Letters Received

I received an email regarding former members of Temple Israel living aboroad.

I was a member in the 1950S until I went to stay in Durban in the 60s' I was a member of Temple David while Rabbi Miller was there I returned to Johannesburg in 1968 and Joined the Temple Shalom in Highlands North. whilst Rabbi


I have been in Australia since 1972 and am a member of  Emmenual Synagogue .

I would like to receive information on how things are going back in South Africa and to be able to meet former members of the Progressive Movement in SA. know living in Australia.




Mark Joffe

As a child living in Hillbrow I attended Temple Israel on my own,  and remember Rabbi Weiler and Benny Stalson well.  However, I was never officially a member.  My mother attended the Berea (orthodox) Shul.

Many friends now in Sydney were members there, e.g. Martin Jacobson, Geoff Jochelson. 

Ellen Price (nee Katzenstein ) went there before I knew her, and we later became close friends.  I have her current address in Israel if you wish.  I can also furnish other names and addresses.

Later when I lived in Orchards, I sent my children to Temple Shalom nursery school, and I knew Rabbi Walter Blumenthal from university times.  I remember Reeva Forman, beauty queen -turned -entrepreneur and now, I see, the Chairman of the congregation.

I am certainly interested in Johannesburg, past and present, worked for many years as a senior social worker at the Jewish Community Services and still feel identified with the community there.


Bernice Bachmayer

Hi Reeva


Do hope that you and the congregation are well.


I saw your request for whatever. If you think I can help or contribute in any way, please feel free to contact me


BTW - who is conducting your services these days? I hear that Benny Stalson is in Sandringham Gardens (is that what it is called now?)


Best wishes


Rabbi Dick Lampert

Hello Reeva


A voice from the past that I am SOOOOO happy to hear! How wonderful to connect with you and what a wonderful project you have conceived. Please let me know that I have the right address and I will fill you in.


This is such a coincidence - you have been on my mind because a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of chatting to Marlene Bethlehem who told me what a sterling job you were doing at Temple Israel. Now this email...:-) Would love to hear about you and I will send details of Norm and me and see if I can think of any other SA Reform Jews here in the US to email


In peace


Heather Mendel


   Dear Reeva,

My married name is  Carol Ilona Engelman
My maiden  name  was Carol Ilona Mond   ( Mondschein)

I have been living in Australia since 1978

My mothers name was Lilo  Mond,   her maiden name was  Lindenberg,  she was the  very first to have a Batmitzvah at the shul.  Rabbi Weiler did the ceremony. Her mothers name was Martha  Lindenberg.

I have a brother still living in Johannesburg--- Denis  Mondschein   (Mond)

I have a cousin there----Peter Lindenberg,  his mother is Rene Lindenberg

I hope that will help the shul’s records


Carol Engelman
19 Hamilton Street
Rose Bay 2029
9388 2921


Dear Mr Hurwitz,

I received this email below from the office of our congregation Or-Chadasch in Zurich.


I was a member of Temple Shalom until we emigrated to Europe in 1977. I was chairman of the then Brotherhood for some 5 years and my wife, Lilian, who converted under Rabbi Opher with Jerry Idelson as her mentor worked for some years at Temple Israel as bookkeeper during the time of Rabbi Super. She was also secretary for Camp Kaplan, and in fact we discovered the farm where Camp Kaplan was situated. I myself sat on the committee for some time and Rabbi Walter Blumenthal was Godfather to my son.


Peculiarly enough, when I discovered the congregation here, the first person to greet me was Herman Wolf who was Schamasch here at the time and who knew of me. This eased my entrance into the congregation very much. His widow, Nellie, is still alive in an old aged home here.


Last year I gave a talk in the congregation on the Jews of South Africa which was to a great extent helped by the widow of Rabbi Ben Yosef (now at the Gitlin Library) who was also active in the reform movement in South Africa and who took his Semichah while here in Zurich.


Kind regards

Gunther Roth
Gunther Roth
Quellenstrasse 18
8134 Adliswil
Tel:      +41 (0)43 300 3271
Fax:     +41 (0)43 300 3272
Mobile: +41 (0)78 737 7410
Skype: guntherroth



We are members of North Shore temple Emanuel in Sydney. We received an e-mail telling us you would like to contact anyone who has had a connection with Temple Israel, Jhb.


My husband, Izzy Wainer, and I, met at the AIC, and were married at Temple Israel, by Rabbi M.C.Weiler on Dec 19th 1948. We both taught at the cheder at various times, and I ran the nursery school for the Sisterhood in 1947/48.


Izzy went on to teach at Temple Shalom, was lay-reader for Temple Sinai in Germiston for many years, and has probably taught at every Temple on the East Rand, and in Johannesburg, as well as being lay-reader. He has taken Children’s High-holyday services, and also over-flow services together with Mr.Benny Stalson.He was one of Rabbi Weiler’s “Milner’s Kindergarden.”


If there is anything else you would like to know, please come back to us.


Betty Wainer. (nee Conyer.)


 I'm replying as one of the Ex Members of Temple Israel.    We were married at the Temple by Rabbi Weiler on 15.12.1946.  


I have some names and photos from that time, as well of other details of Temple Shalom om Highlands North to which we molved (living in Bramley, Johannesburg).   We left South Africa in 1961 and most members of my family have been living in Australia since then.

I'll be happy to make contact and provide other relevant details. 

Good luck in your endeavour.

Liesel Scholem

Dear Reeva


My name is Michael Kenneth Rawack.


My late parents  Theo Rawack and Ingeborg Rawack  were active members of Temple Israel. My parents were both born in Berlin/Germany and left Berlin after marrying in the Reform Synagogue by Rabbi Dr.Manfred Swarzenski in 1936 and then proceeded via Amsterdam to Southhampton and then by Union Castle Line to Cape Town and train to Johannesburg.


On arrival in Johannesburg my parents joined Temple Israel, and were  Foundation Members of the Johannesburg B'nai B'rith Lodge and Women's Chapter founded in 1938 by late Dr. Willy Cohn.


I was born in Johannesburg on 16 August 1945.


I attended the Clara Patley Nursery School conducted by Temple Israel and at the age of 6 years I started Cheder at Temple Israel.

I studied for my Barmitzvah under Benjamin (benny) Stalson attending his home in Cyrildene (with Afternoon Tea and homemade cake/biscuits provided by May Stalson)


 I had my Barmitzvah which coincided with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations ( 25 Years) of the founding of the Progressive (Reform) Judaism Movement in South Africa on the 5 September 1958. My Barmitzvah took place on Shabbat KI TAVO on 6 September 1958 and Rabbi Walter  (Wally) Blumenthal officiated. Rabbi Wally Blumenthal was the only son /child of late Armin & Trude Blumenthal, close personal friends of my late parents.


I attach the Order of Service which may be of historical interest to you in compiling your history.


I was the Barmitzvah Boy who recited the Kiddush on the Friday Night in the illustrious presence of Rabbi Dr. Moses Cyrus Weiler who came on a visit to South Africa from Israel and also Rabbi Michael Elton (Temple Shalom) and Rabbi Walter Blumenthal (Temple Emanuel). I recall the attendance of numerous other Reform Rabbis from Durban, Cape Town and other provincial Centres were also in attendance. Temple Israel was "packed out" with not a seat available, just as though it was Kol Nidrei.


I continued my Post Barmitzvah Classes until age 15 years .


I also did on three (3) occasions attend the Alan Isaacs Camp at Margate during July aged 10, 11 and 12 years of age.


 My late parents, my brother Keith  born 21 October 1950 (aged 10 years) and myself  left South Africa on the 17 December 1960 bound for Sydney Australia. 


My late mother had her brother Stephan Beerman,(who in Berlin was taught by Rudolph Brasch (Later  Rabbi of  Springs and subsequently Rabbi Dr. Rudolph Brasch - Chief Minister of Woollahra Temple Emanuel/ Sydney)  my grandmother , her two brothers and their spouses and a cousin and his wife all living in Sydney, who were barred from immigrating to South Africa when it closed its borders to refugees from Europe.


I attended a Government School , matriculated and proceeded to Sydney University where I studied Law part time and was Articled to a  City Solicitor.


Upon graduation I was an employed Solicitor and in July 1980 I commenced practice on my own account in suburban Sydney where I still practice today as a sole Solicitor & Barrister Practitioner.


In 1969 I was married by Rabbi Dr. Rudolph Brasch at Woollahra Temple Emanuel


I have two children , a daughter Karen Nicole Katz (nee Rawack) born 3 April 1972 ands a son Allan David Rawack born 30 April 1976.


Both my children are married and I have two grandaughters (from my daughter) living in Melbourne aged 6 and 3 years respectively and 3 grandchildren two (2) boys  aged 7 and 5 and a girl aged 2 (living in Sydney but currently living in Beijing China where my son works for an Oil & Gas Exploration Company in Human Resource Management looking after 250 ex-pats.


In 1996 I divorced my first wife and remarried in 1997 the ceremony officiated over by Rabbi Richard (Dicky) Lampert at North Shore Temple Emanuel. Rabbi Lampert  has known me since my first attending the Alan Isaacs Camp.


Since the subsequent arrival of a great number of ex South African Reform Members in Sydney, I frequently see Izzy & Betty  Wainer, Ralph Pohorille,Terence Nabarro, Peter Adler, and Ralph Berman all from Johannesburg ,all of whom attended Alan Isaacs Camp.


I can also report that Howard Elton, the son of late Rabbi Michael & Marjorie Elton resides in Melbourne who I have met up with at B'nai B'rith District Conventions.


Some years ago late Rabbi Dr M C Weiler visited Sydney as an Emissary for JNF and my parents and I took him around showing him the sights of Sydney.Rabbi Weiler also delivered a sedrmon at Woollahra Temple Emanuel on that occasion.


I recall with affection Jerry Idelson (Choir Master at Temple Israel) Mr. & Mrs Lockitz (Cheder Teachers) Harold Evian and the Shul's Beadle/Shammus Mr.Kleineibst ( who frightened us at Shabbat Morning Services if we talked during the service).


I had a brief exchange with Benny Stalson prior to him entering the Sandringham Old Age Home.


My dear Reeva, I am facsinated that you have undertaken to compile a HISTORY OF PREVIOUS CONGREGANTS.

If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.


I will pass your  letter onto the previously mentioned Peter Adler, Terence Nabarro , Ralph Pohorille and Izzy Wainer.


I look forward to hearing further from you.


Yours sincerely


Michael K. Rawack

I recently received your notice asking for information from ex-congregants of your Synagogue from a friend in Brisbane.


I am now a Canadian citizen having left Johannesburg in 1990


My earliest contact with the Jewish Reform Movement was in about 1934, when at the age of seven  my parents took me to one of the inauagaural Reform services held by Dr. M.C Weiler at the Queen's hall in Doornfontein. My parents, Julius and Ida Goldblatt were among the earliest members of your congregation in Paul Nel Street and my mother served as a member ofthe Sisterhood for many years.


I think that I was in the second group of girls to have a Batmitzvah and also belonged to the Saturday morning Conversation class held by Dr. Weiler.


Both my late sister Joan Arnstein and I were married in the Synagogue, I married David Jaspan in March 1950. I might add that an elderly uncle and aunt of my husband refused to come to a wedding in your Synagogue, they being extremely orthodox Jews.


Both my sons Adrian and Peter Jaspan had Barmitzvahs at the Synagogue and also attended several camps in Natal.


Something that will be of interest to the Reform movement is that at the time that my daughter was about to marry a member of an orthodox Synagogue, my husband and I were called to the Beth Din so that they could be sure that I was Jewish and had not been converted by your organisation, for if I had, I would not have been considered Jewish!


I have only the fondest memories of Temple Israel and see my time there as an importantstep in my development towards becoming an ardent atheist. I mean this as a great compliment to the open, tolerant atmosphere of the Synagogue. 


Wishing you much success in this endeavour and  good wishes for continued growth in Johannesburg.



Yours very sincerely,


Mona  D.Jaspan (nee Goldblatt).


32 Binscarth Cres


On L4J 4S3



Dear Jacob


I was born in South Africa in 1945 and left for Sydney Australia with both parents and a younger brother in 1962.

I am the Hon treasurer of North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney and received your email earlier which I passed on to an old friend of mine who went to Temple Israel and had his Barmitzvah there in 1958.


I attended Temple Shalom and had my Barmitzvah there on 24 January 1959. In fact my Torah portion will be read on Saturday 30th January 2010 and I will be called to the Torah on that day to commemorate the event.

It will also be the naming ceremony of my granddaughter on that day. She was born on 1 October 2009.


I was wandering whether there are moves afloat to do something similar for Temple Shalom?


My first return trip to South Africa was in 1992 and my wife and I attended a Friday service at Temple Shalom. There was nothing familiar as the building had been replaced during the then 30 years since I had left.


I believe that the shule no longer exists.

Any answers to my questions would be really appreciated.


Best regards

Dennis Levy


Dear Reeva,


I am an ex-South African.  Moved to United States in 1986, and have been working at Temple Israel in Long Beach, since 1988.


I never ever knew that there was a Temple Israel in Hillbrow...  When I lived in South Africa, we belonged to an orthodox temple.


How may I help you?


Charmaine Weiner


Good day Reeva,


I was a member of the congregation in the late 40's and early 50's before emigrating to the US.


I visited Joburg in 2007 and was thrilled to have dinner with Benny Stalson and May, who also gave me tour of the Temple facilities.  Benny was the director of the Alan Isaacs Camp that I attended from '49 to '53.


I have exchanged e mails with May since our visit, but my last 2 e mails were unanswered, so I was concerned. I knew that Benny had entered into a long term care facility some time after my visit.


I'd very much appreciate it if you could bring me up to date on Benny and May. I know that Benny was in rather poor health.  If you do see May or Benny please convey my love and best.


many thanks,


Ron Abelmann