By Moira Schneider (edited from a report by Solly Berger)
South African Jewish Report
The glory and the grandeur of South Africa’s mother synagogue, having been founded in 1841, was recaptured on Friday night October 15 when over 1,200 people flocked to Cape Town’s Gardens Shul to celebrate the third anniversary of its Friday Night Live (FNL). An initiative of the shul, it is now being emulated in synagogues in Johannesburg, Sydney and elsewhere.
All ages participated with some 100 teens at the Teen’s Service and many children at the Children’s Service, where special prizes were on offer.
Rabbi Yossy Goldman of Sydenham Highlands North Shul in Johannesburg, and president of the SA Rabbinical Association, flew from Johannesburg to be the guest speaker.
Rabbi Osher Feldman, spiritual leader of the Gardens Shul, welcomed everyone and said the occasion was a Chazakah for Friday Night Live. “In Jewish law doing something three times establishes a status of permanence.
“Now that we’ve completed three years of FNL, let us hope that they will continue to be a permanent feature in our Shul and inspire our community for many years to come.”
“Sushi and Chivas” was on the menu for the post-service brocha, held in a marquee in the adjacent Company Gardens. Over 200 guests stayed on for dinner.
“Since joining the Congregation in 2007, Rabbi Feldman’s creative programming is growing the membership in leaps and bounds and attracting many, especially young people, back to shul,” said Solly Berger, a member of the shul committee.
“The Rabbi and his wife, Sarah, have largely been responsible for transforming what was an aged, declining congregation into Cape Town’s vibiest shul.”