Where are they now?

Members of the Cape Town Jewish community have been dispersed across the world, succeeding in numerous fields in various countries. In an effort to reconnect them to the community, and to track their many ‘success stories’, we have asked these expats to tell us about their lives, families and achievements. Each month, we will feature a different interview in the Chronicle.

Richard and Cheryl Shavei Tzion, seated with their grandchildren Ayala and Dov. Standing are their three daughters, Rina, Tanya and Shira, sons-in-law Benny Yusupov and Ido Tauber and grandson Ariel.

Name: Richard Shavei Tzion (Saevitzon)

Where are you living, and why have you chosen to live there? Jerusalem, Israel. Growing up in Cape Town and living in Jerusalem, I have had the privilege of experiencing two of the most beautiful, exciting cities in the world.

Tell us about what you have been doing over the last 5 — 10 years: Managing a property development and management company.

What are the best aspects about where you live? Being part of the history and future of our nation; the view from our porch; the opportunity for personal growth.

What are the most challenging aspects? Abraham bringing Isaac to Har HaMoriah for sacrifice set the pattern for the greatness and difficulties of living in this city, which so many people consider holy, exclusively to themselves.

What do you do, and why are you passionate about your work? Besides playing a tiny role in the building of Jerusalem; I direct two choirs, the Ramatayim Men’s Choir and Joya, which promote culture, understanding and cooperation in Israel and abroad and add an extra dimension to my life.

My first choral musical experience was as a soprano in the Gardens Shul Choir. I also sang in the Camps Bay Choir, the Herzlia School Choir and later was a Ba’al Tefillah at Schoonder Street Choir and conducted the Weizmann School Choir, before leaving for Israel 30 years ago.

Tell us about your family: I am married to Cheryl (nee Gantovnik), ex-Durban. We have three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren (with one more on the way.) All of our siblings and their families besides one brother in Toronto, live in Israel. My mother, late father and late parents-in-law all came on Aliyah.

What would you like to say to the Cape Town Jewish community? I am proud of my heritage. Come and join the many ex-Capetonians in Israel who are contributing to the development of our country.

Visit www.rmchoir.org to read more about the Ramatayim Men’s Choir and Richard’s work.

If you, a family member or friend would like to take part in ‘Where are they now?’, please email the Chronicle at chron@ctjc.co.za to ask for a questionnaire.