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Joburg mayor honours the Rebbe

  • HermanMashaba
So inspired was Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba by the communal work of Chabad and its Miracle Drive that he was moved, like US presidents before him, to sign a proclamation declaring the late Rebbe’s birthday a day of education and sharing.
by NICOLA MILTZ | May 31, 2018

The signing was done recently in a low-key, intimate setting in the mayoral office in Johannesburg. Mashaba did the signing, with Miracle Drive founder Rabbi David Masinter and SA Jewish Board of Deputies vice-president Zev Krengel in attendance.

“It was a very moving morning. We spent about an hour with the mayor discussing Johannesburg and various ways to uplift the city,” said Masinter.

In March, US President Donald Trump met a delegation of rabbis from Chabad  to issue the annual proclamation in honour of Education and Sharing Day. This day marks the anniversary of the birth of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

Education and Sharing Day was established by the US Congress in honour of the Rebbe. It calls for an increased focus on education and recognises the efforts of the Rebbe. It has been proclaimed annually in the US by the president.

US presidents have designated the date to coincide with the Rebbe’s Hebrew birthday, 11 Nissan.

The proclamation, slightly altered for South Africa, reads in part: “We believe that our futures can be improved through learning and hard work. On Education and Sharing Day, we acknowledge the critical role of families, schools, religious and other civic institutions in nurturing in our children the values that enable them to realise the full scope of their ambitions.”

Masinter said that Chabad was inspired by Mashaba’s determination to uplift the city of Johannesburg and follow world leaders in honouring the late Rebbe.

“This has given us at Chabad a renewed confidence in the city and has inspired us to lift our game to a whole new level when it comes to our charitable communal work and non-sectarian work.”

Masinter and Krengel presented Mashaba with a gift of a Carrol Boyes pewter Ark, which stands for “Acts of Random Kindness”. The Ark rests on a wooden board which has 18 small slots in it to hold 18 R1 coins.

“The Rebbe always liked people attending a meeting to receive and give charity, so we thought this was appropriate,” said Masinter, adding that he hoped this would become an annual event.

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