The Jewish community of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, recently marked its 100th anniversary.
The chief rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris, speaking at both thanksgiving service in the Bulawayo synagogue and at the 100th anniversary banquet, paid tribute to the 500-member Jewish community for “succeeding in preserving vibrant Jewish life.”
Harris, who was accompanied by a delegation from the Johannesburg-based Union of Orthodox Synagogues, said that anniversaries were a time for rededication to traditional Jewish values, which should be preserved for the future.
“It has been 100 years of Judaism, of Zionism, of philanthropy and of friendship with each other – and of happy cooperation with the town, he said.
“May you go on proudly, purposefully and successfully in the years ahead,” Harris said.
While the community in Bulawayo has thrived in the country, formerly known as Rhodesia, Jewish life has not fared as well in the capital city, Harare, where the 470 members of the community have witnessed divisive splits in recent years. At present, it has no rabbi.
The Bulawayo congregation is led by Rabbi Ben Isaacson,, a South African who attended yeshiva in Brooklyn.