A Little Bit of Luck for Alon

Shalom everybody !
I know many people are frustrated when hitting a wall in their research. I wanted to share my story of finding my mom’s relatives to encourage people to keep trying. There is so much information online and with a little bit of luck too you can find what you are looking for.
This is my story: 4 years ago, I was visiting Poland. Before travelling there, I did some research in JRI-Poland website and found the location of my mom’s grandfather’s grave. With the help of my wonderful Polish friend Isia Stybel, I went to the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw and found the grave.
My mom never met her grandfather Binyamin Zeev Petersilie who passed away in Poland in 1920. My 2nd name is also Binyamin, because I was named after him.
After this discovery, I decided to try searching for living lost relatives of my mom. My mom was born in Israel and never met her uncles or aunts. Her father’s sister Miriam immigrated from Warsaw to the USA. Her father’s brother Avraham immigrated from Warsaw to Russia.
The connection was lost 50 years ago, and I was searching for their descendants with the big help of my friend Isia. Luckily the family name of my grandfather Petersilie is unique. Avraham Petersilie had a son named Joseph and a grandson named Victor.
By searching on Google, we found that Victor Petersilie is working in the Russian Research Geological Oil Institute. We called there using a Russian speaker and got Victor’s phone number, but it was the wrong number. We wanted to call again to get the right number and, in the meantime, I was trying to find other information on Facebook. I looked for Petersilie people with Russian first names and found Polina Petersilie. I wrote to her and she was Victor’s granddaughter living in the USA She gave me everybody’s contact info.
Finding my mom’s Aunt Miriam’s descendants was harder. Miriam had one daughter Ann Rosenthal (which is a very common name), who visited here in Israel and met my mom in 1969. Ann’s children’s Hebrew names are Miriam and Mordechai, and I was looking for them.
I started by searching the old address of Ann Rosenthal in Brooklyn my mom has. I found many phone numbers online, but no one is connected anymore.
My mom found a picture of her aunt’s grave and found out Ann Rosenthal’s maiden name was Halbfish.
By searching on Google for Ann Rosenthal and Halbfish we found an obituary from 2014 for Ann’s death and condolences for her half-brother Murray Halbfish. We found Murray’s phone number on Google and through him we found Ann’s children Leslie (Miriam) and Marc (Mordechai). Unfortunately, Murray passed away 2 years ago. Also, it’s sad that we found my mom’s cousin’s children because of her obituary.
Only a few months later, Victor’s family surprised us and came for a visit in Israel. Victor and his wife Helena came from Moscow. Victor’s son Denis and his wife Katia and their kids Egor, Varvara and Zahar came from Holland. My mom Shoshana was super happy about this family reunion. Victor told me he was very happy I found him because besides his children and grandchildren he didn’t have any other family.
Because of the family meeting, there was a demand for a family tree. This is why I created my family tree in MyHeritage.
A year later there was another family meeting in Israel (with more Israeli relatives), this time in Eilat. In the same week my brother Elad (who lives in the USA) met with Victor’s daughter Yulia in Washington. Two family meetings in two different continents in the same week ! We also hope to meet Ann Rosenthal’s children too in Israel or the USA.
Never Give up with your research.
Alon Tsur
Tel Aviv
August 2022


At Alon’s mother’s grandfather’s grave at the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw
Same grave 100 years ago. My grandfather Pinhas is sitting below the grave. Also in the picture was his brother Yitzhak, his sister Miriam and his mom Rachel
Denis and his family (Katia, Egor, Varvara, Zahar) and Alon meeting in Tel Aviv
Victor and Alon meeting in Tel Aviv
Victor and Alon’s mother Shoshana meeting in Tel Aviv
Meeting in a restaurant in Tel Aviv: Victor, Alon’s mother, Katia, Egor and Denis
Family meeting in Eilat a year later. from left to right: Katia, Zahar, Varvara, Denis, Egor, Helena, Victor, Alon’s mother, Henanit and Eli
Family meeting in Washington. Alon’s brother Elad and his family with Yulia, Victor’s daughter

The history of Petersilie family


My mother’s father was Pinchas Petersilie, who was born in 1901 and passed away in Israel in 1977.
He came to Israel in 1924 and later again to bring his mom in 1934.

His father was Rabbi Binyamin Zeev (Wolf) Petersilie, who passed away in 1921 in Warsaw.

In 2018 I was in Warsaw and found his grave in the Jewish cemetery !

He lived in Nalewki 38, and was the son of Avarham Tsvi Petersilie.

Binyamin Zeev was an important man, a Rabbi and a teacher. Many people came to seek his advice.

On his grave I found out it is written he is from Trisk (I found out it is a Hasidic dynasty).

Binyamin Zeev Petersilie was married to Rachel (Ruchla) Chaja, daughter of Yitzhak Isaiah and was born in 1861.
She came to Israel in 1934, and passed away on 19 April 1946 in Israel.

Besides my grandfather Pinhas, their other children were:

1. Bentzion Petersilie, who passed away on 13 January 1938 in Poland

His address in Warsaw was Wilcza 5. His daughter Fradla (Frani in Polish) was born in 1901, and was married in 1920 to Matityahu Hochgleben.
She came to Israel in 1936. She had 2 children: Chawa (Hava in Hebrew) and Zeev (probably named after his grandfather)
Zeev was married to Yulia and had 2 children: Mathew and Jessica.

Chawa had 2 children: Henanit and Maoz.

2. Yitzhak Petersilie, was married to Frida Berzinski. Their daughters were Pesia and Hannah (died at age 8 and 6).
Unfortunately, he was killed in Równe in 1941 with his wife and 2 daughters.

3. Avraham Binyaminov Petersilie, was married to Anna Michailovna.
He was a writer, and arrested (from 1950 until 1955) for teaching Hebrew. He passed away in Moscow in 1970.
His son Joseph was born in 1914 in Warsaw, and moved with his parents later to Moscow.
He was a geologist and passed away in Moscow in 1987.
Joseph’s son is Viktor, who was born in Russia in 1941. He is also a geologist and lives in Moscow.
Viktor has a son Denis who was born in 1975 in Moscow. Denis is a mathematician and lives in Haag, Holland.
Denis is married to Katerina and they have 3 children: Igor, Varvara (Barbara) and Zahar (Zachary).
Viktor has a daughter Yulia, who was born in Moscow in 1965. She lives now in Maryland, USA.
Yulia has a daughter Polina, who was born in Moscow in 1995. Polina studied psychology in Maryland.

In 2018 found Victor and his children.

4. Miriam Petersilie, born in Warsaw in 1895 and passed away in the USA on 1 April 1927.  She was a professor of languages at the University in Warsaw. She was married to Max Halbfish, son of Zisel.
Her daughter was Ann Rosenthal, who was born in Warsaw on 23 April 1923 but moved and lived in Brooklyn. The address was 2132 Stuart street, Brooklyn, New York. She was married on 28 November 1946 and passed away on 12 April 2014.
Her children’s names were: Leslie (Hebrew name Miriam), who was born on 20 February  1952 and Marc (Hebrew name Mordechai), who was born on 2 July  1948.

In 2018 I found Leslie and Marc. I also found Murray Halbfish (and his wife Gayle), who is the half-brother of Ann Rosenthal.

Avraham was the oldest son. Then Yitzhak,  Bentzion, Miriam and Pinhas.


Alon’s great grandfather Binyamin Zeev Petersilie
Invitation to Fradla’s Petersilie with Matityahu Hochgleben wedding
Passover Hagada belonged to Alon’s grandfather Pinhas Petersilie (printed in Warsaw in 1880)
Bentzion Petersilie
Bentzion Petersilie with the writer Joseph Lichtenbaum (a family relative, probably a cousin)
Miriam Petersilie (Halbfish)
Max Halbfish (Miriam’s husband) and his daughter Ann
Yitzhak Petersilie with his wife Frida and their daughters Pesia and Hannah
Yitzhak Petersilie with his mom Rachel and his daughter Hannah
Alon’s grandfather Pinhas Petersilie in the Polish army
Alon’s grandfather Pinhas in Warsaw
Alon’s grandfather Pinhas with Ann Rosenthal when she visited Israel in 1969
Alon’s grandfather Pihas with his mom Rachel and friends (probably picture was taken in Israel)

Family Tree

Avraham Tzvi Petersilie – Descendant Chart

About Alon Tsur

My name is Alon Tsur. I was born on 11 May 1975. My parents are Haim and Shoshana. I’m the youngest son.
My brothers are Elad and Dekel. Elad is married to Nurit Haspel, and they have a son Adam.
I served in the Israeli army from 1994 until 1997. After that, I studied Computer Science at Tel Aviv University from 1997 until 2001. Since 1997 I have been working as a programmer.
In 1998 I became interested in genealogy and found my mother’s relatives.
I volunteer as an English to Hebrew translator in MyHeritage website since 2020
After that I joined Jewish Genealogy Portal Facebook Group (and also Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook). I’m trying to help people there (finding relatives in Israel, or helping with translating Hebrew to English)
For example:

I also found my wife as a result of a post in Genealogy Portal Facebook Group 🙂
Her name is Azka Daulia, from Indonesia. She wrote a curious post about possible connection between Judaism and Indonesia.
She came to Israel in October 2021 and we married in February 2022.


Alon’s family – brother Dekel, dad Haim, brother Elad, mother Shoshana & Alon
Wife Azka and Alon
Wife Azka and Alon celebrating Channukah
Wife Azka and Alon at home
Wife Azka and Alon at the beach

Posted by Eli Rabinowitz


Muizenberg Memories

Muizenberg Memories

By Marlene Davis Stanger
My mom, Pearl Davis, at her engagement party to my dad, with her parents, Esther Bryna (nee Friedman, from Zemelis, Lithuania) and Morris Herman (Moshe Zelig Woznica) from Poland
Abe & Pearl Davis Wedding 1948
Muizenberg kids at Betar meeting with Madrichim David Lazarus and Alan Pick. I am in pigtails with hand at heart
Marlene with friend Gillian Mansfield on left and the late Clem Stoltz on right. Taken lunch time one summer while working at Tockar’s pharmacy
Muizenberg memories
Marleme with Eunice Baartman on a picnic in Simonstown
Muizenberg Corner stone steps
With Dr Stan Davis St James Beach on one of regular Mzb to Kalk Bay walks whenever there
Dad – Abe Davis at “Stanette”
Dad & Sister
The six Davis grandchildren on the wall at Stanette , Windermere Rd, Muizenberg. Two Davis girls, two Stanger boys and two Simantov boys.
The Muizenberg KehilaLink:

managed by Eli Rabinowitz


A Fairy Tale Of Two Cities

In memory of my parents

By Marlene Davis Stanger

This story is written as a tribute to my late parents, Abe and Pearl Davis, who lived in Muizenberg for 56 years before moving to Highlands House, Oranjezicht, in 2005. Abe passed away October 22, 2007 aged 94 – less than a mile from where he was born – and Pearl passed away on July 24, 2016, aged 92.

My granny, Mrs. Esther Bryna Herman, from Malvern by way of Vilnius, had a friend called Sonya Blechman.  My dad, born at 2 Prince Street, Gardens, had an aunt called Tilly Josman.   Mrs. Blechman told her friend, Aunty Tilly, about the beautiful daughter of her friend and Aunty Tilly thought, “Ahh, time for my nephew Abie to settle down…enough of the post-war gallivanting…”  So next time Abie was up in Joburg – Roodepoort to be exact, to see the relatives – Aunty Tilly invited Mr. and Mrs. Herman and the Blechman’s and Pearl came along too.

Abie was smitten. The blond, blue eyed, water-polo playing Davis boy could not stop thinking of the dark-haired, tall, thin and elegant Pearl and when he got home to Cape Town, he wrote her a letter.  It was written on thin, air-mail paper on two pages on the letterhead of his brother, Simon’s company that was simply called Simon Davis.  But he had crossed out the name Simon and replaced it with Abe.

It was a love letter and said he believed they could have a happy life together. An engagement followed and Pearl, an only child, flew down to Cape Town to meet the Davis family.  She wore a new white suit and a new stylish hat but by the time she arrived, air-sick and disheveled, she felt anything but stylish. Abe brought her to the family home at 7 Marais Road, Sea Point.  There she met “Mother” (Chaya Itil “Annie” nee Josman) and “Father” (Hyman Davis formerly Melnick in the old country prior to telling Cape Town customs that his name was Chaim Dovid….).  This is how the Davis children referred to their Yiddish speaking parents.  The children consisted of Abe and his siblings, who were Simon, Louis, Issy, Ethel, Harry, Alfred and Lily.  Pearl was welcomed into the fold and soon found out about the gregarious, sporty, movie loving boys – all fast eaters –  and the sisters, the older one sassy and irreverent and the baby, sweet and adored.

The wedding took place at Marais Road shul and Pearl and Abe had to decide where they wanted to settle down – Camps Bay, where brother Alfred and his wife Rae (nee Katzeff), had set up home, or Muizenberg, where Simon and Rose and Issy and Rose lived.  Muizenberg it was. 1948 – what a year!  As Hedy no-relation-Davis aptly stated, veritable Shtetl by the Sea.  They moved to Clevedon Cottage in Clevedon Road and had their first baby, Stan, in 1949.  The following year they moved to Windermere Road and in 1951, baby number two, Annette was born.  They named their house “Stanette.”

I came along in 1954.  And what do I remember?  I will first of all say that Bobba Bryna Herman was living with us by that time, since Morris Zelig (after whom I was named Marlene “Masha” Zelda) had passed away suddenly while on holiday in Muizenberg a few years before.  I remember the promenade walks on summer nights, the ice-creams at the Milk Bar in the pavilion, the Sunday trips to Mr. Raad’s café for toffee apples and Tex bars, the egg-salad sandwiches at Sunrise beach on balmy February evenings when we all went swimming after dad came home from work, the Kushners next door, playing in the park across the road from shul, playing at the park near the vlei, playing marbles on the field next to the Liebrecht’s house – all under the loving protection of Abe and Pearl, and of course, Bobba.  There were the Sunday drives through Tokai, stopping to buy Hanepoort grapes when in season, to see Zayda in Sea Point and have tea with the extended Davis family.  The large dining room table surrounded by uncles, aunts and first cousins.

By then, my dad had his own business importing home wares from China and traveling on sales trips.  He had a driver, Courtman, who taught me Xhosa and who named his firstborn Stanley.  Then Abe’s fortune changed and he lost the business.  I remember the anxious day when a man came to meet with my parents to talk about the insurance business.  He was with Sun Life of Canada. My dad joined them and continued through to Liberty Life, leaving only in his 80’s.  The young staff by that time called him Uncle Abie.  My mom got a job as well. I was six.  She was secretary at Floyd and Emery, prominent architects in their day.  Zayda (my dad’s “Father”) died round that time as well. His tailor shop, Davis and Stevens, on Long Street, purveyors of fine cloth and excellent taste, had the distinction of making the graduation gown for Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) when she received her honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UCT in April, 1947.  He also rode a Harley with a side car and was the tall, handsome patriarch, rocking in the chair at 7 Marais Road, always dressed impeccably with his pocket watch an object of fascination for all the grandkids.

School, cheder, the beach, the freedom to play, catching the train to town on a 21c ticket to go to lunch at Garlicks and a movie and still having change from R1, and the knowledge that the world had an order defined by a fine moral compass and the love of family. It was a village. It took a village.

Then there was the music.  Dan Hill and his orchestra, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, always music.  And standing in my parent’s room at my mom’s dressing table watching her get dressed to go dancing with my dad on a Saturday night.  The beautiful brocade dress with roses on the waist sash, the purple satin dress with the built in petticoat, the impossibly small waistline… I learnt about perfume behind your ears and on your wrists…

Into the teens.  Socials at the Herzl Hall in Wherry Road. How embarrassing for me that my dad and others on the shul committee who had organized the event were in the kitchen selling Fanta, Coke and Bar Ones…didn’t want him to see me slow dancing with Joburg and Durban boys in Muizies for the season.  Bands were Shag and Jimmy Retief and the Idiots.  Jimmy used to play the guitar with his teeth…

My mom always had an expanding Shabbat table.  When my dad came home from shul, we never knew how many Navy boys he would bring with him on a Friday night.  Another incentive to look nice for Shabbat! My mom also had a remarkable, expanded vocabulary and I called her my walking dictionary.  She graduated from Jeppe Girls’ High and her leather bound prize books which I cherish attest to her brilliance. First in Latin, First in Math, First in class.  She could have been a doctor like her Reichman cousins in Joburg, but instead she learned to type.

Baking, collecting rummage, organizing meetings – always involved in the community.  My dad, shul chairman or president for as long as I can remember.  Both life members of the shul.  Charity and acts of loving kindness were part of the fabric of my home, with early lessons about helping others very clearly imprinted in my mind.

Overall, we made one another happy and laughed so much.  I watched Monty Python with my mom at the Empire and by the time the opening credits for And Now For Something Completely Different came on the screen, we were already in tears from laughing so much.  I learned about fun and laughter, music and dancing, from my parents. I learned about reading voraciously and hard work, from my parents. I learned about faith and loyalty and relationships from my parents.  When Stan, Netty and I remember our father, we go : “He he he” (the e like staccato air without the r.)  We learned about happiness and contentment, the riches of good family relationships, from him.

I cannot even begin to tell the whole story of who they were and what they meant to me and those who knew them. My beloved parents, village elders who held the community in their hearts.  Both in Muizenberg where they lived their halcyon years and at Highlands House where they lived their final years, together there for a short time and now together again. Joburg girl and Cape Town boy with Muizenberg their medina.

So when I walk on the beach in Del Mar or Torrey Pines and I wear the floppy hats I brought home with me after burying darling Pearl next to her Abe, I will think of those who wore the hats before me on the sands of Muizies and walk tall and happy knowing that their spirits are both alive and flowing in me.  The music, dancing, fun and reading, learning, working and giving will continue.

Wherever you may be, Mrs. Blechman and Aunty Tilly – thank you for the great mitzvah.

With love,



The Muizenberg KehilaLink:

managed by Eli Rabinowitz


Muizenberg High Matric 1961

By Farrell Hope

Our 50th Muizenberg High School  matriculation class of ’61 reunion was held in November 2011.  I compiled a booklet for the occasion, to hand out to the attendees and mail to those that could not come, containing pictures of them then and now, and a description of their memories and their lives so far in their own words.  At the time only 3 people of the 37 that matriculated had passed away, and there was 1 we could not locate.  We got input from the spouses and/or children of those that had passed on to include in the book. Unfortunately since, a fair number have gone to the big reunion in the sky.
Due to a complete surprise emergency bypass operation, I did not make it to the reunion, but my book did. I attach the general pages of the book, but only my own two personal pages.  Mervyn Rosenberg has his copy, and has confirmed to me he would share it with you if you are interested.
However, although all these people provided their information knowing it was going into a booklet to be distributed at the reunion, and with few exceptions submitted the information themselves, before distributing anything you might want to clear it with them.  Their pages contain their email numbers at the time.  I have no problem with any information regarding myself.
I also have a picture of Muizenberg High School taken in 1915, before the third story was added, but I doubt that will rekindle any memories in anyone still living, so I didn’t include it.   I also have the yearbook of 1961, in electronic form, David Lazarus and I were both on the editorial board. As well as a booklet published by Dennis Herbstein describing life in Muizenberg during the war years, specifically for children.
Anyway attached is the relevant pages of the reunion of the class of 61 booklet

Click the link below to open pdf

Eli’s visit to Muizenberg High School in 2018


Moishe Sevitz

By Farrell Hope

I remember Moishe Sevitz very well, a man who was both alone and lonely. He frequently visited my grandparents’ home, and used to sit there quietly in the midst of our family, just just enjoying being a part of a happy family gathering, but seldom talking. Perhaps he was comfortable because my Litvak Grandfather had first immigrated to England, served in the British Army in WWI in France, and been gassed in the trenches. The UK paid passage for himself and his entire family to the British colony of his choice when he could not breath with his damaged lungs in the Manchester smog. I still have a copy of the UK warrant that served as his ticket. Steerage class, £5 for the entire passage of all five; two adults and 3 children with luggage storage, food and bedding included. In addition my father and all my uncles, on both sides of the family had volunteered during WWII and served up North.  So they knew the type of world and conflict he had escaped.

The Famous Stuffed Lions

The famous stuffed lions. Lily Rosenberg (later Pool), Farrell’s mother’s sister, and Yehutka Boyd, 1930
The stuffed Lions were in a glass walled building similar to a beach hut on Balmoral beach, and were a favourite prop for photographs which were taken by the people who ran the beach photograph concession on Muizenberg beach. They were there forever, and still there in the 1960’s when I left SA. People often mention them in reminiscing, and did so a number of times on Ryan Newfield’s series of Zoom get-togethers. Lily Rosenberg was my Mother’s sister, living in Pretoria at the time, and Yehutka Boyd was a family friend who lived in Muizenberg on Yarmouth Road a few houses down from us, when I knew him in the 50’s and 60’s.
Muizenberg KehilaLink:
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The World Belongs To Me

N E W  M U S I C A L  T H E A T R E  P R O D U C T I O N ,

T H E  H O L L O W  C A U S E ,  R E L E A S E S   O F F I C I A L  S I N G L E :

“ T H E  W O R L D  B E L O N G S  T O  M E . ”

The Hollow Cause cast teamed up with The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra to perform “The World Belongs to Me”–the first song release from the upcoming musical, The Hollow Cause. Filmed at The Perth Hebrew Congregation, the clip features the dynamic and powerful voices of Vin Trikeriotis (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Morgan Cowling (Phantom of the Opera USA Tour), singing a love ballad between two headstrong main characters that allow themselves to become gradually more vulnerable as the song progresses. 

The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra’s conductor, Sam Parry, became involved when The Hollow Cause musical production creator, Keshet, reached out simply for professional revision. Parry was so impressed with the quality and freshness of the music that he suggested a collaboration between the stage musical and The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra. 

When asked about the selection of the largest WA synagogue, The Perth Hebrew Congregation, as the choice for the video clip setting creator Keshet responded; 

“Our location was selected for two reasons: 

1) Orchestral music tends to be recorded in big halls, and churches are quite a popular choice but recording in Synagogues is not something that is explored much. The Synagogue provided unique acoustics for our song recording. 2) The Hollow Cause is a Jewish tale of surviving during the Holocaust. We felt that recording in a Jewish sacred place, coupled with the fact the stage we performed on was donated by an Auschwitz survivor, created an amazing connection to the music we generated.” 

The official clip is being released  today, 21 May 2021

The World Belongs to Me – The Hollow Cause Cast feat. The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra

The World Belongs to Me – The Hollow Cause Cast feat. The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra

The cast of The Hollow Cause and The West Coast Philharmonic Orchestra have united to capture “The World Belongs to Me”; performed at the historic Perth Hebr…

VIDEO – Source: youtu.be/-zo0hblniTA

The song will also be available from May 21st on all streaming platforms, including BandCamp. 


For more information please email hollowcauseopera@gmail.com

Eli Rabinowitz


The Perth KehilaLink