They had their ‘Beresheet’ as a result of Joe Polliack deciding to learn to recite a Haftorah, which inspired Benny Schlosberg, Harold Noik, Ray Weinberg and Victor Boyd to approach the Camps Bay Shul ‘Mayven’ Reuben Wagenheim to ask him to teach them the trop, which he readily agreed to do. The rest, as they say, is history.
In his welcoming speech Benny Schlosberg made mention of four members who had sadly passed away in the past few years, all of whom became prolific Haftorah reciters.
When the group meets on Tuesdays they pay tea money into a ‘pushka’. The money they have collected has been used to purchase Books of Haftorot, which have been donated to Shuls, as well as to make generous donations to three local Jewish charities.
After a presentation was made to Reuben, those present were asked to say a few words describing how belonging to the group had affected their lives. It was heartwarming to hear some comments from the group; learning to read Hebrew, becoming more observant and a more regular Shul goer, having the confidence to walk up to the Bimah and read a Haftorah, the chavershaft of the group and the joy and pleasure of being able to read a Haftorah on the occasion of a second Barmitzvah, commemoration of a yahrzeit, celebration of a simcha, or simply filling in when there are late withdrawals.
Naturally none of the above could have happened without their teacher Reuben. His knowledge, patience and enthusiasm hold no bounds and nothing is too much trouble for him when it comes to the Haftorah Trop group. His reputation extends not only locally, but throughout South Africa and abroad. His local and overseas students, who he teaches via skype, have come from Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg, Barcelona, Tel Aviv and Sydney.
A friend in Israel, on receipt of Reuben’s weekly newsletter, commented that the group must be unique in the world. And so it is. They encourage anyone wishing to join to contact Reuben or Benny.