In this incredible story of luck and coincidence, items lost from the Ponovez Shul made their way home, through the connection of community members Diana and Alfie Lewin.
The story begins back
n 2002, when Jean Vincent Ridon started an inner-city vineyard in Lincoln Road, Oranjezicht, next door to the Lewins. At the time, he approached them to supply him with water, to help make cement for a wall surrounding the vineyard. In return, he offered to give the Lewins wine for free from his future harvest, but Diana refused the wine, explaining that they are Jewish and will only have kosher wine in their home.
The story is relevant because it informed the winemaker that the Lewins were Jewish. Thus, on 4 March 2013, Ridon rang the Lewins’ doorbell, informing Diana that he had been digging in his garden in Scott Street and had found two ‘stick-like’ objects in the soil, which he thought might be religious Jewish items. Because of the incident with the wine almost 10 years earlier, Mr Ridon had known the Lewins were Jewish, and had thus approached them.
The objects were indeed holy — they were two ‘Yads’ that are used to read the Torah. Mr Ridon gave them to the Lewins, and Alfie took them to be cleaned and silvered. The Yads continued to find their way back to their home when Alfie saw Julian Levinthal, who happened to know that there had been a burglary at the Ponevez Shul many years ago and thought that maybe these had been stolen.
Alfie contacted Ponovez Shul members, who confirmed that there had been a burglary ten years ago and that these ‘Yads’ were indeed from the shul and had been stolen. Because Scott Street is near the shul, they surmised that they had been dropped, lost or buried by the burglars. But ten years later, they had found their way back to the shul, through the Lewins and their connection to the winemaker!
Diana adds that this was even more lucky because
for the past 8 years they have not been in Cape Town during Pesach, as they usually visit their children overseas. But this year they delayed their trip to stay in Cape Town for Diana’s school reunion. Thus, they were available when Mr Ridon found the Yads — another lucky coincidence!
The Yads have been returned to their rightful home, as seen in these photos.