By Jaime Uranovsky
The Jewish community in Sea Point would not be the same without one of its spunkiest and most memorable members, Ettie Buch, who celebrated her 100th birthday on 24 November.
Ettie, born in 1920 to Lithuanian parents, has always been passionate about assisting others and giving back, both to the Jewish community and beyond.
Her involvement in charity work is immense. She first began when she was at school by helping her mother to collect JNF blue boxes from the Jewish congregants in the Somerset West and Strand community. The women in their congregation then formed the Somerset West/Strand branch of the Ladies Zionist Society, and Ettie became their secretary. Ettie has also been very involved with the Union of Jewish Women and has been an active member of WIZO for 72 years. Indeed, Ettie refers to charities that support Israel as her “passion and priority”.
In 1944, Ettie married Benjamin Buch and has two daughters, Lynette and Beverly. Today, she has six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Before settling in Cape Town, Ettie and her family had a successful outfitting business in Strand for 35 years.
On turning 100, Ettie said, “Age comes to all. Life is not negotiable but, thank G-d, I have been blessed with the merit of living and with my memory”. She believes that, “If we knew the span of life, if we only knew when, we would forget the foibles, the pain, the faribels, the nonsense; we would be more forgiving to people and also just look at the good in other people”.
Ettie has been staying with her daughter, Lynette, in Johannesburg for most of the year, as she could not return to Cape Town because of the pandemic. However, she hopes to be back by November’s end. While Ettie missed Sea Point and Marais Road Shul greatly, she relished being able to spend her birthday with one of her daughters, her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and some friends.
Ettie is excited to return to her congregation, the weekly and holiday services of which she diligently attends. She says, “I feel that if one belongs to a community, one must be involved with the community”.
Published in the print edition of the December 2020/January 2021 issue.
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