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Harare Hebrew Congregation
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    An African Trading Empire
    Dec 13 2019 - A new page on the site with text from the first chapter of this fascinating book recording the story of the Susman brothers and Wulfsohn who created a farming and commercial empire in Southern Africa.. Learn More...

    Additional Ketuboth added
    December 2016 - ZJC has gratefully received from Colin Gordon some missing Ketuboth from the period 1956-1959 which have now been added to the website. . Learn More...

    Audio Visual biographies
    December 2016 - ZJC is pleased to publish a number of audio visual biographies of former members of the community.. Learn More...

    Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation committees
    July 6, 2016 - We have added two comprehensive documents prepared by David Gelfand and listing a) the numerous committees of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation going back to 1923. b) a list of all the Presidents of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation going back to 1894.. Learn More...

    Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation - full copy
    June 2016 - Pleased to advise that Paul Bernstein has scanned the full Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation Centenary magazine published in 1994. It is now available on the ZJC website. Many many thanks to Paul for all his efforts and contribution in digitizing this material and preserving it for us all. There is a summary of the contents of each section. See the material here.. Learn More...

    History of the Harare (Salisbury) Synagogues
    April 2016 - David Gelfand has updated an extensive document on the history of the Jewish Communities of Harare (Salisbury) with details of Rabbis and committee members over the years. Now includes pictures of Shul Presidents and a section on the Union of Jewish Women.. Learn More...

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    Harare Hebrew Congregation

    Harare Hebrew Congregation

    Picture taken in 1960 shows left to right

    J Pelham, L Thal, H Lessem, J Melman, L Harris, M Harare, n/a, A King, J Bamburger in the Salisbury St Shul built in 1920.


    The Salisbury Shul - circa 1960

    History of the Salisbury Hebrew Congregation 

    (this piece was written for the ceremony of laying Foundation Stones for the Salisbury Hebrew Congregation - Communal Hall, School and Youth Centre - 12th April 1964)

    THE Salisbury Hebrew Congregation was founded on June 2nd, 1895. Twenty men and two women met - that day under the chairmanship of Joe van Praagh (five years later to become the-first Jewish Mayor of Salisbury). The meeting was held in the old Masonic Hotel, Pioneer Street, and the news of the formation
    of the Congregation evoked the admiration of the Press of the day.

    Cecil John Rhodes must also have been delighted at the news for it was at this time that he smilingly remarked: "If the Jews come, my country is all right." He well knew that our co-religionists were in at the beginning and shared the hardships and disappointments of the early pioneering days.

    On right Mr I Lasovsky welcomes Federal Prime Minister Sir Roy Welensky and his wife to the Salisbury St Synagogue circa mid 1950s (click to enlarge)

    In 1901, by which time the Community had grown to 70, the first synagogue was built, in Rhodes Avenue. But by 1912 it proved too small for the growing Congregation, and services were held at the old Masonic Hall, the Drill Hall and within the old Bank of Africa Building. The present synagogue, in Salisbury Street, was erected in 1920.

    The first Minister to be appointed was the Rev. L. Rubin, who served the Congregation from 1909 to 1912 (before 1909 the community relied upon the services of lay readers). The second Minister was the Rev. Mark Harris (1913 to 1915) who, it was recorded, used to visit his flock mounted on a white horse.
    Rev. Harris was succeeded by the Rev. Monty Levy, who served the Congregation for three years. In 1918, the late Rev. J. J. Rosin, J.P., was appointed Minister and served until 1935, when the present incumbent. Rabbi
    M. Konviser, O.B.E., B.A., was appointed.

    The lay leadership has, from the outset, contained men of the highest calibre, many of whom, in addition to the services they rendered their own Community, made their mark in public life. Jews have played their full part in the affairs of the City Council, and four have served as Mayor. Others have sat in the Legislature, and outstanding contributions have been made to commerce, industry and agriculture.

    We shall always remember those who served King and country during the early Rebellions and in two world wars. We shall also never forget the names of those on our Roll of Honour, who paid the supreme sacrifice.

    By 1926, the Jewish Community had increased to 650 souls and all the usual Congregational amenities were functioning well. There had been established a Chevra Kaddisha (Burial Society), Hebrew School, Social Societies, a strong Zionist movement. Youth Societies, etc., and in various forms all these activities are still nourishing.

    Today, our Congregation has over 500 families as members.

    We are conscious of the deep debt of gratitude we owe our pioneers for the legacy they have bequeathed usa legacy worthy of the best traditions of our Faith.       m.k.

    Editor's note Sept 26, 2011 - The congregation has dwindled to under 100 souls as many congregants emigrated or passed on. Services are still maintained on Shabbat and Chagim and sometimes shared with the Sephardic Shul in Harare.

    Do you have any material to contribute ? we need digital pictures or if you are prepared to send us copies (only) of your originals - we will scan them for the site. Send information and material to us ZJC


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