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Tribute to a man who embodies Judaism at its best

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Letters/Discussion Forums

As the Torah observant manager of a busy food establishment and as a member of the Jewish community, I wish to give thanks and recognition to a pillar of righteousness.

Rabbi Yossi Baumgarten joined the United Orthodox Synagogues (UOS) kashrut department more than 40 years ago, and gave the prime of his life to serve the community.

No factory was too far. No mashgiach question was turned away, even if called at 01:00.

Baumgarten addressed kashrut matters with integrity and honesty, and with a zest and energy that motivated and inspired all those who had the privilege and honour to work with him.

I once had the privilege of going on a trip with Baumgarten. The man is utter Judaism. From the way he treats others, to the way he ties his shoes and walks. His greatness is in his kindness, humility, and truthfulness.

The UOS kashrut department has been internationally recognised for decades as a result of the sterling input of Baumgarten, and this is evident by the many calls and messages he would field throughout the day from people all over the world. Whether it be a call from the Orthodox Union or the OK or Star K certification agencies, or a mashgiach or local housewife, the Jewish local community and the kosher world at large owe Baumgarten a debt of gratitude.

On behalf of the Mashgiach Association, we wish Baumgarten much strength and success in all his future endeavours.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Shabbat Project exceeds all expectations

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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).

Sincerely,

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

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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!

(barbara.schuble@gmail.com)

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Golden Acres yom tov services a shining light

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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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