A true eshet chayil: Sybil Castle z”l

Rabbi Feldman of the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation was asked by someone what the female equivalent is of a ‘mensch’.  

Without much time to think it through, he replied, “Definitely, Sybil Castle”. This perfectly sums up this wonderful Capetonian, a woman who touched many lives and was loved by all.

Her daughter, Elana, comments that, “Peoples’ faces light up at the mere mention of her name; and the extraordinary outpouring of love and support in the wake of her sudden passing are testament to her kind, friendly and generous nature and her outsize impact in the Cape Town community.”

Sybil’s involvement in the Cape Town Jewish community goes back many decades. As was the case with Leyb Rozental (see the article alongside), she played an important role in the promotion of Yiddish, teaching the language both in person and online in Cape Town, while at the same time sharing her immense love for the language, history and culture.

Elana continues, “Numerous Capetonians will remember her for the beautiful hand-illuminated and personalised ketubot that she lovingly created for Jewish couples, many of them proudly displayed in homes all over the world.”

In addition, she drove the outreach programme for Jewish children in government schools, leading an initiative to teach Jewish religion in these schools over a 20-year period. Her focus on education continued in later years, when she served as a Holocaust educator. 

Sybil also gave of her time and enthusiastic spirit to many other organisations in the community, including being a lifelong member of Bnoth Zion/WIZO.

While the sudden passing of Sybil Castle leaves a void for many, her impact will live on in the many happy memories that remain.

• Published in the July 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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