Academic Article on Orla by Wojciech Konończuk

Author: Wojciech Konończuk — political scientist and historian, deputy director of the Centre for Eastern Studies in Warsaw; specializes in problems of contemporary Eastern European countries, the history of Jews in the Russian Empire and the Second Polish Republic, and deportations of Polish citizens to Siberia during the Second World War. Contact:

Heinrich, Marek, Ray, Eli, Jill & Wojciech at the Orla Synagogue in 2012
Wykazuja_najwyzsza_sklonnosc_do_emigrac (1)

English Translation (Google)

Wojciech Article Adademia Eng Trans
Extract from the above article

Page 7


“They show the highest tendency to emigrate” thousands of other migrants from Lithuania. According to the census of 1911, 47 thousand Jews lived in South Africa, many of whom were Lithuanians, although there were also Jews from Podlasie.

Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski (Rabinowitz) & his brother,  Moshe Zalman Rabinowitz from Orla

An example is Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski from Orla, who first emigrated to Palestine, from where in 1911  he moved to South Africa. After a few years, he was joined by his brother, sister and several other residents of his native shtetl (20) .

Migration level of Jews was so significant that already in 1895,  there were voices calling until the border is closed to them, and South Africa playfully was called the “colony of Lithuania” 21 .

Relatively little popularity before the outbreak of World War I, Palestine, which was part of the Ottoman Empire, enjoyed this manski, where in the first (1882-1903) and second (1904-1914) aliji came over 40 thousand. Russian Jews, including 23,000 in years 1905–1914 22 . They came mainly from the Ukrainian lands, in the most more affected by pogroms at the beginning of the 20th century. Funds from numerous Zionist organizations were gathered to buy land in Palestine, and one of the largest was founded in 1912. Białystok Society Land purchase, supporting the departures of Białystok Jews 23 . As it follows, according to the findings of Gur Alroey, emigration to Palestine was caused by not only the idea of ​​Zionism, but this area was also seen as a potential attractive place to live, and thus the reasons for emigration did not differ from those related to going to the USA 24 . Interesting there is also the level of returns from Palestine, possibly emigration from there to the US or another country was very high and in the period before at the outbreak of World War I, it ranged from 50 to 75 percent. 25  It was from a difficult climate, poverty, limited possibilities of finding work, relative proximity to the migrants’ place of origin, but also disenchantment with Zionism 26 .

20  E. Rabinowitz, Personal Journeys. From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Discovery , Avotayline Online, August 31, 2016, (access: February 17, 2020).

21  A. Żukowski, Konsekwencje , p. 128; HR Diner, Roads Taken , p. 36.

22  G. Alroey, An Unpromising Land , p. 110.

23  R. Kobrin, Żydowski Białystok and its diaspora , Sejny – Białystok 2014, pp. 67–68.

24  G. Alroey, An Unpromising Land , pp. 61, 233.

25  Ibid, pp. 211-217, 236.

Also further down in the article


Wojciech Konończuk

Table 2. Emigration of inhabitants of Bielsko and Orla to the USA in the years 1885–1914

It should be emphasized that the above calculations do not give the full picture Jewish emigration from both localities, and only provide information about confirmed newcomers to the United States. Uses- the scanned numbers are certainly far from complete for several reasons.

Firstly, as already mentioned, in relation to some of the migration documents, However, the record of a person’s place of origin is unclear or it was written distorted. Thus, it made it impossible the identification of all emigrants from both places.

Secondly, the data included in the table do not include migration from Bielsko and Orla to other countries, which – if data for departures of Jews from the Empire are accepted Russian – was 22 percent. -all migrants.

We have source confirmation of emigration in both surveyed towns Jews living there to Argentina, South Africa and Palestine 43 .

Third, many Jews from smaller towns were leaving, the most first to larger cities, then emigrate from there abroad nothing. As a result, American migration statistics often show their whereabouts, not of origin, appeared. In case of Bielsko and Orla, such a natural center was Białystok 44, 50 km away .

43  For example: in 1905, Aryeh Levin from Orla (1885-1969) emigrated to Palestine, in later years a famous rabbi and teacher; in 1907, Bielski left for Argentina Jew Dawid Abraham Gail (R. Gail, The Gail Family. From Bielsko to Argentina and the USA , “Bielski Hostineć “2019, 2, pp. 63–64); 

in 1911 the above-mentioned Nachum Mendel Skaryszewski, and shortly after him, several other Orla residents emigrated to South Africa                    (E. Rabinowitz, op. Cit.).

Rabinowitz Eli, Personal Journeys. From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Disco- very, Avotayline Online, 31 VIII 2016, from-one-photograph-to-journeys-of-research-and-discovery (dostęp: 17 II 2020).

A Tragic Romance & Finding Mr Katz
by Eli rabinowitz

A Tragic Romance & Finding Mr Katz

This story is divided into: A Tragic Romance (From One Photograph to Journeys of Research & Discovery) and Finding Mr Katz   Finding Mr Katz by Eli Rabinowitz Finding Mr Katz is an importa…


Heinrich, Marek, Ray, Eli, Jill & Wojciech at the Orla Synagogue 2012


Online Jewish Genealogical Society Talk

Online Jewish genealogy resources to be focus of Jewish Genealogical Society talk on 23 May 2021

Online Jewish genealogy resources to be focus of Jewish Genealogical Society talk on 23 May 2021

Eli Rabinowitz, a board member of the IAJGS who lives in Australia and is from South Africa, will speak on “Journeys from Shtetl to Shtetl” for the Sunday, 23 May 2021, virtual meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois. His live streaming presentation will begin at a special time: 7:30 pm CST.

8:30 pm ES 5:30 pm WST

Monday 24 May 2021: 10:30 am Sydney, 8:30 am Perth, 3:30 am Israel, 2:30 am South Africa, 1:30 am UK


After you register, you will be sent a link to join the meeting. This webinar will be recorded so that JGSI’s paid members who are unable to view it live will be able to view the recording later.

For more information, see or phone 312-666-0100.

In his presentation, Rabinowitz will explain how to trace our past and plot our future, using 88 KehilaLinks, over 800 WordPress blog entries, Facebook posts, and other social media. He will also discuss heritage travels in the actual and virtual worlds.

In his talk, Eli will describe special events including commemorations and reunions of descendants. “An important activity is to visit a local school—either physically or online, to engage with students, especially in towns where a few buildings with Jewish symbols, or cemeteries that often contain illegible matsevot, are the only tangible memories of a once thriving community,” he said.

It is also important that family histories should be documented and shared at the same time as the special events, Eli said.

Examples of such recent ceremonies were the Bielski partisans’ descendants’ reunion in Naliboki and Navahrudak, Belarus; the new memorial for victims of the massacre that took place near Birzai, Lithuania; and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lost Shtetl Museum in Šeduva, Lithuania.

Eli Rabinowitz was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and has lived in Perth, Australia, since 1986. He has researched his family’s genealogy and associated Jewish cultural history for over 30 years. Eli has travelled extensively, writing about Jewish life, travel, and education on his website, Tangential Travel and Jewish Life ( He writes and manages dozens of JewishGen KehilaLinks and more than 750 WordPress blog posts. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. Eli has lectured internationally at educational institutions, commemorative events, at IAJGS and other conferences, and online.

He is a board member of the IAJGS—The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, an independent non-profit umbrella organization that coordinates an annual conference of 84 Jewish genealogical societies worldwide.

Eli also advises on Litvak and Polish heritage tours.

He writes and manages 88 KehilaLinks—Jewish websites for, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organization, with a database of 500,000 followers. His KehilaLinks include sites in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Germany, Russia, China, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa and Australia.

The Jewish Genealogical Societyof Illinois is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping members collect, preserve, and perpetuate the records and history of their ancestors. JGSI is a resource for the worldwide Jewish community to research their Chicago-area roots. The JGSI motto is “Members Helping Members Since 1981.” The group has more than 300 members and is affiliated with the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies.

JGSI members have access to useful and informative online family history research resources, including a members’ forum, more than 65 video recordings of past speakers’ presentations, monthly JGSI E-News, quarterly Morasha JGSI newsletter, and much more. Members as well as non-members can look for their ancestors on the free searchable JGSI Jewish Chicago Database.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

New Memorial Orla Poland 2021

HTAWA Conference

Perth, 14 April 2021

The Ark, Melbourne

Video from Seattle

With Uncle Boydie in Maroopna VIC

William Cooper’s family, Richmond FC, Melbourne

With John Gandel at Monash U, Melbourne
With Barbara Miller & Federal Minister, Ken Wyatt, Monash U, Melbourne

Carmel School visitors at Ellenbrook Secondary College
With Lance Turner, Sturt Rhine-davis, Nance Adler & Jesse J Fleay at, Ellenbrook
Part of 2000 strong audience at Ellenbrook Secondary College premiere
Ellenbrook SC visiting Carmel School
Multicultural Event, City of Stirling, Perth
Kristallnacht Commemoration, Perth Modern School – with Malcolm McCusker
International School of Holocaust Education, Yad Vashem,,  Jerusalem in June 2018
The Lost Shetl Museum, Seduva, Lithuania
Presentation with Israeli Ambassador at Atzalynas School in Kedainiai, Lithuania
Chinese, Israeli and Japanese Ambassadors in Birzai, Lithuania
Bielski Partisan Reunion,Naliboki,  Belarus
Nance Adler,  surviving Bielski, Aron Bell  & his wife Henryka in Novogrudok Belarus 

 Ralph Salinger & Michael Leiserowitz in Warsaw

Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich
Prof Sam & Mrs Kassow & Michael Leiserowitz at Polin, Warsaw
With students in Paneveyzs, Lithuania
With Finnish, British and US Ambassadors in Seduva, Lithuania
With Rabbi Fhima and students in Pinsk, Belarus
Herzlia School, Cape Town, South Africa

Muizenberg SH, South Africa

King David High School, Johannesburg

Apr 12, 2021

Nance Adler is a Jewish educator. She is a Teachers Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as a Powell Fellow at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle. She is the educator and curriculum designer for WE ARE HERE! Foundation for Upstanders. Nance has received many accolades and awards and is published both for pedagogy and curriculum development. 

She has taught for the past 16 years at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle where she focuses on inspiring a love of Judaism and using one’s “Jewish lenses” as a way to approach the world to make it better for all Creation. 

Katie and Andrew talk with Nance about what it means to be an “upstander”, the importance of telling resistance stories, and even Holocaust movies.  Thank you Nance Adler for being our guest on The Well QA!

Also, watch Nance’s keynote speech in Perth, Australia in 2019 about “What I Teach and Why”:


An Amazing DNA Discovery


Article in the Washington Post by Libby Copeland

She thought she was Irish — until a DNA test opened a 100-year-old mystery

She thought she was Irish — until a DNA test opened a 100-year-old mystery

How Alice Collins Plebuch’s foray into “recreational genomics” upended a family tree.


Book by Libby Copeland The Lost Family…

YouTube video of Alice Plebush’s appearance on the Today Show

Meet Alice Plebuch, A Woman Who Discovered That Her Father Was Switched At Birth | Megyn Kelly TODAY

Meet Alice Plebuch, A Woman Who Discovered That Her Father Was Switched At Birth | Megyn Kelly TODAY

Alice Plebuch always thought she was Irish-Catholic until a DNA test gave her startling news – and led her to uncover that her father had been switched at bi…


Reconnecting to Alice Plebuch

3 January 2021

Hi Eli, 

Several years ago, you added my family’s story to Ziezmariai’s page. Until now, I haven’t seen a DNA match with you. My New Year’s surprise was to find you towards the top on my FTDNA list today! Although they put us at 2nd – 4th cousins, I understand that with endogamy, the relationship may be twice as far. 
Interesting, I see that we’re related through my grandmother, Ida Cott (neé Ides Zlata Kot) of Ziezmariai as match known descendants of her family, but not of my grandfather Sam Benson (Zalman Peskin). Since we last wrote, I’ve been able to discover a few more names and thought I’d pass them along to see if any sound familiar. 
Zlata’s father was Kopel KOT. He was, in some way involved in the lumbering business. I have no surname for his mother or any other woman on his line.  Her mother was Freyda “RATINSKY” according to her children and sister; however, I believe it was actually something along the lines of Rudnitsky as her father was Mordeche Maier Rudnitsky.  Her mother was Beila Chaya LEYBOVICH (or something that sounds similar. I believe Beila was from Belarus. 
I’m going to play with the DNA and see if I can ferret out any further information. Than you so much for your help in the past, maybe this is my opportunity to give back.





Ziezmariai, Lithuania


Switched at Birth: Unraveling a Century-Old Mystery with DNA

Switched at Birth: Unraveling a Century-Old Mystery with DNA

The following is a guest post by Alice Plebuch demonstrating the potential of DNA testing.  When Alice first contacted me about two and a ha…


Ziezmariai & Switched At Birth – tangential travel

Ziezmariai & Switched At Birth – tangential travel

tangential travel



Elected to IAJGS Board

August 2020,  For release: Upon receipt

Contact: Sandra Golden, Publicity Chair, IAJGS,

Perth resident elected to International Jewish Genealogy Board                 

Eli Rabinowitz, a Perth, Australia, resident,  was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) at its International Jewish Genealogy Conference, presented virtually on Aug. 12.  The Conference drew more than 2300 registrants from 28 countries.

Eli  has researched his family’s genealogy and associated Jewish cultural history for over 30 years. A South African-born Australian, Eli has travelled extensively, writing about Jewish life, travel and education on his website, Tangential Travel and Jewish Life. 

 Eli writes and manages 87 Jewishgen KehilaLinks, and over 750 WordPress posts. His articles have appeared in numerous publications. Eli has lectured internationally: at educational institutions, commemorative events, at IAJGS and other conferences, and online platforms.

He established the Partisans’ Song Project, and was awarded a U.S. government cultural grant for his WE ARE HERE! Human Rights and Social Justice initiative,

Eli has an Economics Honours degree from the University of Cape Town.

IAJGS is an umbrella organization of more than 91 Jewish genealogical organizations worldwide.  The IAJGS coordinates and organizes activities such as its annual International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and provides a unified voice as the spokesperson on behalf of its members. The IAJGS’s vision is of a worldwide network of Jewish genealogical research organizations and partners working together as one coherent, effective and respected community, enabling people to succeed in researching Jewish ancestry and heritage. Find the IAJGS at: and like us on Facebook at  



WE ARE HERE! at SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth


On Friday 13 March 2020, the South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth will be hosting a presentation by Eli Rabinowitz, from Perth.

Eli, who is the founder of the education project the We Are Here Foundation, will be giving a talk accompanied by video footage about the programme for youth across the globe. The foundation focuses on the importance of educating Jewish youth about the Jewish partisans during the World War II. He will be giving an update on the success of this project, which is funded by the US government.

The project which started at schools in Australia is now functioning in Belarus, Lithuania, Israel and the USA.  Communities across the globe have been taught to sing the famous Partisans Song (Shir HaPartizanim).

His message is loud and clear: WE MUST NEVER FORGET!

If you would like to attend please email us at

For more information please visit the website:

WE ARE HERE! An Education Program That Inspires Upstanders


With Barbara Miller and Ken Wyatt, Federal Minister 2019
With Vince Connelly MP 2020

Kristallnacht Cantata Melbourne – World Premiere 2019

With Benny Rabinowitz in Birzh, Lithuania 2019
With Ambassadors of of China, Israel and Japan in Birzh, Lithuania 2019
Ground Turning at Lost Shtetl Museum, Seduva Lithuania
With Finnish, UK and US Ambassadors in Lithuania 2018
Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 2019
With Ian Stein and Dimitri Coutras at Sea Point School in 2019
At Beyachad meeting in 2019

WE ARE HERE! in Melbourne

Using memory and legacy to educate the generations that follow, and to create upstanders out of bystanders!

The William Cooper Legacy is gaining momentum!

Special events celebrating William Cooper were held in Melbourne over 5 days in December.

These events connected Upstanders from diverse backgrounds, from the William Cooper Institute at Monash University to the Richmond Football Club, and from The Ark Centre in East Hawthorn to Temple Beth Israel.

Below is my selection of photos which highlights these events, and connects our WE ARE HERE! Human Rights and Social Justice project to the growing world of Upstanders influenced by William Cooper’s once long forgotten protest way back in 1938.

I have also incorporated parts of Barbara Miller’s report  into this post. Barbara is William Cooper’s biographer. Thanks Barbara! 

The Events- 2019:
  • Barbara Miller Book Launch
  • The William Cooper Dinner at Richmond FC
  • The launch of the William Cooper Institute at Monash University
  • The special Shabbat at The Ark Centre
  • The interfaith youth seminar in Ascot Vale
  • A visit to William Cooper’s former home in Footscray
  • Some William Cooper icons around Melbourne city
  • The World Premiere of the Kristallnacht Cantata 
The Barbara Miller Book Launch

White Australia Has A Black History is available as a paperback from Barbara Miller’s website, and Barbara would love you to review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

 The link to the book on Amazon is –

The link to the book on Goodreads is

 Barbara giving a talk on William Cooper at an Author Event at Lamm Jewish Library in Melbourne 3 December 2019


Shattered Lives Broken Dreams is at the printer – almost ready to be released!

Barbara on the radio

Barbara Miller:

David Jack interviewing Barbara on J-Air Jewish Radio in Melbourne on 4 December 2019 with Maurice Klein working the desk. The topic was Kristallnacht and William Cooper. It was on the Beersheba Vision program run by Peter Kentley.

Link to the interview:

Richmond FC Seminar & Dinner

The Seminar

 Abe Schwarz

Eli Rabinowitz, Barbara & Norm Miller

My slide – thanks to Stuart Rhine-Davis of Ellenbrook Secondary College

Barbara Miller

The Richmond Football Club and the William Cooper Legacy Project convened by Abe Schwarz hosted a seminar and dinner on 5 December 2019. It announced a new William Cooper Centre which will integrate sport, culture and diversity as the home to the Korin Gamadji Institute emerging Indigenous leaders program, the Bachar Houli Academy, Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS) and women’s and community football. 

There were four speakers at the seminar – Barbara Miller, biographer of William Cooper, Mike Zervos CEO Courage to Care, a teacher from Parkdale College called Natalie Baker and Eli Rabinowitz, founder, the WE ARE HERE! Project. Nola Kelly, the great-granddaughter of William Cooper, Leonie Drummond, Uncle Boydie’s daughter, shared briefly. Barbara is pictured speaking. A mural of the Tigers AFL players on the wall.

Richmond Tigers

The Table List

Eli Rabinowitz, singer Lior Attar, Tali Kellman and Alex Kats

Professor Jacinta Elston, Monash University and William Cooper’s great grandchildren, Leonie Drummond and Lance Turner, with Eli Rabinowitz

 David Jack

 Eli, Rabinowitz, Professor Jacinta Elston &  Abe Schwarz

  Jamil Tye,  Roberto D’Andrea & Aunty Di

Eli Rabinowitz, dancers, Abe Schwarz

Eli Rabinowitz, Uncle Boydie Turner, Alex Kats, Kevin Russel, ?, David Jago

William Cooper’s family

Ngarra Bulla Ferra

Ngarra Bulla Ferra

Richmond FC, Melbourne 8 December 2019


Richmond FC Dinner
Abe Schwarz & Uncle Boydie

Uncle Boydie


William Cooper Legacy Film by David Jack

William Cooper Legacy 13min 45 sec doco converted


Monash University Clayton – William Cooper Institute Launch

 Eli Rabinowitz, Bill Appleby of Jewish Care & Norm Miller

Eli Rabinowitz & John Gandel

Barbara Miller, Minister Ken Wyatt & Eli Rabinowitz

Leonie Drummond


Andrew Markus, Pauline Gandel, Simone Markus & Eli Rabinowitz

Eli Rabinowitz & Vedran Drakulic

Eli Rabinowitz & Professor Susan Elliott

Eli Rabinowitz & Professor Jacinta Elston & Associate Professor Chivonne Algeo

L-R photos – The Hon Minister Ken Wyatt with Barbara and Norman Miller at Monash University, the Unveiling of the plaque at Monash Uni with Uni staff, Cooper family and the Minister, and the Millers with Dr John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel. 

On 6 December 2019, the 81st anniversary of the 1938 AAL protest, Monash University launched the William Cooper Institute. The Gandel family’s philanthropy made the centre possible. Stirring speeches were made by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Mr Ken Wyatt, Chancellor Simon McKeon, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Jacinta Elston, Dr John Gandel AC, and Leonie Drummond, Uncle Boydie’s daughter. 

Minister Ken Wyatt said that William Cooper cut a pathway for people to follow and showed bravery in the face of opposition. He said William Cooper stepped out and left footsteps in the sand to follow. He said he had recently returned from Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech, had paid tribute to William Cooper. 

The Ark Centre – Cross Cultural Shabbat

Rabbi Gabi Kaltman and the ARK Centre held an Indigenous themed Shabbat service and meal honouring William Cooper on 6 December 2019

Eli Rabinowitz, Viv Parry, Lisa Naphtali, Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, Kate Brocker, Shane Charles & Abe Schwarz

Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann

A Very Special Duet by Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann
A Very Special Duet by Shane Charles & Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann

The Ark Centre Aboriginal Kabbalat Shabbat In Honour of William Cooper Melbourne, Australia 6 December 2019


The Interfaith Youth Human Rights Seminar in Ascot Vale

Elana Saks

A visit to William Cooper’s House in footscray

The Footscay Railway Station

Eli Rabinowitz & Christine Newman, owner of the William Cooper house.

The William Cooper Justice Centre

The former Nazi Consulate in Melbourne where William Cooper marched to, and left his petition

Kristallnacht Cantata – Temple Beth Israel

The Kristallnacht Cantata: A Voice of Courage held its world premiere on 8 December at Temple Beth Israel St. Kilda, Melbourne. The strident music of the orchestra conveyed the build-up to the Night of the Broken Glass and the shattering of glass and lives that took place. A tribute to William Cooper, the Cantata imagined a moving duet between Cooper and Otto Jontof-Hutter who was arrested in Stuttgart during Kristallnacht along with thousands of other Jews.

Otto’s grandson, world-famous violinist Ron Jontof-Hutter, active in the Berlin-based World Doctors Orchestra but living in Melbourne, conceived the Cantata. An Israeli composer living in Melbourne, Alon Trigger, collaborated with Ron as the lyricist and world-famous conductor Dr David Kram, as musical director, to put the Cantata together.

The event was held in Temple Beth Israel synagogue and Barbara was asked to read a scripture and she chose Isaiah 62:1-7. There was a beautiful performance by the Yeng Gali Mullum Indigenous Choir.

Photos L_R, Uncle Boydie watching the orchestra of the Kristallnacht Cantata and the Yeng Gali Mullum Indigenous Choir.

For the start of the Kristallnacht Cantata, scroll to the 1 hr 41 min mark

 back in Perth – On Noongar Radio with Jodi Ryder

Manager: Paul Whitton

Beyachad Educators

On Friday 1st March 2019, the South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth were pleased to host a meeting with Eli Rabinowitz, from Perth, Saul Issroff from London and various educators and genealogists.

From Tachlis, Michele Gogoski & Elona Steinfeld, Beyachad, Johannesburg:

Eli, who is the founder of the We Are Here Foundation, gave an inspirational presentation about the importance of educating Jewish youth about the Holocaust and the Jewish partisans during the World War II. The talk was accompanied by video footage of the youth of various communities across the globe, who have been taught and are being taught to sing the famous Partisans Song – Zog Nit Keyn Mol (Shir HaPartizanim).

His message is loud and clear: WE MUST NEVER FORGET!

For more information please visit the website

WE ARE HERE! An Education Program That Inspires Upstanders

With Howard Feldman – Chaim FM


From Stan Smookler on the Good Shabbas Newsletter

I attended a Lecture by Eli Rabinowitz @ Beyachad last week, and it was a VERY interesting discussion, the Subject being “ Zog Nit Keynmol’ ( Never say never again), the Partisan’s song…. see …. I never realized that such a project would have soooo many opinions and ‘Machlokes’ …. The project is to revive the Partisan song that was written by Hirsch Glik in the concentration camps…… The project involves getting schools to start learning the song and of course understanding the meaning…. Eli has teamed up with various Schools, especially in Russia, Poland, Souff Effrikka etc, and World Ort have given him huge assistance, with ORT schools around the World joining in the programme….. The question is ; Should the Song be sung/learnt in any other language than Yiddish, as this is what it was started as…???? Methinks, yes, as it will get lost if not promoted.

At the meeting were a few knowledgeable people in Yiddisher circles, and Saul Issroff ( Absoluuuuut BOFF on Lithuania) from London (Ex PE ‘Amolikke Yoren’), Eli Goldstein who is very involved in the teaching of Yiddish in Joburg, Ishvara Dhyan, who takes walking tours of Joburg, and covers many of the old Yiddisher places, Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft (The Travelling Rabbi) ,Darryl Frankel (King David) Marc Latilla who runs a website Johannesburg 1912, which has a lot of info on many suburbs (in detail) and Joburg City  … , where you can find in depth info on Joburg/suburbs….. Tali Nates from the Holocaust Museum also came, and Eli did a show with Howard Feldman on Chai FM 91.7 .. Pictures; 

ChaiFM – my interview by Howard Feldman

Howard Feldman – Cham FM



 With some of the educators  who attended my presentation.

With Saul Issroff & Tali Nates
With Rabbi Moshe Sliberhaft

With Elona Steinfeld at SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth

Also caught up with:

With Rabbi Kacev
With Rabbi Lipskar

Coming Up

Coming Up in the UK, Europe and Israel in June, Europe and the US in July, and Australia in August!
I will be participating in:
a commemoration in June in Birzai & a shabbat weekend in Kedainiai, Lithuania;
an eight day educators’ seminar in June at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem; 
a 100-strong gathering in Novogrudok, Belarus in July, where a full and interesting program will include learning about the Partisans’ Song, and then singing it in the Naliboki Forest, where the Bielski’s lived and hid from 1942 to 1944; 
the IAJGS39 conference in Cleveland in July, where I am giving two presentations, including one as part of the educators program – see below; and
WE ARE HERE! An Education Program That Inspires Upstanders in Australia in August.This educational program, which promotes universal human rights and inclusive development, is funded by the US Dept of State, and brings Holocaust educator and specialist Nance Adler of Seattle to Australia.


Busy times ahead!

Chag Pesach Sameach and Happy Easter
Please contact me for further details.
Best regards
Further details:
I have been invited to be one of six speakers who will presentat the Educators Program at IAJGS39 (International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies) in Cleveland OH, USA on 28 July, the opening event at thisconference.

My topic is:

Projects That Draw Youth to Ancestral Roots.

The details appear below
My second talk is on 30 July on the WE ARE HERE! Project for Upstanders. 

A Special Program for Jewish Educators

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy is being held in Cleveland for the first time. It features a special day designed specifically for Jewish educators!

Who Should Attend

Educators who:

  • Work in formal and informal settings
  • Work in day or synagogue schools
  • Create and facilitate family and intergenerational programs
  • Teach history
  • Teach writing and research skills

Sunday, July 28th is the date. The program begins with breakfast and a keynote by noted Jewish educator and genealogist Carol Oseran Starin, former Vice-President of the Jewish Federation of Seattle. Participants may select from two workshop time periods, each with a choice from three nationally known presenters, followed by lunch and idea exchanges.

Program Details


To introduce educators to how Jewish genealogy strengthens students’ Jewish identity through the experience of researching their roots and how their history shaped family and community.


8:30–9:00 Registration and light breakfast
9:00–10:00 Keynote speaker: What is Jewish about Jewish Genealogy, Carol Starin
10:15–11:15 Three workshop sessions
  1. Jewish Genealogy for Beginners, Maurice Kices
  2. Designing an “Introduction to Jewish Genealogy” Program: Being Ready for Surprises, Sylvia Abrams
  3. Projects That Draw Youth to Ancestral Roots, Eli Rabinowitz
11:30–12:30 Three workshop sessions
  1. DNA as a Genealogy Tool, Gil Bardige
  2. JewishGen—Everything You Need to Know, Phyllis Kramer
  3. How to Get Kids Involved in Family History, Daniel Horowitz
12:30–1:15 Lunch and “tachlis” how to implement ideas
1:15–2:45 Participation in SHARE Fair and Exhibits
2:45–4:00 Education track participants are invited to the conference keynote address
Title of the Presentation  Projects That Will Draw Our Youth Back To Their Shtetl 
Short Title  Visit the shtetl: the virtual way forward! 
Type of Session  Presentation 
Topic or Category  Jewish History and Culture 
Methodology and Mechanics 
Telling Your Family Story 
Using Technology for Research 
Brief Abstract of Your Presentation  Since 2011, and after nine trips to Poland and Lithuania, as well as travel to Belarus, Germany, Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Turkey and Israel, I have compiled a sizeable collection of information, stories, photos and contacts. My focus is not only about my own family history, but that of Jewish cultural history, general history, as well as contemporary Jewish life. Working with schools in these countries, I have been able to bring students together online to collaborate and to exchange information about the lands of their heritage.

My presentation takes you on a tour of how you can use this body of work to further your own knowledge on family research, Jewish cultural heritage and Jewish life. This includes a tour of my 86 JewishGen KehilaLink websites, including 55 in Europe, plus over 600 posts and pages on my Tangential Travel and Jewish Life website and associated social media. 
Presentation is best suited for  All skills 
How will your presentation help your intended audience?  Expand research skills 
Develop interview skills 
Teach best practices 
Expand social media skills 
Teach innovative strategies 
Assist with personal research 
Second Talk – Tuesday 30 July 2019
Title of the Presentation  WE ARE HERE! Project: Becoming An Upstander Rather Than A Bystander 
Short Title  How Jewish Partisans Inspire Our Youth To Stand Up 
Type of Session  Presentation 
Topic or Category  Genealogy and Jewish History Related to WW2 
Jewish History and Culture 
Methodology and Mechanics 
Preserving our Jewish Past 
Brief Abstract of Your Presentation  WE ARE HERE! Project
This project seeks to inspire in young people the confidence and ability to stand up in the face of prejudice and oppression.
Encourages and inspires Upstanders through the stories of Jewish Partisans and the learning of Zog Nit Keynmol
Provides role models for standing up for yourself in the face of prejudice, hatred, violence and evil
Shows that an individual can make a difference – regardless of their personal circumstances
Translates the stories of Jewish Partisans and the words of Zog Nit Keynmol into a universal message of hope and inspiration for all who are victims of prejudice and oppression
Empowers young people to create the change they want to see in their communities and the world.
Teaches that while the partisans used weapons – they were fighting the Nazis – you can fight oppression with only your voice and presence 
Presentation is best suited for  All skills 
How will your presentation help your intended audience?  Teach best practices 
Expand social media skills 
Teach innovative strategies 

With Heather Blumenthal and Richard Freedman at the Cape Town Holocaust & Genocide Centre