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Jeremiah Idelson Dead at 80

Funeral services were held here last week for Jeremiah (Jerry) Idelson,80, the distinguished South African musician, a founder of the Jewish Reform Movement in South Africa and a brother of the famous American Jewish musicologist, the late Prof. A.Z. Idelson. Funeral rites commenced with a special service at Temple Israel here which he helped to establish, and at which his life work was eulogized by Rabbi Dr. Arthur Super, Chief Minister of Johannesburg’s United Jewish Progressive Congregation.

Born in Libau, Latvia, Mr. Idelson settled in South Africa as a youth, established the first Hebrew-speaking group, “Chug Ivri” in 1913 and helped to establish the Zionist Revisionist Movement in the 1920s. He took the lead in organizing the Jewish Reform Movement here during a visit in 1929. When the first Jewish Reform congregation was formed in Johannesburg in 1933, with Rabbi Dr. Moses Cyrus Weller as its first rabbi. Mr. Idelson was appointed its director of music, a position he held until his retirement a few years ago. He also played an important part in building up the South African Broadcasting Orchestra.

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