Doornfontein Walking Tour – Part 1


I have divided this outstanding 4 ½ hours walking tour of Doorfontein into separate posts.

Here is the first: Introduction and the Lions Shul.

I only found out about this tour a couple of weeks before leaving for South Africa from Lewis Chiat, who also lives in Perth.
I was lucky as the tour operator and guide, Ishvara Dhyan, only runs this tour three times a year and my dates in Jo’burg matched his next tour.
I was given a lift to Doornfontein by Marc Latilla, who writes a fabulous blog: Johannesburg 1912 Suburb by suburb research- see below.
We met the rest of the group in the parking lot of  Ellis Park rugby ground. It is quite safe to park there. Some of us left our cars in China City nearby.
There were 53 on this tour that day and Ish told me that he had to turn away a further 60.

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A few words from Ish

The Lions Shul

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The Lions Shul

The Johannesburg KehilaLink:

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My father z”l was Hachazan Yizchak Rafael Lerman and was born in the old city of Jerusalem into a family of chazonim and baalei tefilot  and very musical. He was in the famous Rivlin choir and often sang solo and gave concerts as well. My Abba z”l learned chazanut under chazan Mann of operatic fame. My Abba was Chief chazan of Herzliah and davened in the shul where chazan Leibel Glans was. In 1964, a few weeks before Rosh Hashana, my Abba came to South Africa and davened in the Germiston shul on Rosh Hashana and Yom kippur. My Abba got married in the Doornfontein Lions Shul, at which chazan Shlomo Mandel and Greenblatt afficated  My Abba was at the Lions Shul for 3 years, then moved to Glenhazel Shul in 1969 and was there for a long time. In between he davened at various shuls in South Africa 

My Abba z”l was a baker as well – the Lerman Bakery in the old city. He also taught Bar Mitzvah lessons in cheder and taught over 1000 bochrim their bar mitzvah. My Abba didn’t make any tapes,  but all the recordings were left in Eretz Yisrael. He taught people Nusach 

My Abba z”l was an excellent chazan and had a good voice and everyone enjoyed my Abba’s chazanut. 

My Abba z”l passed away 9 years ago and is buried on Har Hamenuchot in Givat Shaul in Eretz Yisrael.

My father comes from a chassidic and rabbinical family and was a 5th generation sabra Jerusalemite 

Chaim Lerman

March 2015

Published on Sep 7, 2014

The Lions shul is Johannesburg longest standing congregation.

It is a vibrant, active and dynamic congregation.

The 108 year old synagogue is in pristine condition and the chavershaft is warm and family oriented.

The house next door

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Marc Latilla’s blog: Johannesburg 1912 Suburb by suburb research


Next: The Beth Hamedrash Hagadol