article first appeared on the JewishGen
Blog on June
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a new Jewish radio station was created called ChaiFM 101.9 in
Johannesburg, South Africa (www.chaifm.com). One of the
interesting weekly programming choices on ChaiFM is hosted by Eli
Goldstein and called "The Yiddish Thing - Life in the Shtetl."
The program focuses on shtetls in Lithuania and other countries as well
as towns in South Africa where Jews lived and discusses issues of the
Yiddish language, culture and music. In the past, Eli had
interviewed individuals about Rokiskis, Lithuania, and other shtetls as
well as former Litvak SIG President Howard Margol.
the capability of audio streaming, and the ability to text, e-mail or
call into the program, anyone, anywhere in the world, can participate in
the program which means it has come to have a worldwide audience.
the Sunday, June 14, 2009, program Mr Goldstein conducted interviews
with three separate individuals. The first segment was an
interview with myself and dealth with Kupiskis, Lithuania, my ancestral
shtetl. Then, there was a segment with an interview with Aaron
Lanksy, founder and president of the National Yiddish Book Center in
final segment featured Elona Steinfeld, who is involved with the Country
Communities Project, South African Friends of Beit Hatefusoth, which has produced a series of books dealing
with the small places in South Africa where Jews lived. Her focus
on this program was Parys, South Africa. She and I had met whilst
she was doing research on the place my family had settled in South
Africa, Bot Rivier.
During my segment, I read from an unpublished autobiography of Miriam
Sachar Fendel. The excerpt had shown the pain felt at parting when
family left Lithuania for other faraway places. Another reading
was from a short story about Mendel-Leib Rabinowitz who was able to
answer a kashe (a question about the torah) from two young students,
Ephraim Oshry (later Rabbi Oshry) and Shlomo Kodesh.
I had a call in from Cedric Ginsburg, Professor of Classical, Near and
Far Eastern and Religious Studies at the University of South Africa in
Pretoria, South Africa. Whilst he was not a Kupiskis descendant,
he was interested in the Holocaust and its impact on the shtetl and
asked about the Yizkor Book for the town. I could provide him with
information on how to get a copy of the Yizkor book which had been
written by the late Stanley Mayersohn. Other individuals e-mailed
me and called after the program, all interested in their actual
connections to Kupiskis.
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