The article below describes the amazing way we connected!
cjc-s2
Additionally, Ferenc, known as Feri, introduced me to additional Zeldin family, living in Istanbul:
My grandfather Socher Zeldin, had another sister, Masha who, with her Hungarian husband Sandor, moved to Turkey in the early 1920s. Although they were no longer alive, their daughter and their grandchildren (my second cousins) were in Istanbul.
There was also a second cousin in Washington DC and other Zeldin family, the Bock family, in Dallas. I started corresponding with them.
I made my first trip to the Baltics, Central and Eastern Europe in May 2011, starting in Riga, where I had commissioned research by Rita Bogdanova, archivist at the Latvian State Archives.
IMG_5879
With Rita Bogdanova and Saul Issroff in Israel July 2015
Rita found pre WWll material on the Zeldin family in Riga and Dvinsk, known today as Daugavpils.
raele_passport_page-s
Rachel (Rael) Zeldin’s passport document.
Using this research as my foundation, I was able to visit family addresses with my guide, Elena Spungina.

Just after leaving Riga,  I received the 1960 diary of my late cousin Phyllis Jowell. In it she wrote about meeting our uncle David Zeldin, his wife Esther and children, Mendel and Zara.
mrs_jowells-diary-header
The cover of Phyllis’s diary and photos she had pasted in it:
 mishka1
Rivka & Mendel Zeldin, my cousin, with their son Alex
In the diary he was referred to as Mishka, and his wife and son’s names weren’t given.
sophka-daughter
 Zara with daughter, Mira
 In the diary, she was referred to as Sofka and her daughter’s name wasn’t given.
                                                     ————————————————————————–
After visiting Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in May 2011, I arrived in Budapest, Hungary and met my second cousin Feri Koszeg for first time, since connecting in 2001.
Other family members joined the party, including Feri’s family, Fanni and her husband David Waitz from New York; Sarah, her husband Peter Magyari, and her brother Aron; my son Neil from Oxford; my nephew Ronen Katz and his daughter Shachar from Israel. Visiting Budapest from Istanbul was our mutual second cousin Mehmet Imre and his wife Billur.
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It was a most memorable evening with the three Zeldin second cousins, all grandchildren of three Zeldin siblings from Dvinsk, Latvia.
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With Feri and the photos that helped bring our families together. The three second cousins: Mehmet, Feri & Eli.
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Feri with a famous photo of himself running from Soviet agents.
If you are interested in the background story of this famous photo, go to the 6 minute mark of this video filmed at the Library Of Congress Washington DC in 2014.

I continued my journey to Istanbul where I met Mehmet’s brother Ahmet Imre and his wife, Pinar.
In 2013, I returned to Istanbul, where I met two more of my second cousins, Haluk Atasoy and his wife Sena, and Cihad Atasoy and his wife Seda. These men are second cousins of mine and all have the same Jewish Hungarian grandfather and their grandmother Masha, was my grandfather Isocher Zeldin’s sister.
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L-R Back: Haluk, Cihad, Ahmet, Mehmet & Eli.  Front: Sena, Seda, Pinar & Billur
In the past few years, having found this expanded family, the question of Zara (known to us as Sofka) came up, but no one really knew where to find her nor most importantly, did anyone remember her surname.
I had tried looking for Zeldins on Facebook, but had no luck.
                                             ————————————————————————–
Then in June this year I wrote  to the Latvian Archives again, but this time to the section of the archives that deals with post WWll and the Soviet era. My friend Rita had suggested I contact the Personnel Archives which has files of families living abroad.
The Archives replied that they had found such documents of the Zeldin family.
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On 22 September 2016,  our postie delivered a registered letter from the Latvian Archives.
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Included were  Zara’s and her daughter Alla Khelem’s 1973 joint Soviet passport.
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I asked Avigdor Shligel, my Ukrainian friend, to translate Zara’s surname which was written in Russian / cyrillic script.
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The answer and the key was:  SMUSHKOVICH
I posted the following on Facebook and JewishGen:

 jgen-22-sep
Within an hour a Facebook member, Elena Shapiro Wayne, sent me the Geni page of the late husband of Zara – Meir Smushkovich. I then looked up  the names on that Geni tree on Facebook, including Alon Gold, who, according to Geni, was Zara’s grandson. 
 
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Gert Rogers, from Toronto, saw my post on JewishGen, sent me an email with Zara’s telephone number, which she had looked up in the telephone directory and then called to check that it was Zara.
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I spoke to my first cousin Zara in Toronto that night. What an amazing experience to make this call!
We were both ecstatic to make this connection! Zara was so happy to be in contact again with her 13 surviving Zeldin first cousins after more than 35 years.
Zara told me that Alon called to tell her that he had been contacted by a “stranger” on Facebook with information about his Zeldin family. As I was unknown to him, he needed to clear it with her as it had come out of nowhere.
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I called Alon Gold the following morning and we spoke for two hours. Like me, he is the go-to person in his family when it come to maintaining family records and ties.
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Mendel Zeldin with his children Bella and Alex
 
Sadly, Zara’s brother Mendel, passed away less than two months ago on 28 July 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. He was 81.
We never met him. Only our late cousin, Phyllis Jowell, met him in 1960 in Riga.
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 L-R: Bella, Mendels daughter; Alla. his niece; Mendel, Mira, his niece; Angela, his great niece.
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Zara  with her daughters Alla and Mira.
Here are photos of our “new” family.
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Lucy’s wedding in NY in 2010
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Angela’s wedding in Toronto in 2015
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Our new family’s tree!
                                       ————————————————————————–
Once I received that registered letter from the archives in Riga, I knew that things would develop quickly.
My thanks go out to my friend Rita Bogdanova at the Latvian State Archives, Avigdor Shligel, Elena Shapiro Wayne and Gert Rogers.
Thanks to Jewishgen.org and Geni.com, it took less than an hour to find Alon Gold and his “baba Sofa”, Zara Smushkovich, my long lost cousin!
 
There is so much history still to share. We are so looking forward to it.
 
A rip roaring success story, if ever there was one!
 
Thanks to my daughter in law Tami for calling me  “tangential”. You are right! Just what my sons, the doctors, ordered!
 
Chag Sameach 5777.

From

As many of you know I have been extremely immersed in the Genealogy of my family and Gary’s. I have been active in the genealogy community on Facebook. I had the pleasure of stumbling on a request from a very nice man in Australia looking for family members. I was able to very quickly find a record for one of his ancestors which helped him reconnect after decades! Today on the Jewish NEW YEAR I received a note and this link. At the end of this very wonderful family history I was honored to be mentioned. What a wonderful gift on Rosh Hashana!  Eli Rabinowitz here is wishing many years of happiness with your newly found family. I am humbled to have been a small part of this wonderful Mitzvah.
L’Shana Tova.
Please check out this link to hear his story!
https://elirab.me/finding-my-cousin-zara-smushkovich/

                                                          **********************************************
From Gert Rogers, Toronto
2 October 2016

Dear Eli

I am so glad that I could help you.  Your blog was amazing.  I wrote Bubble Segal  many years ago and she answered me so I know her by correspondence.  Again I am happy for you.

Wishing you and all your family a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Gert

Gert Rogers –  Toronto – Searching Goldman Woda Sziiakovich from Mordy, Losice, and Miedzyrzec Podlaski and Solnik Djtelbaum  from Staszow all in Poland