My People Of South Africa

February / March 2020

Cape Town

Jewish Community of  Cape Town





Johannesburg, South Africa


Other KehilaLinks


Lithuania Alita (Alytus) Aran (Varena) Balbieriškis Birzh (Birzai) Druskieniki (Druskininkai) Keidan (Kedainiai) Kibart (Kybartai) Kopcheve (Kapciamiestis)  Koshedar (Kaisiadorys) Mariampol (M…


Leaving Memel – Refugees from the Reich

Leaving Memel – Refugees from the Reich is Fred Finkelstein’s current film on his family, thirty-five years in the making.
This is a film based on the life events of Cherie Goren and her family, who were forced to leave their home in Memel, now Klaipeda, Lithuania, when the Nazis took over the country in 1941. Cherie’s story is captured in this remarkable film by producer Fred Finkelstein, Cherie’s nephew. The film has enjoyed worldwide circulation, by describing how this family survived during one of civilization’s most horrible periods. 
From Fred Finkelstein:
I want people to see the film and foster dialogue around the issues that are front and centre, especially human rights, immigration and the racism that so often accompanies it.
Whether you are Jewish or not, the issues brought to light here touch all of us, in ways both subtle and overt.
Watch the movie:
Leaving Memel

Leaving Memel_2_18_18

Online screener for “Leaving Memel: Refugees from the Reich” Produced & Directed by Fred Finkelstein Edited by Pad McLaughlin ©2018 Fred Finkelstein

Movie Source:

Fred Finkelstein:
Memel / Klaipeda KehilaLink:

The New Melbourne KehilaLink

The new Melbourne KehilaLink has just gone live.

JewishGen KehilaLinks (formerly “ShtetLinks”) is a project facilitating web pages commemorating the places where Jews have lived.  KehilaLinks provides the opportunity for anyone with an interest in a place to create web pages about that community.  These web pages may contain information, pictures, databases, and links to other sources providing data about that place.

Kehila קהילה [Hebrew] n. (pl. kehilot קהילות):

Jewish Community.  Used to refer to a Jewish community, anywhere in the world.

This site is hosted by JewishGen, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organisation, an affiliate of the Jewish Heritage Museum in New York City. JewishGen provides amateur and professional genealogists with the tools to research their Jewish family history and heritage.

I like to include my photos of synagogues, of which there are many  in Melbourne.

St Kilda is one of the beautiful synagogues to be found in Melbourne

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Joseph Plottel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joseph Plottel

Joseph Plottel 1936
Born 1 January 1883
YorkshireGreat Britain
Died 28 March 1977 (aged 93)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Occupation Architect
Buildings Footscray Town HallSt Kilda Synagogue

Joseph Plottel (1883– 28 May 1977) was a British born architect who was active in Melbourne, Australia between 1911 and World War II, working in a modernist style with some significant Byzantine-Romanesque features.

Melbourne architectural practice

Plottel enjoyed a very diverse architectural practice with commercial and residential commissions in an eclectic modern style drawing on the American Romanesque and Arts and Craft movement. Among his early commissions were Embank House at 325 Collins St in 1911, the Williamstown Municipal Buildings in 1914 and several flat projects such as ‘Chilterns’, Glenferrie Road, 1917 ‘Garden Court’ of 1918 in Marne St South Yarra and ‘Waverly’ at 115–119 Grey Street St. Kilda from 1920. These designs tended to fine detailing in brick, but in a restrained manner characteristic of the romantic movement of the Arts Crafts. The prominent use of rain heads and down spouts in the composition is an interesting pointer to Plottel’s later work.[5]

In 1924 Plottel married and also was appointed to design the new St Kilda Synagogue, as the congregation had outgrown the 1872 building. As inspiration he presented a photo of the Temple Isaiah in Chicago, adapting the exterior to a ‘Byzantine Revival’ style with an octagonal base and dome roof clad in Wunderlich tiles, while the interior was finished in what was to become Plottel’s trademark finely crafted woodwork.[6]

The Jewish community provided many commissions, as he became close to several business people who had factories in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs including Footscray and Yarraville. Plottel’s wife Rachel was a doctor specialising in skin conditions. Their only daughter, Philippa May, married Cpl Rolf Hallenstein[7] (the brothers Isaac and Michael Hallenstein established the vast tannery of Michaelis Hallenstein in Footscray with their cousin Moritz Michaelis) and obtained a Master of Laws at the University of Melbourne then went on to a prominent role in women’s affairs and law, as a member of the National Council of Women of Victoria, the Victorian Women Lawyers Society, the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Victoria and many other organisations.[8]

St Kilda Synagogue

The foundation stone of the new synagogue was laid 28 February 1926 (the contractor being H H Eilenberg) and the synagogue was consecrated on 13 March 1927. The Ladies` Gallery was also extended in 1957–58 to designs by Plottel.[9] The Masonic Club, 164 to 170 Flinders Street Melbourne 1926 – 1927 again featured the extensive use of decorative brickwork, this time in a variation of the Neo – Grec theme, showing the style’s usual chaste ornament, formed by swags, antefixes and a shallow pediment.[10]

Perth – The First Australian KehilaLink

The first Australian Kehilalink is now up and running.

The new Perth website about Jewish life is now live and can be accessed at:

or click on this image:

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Thanks to Michelle Urban for the hundreds of  PHC images and to David Adonis for the Maccabi photos.

Some examples of the Maccabi images:

DOC110912-006 DOC110912-017 DOC110912-018 DOC110912-042 DOC110912-045 DOC110912-046 DOC110912-047 DOC110912-048 DOC110912-054 DOC110912-035 DOC180912-004


Images taken in 2012 from the PHC collection.

PHCG 258 3 Rabbi s-Jan2012 PHCG 380 PHCP 2012 Jayke Barmitzvah (Courtesy Julie Kerbel) 162 PHCX0001F Anzac Day 2012 DSC_9297 PHCX096 Sacks Morning Minyan January 2012. (3) PHCX142 Chanuka 2012

Highlights of Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ visit in 2014

Rebbetzin Valerie and Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Rabbi Dovid and Aviva Freilich. Photo by Sas
Rebbetzin Valerie and Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Rabbi Dovid and Aviva Freilich. Photo by Sas
Chief Rabbi Mirvis
Chief Rabbi Mirvis
Rabbi Dovid Freilich
Rabbi Dovid Freilich


Meeting Rabbi Sholem Coleman

CHABAD highlights of Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ visit in 2014


Zvi Friedl
Zvi Friedl

DSC_6676 DSC_6697 DSC_6716 DSC_6726 DSC_6742

Chief Rabbi Mirvis Feels At Home In Perth!

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, has visited CHABAD WA on his first tour of Australia and NZ.

Rabbi Mirvis CHABAD

He was welcomed into a shul community made up of over more than 95% ex pat South Africans and felt immediately at home.

Zvi Friedl played the Simchat Torah niggun on his violin, followed by Julian Todres who duvened Mincha. Young Dylan Kotkis sang Oseh Shalom and Adon Olam and Simon Lawrence recited Tehillim.

Rabbi White introduced Chief Rabbi Mirvis, who responded with a his address.

See the video.  It will be particularly appreciated by all South Africans and ex pats.

A tea was held afterwards where the Chief Rabbi was able to meet members of the community, including three other “old boys” of Herzlia High School in Cape Town

In the photo: Daniel Oblowitz, Ivor Kosowitz, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Julian Todres, who all went to Herzlia High School, Cape Town


 To coincide with the Chief Rabbi’s visit to Perth,  the new Cape Town Kehilalink for JewishGen is now live.

Kehilalinks are Jewish community websites written for, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organisation.

We look forward to your photos and stories of Jewish life in Cape Town, past and present.

Click on the image below for the link!

NM CT Shot 50s?

Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s page on the Cape Town site:

To visit my other kehilalinks click on the images below:

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Chief Rabbi Mirvis In Perth – The First Time In Australia

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, tonight in Perth on his visit to Australia.


Rabbi Dovid Freilich introduced Chief Rabbi Mirvis after which the Chief Rabbi inspired us with his first address in Australia. Julian Sher then moderated questions from the floor.

A tea was held afterwards where the Chief Rabbi and Valerie Mirvis were able to meet members of the Perth Jewish community, including Bram Beinart, a classmate from Herzlia School in Cape Town, meeting for the first time since 1973.

Eli Rabinowitz, Chief Rabbi Mirvis and Bram Beinart, the Chief Rabbi’s classmate from Herzlia School, Cape Town.

Photo by Sas Saddick


To coincide with the Chief Rabbi’s visit to Perth, I am launching the new Cape Town Kehilalink for JewishGen.

Kehilalinks are Jewish community websites written for, the world’s largest Jewish genealogical organisation.

We look forward to your photos and stories of Jewish life in Cape Town, past and present.

Click on the image below.

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Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s page on the Cape Town site:

To visit my other kehilalinks click on one of the images below:

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Brest Litovsk – Vol II – Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora

One of my photos of Brest in 2012 was chosen for the front cover of this volume.

Brisk Yiscor Cover 9781939561176_txt1 9781939561176_txt1



Thanks to Joel Alpert and JewishGen for allowing me to use this information.


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

Available at:


List price:

$56.95 Available on Amazon for around $41, may have lower prices elsewhere




This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.’s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

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Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld

Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 11 May 2014 by LA


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Visit the Brest Kehilalink:

Brest Kehilalink

Four New Kehilalink Websites

dsc_1538-scaled1000Four New Kehilalink Websites

Hi All

I have just created four new JewishGen Kehilalink websites, all in Belarus.

They are: Brest, Vysokaye, Navahrudak and Mir.

These can be found at:

These are in addition to my existing Orla, Nasielsk (Poland) and Kedainiai (Lithuania) websites.

Anyone with connections to these shtetls or towns is welcome to contact me with stories we can add. Please send me some text, photos and documents to include on the sites.

Here are three examples of interesting contributions:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Chag Sameach