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Chev honours man who moved mountains

  • LionelStein2
Lionel Stein, a volunteer at Selwyn Segal for more than 40 years, was honoured with a special service by the Chevra Kadisha at Sandringham Gardens Shul last Shabbat.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Aug 16, 2018

Stein is considered a hero, not only because he has volunteered at Selwyn Segal for so long; and not only because he is dearly loved by residents and the community, but because he has worked hard to change attitudes about people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Stein taught that the residents of Selwyn Segal were as much a part of the Joburg Jewish community as everyone else. Instead of keeping them separate, he broke through the fear and stigma, brought them to shul services, arranged Shabbatons, and organised for them to visit families in the area for meals on Shabbos and Yomtov.

It may have taken years to effect the shift in outlook, but their world was forever changed because Stein, with consistent patience and effort, moved mountains for them. He also changed the community, enriching the lives of families by exposing them to the innocence, purity, courage, and tenacity of the Selwyn Segal residents.

Because his work focused on increasing the joy of Shabbat, it was fitting that the Chev chose to honour Stein on Shabbos. More than 200 people attended the brocha, including residents from Selwyn Segal and Sandringham Gardens, as well as Lionel’s friends and relatives.

The event was initiated by Chev Group Rabbi Jonathan Fox and Robbie Singer, who has been involved in the project alongside Lionel for 23 years. Chev Chairman Colin Datnow and Chief Executive Saul Tomson were also present. Gratitude was expressed to Rabbi Tanzer and the Yeshiva College Shul and community, who pioneered Lionel’s project, and whose warmth and hospitality have been integral to its success.

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