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Friend to all the chief rabbis

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CHIEF RABBI DR WARREN GOLDSTEIN AND ANN HARRIS

Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein

Isaac Reznik served with four chief rabbis and generations of dayanim (judges) at the Beth Din. He was someone who could draw on his remarkable memory, and tell you the traditions and decisions of Chief Rabbi Louis Rabinowitz, Chief Rabbi Bernard Casper, and Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris. He would always pop into my office with interesting pieces of information and news clippings. If ever I wanted to know what the precedent was for something and how my predecessors had handled similar situations, Isaac was always there to provide the information with a smile and a sparkle. History excited him. The traditions of our community excited him.

With Isaac, there was never a dull moment. He was fascinated by life and by the community, and totally dedicated to preserving its ethos and vision. He knew what generations of dayanim used to do, how they handled cases, and what the policies were of generations of Batei Din. He was always so animated and excited in these discussions, and always had something invaluable to share. He was a real bridge to previous generations of South African Jewish life. I feel sad at his passing because as a community, we have lost his connection to our past.

Isaac was a loyal and dedicated servant of the community and of Hashem. He served with humility, dedication, and real passion to serve. May his memory be a blessing.

Ann Harris

Isaac Reznik was director of the chief rabbi’s office when Rabbi Harris took office in 1988. He was the first link between the new chief rabbi and the community. Isaac knew everyone, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of South African Jewish history, both of which were invaluable to the new incumbent. Rabbi Harris was not the easiest of taskmasters. He was a perfectionist, and Isaac was his first target for grumbles. But Isaac’s good humour, patience, and loyalty never wavered so that the uneven path became a level playing field on which the community thrived.

Isaac was our family’s first friend in a new and challenging life. We will never cease to remember and appreciate his kindness to us all.

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