Dear Editor, 

With regard to local assistance to the Zimbabwe Jewish community, I would like to comment on the following question posed to the Orthodox rabbinate by George Conné: “Did you personally donate for those in Zimbabwe, who through no fault of their own, most probably have no Matzah etc., or did you put a label on the foodstuffs being sent to them, stating that it was for Orthodox Jews only?” (Letters, 18 April). 

As Spiritual Leader to the African Jewish Congress, which has been involved for many years in rendering assistance to the Jewish community in Zimbabwe, I can categorically confirm that in this regard there has been no discrimination whatever on the basis of religious affiliation. Assistance to Zimbabwean Jewry is now largely channelled through the recently established African Jewish Congress Zimbabwe Fund, of which I am president. I am pleased to report that Richard Newman, a Reform rabbi in Cape Town, recently raised R18 000 for the fund from his own congregation. 

I am further greatly encouraged in general by the positive manner in which a number of individuals in our Jewish community have so generously responded to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Amongst other things, a young Jewish businessman, quite unsolicited, approached me to contribute to the fund and further, again on his own initiative, went on to ensure further welcome assistance by publicising it within his own circles. Once again, the issue is not that the beneficiaries are Orthodox, Reform or secular but that they are fellow Jews in need. It should be further noted that the latter’s non-Jewish dependants, such as servants, also benefit from this assistance. 

I am delighted to see how members of our Jewish community are showing a willingness to look beyond the confines of their local communal responsibilities to help their distressed brethren on the other side of the border. 


Spiritual Leader and CEO,
African Jewish Congress