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Letter of Appreciation

Alan and Diane Silber write of the sad passing of their grandson & feel the need to make people aware of the good work done by the Chevra



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Alan and Diane Silber of Ra’anana, Israel , write that unfortunately their grandson passed away two weeks ago. They feel the need to make people aware of the good work done by the South African Chevra Kadisha and other organisations as well as individuals.

Letter of Appreciation:

I want to express my deep and sincerest appreciation to the Chevra Kadisha and to the various individuals and Jewish communities in South Africa for their dedication and commitment for the sterling work they do in assisting those in need and all the other good work they do.

During my recent trip from Israel for the birth and subsequent the unfortunate and tragic passing away of our grandson, Raphael Chaim ben Gabriella Chaya, members of the Chevra Kadisha and various individuals went out of their way to accommodate my and my family’s needs.

Our dearest grandson passed away on Friday morning 21 February at the Sunninghill Hospital in Sandton. Despite the desperate attempts of Rabbis Dovi Rabin and Eitan Ash to have the body released by the State Department to be buried before Shabbat, all attempts failed.

The funeral was then set for Sunday morning, which meant the baby was going to be alone throughout the whole of Shabbat at West Park Cemetery.

Our daughter (Gabi) was particularly distressed with the knowledge that her son was going to be left alone throughout Shabbat, before the burial.

I asked and offered Gabi if she would like me to stay at West Park Cemetery over Shabbat to watch over her baby boy and say Tehillim and say Mishnayot. Although she cared for me that I would be alone during that long and silent Shabbat, she said it would mean a lot to her if I could stay with Raphael.

My longstanding friend, David Weber of the Chevra Kadisha burial society said I was able to stay over and could make use of the facilities (although very limited) throughout that Shabbat.

Late afternoon, just before Shabbat, my nephew, Craig Finberg, suggested that the baby be brought to Sandringham Gardens mortuary as a better option than staying at West Park Cemetary.

David Weber said it was a good and possible idea and immediately made arrangements for the baby to be brought to Sandringham Gardens and called them to make arrangements to accommodate both myself and Craig during Shabbat.

By the time we arrived at Sandringham Gardens, Steve Dewey, the manager of the catering and hospitality division, had not only set up a table and chairs with light refreshments outside the mortuary, but had also set aside a fully laden Shabbat table in the main dining room for us.

He had also arranged a room with a single bed complete with towels, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes for our use that we could utilize during the long Shabbat watch over the baby.

The catering staff and housekeeping staff and those throughout the centre were exceptionally kind and sensitive to our needs in our time of grief. This type of behavior was deeply appreciated and made our sorrow easier to bear.

On behalf of myself, my wife and my entire family, I wish to make public the outstanding service, support and acts of kindness received from all our family and friends, but especially to Rabbi Dovi Rabin of Chabad of Fourways, David Weber of the Burial Society, Steve Dewey and his entire staff of Sandringham Gardens and everyone else who helped in all the arrangements in trying to ease the pain and sorrow in our time of grief. Also, special thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Fox, resident Rabbi of the Chevra Kadisha at Sandringham Gardens for his kind words of comfort at a difficult time for me between Mincha and Ma’ariv on that Shabbat.

A special mention of appreciation and gratitude to my nephew, Craig, for staying with me throughout the long watch and for the recital of Tehillim and the learning of Mishnaot. To my dearest, kindest and loving parents Morris & Ettie Silber for spending quality time with me, sitting outside the mortuary with me for hours and to Bev and Roy Lomnitz for coming past to see that we were cared for.

May all the above be a zchut for the neshama of Raphael Chaim ben Gabriella Chaya.

  • Alan and Diane Silber – Grandparents of Raphael Chaim in Israel; and family Mark and Gabi Baker Raphael Chaim’s parents in Johannesburg.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Shabbat Project exceeds all expectations



My dear friend Rabbi Goldstein,

When I first heard of the Shabbat Project in South Africa, I recall thinking how inspiring an idea it is, but I am sceptical that it will catch on outside the communities which we, already accustomed to observing Shabbat.

Eight years later, it is clear that your brilliant initiative has been embraced by a huge, growing audience which eagerly awaits the Shabbat Project and enthusiastically welcomes the annual opportunity to keep it together.

The beauty of Shabbat is in its transformative nature. On Shabbat we step out of our professions, our day to day stresses, our screens and our errands. Once the candles are lit, a light shines on our family, our home, our traditions. We are fortunate to pause and regroup, and then begin anew.

Doing this as a community is powerful. Doing this as a nation is awe-inspiring and touches our collective souls.

I applaud the Shabbat Project for providing the platform and the tools for anyone, regardless of geography or affiliation, to experience Shabbat on their own terms, along with Klal Yisrael (all of Israel).


Isaac Herzog

President of the state of Israel

This is a copy of a letter received by the chief rabbi this week.

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Help me trace a missing friend



I’m looking for a friend, Peter Joffe, a former employee (retired in 2019) of Jozi Housing. We used to be in regular contact, meeting at least once a month. Joffe lives in Sandringham. My last contact with him was on 14 August 2021, on WhatsApp. He’s on Facebook, but unfortunately, I’m not. Joffe was distributing food to the poor in the Sandringham area. I’m worried as I can’t get hold of him. Please can you assist me to trace him!


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Letters/Discussion Forums

Golden Acres yom tov services a shining light



I’m sure we speak for scores of Golden Acres residents who attended the recent yom tov services in expressing our deepest appreciation to Rabbi Jonathan Fox and the management of the Chev for the most inspiring services.

Although Fox wasn’t physically present, his designated officials were outstanding. Thanks to Rabbi Gideon Waks, Rabbi/Cantor Hilly Chrysler, and Spencer Schwartz (your shofar blowing was superb) for leading the services so professionally. Rabbi Fox, the venture served as a perfect substitute for a live drosha. Thanks also to our resident kohen, Tony Damelin, for administering the priestly blessings.

A special thanks to Golden Acres residents Selwyn and Helen Meyers for their usual tireless efforts in making this operation a fulfilling success. Also to Denise Rubin and her dedicated staff for arranging seating under trying circumstances, and for all the paperwork involved.

Once again, sincere thanks to all concerned and to our fellow residents. Thanks also to the Chev for the beautiful flowers and delicious chocolates sent to every resident.

– Norman, Brenda, Choni, and Miriam

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