By Theodore Yach
Pesach has always been a festival to look forward to celebrating when I was a kid either at Wynberg Shul when I was at Wynberg Boys boarding school or with my parents at their home.
My late father, Solly, was fluent in Hebrew and Yiddish and was therefore able to make the Seders very meaningful by adding in his anecdotes. As a swimmer, I also fantasised about the possibility of swimming the Red Sea as the Jews escaped Egypt. The symbolism, as a Jewish South African, of being able to escape tyranny resonates as apartheid was defeated in the early 90’s and our fledgling democracy starts to make its way on the African and international stages. One also thinks of Israel being surrounded by countries who have sworn to destroy Jews within the State of Israel and we realise that the age of tyranny is still upon us and we need to be constantly aware and prepared to defend our State of Israel at all times.
On a more colloquial level, I am married to Michelle, a ‘boerejood’ from Worcester steeped in tradition where her love of all things Judaic was instilled in her from a very early age. After her late father Sydney passed, Michelle took over the running of the Seders. What a delight it was to realise that Michelle knew the Seders almost by heart and she has added a fantastic new dimension to Seders which we all enjoy. The symbolism of Pesach therefore generally falling within International Women’s Month is not lost on us as we celebrate the Seders under Michelle’s leadership. Michelle recalls that she used to attend cheder with Rabbi Khan four times per week as a kid and the main focus of their lives was around shul and the high festivals.
The Worcester community was very close-knit and we, as a family, reap the benefits to this day.