A tribute to our colleague Anita Shenker

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Anita Shenker z”l worked for the Cape Jewish Chronicle for 27 years as our commercial advertising salesperson. She was a colleague, friend, office-mom and source of knowledge, both institutional and communal. She will be missed.

So much has been said about Anita in the past week but the overwhelming sentiment speaks to her generosity, her broad knowledge base and her tenacious spirit. Even when Anita and I would vehemently disagree on something, five minutes later we would be sharing a recipe or planning a Shabbat menu and forging a path of compromise through the mire. She wasn’t easy, but she was definitely worth it. We are richer for having known her and poorer for having lost her so soon. Lindy Diamond

Anita Shenker was a truly special woman.
My association with her goes back some 27 years, during which time she was my fellow worker and a faithful, caring friend. 
Anita was strong — a strength very much tested over the years. She suffered so many sad and tragic losses and endured so many health problems. All of this she handled with her inner strength. And always she was there, offering sympathy and support to others, whenever needed. 
Over the years we witnessed what a deeply caring mother Anita was to her children, a wonderful, supportive daughter to her mother, Sadie, and for Maurice, a beloved wife… a rock.  
At the Chronicle, Anita was a vital member of our team. Driven, conscientious and organised. Really great at her job. For us a terrific team member and, most times, great fun to work with.  Really good years.
Anita and I never had an argument. Just one problem. While laying out the paper’s pages, particularly for the major ‘Chag’ issues. She fought for the right-hand, up front pages for clients, while I needed them for the community. Actually it was fun. No blows. We always compromised. Tessa, our faithful secretary, was never required to umpire!
She was also a ‘mine of information’, a rock… sometimes a boulder… ever bold! She loved life, loved to dance and to cheer. All things bright.
Anita’s passing is so very hard to come to terms with and an enormous loss to us all. We will remember her always with a smile. Irma Chait

When I arrived as the new editor of the Cape Jewish Chronicle, a generation younger than my new colleagues who had worked together for decades, we could have struggled to get along. But they all welcomed me with ‘Jewish mommy’ warmth, encouragement and support, and we never looked back. Anita wasn’t shy to show me the ropes, and as the long-term advertising consultant of the paper, she knew the community and the Chronicle inside out. 
As we worked together over the next four years, our friendship blossomed. One of my favourite memories was a gift from her and the rest of the Chronicle ladies of a Pesach recipe book when I told her I was hosting the Seder. Family, community, tradition and her Jewish identity were so important to her and she delighted in sharing those values with me. 

Anita faced unthinkable challenges in her life, but with every knock she emerged stronger — the ultimate survivor. Not only that, but every challenge made her embrace life even more, with optimism, passion and strength. For example, when she stood up and danced at my wedding, it was a feat unmatched by any other guest there. Two years earlier, Anita had fallen and broken both her knees, which was followed my multiple medical procedures. Yet she always said she would be dancing at my wedding, and so she did. That was Anita — getting up and being the life of the party no matter what life threw at her. Over the last few years since I left the Chronicle we were less in touch, but I always felt close to her.

Her passing has rattled me because after all that she endured, she should have been given a miracle. It will never make sense, and shows just how fragile, unpredictable and unstable life can be. She knew this too well but I don’t think that is what she would want to be her legacy. Rather, I think she would want you to hold onto everything that is dear to you — be it family, friends, community or Judaism — celebrate every day, and dance — even if life has literally brought you to your knees. 
Anita, the Cape Jewish Chronicle will never be the same without you. I hope you are at peace and with the many loved ones you lost, especially your beloved son. I will miss you and will never forget you. Tali Feinberg

Anita Shenker was my friend and colleague at the Chronicle for nineteen years. A mere hour after our initial meeting, we had our first argument; and the path was set for a working relationship that was stimulating, challenging and never dull.  
While our personalities and values did not always align, I came to appreciate and care deeply for her for as I experienced her strength, generosity, loyalty, and sheer enthusiasm for life.
A traditionalist to the core, Anita’s life revolved around family, friends and community.  
Over the years I witnessed the absolute devotion with which she conducted her close relationships – as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and colleague. While she suffered more tragedies than most, she faced these with a courage that was inspiring to behold, as she supported those close to her, and never lost hope. 
Anita was also the go-to person for any practical advice. She knew how to GET THINGS DONE — whether it was a building renovation, an insurance claim, where to buy the best chopped herring or where to get your car repaired. The list goes on… 
I miss her strong and outspoken presence in our office, her reassuring confidence and her unwavering optimism. Her passing has left a void in our lives. Desrae Saacks 

Anita was a very special person  — a colleague, companion and confidante.
We worked together for 27 years and grew very close to one another.
We supported each other, not only at work — when begging for that spot on the right hand page — but in every aspect of our lives and were always there for each other. Anita and Maurice even came to Joburg for our children’s weddings.
Our day didn’t only start when we parked our cars next to each other in the parking area, but most days we spoke on the phone before leaving home for work.
Anita was very passionate about her work and was always thrilled when she got a new advertiser.
The Chronicles over the past 26 years are testimony to her hard work and dedication.
I will always remember the happy and fun times we shared including dinners, quiz nights, and our lovely lunches with Irma, and of course the ‘hakking’ on the phone. She was so vibrant and chatty and always kept me up to date with the latest bits of news.
Anita had a heart of gold, always helping those around her, especially the less fortunate.
What I will miss most are Anita’s final words every single day. “what’s for supper tonight?” Tessa Epstein

To read the full PDF of the Cape Jewish Chronicle, click here
To read the editor’s column for August, click here
To read our most popular story for July, click here

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