Abrahams Family

This photo depicts Rabbi Zacharya ben Abraham Abramovitch. His father, Abraham Abramovitch, of Rokiskis, was the son-in-law of Rabbi Joseph Katz of Linkuva and Rokiskis and a brother-in-law of Rabbi Bezalel Katz, the Lubavicher Rabbi of Rokiskis until the Holocaust.  Abraham's other son was Eliakim-Meir Abramovitch who married Este Lifshe bat Shimon Rabinowitz of Rokiskis.

Zacharya was born in Rokiskis and studied and lived in Vilna.  He left Lithuania in 1908 along with his wife Rachel Leah Sherman Abramovitch and his wife's parents Alec and Rebecca Sherman, siblings, and their families. He was associated with the Garden Street Synagogue in London and was a Hebrew scholar.

His only son was Chief Rabbi Prof. Israel Abrahams of South Africa.  Note the change of name from Abramovitch to Abrahams made in England.

The following photo was taken in South Africa and depicts the illustrious only son of Zacharya Alter Abramovitch and Rachel Leah Sherman of Rokiskis, Chief Rabbi Prof. Israel Abrahams.  Although he was born in Vilna in March, 1903, he spent much time with his grandparents and numerous relatives in Rokiskis and his reminiscences are included on Pages 85-87 of the Rokiskis Yizkor Book.

He came with his family to London and he married Ethel Estelle Levy there in 1930.  He was educated at London University, Jews' College, London, and went onto serve as Rabbi of Shepherd's Bush Synagogue, London, 1928-32, and the Great Synagogue in Manchester, 1933-37.

As a rabbi of standing in England, he was chosen by Rev. A.P. Bender, Minister Emeritus, upon the recommendation of the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain to serve as Chief Rabbi, Cape Town Hebrew Congregation and he arrived in South Africa in August, 1937, to take this position.  He became Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cape Town in 1938 and the head of the United Council of Hebrew Congregations of the Cape in 1951.  He held many positions within the community and wrote many works in Hebrew and English including "The Birth of a Community" in 1955.

The photos of the Abramovitch / Abrahams and Katz families are donated in their memory by Rosalind Abrahams Romem, only child of Rabbi Abrahams.

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