“FROM LITHUANIA TO SINGAPORE: A REMARKABLE JOURNEY” A dramatic account of three generations of the Frankel, Clumeck and Elias families’ life in Singapore.

18
Jan

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Date/Time
Date(s) - February 26, 2023
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Speaker
Lisa Ginsburg, Dan Lapporte & Harold Clumeck

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JGSLA’s next meeting–Live & Zoom

Beth Chayim Chadashim Synagogue

6090 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035 

The entrance to the synagogue is from the alley behind the building.

Ring the buzzer on the parking lot gate.

JGSLA invites you to our meeting with Lisa Ginsburg, Dan Lapporte & Harold Clumeck.

Sunday, February 26th, 2023
1:30 p.m.
Pacific Time (US & Canada)

and

There will be informal mentoring at the Schmooze Table at 1:00 p.m. prior to the start of the meeting.
Coffee and tea will be available.

“FROM LITHUANIA TO SINGAPORE: A REMARKABLE JOURNEY”

A dramatic account of three generations of the Frankel, Clumeck and Elias families’ life in Singapore.

Rosa & Abraham Frankel (seated, center of photo) with their extended family
Frankel Estate, “Siglap,” Singapore, 1923

In 1880, the Frankels fled anti-Semitism in Lithuania to make a new life in the rapidly developing port city of Singapore. Despite being strangers in a strange land, the Frankel family founded prosperous businesses, acquired vast estates, and rose to prominence, joining the ranks of the British colonial elite.

We will share stories handed down to us by our Singaporean family, who wove dramatic tales with regal British accents, interlacing Malay and Yiddish phrases for added emphasis. Our presentation will address the common question, “Why Singapore?” How did the Frankels hear of opportunities in far-flung Malaysia, an unusual destination for Eastern European Jews, and why did they decide to break away from relatives emigrating to America and venture out on their own?

Our Singapore family history spans two World Wars and includes personal tales of military operations and interactions with British royals, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and Albert Einstein, on the eve of being awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the photo-electric effect.

With a strong and savvy entrepreneurial spirit, our family established of a wide array of businesses and social clubs with lasting impacts on Singaporean culture, including import/export ventures, tile works, movie theaters, refrigeration, boxing leagues, billiard clubs and horse racing. The Frankels and Eliases also sustained a dedication to philanthropy through three generations, founding and running organizations supporting refugees, Jewish schools, synagogues, and hospitals, establishing lasting Trusts to assist future generations in need.

What was the fate of our family when the Japanese captured Singapore in 1942? How did they endure the bombings, hardships, and internments when the British suffered their humiliating defeat and lost what they had considered an invincible and well-defended colony? What was left of the family estates and businesses built up over three generations after the Japanese occupation?

Our tight-knit Singapore family ultimately emigrated to California and brought vestiges of Malaysian and British culture with them. We will conclude with humorous tales of the bumpy ride our British colonial family experienced acclimatizing to life in America, which, based on rumors, they expected to be a “barbaric wilderness.”

Archival Postcard: Raffles Place, Singapore, 1901

 BIOs:

LISA GINSBURG is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Lisa’s magazine cover story, “Worlds Apart in Singapore” (Asian Jewish Life), based on her grandmother’s larger than life tales of the family’s three generations in Singapore, has garnered much interest from Singapore’s Ministry of Culture. The Heritage Audio Tour of the Bedok and Katong districts, the historic location of the grand Frankel and Elias estates, now incorporates highlights of the families’ legacy. Unbeknownst to Lisa, her publication of a photo featuring Einstein with her family at a Singapore Jewish community fundraiser, was breaking news to Singaporeans, who hadn’t realized Einstein had ever visited their island and the story quickly went viral. Lisa has never been to Singapore but hopes to travel there soon to continue her research and contribute to the newly opened Jewish Museum of Singapore, which based its exhibits on Joan Bieder’s extensive research and beautifully produced book, The Jews of Singapore.

 

 

 

DAN LAPPORTE is the son of Sy and Anne Lapporte of Orinda, CA.  Anne Lapporte (z”l) was the daughter of David and Becci Frankel of San Francisco via Singapore.  Dan will talk about the remarkable story of a challenged love affair (Ashkenazi and Sephardim we’re not supposed to mix in the early 1900s), his mother’s immigration to the US and the remarkable success and failure through three Jewish generations.

Dan, 57, lives in Northern California and is the proud father of two daughters, Lydia (25) and Abigail (21).  Dan was the president of his synagogue, Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek, California from 2015 to 2019 and works in strategic workforce planning for Lucid Motors.

 

 

 

HAROLD CLUMECK, age 73, son of Ned & Joan Clumeck and grandson of Victor and Marie (Frankel) Clumeck.  He worked for the VA Medical Care system before retiring in 2010.  Now residing in Palm Springs with his partner, Steve Wickson. Harold will discuss the story of how his grandfather Victor Clumeck arrived in Singapore from Jaffa as a young boy and worked his way up from shop clerk to co-owner of a prestigious French import/export company, A. Clouet & Co., (now the Ayam Brand, widely popular throughout Asia.) Harold will describe how Victor met and married Marie Frankel and highlights of their life together in Singapore raising 6 children. Harold will also share remarkable anecdotes about his father, Ned Clumeck, who served as an RAF pilot in WWII and helped evacuate civilians when the Japanese attacked the island. Ned was later commissioned by Lord Louis Mountbatten to put Singapore back in order after the Japanese surrendered. Harold will conclude with tales of his family’s emigration to California and the fate of the family business after WWII.

 

PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON THE meeting link until the meeting time.

Zoom link to come  Click Here

 

*There is ample free street parking on Sunday on surrounding streets. Limited handicap parking is available in the rear of the synagogue. If you need to park in the synagogue parking lot, please let us know when you RSVP. The entrance to the synagogue is from the alley behind the building. Ring the buzzer on the parking lot gate.

The synagogue mandates copy of  vaccination and masks for in-person attendance.

There will be NO traveling library.

JGSLA MEMBERS FREE – $5 FOR GUESTS, ALL ARE WELCOME, please share the ZOOM link with folks you know.
Please RSVP to programs@jgsla.org if you plan to attend in person.