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 museum@beyachad.co.za

For more information please visit the website:  https://wah.foundation

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

Digging Up Old Jewish Johannesburg

Poswohl Synagogue - Heritage Portal - September 2015 - 3
Photo by James Ball  – The Heritage Portal

During Ishvara Dhyan’s walking tour of Doornfontein in February, he mentioned the Poswohl Shul.

DSC_1039

I did some follow up research and found some very interesting info from:

  • The Archives at Beyachad
  • Rabbi Silberhaft
  • Friends of Beit Hatfutsoth
  • James Ball’s Heritage Portal

I want to thank Naomi Musiker and Rabbi Silberhaft for giving of their time and sharing information; my appreciation to Rose Norwich for allowing me to use parts of her dissertation for her Masters in  Architecture in 1988; and to Elona Steinfeld and the researchers for the next two volumes of Jewish Life in the Country Communities.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.38.33 PM

IMG_3863

 

IMG_2449 IMG_2450

IMG_2448

IMG_2444

More details about the Poswohl synagogue on my Johannesburg KehilaLink website.

With permission from James Ball The Heritage Portal:

The Poswohl Synagogue – A Memorial to a Community that No Longer Exists

A captivating story appeared in the 1982 issue of Restorica. It was compiled by Hymie Amoils and traces the origins, history and significance of the Poswohl Synagogue in Mooi Street Johannesburg.

 In answer to Carol Hoffman’s query:

Tell me please, would this shul have been settled by Litvaks who had come from what is now known as Pasvalys?

From Rose Norwitz

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9.49.52 PM

From Jewishgen.org

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9.48.50 PM

With Rabbi Silberhaft

IMG_2393IMG_2389

IMG_4058

IMG_4061

IMG_4059

IMG_4060

IMG_4057

[gss type=”slideshow” size=”large” options=”timeout=4000″ style=”width:75% ids=”175292652,175292651,175292655,175292657,175292658″]

[gss type=”slideshow” size=”large” options=”timeout=4000″ style=”width:75%
ids=”175292653,175292654,175292656,175292659,175292660″]

IMG_7860

IMG_2647

Jewish Life in Country Communities in South Africa

Brochure-2s Brochure-1s

SA FRIENDS OF BETH HATEFUTSOTH

MAIN TOWNS FOR THE NEXT VOLUMES, SIX AND SEVEN.

Please contact me if your towns are listed here or your dorp is near one of these towns.

ALBERTON

AMERSFOORT

BALFOUR

BEDFORDVIEW

BENONI

BETHAL

BLOEMHOF

BOKSBURG

BRAKPAN

BREYTEN

CARLETONVILLE

CAROLINA

CHRISTIANA

COLIGNY

DELAREYVILLE

DELMAS

DEVON

EDENVALE

ERMELO

FLORIDA

FOCHVILLE

GERMISTON

GREYLINGSTAD

GROOT MARICO

HARTEBEESFONTEIN

HEIDELBERG

HENDRINA

IRENE

KEMPTON PARK

KINROSS

KLERKSDORP

KOSTER

KRUGERSDORP

LEANDRA (LESLIE)

LEEUDORINGSTAD

LESLIE

LICHTENBURG

MAGALIESBURG

MAKWASSIE

MARAISBURG

MEYERTON

MIDRAND

MORGENZON

NIGEL

OGIES

OLIFANTSFONTEIN

OTTOSDAL

PIET RETIEF

POTCHEFSTROOM

RANDFONTEIN

ROODEPOORT

RUSTENBURG

SANNIESHOF

SCHWEIZER-RENEKE

SPRINGS

STANDERTON

SWARTRUGGENS

TRICHARDT

VANDERBIJLPARK

VENTERSDORP

VEREENIGING

VERWOERDBURG

VOLKSRUST

VOORTREKKERHOOGTE

WAKKERSTROOM

WESTONARIA

WOLMARANSSTAD

ZEERUST

 

IMG_9415a

In front of the poster of my cousin, Phyllis Zinn Jowell z”l

 

IMG_9410a

With researchers Larna Bronstein and Elona Steinfeld

 Some profiles of towns already covered in previous volumes

VOLUME I

Witbank is a major coal mining centre in Mpumulanga situated 115 km east of Pretoria. The first coal deposits were discovered by a Jew called Woolf Harris in 1878. These became more important as the goldfields of the Witwatersrand developed and the country became industrialised. Other Jews arrived before 1896 and played an important role in the coal industry, in business and in civic life of the surrounding areas. The first minyan took place in 1905 and their first synagogue was built in 1913. Now only two Jews remain.

Pietersburg is situated in the Limpopo province 275 km north of Pretoria. In 1881 a new centre was laid out to serve Eersterling in the northern Transvaal where gold had been discovered. The town which developed was named Pietersburg in 1886 became a Municipality in 1903 and was the seat of the Transvaal Government. The Jews were inextricably linked to the growth of the town which became a major industrial, commercial and financial centre. The Zoutpansberg Hebrew Congregation was established in 1897 which included Pietersburg. In 1912 it became the Pietersburg Hebrew Congregation which also served other neighbouring towns. A new synagogue was opened in 1953. But by 1960 the vibrant community began to decline. Only 13 Jews remain in the town.

VOLUME 2

The historic town of Stellenbosch in situated 48 km east of Cape Town. It is the second oldest town in South Africa and is famous for its educational institutions, historical monuments and old oak trees. The first Jewish settlers from Lithuania were there in 1885. In 1903 the community bought a house which they consecrated as the Stellenbosch Hebrew Congregation synagogue and used until 1920s. They built a small synagogue and a communal hall in 1932 and always had good relations with the Stellenbosch University and the people of the town. It remains a fully functioning congregation and community centre. The Jewish community of 19 families was instrumental in restoring the “Skuinshuis” complex in 1975. Over 200 years old, and the second dwelling in the town, it is the best known landmark in Stellenbosch. The façade was probably built in 1803 after a fire and bears the Historical Monuments Plaque. This remains a fully functioning congregation.

Springbok’s history goes to the time when Governor Simon Van der Stel discovered copper in the area of Namaqualand. The town lies on the main road to Namibia and was founded in 1862. Several of the earliest pioneers of the area were Jews but the first services were only held in 1911 and the congregation was founded in 1919. A synagogue was built in 1929 and served the congregation until it closed in 1972 when the Namaqualand Hebrew distributed and the building became the Joseph and Rebecca Jowell Museum depicting the life of the early Jewish and Afrikaner pioneers .

VOLUME 3

Graaff Reinet is the oldest town in the Eastern Cape Province and has many famous monuments. The 1820 settlers from England and Jewish immigrants, like the Mosenthals, from Germany, came to the region and helped to develop this part of the country. The Hebrew congregation was started in 1839. Business profited from merino sheep farming and the sale of ostrich feathers. The defunct congregation was revived in 1941 when Manfred Halberstad from Germany revived the services. He went on Aliyah in 1966 and the synagogue was sold in 1975. Today only two Jews remain. In order to pay tribute to the role the community had played in the development of the area, a monument to the Jewish smous was unveiled in 1989.

Hermanus lies 120 km south east of Cape Town. The first Jews from Lithuania arrived in c1880 and the congregation was founded in 1906. The local community is strengthened by the influx of holiday makers each summer. Unlike other communities, when it fell into a decline the congregation rejuvenated itself. After a lapse of 23 years a Rosh Hashanah services were held again in 1998. In 2006, after several meetings of the fully functioning community, the old synagogue was sold and a new building was completed using the proceeds of the sale. Hermanus was chosen by the late Chief Rabbi and Mrs Cyril Harris as their place of retirement and he passed away there in 2005.

VOLUME 4

Vryheid is one of the oldest towns in Natal lying north of Durban. At the start of the Anglo-Boer war in 1899, Vryheid was occupied by British forces and was later incorporated into Natal. The earliest Jewish families, mostly from Eastern Europe settled in 1880 and were involved with the start of the town. Famous Jewish families like the Trens, Baranovs, Werners and Kantrowitches (later Kentrich) were amongst others who helped to start the congregation which was the first in Natal. The community peaked at 65 families in the 1950s and today no longer exists. A Memorial Trust was formed in 1987 and the records, the Sifrei Torah and remains of the synagogue building were placed in the Durban Jewish club where it still remains.

Umhlanga Rocks is situated on the seacoast north of Durban and was originally a sugar plantation. Most of the early Jews were there in 1890. It is a very popular seaside resort so that visitors and residents come and go. Chabad House was established in 1987 and has supplied a very adequate religious centre for Jews along the Natal coast. Recently a beautiful new Jewish Centre has been built consisting of a new synagogue and Rabbi, Jewish day school and nursery school.

VOLUME 5

Winburg is 116km north of Bloemfontein in the Free State. The first Jewish settlers arrived in 1870 from Germany and Eastern Europe. Several wellknown families settled there and members of the community fought on both sides in the Anglo-Boer War. The Winburg Congregation was started in 1900, the first Synagogue was built in 1922 and reached 120 persons in 1936. By 1951 only five families were left. When the synagogue closed in 1977 much of its furniture was sent to new Kempton Park synagogue near Johannesburg. Rabbi Casper sent one Sefer Torah to Israel.

 

Welkom is a new town established especially to serve the people, including many young Jewish families, who came to work in the new gold mines in the Free State. Before the discovery of gold in 1939, there were only a few Jews in the area. The Anglo American organisation created it as a model town with all facilities. The Odendalsrus-Welkom Hebrew committee was formed in 1955 and a synagogue/hall was built for services and functions for the approx. 330 Jews in the town. A minister was appointed in 1957. The first Sifrei Torah were borrowed from nearby congregations. Despite help from the SAJBD and other congregations the number of persons declined fast and today only four are left. In 1995 the synagogue/hall was sold and congregation closed.

 

South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth

The South African Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth (SAFBH) was established in Johannesburg under the chairmanship of David Ellman in 1982. This followed a very successful joint project in the form of an exhibition documenting the Jews who lived in the large towns in South Africa, undertaken by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), the South African Zionist Federation and the then Beth Hatefutsoth Museum (or Museum of the Diaspora) in Tel Aviv, Israel. The exhibition was first shown in Israel, and then in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Following requests for information for its database from the Museum of the Diaspora and also a trip to Eastern Europe by a group of South African Jews of Lithuanian origin which included members of SAFBH, the organisation began to focus on recording the history and accomplishments of Jewish communities and individuals in the country areas of South Africa.

This series of volumes on Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities covers the history of Jewish immigration to this country from as early as 1820 when a group of 18 Jews arrived with the 1820 Settlers. They came looking for a better life, either escaping economic hardship, conscription into the Tzar’s army, pogroms and antisemitism throughout Eastern Europe. They knew little or nothing of the conditions they were to encounter, many could not speak the local languages and most left behind families, some of whom they never saw again. The immigrants, however, never forgot their Jewish roots. They formed communities and congregations, found a location in which to hold services, and often even built synagogues in the little villages or towns where they lived.

From these humble beginnings the Jews of South Africa made a huge contribution to the growth of this country. They were pioneers in industry, science, medicine, farming, education and many other fields.

This fascinating story, at present covering five volumes based on different regions of South Africa, has been extracted from an extensive database captured over the past 20 years, from records preserved in the archives of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and of the South African Zionist Federation, the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at UCT and from interviews among many other sources listed in the books.

Rose Norwich and Adrienne Kollenberg are the co-chairmen and project convenors of the organisation.

Jews of SA

For Purchasing of books, the submission of material and donations to this project please contact Elona at museum@beyachad.co.za

New website:

www.jewishcountrylife.co.za  or  http://www.jewishcountrycommunities.co.za/

Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities

Jews of SA

Hi All
These are the main towns that Elona Steinfeld of SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth is currently researching:

SA FRIENDS OF BETH HATEFUTSOTH

MAIN TOWNS FOR VOLUME SIX AND SEVEN

ALBERTON
AMERSFOORT
BALFOUR
BEDFORDVIEW
BENONI
BETHAL
BLOEMHOF
BOKSBURG
BRAKPAN
BREYTEN
CARLETONVILLE
CAROLINA
CHRISTIANA
COLIGNY
DELAREYVILLE
DELMAS
DEVON
EDENVALE
ERMELO
FLORIDA
FOCHVILLE
GERMISTON
GREYLINGSTAD
GROOT MARICO
HARTEBEESFONTEIN
HEIDELBERG
HENDRINA
IRENE
KEMPTON PARK
KINROSS
KLERKSDORP
KOSTER
KRUGERSDORP
LEANDRA (LESLIE)
LEEUDORINGSTAD
LICHTENBURG
MAGALIESBURG
MAKWASSIE
MARAISBURG
MEYERTON
MIDRAND
MORGENZON
NIGEL
OGIES
OLIFANTSFONTEIN
OTTOSDAL
PIET RETIEF
POTCHEFSTROOM
RANDFONTEIN
ROODEPOORT
RUSTENBURG
SANNIESHOF
SCHWEIZER-RENEKE
SPRINGS
STANDERTON
SWARTRUGGENS
TRICHARDT
VANDERBIJLPARK
VENTERSDORP
VEREENIGING
VERWOERDBURG
VOLKSRUST
VOORTREKKERHOOGTE
WAKKERSTROOM
WESTONARIA
WOLMARANSSTAD
ZEERUST

Rose Norwich and Adrienne Kollenberg are the co-chairmen and project convenors of the organisation.

If you have a connection to any of these towns, please comment below or contact me at eli@elirab.com and I’ll send you more details and a questionnaire.

You can also write to Elona at:
museum@beyachad.co.za

Brochure-2s

Brochure-1s

My dad, Cantor Harry Rabinowitz, was born in Volksrust in 1914.  I found this 1911 advert in the Gitlin Library three weeks ago. This job was applied for by my zaida N M Rabinowitz. Hence my dad was born in Volksrust!

IMG_0207 IMG_0208

Finally, we have had great fun in the past few days  on Facebook identifying these people from Woodstock Cape Town in 1949.

Thanks to Abe Gulis for providing the photo.

We wish  Abe and his family a “Long Life” on the passing of his beloved sister, Channa Gulis Eidelman.

If you have an interesting photo to “share”, please email me. There is no point in hoarding them in a shoe box! Let us enjoy our wonderful memories of our Jewish Life!
woodstock-49s