Hermanus Hebrew Congregation Shabbat dinner

Herman Livshitz and Shirley Epstein

One of the many thank you notes received after the wonderful Shabbat dinner of Friday 12 November, from a couple relatively new to the Hermanus area, said it all!

“Now we understand how the community is family. Celebrating Shabbat after all this time with such warm caring people was truly special… Herman and Shirley were being honoured and we wouldn’t miss that for anything.”

We had arranged other functions during the previous 20-month period, but COVID cancelled them all! This time, at last, we were able to hold the traditional Hermanus Hebrew Congregation (HHC) committee dinner, held before the Sunday committee meeting, together with the Hermanus Jewish Community residents, including Alyson and Mike Kessel, and Ann Harris who recently returned to Hermanus.

Our shul has a tradition of honouring congregants who have delivered outstanding service to the congregation over many years. Past recipients include Joey Schneider z”l and Mike Kessel, each on special birthdays. This time it was our pleasure to honour the contributions of longstanding committee members Herman Livshitz and Shirley Epstein, a couple who have been stalwarts of the Community. It was also a belated celebration of Herman’s 90th and Shirley’s 88th birthdays! As a special surprise Shirley’s two daughters, Leslie and Debbie came through from Cape Town for the occasion. Shirley’s astonished face as they walked into the room was something to behold.

Thirty-six people participated in this communal Function, four people at each table spaced socially distant from the other tables. The food, brought in from Goldies in Cape Town, was individually plated and all COVID related protocols were observed.
‘Vaccinated’ was a requirement for participation. The tables were beautifully decorated and all detail for the event was planned to ensure an evening to remember.

A number of unprepared speeches were delivered as president of the shul, Seymour Abrahams, gently twisted the arms of committee members to speak. Tributes to Shirley and Herman were made and also toasts to the distinctive, special nature of the Hermanus Jewish Community. It was a tremendous opportunity for people to emerge from their ‘COVID hibernation’ and to reconnect with each other.

Thank you to Jacqui and David Rade for coordinating the function arrangements.

We all look forward to the open brochas on Shabbat mornings that we aim to hold during December 2021/January 2022 and the dinner on 17 December, prior to the AGM on 19 December, to which all visitors to Hermanus who participate in shul services are invited.

• Published in the PDF edition of the December 2021/January 2022 issue – Click here to get it.

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