The Salomon Family

Article from 1995 – Just sent to me by David Caddack
Mandelbaum copy
Extract from Mandelbaum’s article

Simcha Mandelbaum’s Book
From my 2014 blog:
203 Years Ago Today Zalman Tzoref Arrived In Israel

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 …


In the Footsteps of Zalman Tzoref: A film by Orna Bird and Omri Lior.

In the Footsteps of Zalman Tzoref: A film by Orna Bird and Omri Lior.

This video is about Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref. It is a trailer for the full length documentary film made by Orna Bird and Omri Lior!


Jerusalem Day 1

Leaving Vilnius at 6:10am

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Arrival in Israel

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With Eytan and Amie

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The walk from the Prima Kings Hotel to the Kotel via Mamila

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The Hurva Synagogue

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Tzoref – tangential travel

Tzoref – tangential travel


Keidaner Family Tree

Meet and Great – our seminar orientation at the Prima Kings Hotel

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Jo’burg 2018

Photos from my visit to Jo’burg
IMG_8295 IMG_9965 IMG_9780 IMG_8390 IMG_8412 DT1SGuIW4AAOMEp IMG_8364 IMG_8365 IMG_8478 20180205_205313 IMG_8482
With Elona Steinfeld at SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth
SA Jewish Report
The impact of tracing family roots

by Mirah Langer 

Ever wondered who your great, great, great- grandfather might have been? South African- born Eli Rabinowitz did and embarked on an intrepid genealogical journey to nd out. It culminated in the discovery of the astonishing life and legacy of Rabbi Avraham Shlomo Zalman Tzoref.

Tzoref, born in Keidan in Lithuania in 1786, was determined to begin an Ashkenazi return to Israel.

Rabinowitz spoke about his ancestor earlier this month while delivering a talk to members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SA in Orchards, Johannesburg.

The first hurdle Tsoref had to overcome when arriving in Israel, in 1811, was a dead man’s unpaid debt. “Zalman went to the Old City and had to disguise himself as a Sephardic Jew.” This was because there was a story that 100 years before, an Ashkenazi Jew had come to Jerusalem and borrowed money from the Arabs, and then died. Thereafter, anyone who came from Lithuania was told: ‘We want the money.’”

Tzoref then embarked on various negotiations to lift the embargo on the debt. In doing so, he paved the way for Ashkenazi Jews to return to their homeland. And, said Rabinowitz, “in 1836, he got permission to establish a settlement.”

After making aliya, Tzoref and his family became signicant contributors to rebuilding the holy land. However, in 1851, he was murdered by those opposed to the work he was doing in re-establishing the Ashkenazi presence in Jerusalem.

“He was recognised as the first victim of terror,” explains Rabinowitz.

The impact made by Tzoref continues to be heralded, most recently with a huge celebration held in Jerusalem a few years ago that was attended by 15 000 of his descendants from all over the world.

“There are stories like mine everywhere,” muses Rabinowitz. “You just have to look for them.”

After discovering his Keidan roots, Rabinowitz returned to the area and made contact with a school in the area. He taught the non-Jewish students there about what, until then, had been a ghost culture of a long- forgotten past.

“ There is not one Jew in this town,” remarked Rabinowitz.

He noted how many South African families had contributed to putting up memorials in towns in Lithuania to mark the areas in which Jews were murdered. “We need to show the Lithuanians that we know what the history was.”

Referring to how transformative genealogical research can be, Rabinowitz explained how the students used a database from a genealogical website and created a tree artwork in their classroom, commemorating all the Jewish families who once lived in Keidan.

“This is what you can do with your information – you can make it powerful,” said Rabinowitz.

“And there is a bigger message. The message is: continuity for the Jewish people.” 

Atzalynas Gimnazija Kedainiai Visit 2017

Atzalynas Gimnazija Kedainiai Visit 2017

The Keidaner Family tree on Laima’s classroom wall – an unique work of art! The complex of two synagogues and the tree featuring the names of Keidaners, including  my 3rd great grandfat…


Israel-Litvak Roots

IGRA Meeting on 12 June in Raanana, Israel

Israel-Litvak Roots
From: Elena Bazes

Monday, June 12th in Ra’anana, Israel

Join us for the next meeting of the Israel Genealogy Research
Association (IGRA).

Eli Rabinowitz will be speaking on “In the Footsteps of Zalman Tzoref:
Tracing 200 Years of Litvak Family History and Legacy”.
This presentation follows Zalman Tzoref’s footsteps and goes beyond!
In 1811, Tzoref left Keidan, Lithuania for Jerusalem where his mission
was to rebuild the Ashkenazi community in the Old City. Eli will
discuss Tzoref’s life and achievements through his 20,000 descendants.

In 2011, Eli returned to the town, now called Kedainiai, and
re-established his family connections with Tzoref’s birthplace. He
will also speak on how he has become active in building bridges in
this town.

Eli Rabinowitz, born in Cape Town, has lived in Perth Australia since
1986. An economist by profession, Eli is involved in a wide range of
Jewish community activities, including filming events, research,
education, arranging exhibitions and lecturing on Jewish cultural
heritage and family history. Eli writes and manages 75 Kehilalinks
websites for JewishGen, and blogs on Jewish life, his extensive
heritage travel and photography. He also arranges customized Litvak
heritage tours and has published stories in various genealogical

Location: Bet Fisher, 5 Klausner Street, Ra’anana

Doors open at 19:00   Meeting begins at 19:30.

Cost: IGRA members-Free Admission     Non-members-NIS 20

To join IGRA, go to

Elena Biegel Bazes
IGRA Publicity Chairperson

Home – Israel Genealogy Research Association

The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) is bringing new technology, new energy and new excitement to genealogy in Israel, and across the world. In order to receive increased access to the Israel Genealogy Research Association’s web site, and to stay informed on the society’s activities, be sure to register for this site. Registration is free. Press the big “Register Now” button to the right to register now!


LitvakSIG | About LitvakSIG

LitvakSIG is the primary internet resource for Lithuanian-Jewish (Litvak) genealogy research worldwide. SIG stands for Special Interest Group.