Southern Africa Jewish Genealogy SA-SIG
The Yodaiken Family
From Lithuania to Ireland, to South Africa and to Rhodesia
by Anne Lapedus Brest © 2009
Editor: Dr Saul Issroff
Copyright © 2009 Saul Issroff, Mike Getz, SAfrica SIG
and Jewishgen Inc.
THE YODAIKEN FAMILY
A.k.a. Judeikin, Jodaiken, Yudaiken, etc.
THE YODAIKEN family have been traced (by my cousin Lennie YODAIKEN, world-renowned genealogist), as far back as the1600's and the earliest known YODAIKEN progenitor was called Hirsh Hacohen born 1641.
They were Cohainim and they came from a shtetle (village) called Judeike as well as shtetles called Kalnel, Zagere, Wenden, and Voru, all in Lithuania.
My Great Grandfather, Avraham Menachem Mendel YODAIKEN (1857 – 1932) and his wife, Basia nee LAPEDUS, (1860 to 1918) decided to move to Ireland.
The very first Jews to have ever arrived on Irish soil were believed to have arrived in 1067. Again in 1200 more Jews came to Ireland but nobody knows from where they came. In 1492 some Spanish/Portuguese (Sephardim) ended up in Ireland to escape the Spanish Inquisition and then in the mid 1800's through to 1890 came a huge influx of Jews to Ireland, mainly from Lithuania and Latvia.
They came to Ireland to escape the Pogroms in Russia. There were a smattering of Jews coming in from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Germany, but these were very much in the minority.
They came as young as 11 years of age, penniless, leaving their homes and families, never to see them again. People often say "but why Ireland" There are many theories, probably none of them correct. Some say that they got tired of being on the boat, and got off at the first port of call. Others say that when the boat docked in Cork Harbour, and they heard "CORK" being called out, our grandparents thought that they heard "NEW YORK" and disembarked.
Hardly likely, but this is what we believed, as children, growing up in Dublin.
Although they arrived penniless, they prospered. Many of them were door-to-door peddlers, and went into the drapery business, some became tailors, and travelling salesmen, they were butchers, and they were bakers. But whatever little money they made, they put towards educating their children, and so, the next generation of the Irish Jews, were Dentist/Dental Surgeons, Doctors/Surgeons, Solicitors, Barristers, and Opticians.
They spoke Yiddish, and read newspapers in Yiddish, and they stuck together talked about "der Heim" (the home). They brought their Jewish foods with them, and in the Jewish District in Dublin, which was called "the SCR" (South Circular Road, a very Jewish district), and also known as "Little Jerusalem" there were approximately 6 Kosher butcheries where we bought our "fowl" (or chickens as they call them in South Africa), and Vurst (Polony) and Sausages, and a few delicatessens.
The Irish Jews, like their S.African counterparts (also of Lithuanian Stock) loved their gefilte fish, gehackte herring, pickled herring, chopped herring, Danish herring, Potted Herring. We loved Pickled Gherkins, Vurst (Polony), Sausages and calves foot jelly (which they call *Petzah in S.Africa) *Petzah is cooked from the heel of a cow until it become a jelly-like substance. We allow it to go cold, and sometimes place sliced hard-boiled eggs therein. We eat it usually as an hors d'oeuvre).
The very first Shul (synagogue) in Ireland dates back to approx 1660 and the oldest cemetery 1800.
There were 3 large Orthodox Shuls with Choirs, and 1 Progressive Shul and many many little shtiebel type shuls,(shtiebel shuls were synagogues but very small and held in houses in the Jewish District), the SCR. Just as Johannesburg had it's Jewish District called "Doornfontein" so too, we had our SCR. (Doornfontein is a district in Johannesburg)
Every Shabbos (Sabbath) after Shul we had a "Kiddush" (the Word Kiddush means "Holy" but it was the word we used for a little get-together with snacks (And the men would have a "schnapps", (German or Yiddish word meaning drink) usually Whiskey. The Rabbi would say 2 blessings, and then we would eat and we ate herrings and smoked salmon as well as cakes of every description, sponge cake was the most popular. In South Africa we call it a "Brocha/Bracha" or a "Kiddush Bracha" .
We sang the same tunes in Shul, the same Trops (tunes) for the Leining (a section of the reading from the Torah) and we used the "Singer Siddur" (but today they use the "Artscroll" Siddur). (Singer and Artscroll are the names of the Prayer books.
The community at its peak in the 1940's and 1950's was close on 5,500 Jews. Everyone knew everyone else, and the Irish Jews were well known for their infamous farribles. (Umbrages)
Today the Jewish Community is closer to 1600 Jews which comprises of approximately 1200 Jews in the *South of Ireland (27 counties of Ireland comprise the South) and approximately 400 Jews in the *North of Ireland (6 counties in the North comprise the "North of Ireland."
*It is a political term not a geographical term. Dublin, in the East of Ireland, is part of "the South".
Jewish Ireland had various youth movements such as Bnei Akiva, Habonim, and Jewish Guides/Brownies/ Cubs/ Scouts and Rovers, We had a Jewish Club called Maccabi where Cricket, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis were played, as well as cards - Bridge, Rummy, Poker and they also held dances on a fairly regular basis.
There were different Jewish Women's organizations such as Ziona (for the young marrieds) and the Daughters of Zion (for the older generation).
The Rabbonim ( Jewish clergy): - from 1916 we had Rabbi Dr. Isaac HERZOG who was Chief Rabbi in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but later became the 1st Chief Rabbi of Ireland.
He had two sons, Chaim (later elected President of Israel) and Ya'acov, who later became a distinguished Israeli diplomat in 1983.
From 1948 to 1958 we had Lord Rabbi Immanuel JACOBOVITZ who was followed by Rabbi Dr.Isaac Cohen.
In later years we had Rabbi Ephraim MIRVIS a South African, and later, Rabbi David ROSEN (known to many South Africans) (son of Kopul Rosen, headmaster of England's well known Carmel College) (Religious Jewish Day School) (today there is Rabbi LENT (a member of the Lubovitch – a Jewish sector which customs of their own, aka "Chabadniks") and Chief Rabbi Isaac PEARLMAN), and the Chazan (Cantor) is Alwyn SHULMAN from South Africa.
Robert BRISCOE, (whose mother was a YODAIKEN) participated in the struggle for freedom in Ireland, and ran guns and ammunition for the IRA (Irish Republican army) during Ireland's War of Independence. He was also involved in the effort to create the state of Israel and helped many European Jews escape Nazi Germany and Europe.
After WW2, Robert (Bobby) BRISCOE was elected to Irish Parliament (which we called "the Dáil" and became the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin.
The Beyachad Fellowing was a Zionist group that prepared young people for Pioneer work in what was then known as Palestine (prior to 1948). They ran a "working" farm in Northern Ireland and housed 100 refugee children from War Torn Europe during 1939 to 1946. There was a 2nd house in Belfast, N. Ireland which offered shelter to those sent to Ireland when the Kinder transport (children's' Transport) brought 10,000 unaccompanied children to Britain in 1939.
Avraham Menachem Mendel (aka "Mendel") and his wife Basia YODAIKEN had (at the time they went to Ireland) 5 children. There were YODAIKEN cousins in Dublin already, which was probably the reason they went in the first place. They arrived in Dublin Ireland with Sam (b 1875), Paulina (Pessie) (b.1880), Isaac Joe (aka Joe) (b 1876), Myer (b 1886), and Rosie (b. 1890), and later had a 6th child called Maurice Simon YODAIKEN (b 1892).
There had been a total of 8 Yodaiken siblings but two died in very early infancy.
If you look at the photo of the 6 YODAIKEN siblings, you will see three younger children, and three much older children, so the two who died were in between the younger and the older.
Avraham Menachem Mendel (aka Mendel) was a Scrap Metal Merchant and he operated out of a yard in Clanbrassil Street, in the very Jewish District known as SCR which I described earlier on.
The SCR was where many Jewish families lived, and Clanbrassil Street was full of Jewish delicatessens, Kosher Butcheries, and Jewish-owed haberdashery shops, and shops where Jewish artefacts as well as Siddurim and Machzayrim (Jewish prayer books) were sold.
But Mendel was also a Zionist and it wasn't long before he took himself off to what was then known as "Palestine" to plough the land in Chadera (between Caesarea and Tel Aviv) and he died and was buried there in October 1932.
He sent home a photo or two and I am attaching these.
Of the 6 Yodaiken siblings, 4 of them (Isaac Joe, Paulina, Myer and Maurice Simon) went off to South Africa and Rhodesia, the lands of sunshine and golden opportunity, referred to as the Goldener Medina. (Golden Area)
Rosie and Sam remained behind in Dublin, married with their own families.