RECITING BIRKAT HACHAMA ON
THE STEPS OF THE BLOEMFONTEIN SHUL - 5769
Hachama, a ceremony held every 28 years to mark the creation of the
Sun, was observed this year by Jewish individuals and communities in
various small South African country communities and as far a field
as Uganda and Mauritius.
This widespread participation in the ceremony was in no small part
due to the efforts of Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, Spiritual Leader to
the SA Country Communities and to the African Jewish Congress.
Prior to the event, Rabbi Silberhaft circulated an email to his
widely scattered congregation, informing them of it and providing an
information booklet he had adapted for their reference. In due
course, he received reports and pictures of people observing the
ceremony from all parts of the continent.
Because he had had to conduct a funeral there the previous day,
Rabbi Silberhaft was in Bloemfontein for the recitation of Birkat
Hachama early in the morning on Erev Pesach. He led the congregation
in the ceremony and afterwards conducted the traditional Erev Pesach
Siyum for the First Born.
Rabbi Silberhaft is a regular visitor to Bloemfontein, which holds
daily and full Shabbat services but has been without the services of
a rabbi for the past eight years.
The size of the community remains stable at around 120 Jewish souls,
most of who are affiliated to the Bloemfontein Hebrew Congregation
and including six members from the country areas. There has been an
unbroken Jewish presence in the city virtually from its inception in