On 22 November the SAZF (Cape Council) and the Cape Board hosted a community meeting to gather in solidarity with Israel during ‘Operation Pillar of Defence.’
The evening began with Cape Board Chair Li Boiskin welcoming everyone and vocalising the shared feelings of concern of the community. “This evening is about standing with Israel, confirming the Jewish value of life, the right to life and the value of each life being precious,” she said.
This was followed by Mincha Tehillim and Tefilot led by Rabbi Feldman and the Gardens Shul choir. “As we say these prayers, and recite them with sincerity, we can be sure that the collective energy from the oldest shul in Cape Town will take our prayers to the gates of heaven and to the people of Israel,” said the rabbi.
A beacon of hope
Daniel Levitt relayed the message sent from the Israeli Embassy and Abassador Dov Segev Steinberg. “Israel does not want war, has never wanted war and war will never be its first option. We were reluctant to enter into this war, as it has always has been in our history, but it is necessary to safeguard Israel and her people,” he read. “It has sadly been our destiny to fight these wars necessary for our survival. As Jewish people we need to realise what is right under the circumstances and take appropriate action. But Israel is a humanitarian state and has continued to supply electricity to Gaza whilst the rockets rained in. Your care and concern are of utmost importance.”
SAZF Cape Council Chairman Ben evitas then addressed the community. “The enemy doesn’t see children or parents — they see targets, they attack, while we have to justify our right to self defense. It is time to stand united with Israel,” he said. Ben commended those who had put themselves in the line of fire to defend the Jewish state. “Israel is a beacon of hope in a very troubled region,” he said.
The Gardens shul choir sang beautiful renditions, followed by Ma’ariv. Community Shaliach Yaniv Nachmias then spoke of the sense of community both in Cape Town and Israel, and shared how worried he was about family and friends in Israel. He expressed how frightening the rocket attacks are and how children from Sderot and Be’er Sheva to Gaza only wish for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Concluding with the singing of Hatikvah, it was an evening of solidarity, reflection and hope for a future of peace.