REMEMBERING DEFUNCT COUNTRY COMMUNITIES – 2 AUGUST 2013
Last week, Country Communities Spiritual Leader Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft visited Kroonstad to inspect the relaying of the communal foundation stones in the surviving wall of the Ohel. He was joined for the occasion by Father Stephen Giles, a friend of the Jewish community, and remaining Jewish residents of Kroonstad, Eve Goldsmith, Pam Witten and Grace Abrams. It has become a standard practice when a community closes for the SAJBD’s Country Communities Department to erect the foundation stones of its communal buildings in the local Jewish cemetery as a memorial to Jewish life in the town.
After Bloemfontein, Kroonstad was home to the largest Jewish community in the Free State, comprising well over 300 souls at its height in the middle of the last century. In common with all the province’s country and small town Jewish centres, the congregation went into steady decline after World War II before finally closing its doors a few years ago.