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Greenside Shul celebrating women

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The women of Greenside Shul paid tribute to Jewish women, both in their lives, their history and in the Bible, to celebrate Women’s Month over a recent Shabbos.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Aug 24, 2017

While they had Ilana Stein of the Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning to talk about women in the Bible, the shul’s female members spoke about women they believed should be honoured. 

Antoinette Hoy spoke about the poet Olga Kirsch, who was born and raised in a small Free State town to Jewish Lithuanian parents. She grew up speaking English and Yiddish at home and Afrikaans at school. She was the second Afrikaans woman poet to be published. She made aliya in 1948, but although she learned Hebrew, she only ever wrote poetry in Afrikaans.

Sharon Corts spoke about the nameless women who raise the children of South Africa. “She doesn’t have the status of hero. Through the dark years of oppression, she began her days before sunrise and got home after dark. She was a mother to the children of her white employers, to her own children, to her brothers’ and sisters’ children and to an entire community.”

Rebbetzin Aviva Rabinowitz humorously spoke about Estee Lauder who “gave a face-lift to the cosmetics industry”.

Karen Milner spoke about the strong, tenacious women working in South African Jewish organisations. Among them, she mentioned Tali Nates from the Holocaust and Genocide Centre and Wendy Kahn from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.

Laura Dison spoke about her late sister, Debbie, a polio survivor, human rights lawyer and activist, who was tragically killed in a car accident at age 28.

Ethne Sacks spoke about Jewish activist Hannah Senesh and her untold bravery, while Lamis Nafte spoke about “Our Golda (Meir)” who Ben-Gurion described as “the best man in my Cabinet”.

Nina Cohen spoke about the legendary Torah scholar and teacher, Nehama Leibowitz. “Although she refused to acknowledge that she was a revolutionary, ultimately her unique achievements changed Orthodox society’s perception of a woman’s capabilities.”

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