ChaiSouthAfrica, an international grassroots nonprofit organization that raises funds for Jewish residential homes for the Aged and handicapped in Southern Africa has received a $50,000 challenge grant to assist residents of Savyon Lodge, the home for the Jewish aged in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. All donations are tax deductible and will help provide critical services to those in need.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give dignity and respect to our elders, a fundamental Jewish value,” noted Claire Ellman, Co-Founder of ChaiSouthAfrica. “Every Rand contributed to Savyon until September 30th will be matched Rand for Rand , leveraging our ability to offer assistance.”
About 35 individuals live at Savyon Lodge. Most of the residents have stayed behind whilst their family immigrate in order to provide a secure life for themselves. Once home to a flourishing community of 7500 Jews, Zimbabwe’s Jewish population now numbers about 300.
Quoting from an article written by Moira Schneider of the JTA about the plight of the Jewish community in Bulawayo, “People who thought they’d provided well for their old age find that is no longer the case,” said Shelley Lasker, a Jewish day school teacher in Bulawayo. The plummeting economy in Zimbabwe, a crisis in the political situation and devalued Zimbabwe dollar compounds the situation.
It continues: Hylton Solomon, a leader of the Zimbabwe Jewish community, stated “there are so few people who earn a salary sufficient to enable them to contribute to its upkeep, the community tries to solicit donations, including from former Zimbabweans”. Solomon also refuses to criticize the country, taking a swipe at those who do. “This place has been good to us, and I get upset when people leave here and live in mansions in Clifton or Fresnaye and condemn this place. Whatever they’ve got there came from here,” he says angrily, referring to affluent areas of neighboring South Africa.
“The worldwide Jewish community needs to awaken to this cause and help restore the level of dignity the community sorely deserves,” said co-founder Ellman.” . “Former Zimbabweans, and South African living in South Africa and all over the world are stepping forward to this challenge.”
Donations are being solicited internationally. The donor, who is an ex South African now living in Chicago, has no connection to Zimbabwe but is greatly concerned about the great challenges facing the Zimbabwe Jewish community. The challenge is valid till September 30th, 2005 and we are looking to everyone to support this campaign. R18 or R18,000- every donation makes a difference!
Cheques to be made in favour of "CENTRAL AFRICAN JEWISH COMMUNITIES”
Envelope to be addressed as follows:
Rabbi Silberhaft / Savyon Lodge
P. O. BOX 51663, RAEDENE 2124 , SOUTH AFRICA
For further information on Savyon Lodge contact
Rabbi Moshe Silberhart
Tel. (+27) 82 440 2621
Fax (+27) 11 485 4325,
For any information on the other Jewish homes in Southern Africa supported by ChaiSouthAfrica, email ChaiSouthAfrica@aol.com
or visit www.chaisouthafrica.com.