Home » genealogy » Women In Judaism Project

Women In Judaism Project

I would like to draw your attention to this project by Laima Ardaviciene, an English High School teacher in Kedainiai, Lithuania.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.41.19 am

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.39.57 am

The website: https://www.smore.com/p9rmp

The Yiddish lullaby that appears on the site:

Kedainiai is the town in Central Lithuania of my 3rd great grandfather, Avraham Shlomo Zalman Zoref:


Laima has asked those with connections to Kedainiai to write something about our mothers:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.40.26 am

My mother Raele (Rachel) Zeldin, who liked to be called Ray, was not born in Keidan, but “up the road” in Daugavpils in Latvia, then known as Dvinsk or at another time as Dinaburg.

Here is some info on Dvinsk:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Location of Daugavpils within Latvia
Location of Daugavpils within Latvia
Coordinates: 55°52′30″N 26°32′8″E
Country  Latvia
Established 1275
Town rights 1582
Daugavpils (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈdaʊɡaʊpils] ( )LatgalianDaugpiļs [ˈdaʊkʲpʲɪlʲsʲ]RussianДаугавпилс [ˈdaʊɡəfpʲɪls]; see other names) is a city in southeastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets its name. Daugavpils literally means “Daugava Castle”. With a population of over 100,000, it is the second largest city in the country after the capital Riga, which is located some 230 kilometres (143 miles) to its north-west. Daugavpils has a favorable geographical position as it borders Belarus and Lithuania (distances of 33 km (21 mi) and 25 km (16 mi) respectively). It is located some 120 km (75 mi) from the Latvian border with Russia. Daugavpils is a major railway junction and industrial centre.

From 1784 onwards the city had a large and active Jewish population[5] among them a number of prominent figures. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of a total population of 69,700, Jews numbered 32,400 (so around 44% percent).[6]

As part of the Russian Empire the city was called Dvinsk from 1893 to 1920. The newly independent Latvian state renamed it Daugavpils in 1920. Latvians, Poles and Soviet troops fought the Battle of Daugavpils in the area from 1919 to 1920. Daugavpils and the whole of Latvia was under the Soviet Union rule between 1940–41 and 1944–1991, while Germany occupied it between 1941 and 1944. The Nazis established the Daugavpils Ghetto where the town’s Jews were forced to live.

Images and documents of Ray from her early life in Latvia, after research in the Latvian Archives in Riga by Rita Bogdanova.

Listen to this Yiddish song sung my my dad, Cantor Harry Rabinowitz:

A Brivele Der Mamen



Ray left Riga in 1937 to rejoin her family in Cape Town, South Africa

Ray photo


Ray described Riga as the “Paris of the East” and my first opportunity to visit was 3 years ago in 2011.

My 4 trips to Latvia: http://elirab.me/?s=riga&submit=Search

This is the lullaby my mum often sang to me:

Here are the last photos of Ray taken in 2001 in Perth, Australia. As always, Ray was fun, youthful and glamorous!

2 thoughts on “Women In Judaism Project

  1. My ggrandfather, Yisroel Tzadok Steinberg, was born in 1837, lived Raeiniai and died in Brooklyn in 1926. According to his matseva, a tall obelisk inscribed in Yiddish, describes him as a Rav HaGaon, and says his father was Shlomo Zalman from Keiden. My rabbi guesses that my Shlomo Zalman was born soon after the great rabbi Schneyer Zalman died, 1813, when so many babies were named Zalman after him, just as so many are named Menachem Mendel today after Schneerson. My father was Shlomo Zalman, and my grandson is Zalman. Was your gggrandfather born about that time in Keiden? Do you think that is how he got his name? What do you think of that theory? Estelle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s