35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference

I am pleased to advise that I have been selected to give a presentation at the 35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference in Jerusalem in July.

The title of my talk is:



The narrative about Moshe and Paula starts in Orla, Poland and ends suddenly in South Africa.

However, the research starts 80 years later in Australia and takes me to Poland, Belarus, Israel, the UK, Germany, South Africa, the US and Canada.

More to follow in upcoming blogs.


Where is Orla:


Facebook page just started for Moshe and Paula:


ENJOY A RARE GENEALOGICAL FEAST OF KNOWLEDGE when top experts from around the globe gather in Jerusalem. Nearly 200 guest lecturers will share their expertise and research on the world’s main Jewish communities including the US, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, and Russia, PLUS they’ll take you to such exotic Jewish genealogical destinations as Tuscany, Casablanca, Sweden, Spain, Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Belgium, Latvia, Moldova, and many, many more. Their lectures will encompass a host of topics, from technological developments in genealogical research to perspectives on the Holocaust to the science of onomastics (the study of names), and a wealth of other topics including DNA.
DON’T MISS THE PRE-CONFERENCE SHABBATON on the Friday-Saturday, July 3 -4 weekend preceding the Conference, followed by an UNFORGETTABLE “EXPLORATION SUNDAY” on July 5. Full and fascinating details are on the conference website www.iajgs2015.org.
Conference discussion group and more. Sign up for our ongoing Conference discussion group, where announcements and special offers are being posted. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Just click on the links at www.iajgs2015.org to sign up and stay informed.ief Rabbi Lau
Michael Goldstein, Chairman

35 th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Conference Keynote Speaker Announcement
From: Michael Goldstein, Chairman IAJGS 2015 (chairmaniajgs2015.org)
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:17:21 -0700 (PDT)

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will deliver the keynote address at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) 35th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem from July 6-10, 2015. Rabbi Lau will speak on the topic, ?Connecting to Jewish Heritage through Jewish Genealogy.? Israel Meir Lau, who was one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp at the age of eight in 1945. Throughout his life, he has continually championed the preservation of the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust, gaining prominence as an outstanding orator and activist. Rabbi Lau has participated in every March of the Living commemoration held in Poland, bringing together thousands of students and adults from around the world. He brings an important message to focus on the individuals who comprise the millions murdered. Israel Meir Lau was born in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski, and is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis. On Independence Day 2005 Rabbi Lau received the Israel Prize generally regarded as the State of Israel?s highest honor, for lifetime achievement and special contributions to society and the State. In 2011 he was awarded “Legion of Honor” (France?s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In announcing Rabbi Lau as the keynote speaker, Conference Chairman Michael Goldstein put forth that the message that Rabbi Lau brings to us at the conference and in all his related talks a message that reinforces how vital our research is so that we learn of those members of our family who were displaced and murdered and how important our research is in bringing together families which were torn apart.

Yisrael Meir Lau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
ישראל מאיר לאו
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv
Chairman of Yad Vashem
הרב לאו.JPG
Other former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Personal details
Birth name Yisrael Meir Lau
Born 1 June 1937 (age 77)
Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Nationality Israeli
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Tel Aviv
Parents Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau
Children 8 children including David Lau

Yisrael (Israel) Meir Lau (Hebrewישראל מאיר לאו‎; born 1 June 1937 in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland) is an Israeli and the Chief Rabbi of Tel AvivIsrael, and Chairman of Yad Vashem. He previously served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003.


Yisrael Meir Lau (8 years old) in the arms of Elazar Schiff, Buchenwald survivors at their arrival at Haifa on 15 July 1945.

Lau was born on 1 June 1937, in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski. His father, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau (PolishMojżesz Chaim Lau), was the last Chief Rabbi of the town; he died in the Treblinka extermination camp. Yisrael Meir is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis.[1]

Lau was freed from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945, after Rabbi Herschel Schacter detected him hiding under a heap of corpses when the camp was liberated.[2] Lau has credited a teen prisoner with protecting him in the camp (later determined by historian Kenneth Waltzer to be Fyodor Michajlitschenko).[3] His entire family was murdered, with the exception of his older brother, Naphtali Lau-Lavie, his half brother, Yehoshua Lau-Hager, and his uncle already living in Mandate Palestine.

Lau immigrated to Mandate Palestine with his brother Naphtali in July 1945, where he studied in the famous yeshiva Kol Torahunder Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach[4] as well as in Ponevezh and Knesses Chizkiyahu. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. He married the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Yedidya Frankel, the Rabbi of South Tel Aviv.[1] He served as Chief Rabbi in Netanya(1978–1988), and at that time developed his reputation as a popular orator.

Lau is the father of three sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Moshe Chaim, took his place as Rabbi in Netanya in 1989; his son David became the Chief Rabbi of Modi’in, and later Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel; and his youngest, Tzvi Yehuda, is the Rabbi of North Tel Aviv.[1]Lau is the uncle of Rabbi Binyamin (Benny) Lau, an educator and activist in the Religious Zionist movement, and Amichai Lau-Lavie, the founder and artistic director of the Jewish ritual theater company Storahtelling.

In 2008, Lau was appointed Chairman of Yad Vashem, succeeding Tommy Lapid.

Rabbinical career

Rabbi Lau addresses
the United Nations

Lau was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. His first rabbinic position was at the Ohr Torah synagogue in North Tel Aviv. In 1965 he was appointed as rabbi of the Tiferet Tzvi Synagogue in Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1971 when he was appointed rabbi of North Tel Aviv.

In 1978 Lau was appointed as chief rabbi of the city of Netanya. In 1983 Lau was appointed to serve on the Mo’etzet of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. In 1988, after the death of his father-in-law, Lau was appointed to serve as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1993. When Lau met the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson in 1992, the Rebbe told Lau to finish his work in Tel Aviv, as he would soon be chosen to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel.[5] In 1993, Lau was elected Chief Rabbi of Israel.

On 9 June 2005, Lau was reinstalled as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv after serving in this position from 1985 until 1993, when he was appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position which he held until 2003.

Lau has often been characterized as the “consensus rabbi”, and has close ties to both Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism, particularly in regard to his politics, which have been characterized as moderate Zionist.[6] One report described him as “too Zionist to be considered Haredi.”

He is respected internationally by Jews and non-Jews alike, and is one of the few figures in the Haredi world who has managed to gain the trust and admiration of both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic population.[7][8] Lau has received some negative attention for his stances and remarks on non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism. When Lau was awarded the Israel Prize in May 2005, there were protests from the Masorti and Reformmovements in Israel. Non-Orthodox leaders noted that it was ironic that Lau was being honored for “bridging rifts in Israeli society”. Lau’s spokespeople said that the fact that he had been approved by the (presumably heterogeneous) Prize Committee spoke for itself.3

Interfaith work

In 1993, Rav Lau had an hour-long meeting with John Paul II at the Pope’s summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome sought to offer the Vatican’s moral support to the latest peace moves in the Middle East. The visit was the first between a Pope and one of Israel’s chief rabbis since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.[9] In 2009, he was critical of a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Israel.[10] He later applauded a new papal statement which gave more emphasis to the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust.[11]

Presidential candidacy

In the spring of 2006, the Israeli media reported that Lau was being considered for presidency of the State of Israel. Some critics in the Israeli media wrote that Lau was more focused on maintaining his image as a progressive than in implementing such positions in the rabbinate’s policies, specifically major issues such as agunot, civil marriage, the status of Shabbat, and other divisive topics that continue to be relevant to many in the secular community vis-a-vis the Chief Rabbinate, which under Lau’s leadership usually sided with the Orthodox perspective.

Another criticism was that a rabbi as president could further blur the line between religion and the state, and push Israel closer to becoming a theocracy, both in fact and public perception. Israel’s gay community also opposed Lau’s possible candidacy due to his criticism of the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv and views on same sex couples. The Reform and Conservative movements in Israel also regarded Lau’s candidacy as “unsuitable.” A Reform activist accused Lau of being more concerned with fulfilling Judaism’s ritual requirements than focusing on pressing ethical questions such as discrimination in Israel or genocide in Darfur.

Awards and recognition

In 2005, Lau was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[12]

On 14 April 2011, he was awarded the Legion of Honor (France’s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in recognition of his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue.[13]


“Let’s sit down together and let’s live together. We always knew how to die together. The time has come for us to know also how to live together, said Lau, calling for co-operation and dialogue between all Jews (Jerusalem, 14 February 1999).

At the 2006 commemoration of the massacre of Babi Yar, Lau pointed out that if the world had reacted, perhaps the Holocaust might never have happened. Implying that Hitlerwas emboldened by this impunity, Lau speculated:

Maybe, say, this Babi Yar was also a test for Hitler. If on 29 September and 30 September 1941 Babi Yar may happen and the world did not react seriously, dramatically, abnormally, maybe this was a good test for him. So a few weeks later in January 1942, near Berlin in Wannsee, a convention can be held with a decision, a final solution to the Jewish problem. Maybe if the very action had been a serious one, a dramatic one, in September 1941 here in Ukraine, the Wannsee Conference would have come to a different end, maybe“.[14]

Published works

A Lone Soldier From Perth

As seen today on


Jewish Online News from Australia, New Zealand and world-wide

Thanks to Henry Benjamin and J-Wire for permission to reprint

J Wire Front 2

Perth woman talks of her Gaza experience

December 25, 2014 by Eli Rabinowitz

Elle Shmuel spoke to members of the Perth community of her experiences in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Yuval, mother Michal, brother Tal, Elle and Rabbi Shalom White    Photo Eli Rabinowitz/J-Wire

The 21-yr-old who was born in Melbourne but moved with her family to Perth at the ages of six was educated at  Western Australia’s only Jewish day school Carmel School.

Shmuel spoke to a packed house at  the Chabad WA Synagogue telling them she made aliyah when she finished year 12 and was conscripted to the IDF.

She said that there were only a handful of women among the thousands of soldiers that had entered Gaza. 

Elle was a paramedic attaining the rank of  Staff Sergeant and became a member of the first combat engineering battalion to be called to the South of Israel. Staff Sergeant Elle knew that she could not stay behind while her soldiers went to battle, and volunteered to join the entering company. Her bravery and commitment have been reported as being exemplary.

She spoke of her experiences both from the perspective of a soldier and as a young woman. Eli Rabinowitz told J-Wire: “Elle addressed the large crowd with confidence and maturity beyond her years and answered questions from the floor after her talk. Elle told us about life in the IDF and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza:

How she coped being far away from her parents here in Australia and what she could or could not tell them;
Her feelings about knowing that she had entered Gaza;
Life inside the Puma armoured vehicles the members of the Engineering Corp “lived in”;
Transporting explosives, describing the tunnels and blowing the tunnels up;
The sound and affects of shells exploding around them
How she treated the injured and coped with the death of fellow soldiers in their brigade.
Elle did tell as that there were strict rules imposed on what she was allowed to say.”

More photos:

203 Years Ago Today Zalman Tzoref Arrived In Israel

Today, on Hoshana Raba in 1811, my 3rd great grandfather, Avraham Shlomo Zalman Zoref arrived in Israel from Keidan in Lithuania.

Zoref, a student of the Vilna Gaon, was the leader of the pioneers who rebuilt the Ashkenazi community in the Old City of Jerusalem and was responsible in 1836 for obtaining the rights to build the synagogue. He was assassinated in 1851.


The Hurva Synagogue


Chag Sameach



Harry Hundred Today

Harry Chazan

My dad, Cantor Harry Rabinowitz , was born on 28 September 1914 in Volksrust, Transvaal, The Union of South Africa.

He would have been 100 today. He passed away on 15 October 2002.

This post is in his honour.

Here are few items to remind us about Harry:

His birth certificate

Harry Birth Cettificate

With his parents and siblings

Top: Aryeh Leib, Isaac andHarry

Bottom: Rachel, Chana Chesha Miriam, Nachum Mendel, Sarah

Rab Fam

His ancestral tree

Ancestor Chart Hirsh Zvi Rabinowitz

Ancestor Chart Hirsh Zvi Rabinowitz (PDF)

The performer

Harry 7

Harry Celebrity Concert 1945

Harry Muizenberg 1945 1Harry 22 s

His LP on HMV Red Label

Yiddish Melodies Front CoverYiddish Melodies Back Cover

Harry SABC Radio Bulletin 1

Charlie Bernhaut’s interview in New York on 14 November 2011 with my brother Michael and myself:

http://www.charliebernhaut.com/archive/archive7.html (scroll to the bottom) or download and listen here:


Kedainiai, my Lithuanian Shtetl – New Developments

B’nai B’rith NSW

B’nai B’rith NSW

With Rabbi Selwyn Franklin
DSC_8474THIS WEEK in Perth & Sydney. Come listen.



I have just returned from my fourth visit to Lithuania in as many years.
There are some interesting developments in Genealogy, Travel and Education in Lithuania, which I will be talking about in Perth and Sydney this week.
I recently spoke on the subject at Limmud Oz in Melbourne, and will continue this Tuesday at Carmel School in Perth and on Thursday at B’nai B’rith in Sydney.
95% of South Africans, including those living in Australia, have Litvak roots. Up to 70% of Perth’s Carmel Jewish Day School’s students are of Litvak heritage, which begs a rethink on the emphasis of Jewish education in Australia.
We are developing a program which will soon be offered to students at Jewish Day Schools around Australia.
A Lithuanian school in Kedainiai (Keidan in Yiddish) is leading the way in rebuilding broken links using Jewish Education, spurred on by a teacher, educated in the Soviet era during which the Holocaust was never mentioned.
The English teacher, Laima Ardaviciene, is the driving force, connecting with Jews around the world, rooted in Kedainiai. Renowned author Ellen Cassedy is one of these who has visited from the USA and addressed the students.
The Kedainiai Cultural Centre was formerly a complex of two synagogues. The historian and director of the Kedainiai Regional Museum, Rimantas Zirgulis, has introduced significant initiatives, including several memorials in the town and at a massacre site. A first in Lithuania is the permanent Jewish exhibition in the Cultural Centre. Rimantas has close ties to Laima’s school in Kedainiai and is now inviting schools from all over Lithuania to visit.
The town is only a few kilometres from the centre of Lithuania, so is fairly easy to reach.
Kedainiai is a special town in the Jewish world. Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, the Vilna Gaon, the foremost leader of mitnagdig or non hasidic Jewry of the past few centuries, studied there and influenced many of his followers to settle in Jerusalem. One of these students, my third great grandfather, Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref of Keidan did so in 1811, and went on to establish the first Ashkenazi community in the Old City, today represented by the Hurva Synagogue.
The famous Mir Yeshiva moved to Keidan in 1940 and in 1941 the Japanese Consul in Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, was able to save many of its students by issuing them with transit visas for Japan.


Microsoft Word - Eli Rabinowitz FLYER.docx

Eli bb June 14


Visit to the Atzalyno Gimnazija School

Teacher: Laima Ardaviciene.

“Growing up during the Soviet era in Lithuania, Laima Ardaviciene does not remember being taught anything about the Holocaust at school. But those days of silence are over – for her and for the Atzalynas Gymnasium (high school) in Kedainiai, Lithuania, where she is a teacher.”

Read More – See these links:



Cultural Diversity


Laima’s class


Victoria – thank you – see video

Her Gift

Kedainiai Victoria


The Cultural Centre in the old synagogues. Run by Rimantas Žirgulis and Audrone Peciulyte

Kedainiai Culture


Around the Town

The Jewish Cemetery

Holocaust Memorial

More of Kedainiaia

Kedainiai at Night

Eli Rabinowitz


My third great grandfather, Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tsoref, a student of the Vilna Gaon, was born in Keidan in 1785. He left Kedainiai in 1811 for Palestine where he established the first ashkenazi community in Jerusalem.I also create webpages for JewishGen and I have one on Kedainiai – see:
http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kedainiaiYou can see my connection to Tzoref and his story in a video at:
http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kedainiai/Zalman_Tzoref.htmlMy great grandfather came from Lithuania, we think Krakes, near Kedainiai. His name was Michel Avraham Herison.


Keidan Memorial Book

“Sefer Zichron” / Yizkor Book

Published by the Keidan Association in Israel,
with the participation of the Committees in South Africa and in the United States of America
Tel Aviv 1977

Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref

from the Encyclopedia of the Builders and Pioneers of the Yishuv
Yizkor Book pp 198-199. Translated by Miriam Erez

Born in Keidan, Lithuania on 1 Kislev, 1785 — or as he himself wrote, in the year “TaKuM”[1], thereby hinting at his life’s purpose — the son of Reb Yaakov. He learned Torah diligently, as all good Jews in Lithuania did at the time. He married, engaged in trade, and continued to study Torah.

On 8 Iyar, 1810, a convoy of emigrants left Lithuania for the Land of Israel, among them Tzoref[2], his wife Chasya, his young sons Mordechai, Moshe, and Yitzhak; and two brothers-in-law, Reb Tzvi Hirsch and Rabbi Yosef the Preacher. They made the journey on horse-drawn carts and sailing ships, and on Hoshána Raba 1811, they reached Akko. Following the end of the [Succot] holiday, made their way to Tzfat.

During the journey, Tzoref learned silver- and goldsmithing, and when he arrived in Tzfat, he bought a house, began engaging in his craft, and learned Arabic quickly. He was beloved by his customers and all who knew him, Jews and Arabs alike, made a good living, made sure to study Torah regularly, and joined in the leadership of the community.

When a virus spread across the Galilee in 1811, many of the Jews of Tzfat fled to the villages. About 10 Ashkenazi families left for toJerusalem, among them Tzoref and his family. They snuck into the city in the middle of the night, dressed like Sephardim. After the virus subsided, while a few returned to Tzfat, Tzoref remained in Jerusalem, opened a shop, and engaged in his craft. Here also, he was beloved among the rich Arabs.

At first, the Ashkenazim in Jerusalem were not able to establish their own synagogue, as they did not want their identities as Ashkenazim discovered. In the annex allotted to them in the Sephardi synagogue, whenever they couldn’t form a minyan, they added a [pre-Bar Mitzva] boy carrying a Torah scroll. Over the next few years, more Ashkenazim arrived from Tzfat, particularly following the Druse and peasants’ revolt and the earthquake that laid waste to Tzfat. After that the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem grew and flourished.

With no small effort, the veteran Ashkenazim were able to rent the “right of use” of the courtyard, which until then had housed the yeshiva of Rabbi Chayim Ben Attar, also called the Or Chayìm [“light of life”]. There they established a place for worship, but during prayer they had to station young men as guards to warn them whenever Muslims neared, so that worshippers would have time to quickly put away the Torah scroll and disappear from sight. Real anusìm[3]!

The Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem also faced difficulties from the Sephardi establishment, who feared that donations from European Jews to Jerusalem — if there were such — would now be diverted to the Ashkenazim. With heavy lobbying, they resolved the dispute using the laws of Torah, together with Ashkenazi representatives, and agreed on a way to divide money from Europe; thus this internecine quarrel ceased to be an obstacle to the aliya of European Jews to Jerusalem.

Tzoref was held in high esteem by the Sephardi establishment, and in 1810 was sent as an emissary to Europe on behalf of both communities, after he influenced both sides to make peace and be judged by neutral parties (rabbis from abroad) for the benefit of them all under the terms of the day: The rabbis’ representative pays a flat sum to his “senders,” and [any] income belongs to him.

From 1818 to 1822, Tzoref was again an emissary to Germany, the Netherlands and England; and again in 1828 he went to Europe on behalf of the kollelot [yeshivas for full-time, married scholars], as well as to press for redemption of the ruined building of Rabbi Yehuda HaChasìd — which the Arabs had seized against “the known debt” — so that they could rebuild the synagogue and other buildings for the Ashkenazi community.

In Germany, Tzoref received Prussian citizenship, and thereafter was close to the Prussian consul in Alexandria, and was appointed the latter’s proxy in Jerusalem and granted the authority to issue protection documents to Jews. A few years later, he was also appointed a representative of the Jews to the council of the governor.

When Muhammad Ali, governor of Egypt, conquered Palestine and Syria, his stepson, Ibrahim Pásha, was made commissioner ofJerusalem. Pasha was afraid to eat a Muslim dish in the city for fear of being poisoned, so the Jews brought him his meals: One day his dish would be prepared by one of the prominent Sephardim, the next day [a meal was brought] from Tzoref’s house, and so on. Tzoref’s son Mordechai would bring Pasha his meal on a special copper tray, which served as a sort of entry permit. One day Tzoref himself went to bring Pasha his meal, in order to ask him to rescue the Jews of Hebron, whom the revolting Arabs were plotting to destroy, and Pasha sent an army to restrain the insurgents.

During the same period, Tzoref asked Pasha to issue a royal decree forgiving the Ashkenazim the debts of the students of Rabbi Yehuda haChasìd, and restoring to them the ruin known as Dir Shachnan. Toward that end, Tzoref also went to Egypt and with the help of the Austrian and Prussian consuls, obtained the requested decree from Muhammad Ali. In a legal hearing before the mufti and the kadi, the right of the Jews to the ruin was recognized, and the Arabs who had built shops there were forced to restore the site to the Jews in return for compensation, after which the Jews of Jerusalem hurried to purify the site from all the garbage that had accumulated thereon for generations, and established there the Beit Midrash [house of study] Menachem Zion.

The Arabs who were forced to abandon the “ruin” bore animosity toward Tzoref on account of his victory. As he sat in his house one evening studying Torah, a young Arab tried to shoot him. The bullet missed its mark, and the shooter fell into a vat of sesame oil and drowned. A year later, another Arab attempted to kill him as he was on his way to sunrise prayers by sneaking up behind him and hitting him on the head with a sword. For months Tzoref was bedridden and lost his memory. Only on his last day on earth did his memory return, whereupon he asked all his family and friends to gather so he could bid them farewell.

Tzoref died in Jerusalem on 19 Elul, 1851, and was buried on the slopes of the Mount of Olives next to the prophet Zachariah. The heads of the Sephardi community sought to delay his burial (there was still no Ashkenazi cemetery at the time) until his heirs paid off the debt that they said he owed them. Only owing to the resolute intervention of Rabbi Shmuel Salant did the Ottoman Chief Rabbi concede, and order the burial to proceed.

Tzoref’s wife, Chasya, died on 4 of Heshvan, 1865, and was buried beside her husband.

His son Mordechai was one of the yishuv’s agricultural and industrial pioneers, and Mordechai’s son, Rabbi Yoel Moshe Solomon, was one of the founders of Petach Tikva as well as various Jerusalem neighborhoods. Tzoref’s son Moshe died in Baghdad on his way back from an emissary mission in eastern Asia; his son YItzhak became caretaker of the Hurva Synagogue; and his daughter Miriam was the wife of Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Trachtenberg.

[1] The Hebrew year of his birth was תקמ”ו. He switched the letters around to form תקו”מ, spelling the Hebrew word takum, meaning “shall go up”, thereby hinting at aliya to the Land of Israel.

[2] Hebrew for “goldsmith”

[3] Jews forcibly converted to Christianity during the Inquisition, who continued to practice Judaism in secret.

Yizkor book contents | Keidan.net




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kėdainiai old town
Kėdainiai old town

Kėdainiai (About this sound pronunciation , also known by several other names) is one of the oldest cities in Lithuania. It is located 51 km (32 mi) north of Kaunas on the banks of the Nevėžis River. First mentioned in the 1372 Livonian Chronicle of Hermann de Wartberge, its population as of 2008 was 30,214. Its old town dates to the 17th century.[1]

The city is the administrative centre of the Kėdainiai district municipality. The geographical centre of the Lithuanian Republic is in the nearby village of Ruoščiai, located in the eldership of Dotnuva.


The city has been known by other names: Kiejdany in PolishKeidan (קיידאן) in Yiddish,[2] and Kedahnen in German. Its other alternate forms include Kidan, Kaidan, Keidany, Keydan, Kiejdany, Kuidany, and Kidainiai.[3]


The March of Swedes for Kėdainiai/Kiejdany

The area was the site of several battles during “The Deluge”, the 17th century war between thePolish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden. In 1655 a short-lived treaty with Sweden, theUnion of Kėdainiai, was signed by two members of Radziwiłł family in their Kėdainiai castle. While little remains of the Radziwiłł castle, the crypt of the Calvinist church (1631) houses the family mausoleum, including the tombs of Krzysztof Radziwiłł and his son Janusz. Also according to some myths a giant called Mantvydas lived here and terrorized the city until the great RDW slayed him and took the princess monika for himself

Scottish Protestants arrived in the late 16th and 17th centuries, encouraged by the conversion of Anna Radziwill; the community exerted considerable influence in the city and persisted until the mid-19th century.[4]

A local custom called on all visitors to bring a stone to be used in the town’s construction.[1]

Cultural activities

The Kėdainiai Regional Museum, established in 1922, now operates four branches: a Multicultural Centre, the Mausoleum of the Dukes Radziwill, the House of Juozas Paukštelis, and the Museum of Wooden Sculptures of V.Ulevičius.[9]

Since the city is known as the cucumber capital of Lithuania, it sponsors an annual cucumber festival.[8]

A small Polish minority of 329 (0,61%)[10] people live in Kėdainiai district municipality, but only 30 people participate inStowarzyszenie Polaków Kiejdan (The Kiejdany Polish Association), the elder people; their cultural activities involve public celebrations of Polish Day of Independence and Day of the Constitution of Third of May, as well as organizing a festival of Polish culture. Since 1994 a School of Polish Language exists.[11][12]

Higher Education

Famous citizens



Brighton Beach to Trigg Winter Beach Walk

West Coast Highway


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
West Coast Highway
Western Australia
West Coast Highway, Scarborough.JPG
View northbound approaching Scarborough
West Coast Highway is an arterial coastal highway located in the western and inner northern suburbs of PerthWestern Australia. It is part of State Route 71, and also Tourist Drive 204 in various coastal parts.[1]

The highway commences from the end of Curtin Avenue at Swanbourne and heads north, via the SAS Campbell Barracks and rifle range, to City BeachScarborough and Trigg, terminating at the Karrinyup Road intersection, where it becomes Marmion Avenue. It links the northern coastal suburbs of Perth with the city of Fremantle. The speed limit for the majority of the highway is 70 km/h with two small 60 and 80 km/h sections at the Scarborough end. The highway is a dual carriageway for most of its length.

Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of coastal suburbs from Swanbourne onwards.


The Scenery


Young Surfers



New Sefer Torah for Brisk after 75 years

Festivities in Brisk – Brest


From Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz, CHABAD of Brisk

Hundreds of citizens –members of the Jewish community in Brisk celebrated the presentation of a new Sefer Torah, the first after 75 years, to the Brisk-Brest Synagogue.  This  was presented by the Mizrachi, Leselbaum and Perrin families in the illustrious memory of their dear father Reb Pinchas ben Yitzchak Mizrachi of Blessed Memory.

The ceremony of writing the last letters was held in the Hall of the previous Great Synagogue where the renowned Rabbis of Brisk , amongst them the late Rabbi Chaim HaLevi Soloveitchik ע”ה  davened.  This ceremony started with the showing of a video explaining the essence of the Sefer Torah and terminated when members of the Mizrachi family and honored members of the Community were given the Zechus of writing the last letters.

I then  spoke and emphasized the historic occasion – using the Chabad expressions “דידן נצח ‘We have Succeeded’.  In spite of the fact that both the Communists and the Nazis rose up against the Jewish people, and in spite of all that occurred in the past, we celebrate here today the writing and presentation of a new Sefer Torah which signifies that the Jewish people in Brisk are proud of their roots and reawakening their traditions.  We are most grateful to the honorable  Mizrachi Family and warmly thank them for their generosity in presenting this Sefer Torah, the Emblem of Judaism.

 Mr. Yitzchak Mizrachi spoke warm words of encouragement on behalf of the family.

Among the participants in the festivities were Mr. Yitzchak Mizrachi the family representative, my  father-in-law, Rabbi Zusha Goldstein and his family who came from Israel especially to participate in this historic occasion.  The Chabad  Shaliach from Grodna Rabbi Yitzchak Kaufman,  Rabbi Moshe Fima from the town Pinsk who came with the students from the Pinsk Jewish School, the renowned Scribe the Sofer Rabbi Yosef Westman, and  Mr. Shalom Milenkin, Director of the Jewish Congregation.  Dignitaries from the Municipality including the Regional Ministry of Religion,   the representatives from the Brisk Municipality, the Consuls of Poland, the Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan, were also present.

After the letter writing ceremony, a wonderful colorful and lively parade escorted the Torah throughout the streets honoring and glorifying in the name of the Almighty.  The entire program was covered by the local newspaper and television, who were overjoyed to be able to report on such a unique occasion.  The most lavish banquet  thanking and giving recognition to the donators was held in the ballroom in of the community as befitting such an occasion.

With blessings

Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz

If you wish to join and be a partner in the revival of the Jewish Community of Brest please press here.


Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz
Chabad of Brest – Belarus



For more images, see the JewishGen Kehilalink:


Also The Yiskor book just published:

Brisk Yiscor Cover




Brest-Litovsk – Volume II
Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora
(Brest, Belarus)
Published by the Yizkor Books in Print Projectpart of Yizkor Books Project of JewishGen, Inc.

Translation of Brisk de-Lita: Encycolpedia Shel Galuyot
Original Yiddish Volume Edited by Elieser Steinman Published in Jerusalem, 1958
498 pages, 8.5″ by 11″, hard cover, including all photos and other images


Details:This is the translation of the Memorial (Yizkor) Book of Jewish community of Brest-Litovsk, Belarus.The name of the town, Brest-Litovsk, indicates its link with Lithuania. Although founded by the Slavs in 1017 and invaded by the Mongols in 1241, it became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1319, and in1569 it became the capital of the unified Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.The town is also known as “Brisk,” in Yiddish to the Jews who lived and thrived there for six centuries. Jewish “Brisk” had an illustrious history; the famous Brisker Yeshivah attracted scholars from all over Europe. The list of Rabbis of Brest includes such famous rabbis as Solomon Luria and Joel Sirkes in earlier periods, the Katzenellenbogens, and three generations of the Soloveitchik dynasty in more recent times. Brest also produced Jacob Epstein the great Talmudist at the Hebrew University, Menachem Begin, and many other major religious, literary and political leaders.In 1923, Jews, made up 60% of Brest’s population of 60,000.This book was written by Brest survivors and former residents from many countries who contributed their memories of their hometown as a record for future generations, and as testament and loving tribute to the innocent Victims of the Shoah. It is a must read for researchers of the town and descendants of “Briskers.”

Brest, Belarus is located at 52°06′ North Latitude and 23°42′ East Longitude 203 mi SW of Minsk.

lternate names for the town are: Brest [Belarussian], Brest Litovsk [Russian], Brześć Litewski [Polish], Brześć nad Bugiem [Polish, 1918-39], Brisk [Yiddish], Brasta [Lithuanian], Brest Litowsk, Brisk Dlita, Brisk de-Lita, Brześć-Litewsk, Brist nad Bugie, Bzheshch nad Bugyem, Bieraście


Nearby Jewish Communities:

Terespol, Poland 6 miles WSW Chernavchitsy 8 miles N Kodenì, Poland 14 miles SSW Zhabinka 15 miles ENE Piszczac, Poland 16 miles SW Volchin 21 miles NW

Zamosty 21 miles NNE – Kamyanyets 21 miles NNE – Janów Podlaski, Poland 22 miles WNW Charniany 23 miles ESE – Vysokaye 23 miles NW – Biała Podlaska, Poland 24 miles W

Abramovo 25 miles N – Domachėvo 25 miles S – Sławatycze, Poland 25 miles SSW Łomazy, Poland 27 miles WSW Niemirów, Poland 27 miles WNW Malaryta 27 miles SE – Konstantynów, Poland 27 miles WNW Wisznice, Poland 29 miles SW – Kobryn 29 miles ENE – Rossosz, Poland 30 miles SW

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Eli, ex South African from Perth, incorporates his interests in videography, photography, digital storytelling, research, travel and genealogy to create lively and enthusiastic presentations of his extensive Jewish heritage travel, evidenced by his popular blog: elirab.me. Eli has given presentations around Australia and Israel.