Two splendid events last weekend & Erev Purim

Despite a last-minute cancellation on Friday night by our Human Rights Shabbat speaker due to illness, and despite a Sunday morning without electricity due to City Power gremlins, our teams of volunteers rallied magnificently and both our long-weekend events were great successes.

Keynote speaker on Friday night Ahmed Kathrada had to cancel at the last minute – he had just returned from India with a bout of “Delhi Belly”. The Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton, stepped in to replace him, and speaking off the cuff without much time to prepare, gave an eloquent and powerful speech on the state of human rights in South Africa, hitting just the right notes for the evening.

The hall was packed: there were 160 chairs, and all of them were taken, leaving quite a few people having to stand. There may have been a shortage of chairs, but there was enough food. Our thanks to everyone who made the evening a success.

On Sunday morning, our events team led by Bianca Shakinovsky and Lee Greenblatt arrived to discover that power had been cut across Parktown and Killarney and many other suburbs, not to be restored until early afternoon. Fortunately, alternative arrangements were quickly made, the most important being our generator, wired up by Mandla Mkhubu to provide hot food.

A big crowd arrived for the first sunny day of the week, and parents, grandparents and children had a wonderful time in the garden, with plenty of activities for all.

Max Green ran ticket sales under Ian West’s close scrutiny. Bruny Simpson, Allistair Ballutto, Abner Benatar, Frank Cupido, Martin Ramos and Ilana Alroy dished out the food, cold drinks and pop corn. Jody Segel and Sharon Shaked did baking with the kids, Hannah Cohen and Kathryn Henning did face painting & crafts together with Maor Margo, Nina Gordin & Tori Bench (Netzer), and Margaret Auerbach entertained the kids with a puppet show. There were many cameras, but the biggest belonged to Graeme Hochschild. (See our Flickr page for a gallery of pictures curated by Russell Cohen).

The judges of the best fancy dress competition showed commendable impartiality, giving the winning nod to Yolanda and Jonathan of Bet David. The best dressed girl was Ariel Tichauer and the best-dressed boy was Nadav Turis.

On Wednesday night, Erev Purim, Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked, dressed up as a bearded nun, excelled in a comic presentation of the Meggillah to a packed audience in the Slome, bouncing about the room, releasing balloons for the children to blow up and burst, calling on Avi for “dramatic music” to accompany the general hubbub. By general consent, the best-dressed couple were Donald and Ivana Trump (James Lomberg with Jeff Davis in glittering mini-skirt).

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