South African community celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut together

SAZF CC Executive Director Chaya Singer, SAZF CC Chairperson Karen Marsden Sank, SAZF CC Vice Chairperson Leora Hessen, National Chairman Rowan Polovin and KZN Chairman Grant Maserow

By Leora Hessen, Vice Chairperson, SAZF Cape Council

On Wednesday, 14 April, the South African Jewish community was united by the South African Zionist Federation in a ceremony and celebration, for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. After a year of online conferences, meetings, school days, classes, simchas and sadness, the trepidation of hosting a celebration online was real.

But our community came together to honour our fallen soldiers. We were privileged to see footage of our school children standing at attention when the siren went off. We heard stories from IDF soldiers from Brothers for Life and their beautiful tribute to Eric Samson OBM.

And then we came together to celebrate, all 7000 people on various screens across South Africa. We heard our children tell us what Israel means to them. For the first time our three Chairpersons (National, Cape Council and KZN) were able to celebrate together at one communal event. And together we experienced the highlight of the night – Lior Suchard – the world’s most famous mentalist.

Lior has entertained millions of people worldwide and, in one of her interviews, Barbra Streisand said about him, “There really are things which defy explanation. When I first experienced Lior’s mental gifts, I knew I was in the presence of someone extraordinary. Each time our paths cross, I’m more and more fascinated by how he does what he does.”

Thank you to all of you that joined the SAZF for our live virtual Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations. We hope that we will be able to celebrate in-person again soon, but we are grateful that you took the time to join us on screen.

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• Published in the print edition of the May 2021 issue. Download the May 2021 issue PDF here.

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