Story-ideas-1011172

SA Jewry pay tribute to Mandela at Oxford

"We need to say thank you to Madiba and his generation,” Thabo Mbeki said. “After centuries of conflict, we come together now ... to celebrate his life, ask what legacy he left and have serious reflection on the future... The task of transformation is more difficult than the Struggle.” Mbeki received a standing ovation, as did Chief Rabbi Goldstein who expressed gratitude for the tremendous benefits South Africans, including the Jewish community, enjoyed.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Dec 09, 2013

PHOTOGRAPH: MICHAEL BELLING

An unprecedented crowd of some 2 000 occupied every seat, standing space and the floor of the Oxford Synagogue in Riviera on Sundayevening to pay homage to the iconic former President Nelson Mandela and to hear his successor Thabo Mbeki recall Madiba’s unique contribution to the country and  to speak of the way forward.

Roads leading to the shul were congested, with congregants parking more than a kilometre away to join in the memorial service and celebration of Madiba’s life. The service was in response to a call by President Jacob Zuma for churches, synagogues and mosques to host memorial gatherings yesterday (Sunday, December 8).

Mbeki reflected on the contribution by Mandela and other leaders of his generation, since the 1940s “who defined the future of our country. They could sustain the Struggle because of their principles...

They inspired us by their capacity to sustain and exemplify a noble value system.” But, said Mbeki, we could not merely celebrate the past, but should ask ourselves what we should do about Mandela’s legacy, what he stood for, which was a serious question to ask about our future.

“Do we have the quality of leadership embodied by Nelson Mandela that is sufficient to respond to the challenges we face?”

OXFORD PIC
RIGHT: Former SA Pres. Thabo Mbeki in prayer at Oxford Shul memorial service for Madiba, with SAJBD president Zev Krengel & Ambassador of Israel Arthur Lenk



Mbeki said Mandela’s vision of a non-racial country, reconciliation and shared wealth, was enshrined in the Constitution of the country. “As South Africans, we agreed on a common vision [the Constitution] which “bears an imprint and values of what Nelson Mandela and his generation stood for... to unite us as one people in a vision all of us shared.

We need to say thank you to Nelson Mandela and his generation,” Mbeki said.

“After centuries of conflict, we come together now, rather than to mourn Nelson Mandela, but to celebrate his life, ask what legacy he left and have serious reflection on the future... The task of transformation is more difficult than the Struggle.”

Mbeki received a standing ovation for his address, as did Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, who expressed gratitude for the tremendous benefits South Africans, including the Jewish community, enjoyed. People throughout the world were expressing their fascination with Nelson Mandela and drawing inspiration from him.

Rabbi Goldstein referred to the parsha of the week in which the Biblical Joseph had chosen the path of reconciliation above vengeance when he met with his brothers after 22 years. “He set aside his suffering and looked past it to avoid tearing his family apart.

“In Nelson Mandela we saw our modern Joseph. He put 27 years of prison behind him so that the family of South Africa would not be torn apart.

“To embrace those who hurt him so much, that is greatness, why people are awestruck. This became part of the new South Africa. It was a nation of heroes and he personified it.”

The Chief Rabbi said it was about optimism and hope - the ultimate expression of what it meant to be a human being. The ultimate way to honour Mandela - as Judaism taught us - was to do good deeds in his honour.

“Let us all resolve to follow his inspiring moral legacy and let us commit to living in accordance with the values he taught us in the most eloquent and powerful  sermon of all - his life.”

Mary Kluk, national chairman of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, said Mandela had inspired and uplifted an entire age.

Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk, in his tribute to Mandela, read a message of condolence from Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Shul services were also planned in Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.

ITINERARY OF SA JEWRY’S
MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR MANDELA

1 Comment

  1. 1 Anthony Jacobs 09 Dec
    I was privaliged to be at the Memorial Service for the late Madiba on Sunday Evening.It made be feel proud firstly to be a Jew in South Africa and secondly to have lived through the transformation that Mandela orchestrated though his unswerving ideal of Freedom for us all.An Icon that will never be repeated.The speeches by Thabo Mbeki and  by Rabbi Goldstein were  inspiring and as I sang the National Anthems ( Being in the Choir ) I felt a renewed patriotism for our Country. May we all live and aspire to the ideals of the late Madiba.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       
 

Follow us on

Newsletter