<%BANNER%>
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Editorial
 Table of past presidents of the...
 Main
 Back Matter
 Acknowledgement
 Back Cover














60th anniversary, 1931-1991, of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00007531/00001
 Material Information
Title: 60th anniversary, 1931-1991, of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe
Alternate title: Sixtieth anniversary, 1931-1991, of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe
Shaʻare shalom
Cover title: Ḳ.ḳ. Shaʻare shalom
Physical Description: 41 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Leon, Benny
Publisher: The Congregation
Place of Publication: Zimbabwe
Publication Date: 1991
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Sephardim -- History -- Zimbabwe   ( lcsh )
Jews -- History -- Zimbabwe   ( lcsh )
Genre: collective biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Zimbabwe
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: compiled by Benny Leon.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 38561218
ocm38561218
Classification: lcc - DS135.Z56 .A16 1991
System ID: AA00007531:00001

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece 1
        Frontispiece 2
    Editorial
        Page 1
    Table of past presidents of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16-17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Acknowledgement
        Acknowledgement
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text



























El 01 L








414sa


I-L -.

























Eii

Eif
0 wom '
1) ,-














On the occasion of its
Diamond Jubilee
the President, Executive
and Committee of the
Sephardi Hebrew Congregation
of Zimbabwe
proudly presents this book
with its compliments to


Tammuz-Av 5751


July 1991







.;z.~
::~~.'9~ ..
*.rrrt~F$
ii:'~7ri.l: ..lh r:: 7~~ ~ -i~~il- :
1 :


The Kehila Sha'are Shalom with two stonetablets of The Ten Commandments dominating an Imposing front


EDITORIAL


Throughout the blood stained pages of Jewish history, the theme to
be found is always one of survival CMlizations have come and
gone, but the Jews remain. The Jews were in the Diaspora before the
destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, not because of their sins as
others would have you believe, but because it was the Divine Plan
that the Jews were chosen to be a light unto the nations, and that
the Diaspora or dispersal is a key factor in their survival.
The Nazi terror is a case in point It came up with the "final solution"
to anhilate the Jews from the face of the earth. They failed, but not
before they had murdered six million of our brethren, amongst whom
was that pious God-fearing small community of Jews on the
beautiful island of Rhodes
Here in Zimbabwe, we do not have a Jewish environment, and the
battle to survive not only as Jews but also as Sephardim, continues.
We adhere to our Sephardi customs and the hope that our numbers
will increase


As I wandered about the medieval streets of theJuderia in Rhodes, I
often thought of how well our forefathers had fitted into the Divine
Plan of the Diaspora. Here, as in other centres of Europe, they had
upheld the ethics of the Torah. The quaint box like buildings and
narrow cobbled streets suggested to me, that by any other
standards, the Jews of Rhodes were not affluent, but were very rich
spiritually.
In compiling the commemorative book on the sixtieth anniversary of
our cherished community, it also intended to remember the Jews of
Rhodes who for more than five centuries prayed to II Senior del
Mundo so feverently and faithfully, and whose heritage we strive to
preserve.

BENNY LEON.










TABLE OF PAST PRESIDENTS
OF THE
SEPHARDI HEBREW
CONGREGATION OF ZIMBABWE


1931 B.D. ALMELEH 1961 A.I. MENASHE
1932 H.S. COURT 1962 A.I. MENASHE
1933 B.S. LEON 1963 I.R. ROSIN
1934 B.S. LEON 1964 I.R. ROSIN
1935 H.S. COURT 1965 I.R ROSIN
1936 J.N. ALHADEFF 1966 S.M. ALHADEFF
1937 J.N. ALHADEFF 1967 S.M. ALHADEFF
1938 I.R. ROSIN 1968 I.R. ROSIN
1939 I.R. ROSIN 1969 I.R. ROSIN
1940 S.N. ALHADEFF 1970 N.I. ALHADEFF
1941 I.R. ROSIN 1971 N.I. ALHADEFF
Ii 1942 I.R ROSIN 1972 .J. BENATAR
1943 IR. ROSIN 1973 .J. BENATAR
1944 B.S. LEON 1974 H. van den BERGH
1945 S.N. ALHADEFF 1975 R.J. BENATAR
1946 I.R ROSIN 1976 RJ. BENATAR
7 1947 I.R. ROSIN 1977 I.E. MENASHE
1948 J.N. ALHADEFF 1978 I.E. MENASHE
1949 S. HABIB 1979 M. MIZRAHI
1950 S. HABIB 1980 D. KAY
1951 A.I MENASHE 1981 D. KAY
1952 I.R. ROSIN 1982 D. KAY
1953 IR. ROSIN 1983 D. KAY
1954 I.R. ROSIN 1984 AJ. NAIM
S 1955 B.S. LEON 1985 AJ. NAIM
1956 A.I. MENASHE 1986 AJ. NAIM
S 1957 A.I. MENASHE 1987 A.J. NAIM
1958 I.R ROSIN 1988 H.J.V. ALHADEFF
1959 B. RODITI 1989 H.J.V. ALHADEFF
1960 A.I. MENASHE 1990 S. BENATAR
^ IPMI^I I^I^IIIIIII

































MR. SAM BENATAR Mr Victor Alhadeff who served two years as
president in 1988 and 1989. He also served a
number of years as chairman of the Chevra
Kaddisha.


MESSAGE FROM
MR SAM BENATAR, PRESIDENT OF
THE SEPHARDI HEBREW
CONGREGATION OF ZIMBABWE


During July 1991 we shall be celebrating the 60th Anniversary of
the foundation of our Congregation and at this point I am
particularly privileged that my Executive and I have in some small
way contributed to its continued development
The past few years have been anything but easy for us and it is a
credit to the resilience and dedication of past and present Executive
Committees, members of our lay Committee and all members of this
Congregation that we have not only resolutely faced our difficulties
but have to a measure overcome them and attained many of our set
goals
It is most gratifying to note the evident resurgence in pride which
congregants now feel for not only belonging to this Congregation but
also by participating in its activities. Whilst this is in itself an
achievement, our efforts should not stop here The reason for our
existence is not merely to ensure full Synagogues on the Sabbath


and other Holy Days but more important to fill our Congregants with
an awareness of their Heritage and Judaism We must have more
functions to do with the Synagogue so that we may make it the
centre of our lives and activity.
Whilst we can look back on the past 60 years with a real sense of
achievement, it is my hope that the lessons leart from the efforts
and dedication of our past members will act as an inspiration to re-
instil in all of us a sense of pride in belonging to this Congregation, a
sense of pride in our origins and heritage and a sense of pride in
being Sephardi Jews
It is my pleasure and privilege to congratulate the Sephardi Hebrew
Congregation of Zimbabwe on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary
of its foundation and to extend to all its members my best wishes for
its continued unity, prosperity and good fortune


































ALPHONSE (AL) JUDAH NAIM MR DAVID KAY


He was born in London on the 6th February 1914 and soon
afterwards he and his parents went to Egypt before the first world
war. He spent 12 years in Alexandria and four in Cairo attending
English schools.
He came to Zimbabwe in 1930 en route to Zaire where he spent 2
years, then another year in Zambia after which he returned to
Harare in 1933.
He served part time in the Royal Rhodesia Regiment and the
Salisbury Volunteer Corps from 1934 to July 1940. In August 1940
he was called up for full time service. July 1942 he was posted to
the Royal Army Ordinance Corps in Egypt then in January 1943 he
joined the 6th. South African Armoured Division. With the Division
he went to Italy serving with Motor Transport because of his
technical background With his knowledge of Italian, he was also
useful in certain areas as an interpreter. In December 1945 he was
repatriated home and discharged on the 30th January 1946.
He rejoined the Motor Trade in which he had started in 1934.
In November 1946 he married Freda (Babs) Mary Benatar (nee
Sklar). Al and Babs have 2 children, Mark and Linda
In 1949 he and Cyril Landau bought Dominion Garage which name
was eventually changed to Naim's Motor Supplies (Pvt) Ltd. He
served on the executive of the Motor Trade Association, rising to be
Chairman of the Wholesalers Section until the firm was sold in
1975.
He joined the Sephardi Synagogue choir in the early fifties and with
the blessing of the late well loved and respected Dr. Rabbi M. Papo
introduced the tune of the'Shema he knew from his early days in
Alexandria He also served on the Synagogue Committee and was
Vice President from 1981 to 1983 and President from 1984 to
1987.


David Kay was bom in Tel Aviv on 23rd September, 1935. On
completion of his studies at the Motor Industries Technical College,
he served in the Israeli army until 1955. In 1958, he graduated from
the Israeli Institute of Engineering and decided to emigrate to this
country. He arrived in 1958 and soon became active in communal
affairs. He was active as President of the congregation for four
consecutive years which included the Golden Jubilee Year of 1981.
He has served on numerous committees of the congregation and
has been a very active member.
David has involved himself in community services as welL For the
past 20 years he has been a member of Lions Club International In
1985 he served as President of Lions Club of the Phoenix. In 1989
he was appointed to serve as Cabinet Member for District 412 as
District Chairman for the Aged which covers Botswana, Malawi and
Zimbabwe He has continued to hold this position for the past three
years.
He is a keen golfer and has served as Captain of Wingate Golf Club.
More recently, however, he has become an enthusiastic bowler.


He regularly attends Synagogue services Friday nights and
Saturday mornings and still sings in the choir, one of his great joys.






M J C 5 E 3E


MESSAGE FROM
MRS. MURIEL E. ROSIN,
PRESIDENT, C.A. JEWISH BOARD MESSAGE FROM MRADOLF LEON,
OF DEPUTIES PRESIDENT, CENTRAL AFRICAN
ZIONIST ORGANISATION


On my own behalf and on that of the other Hon Officers, Councils
and members of the Central African Jewish Board of Deputies, it
gives me much pleasure to extend to the Sephardi Hebrew
Congregation of Harare our heartiest congratulations on the
occasion of their Sixtieth Anniversary.
The Sephardi Community has, at all times, been a valuable asset to
the Board and many of their members have, and still do, hold office
thereon In fact the whole concept of forming a Jewish Board of
Deputies in this country was first conceived by the then President of
the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation.
The Sephardi Congregation is an integral part of the Board and
together with the three other Congregations and the various
Institutions which make up its Councils, has at all times played a
valuable and useful part in its deliberations. On many occasions, we
have been most appreciative of the loan of the Rodis Hall for various
functions and meetings; we have also greatly valued the contribution
from the Congregation itself as well as from the very fine spiritual
leaders who led it in the past
We wish you all the very best on your Anniversary, commend you on
the manner in which you have kept your Congregation alive and
viable without professional spiritual leadership over the past few
years, and we trust that you will continue to flourish as a viable
Congregation for many years to coma


MESSAGE FROM MR. H. COHEN,
PRESIDENT HARARE HEBREW
CONGREGATION
On behalf of my Executive, Committee and members of the Harare
Hebrew Congregation, I would like to take this opportunity of
expressing heartiest congratulations and good wishes on the
occasion of your 60th Anniversary... quite a milestone in the history
of the Sephardi Congregation!
May you have a joyful and successful year and grow from strength
to strength.


On behalf of the Central African Zionist Organisation and myself, it
gives me great pleasure to send you greetings on this, the 60th
Anniversary of your congregation.
We, in Cazo, recall, with pleasure, the warmth and enthusiasm with
which all your members have always supported and continue to
support Zionism in Zimbabwe by contributing generously whenever
called upon to do so. Most importantly, we sincerely appreciate their
being actively engaged in Cazo's various committees even to the
extent of making Aliyah, which is the ultimate aim of Zionism, and
carrying on with their sterling work in Israel
In spite of your depleted numbers, your unwavering support for
Israel, Zionism, and our community in general has not diminished
Your influence to this day is very much felt and appreciated and I
hope it will carry on for as long as possible in peace and harmony for
the benefit of all our people, both here, Israel and the world over.


MESSAGE FROM
MRS DOROTHY MELTZER,
PRESIDENT, ZIMBABWE
PROGRESSIVE JEWISH
CONGREGATION
The Zimbabwe Progressive Jewish Congregation sends sincere
congratulations to the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation on their
attaining 60 years of service to their Community.
We thank them for all the practical help, and support, they have
given our Congregation since its inception We do appreciate this
very much. We rejoice with them as they celebrate this special
anniversary and give our Best Wishes for the future.


G 3 Cal EDSG(S33SaC


02 E ED2G(ED E2Gi


ESun)G= GOaEE









MESSAGE FROM
DAYAN DR. P. TOLEDANO
Ab Beth Din Spanish and Portuguese
Jews of England
With praise and thanksgiving to the Almight we are today
celebrating the 60th Anniversary of our Sephardi Congregation. Our
fathers in their wisdom and far-sightedness have built not only a
beautiful Synagogue but also a communal hall, mikvah and indeed a
small temple for our children. All this has been erected in order to
preserve our Sephardi heritage. It was built with the hearts and
souls of our people in order to retain the eternal values of Juadism. It
was built not only to celebrate communal events but also to find an
opportunity to come here in times of stress and joy, to pour out our
heart and soul to our Maker who dwells in this sanctuary.
The Torah tells us that the Almighty asked Moses that every seven
years on Succot of the sabbatical year all Israel should come to the
place which the Almighty would choose- namely to the temple in
Jerusalem so that the Torah would be read before them. "You will
gather the people, men, women, children and the stranger within
thine gates so that they will come and hear the word of the Lord that
they should learn and fear the Lord".
Our Sages tell us that men came to learn, women to listen to the
words of the Torah and the children were brought so that their
parents would have their reward for bringing them to the house of
God. This teaches us that men and women share the same duty not
only for the preservation of the sanctuary but also to study Torah
and to convey the message to their children.
The sanctuary, therefore, was not to be merely a house of prayer but
also a place of study, a place where the people leart to know each
other, love each other and be responsible for each other.
When this sacred building was erected it was the intention of the
founders that in this place there should also be a talmud torah
(school) for the children, for children are indeed the backbone of
every community.
Judaism, therefore, does not merely recognize a Synagogue as a
place of prayer but also as a"Bet-HaKnesset" a place of gathering
in which prayer, study and charitable work are exercised. The
celebration is meaningless if we do not realise our responsibility
towards our Maker and our people. Let us, therefore, make every
effort by attending and maintaining the Synagogue. Finally, let us
work together in harmony and maintain a strong and viable
congregation. Only when co-operation and shalom prevail among
us, can our community go from strength to strength.
In conclusion, our Sages tell us that at the dedication of the
Tabernacle in the wilderness, Moses blessed the Israelites with the
following blessing which I feel is also appropriate for our Sephardi
Kahal in Harare. "And let the beauty of the Lord, our God be upon us;
and may you cause the work of our hands to inspire us. And may this
Synagogue which we have built in honour of your glory be the means
by which we may come closer to you."
AMEN


rc = M6*1 csSMJ 1


MESSAGE FROM RABBI R. SUIZA
SEPHARDI HEBREW
CONGREGATION CAPE TOWN

It is now sixty years since this wonderful Sephardi Hebrew
Congregation of Harare was established. It became the communal
centre and the haven to all the "Sephardim" in this wonderful
country at the time and it continues to be so to the present day.
The "Kehilah" has, for the Sephardi Jews, always been not just a
place of worship but also the meeting place and the centre of our
Jewish expression and the continuity of our customs and traditions.
This warm and prestigious community has served as an incredible
source of strength in uniting and educating the present and future
generations, as well as inculcating a sense of pride and belonging, to
all its members.
I am proud to have served this Congregation for a period of seven
years and I am grateful that the "Almighty" granted me the
opportunity of gaining communal experience in my rabbinical career
together with the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Harare and its
prestigious leadership.
May the good Lord continue to bless all the dedicated members of
your Congregation and may the next sixty years be as fruitful and
productive as they have been in the past
R SUIZA


STELLA COHEN,
HONORARY CHAIRLADY FOR LIFE
CLAIRETTE ALHADEFF AND
RACHEL HANAN CHAIRLADY,
1991

FROM THE LADIES' SOCIETY
Our celebration of our 60th Anniversary falls on the eve of 1992.
This will be a time of interest in Sephardi Jews with world attention
focused on our pride and in our history and culture. It is a time for the
revival of great love and intense pride in our language, Ladino.
EL DIO QUE MOS AYEGHE A CELEBRAR MUNCHOS TROS ANOS
IN PAZ Y FELICIDAD


G BiGCESiESE3=F 5







THE FOUNDATION HISTORY 1931

By Solly Alhadeff
stalwarts had taken the plunge, the acorn was planted, the sapling
was to flourish and become the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation.


Solly Alhadeff


Let me start this article by retelling a story- the logic of which has
always interested me:
"A Rabbi was once passing through a field where he saw a very
old man planting an oak tree.
"Why are you planting that tree?" said he. You surely do not
expect to live long enough to see the acorn growing up into an
oak tree?"
"Ah," replied the old man, "My ancestors planted trees not for
themselves, but for us, in order that we might enjoy their shade or
their fruit I am doing likewise for those who will come after me."
Whilst a handful of our forefathers from Rhodes Island had already
passed through or settled in this country at the beginning of the
century, amongst them my late father, Marco Alhadeff, it was only
from 1907 onwards that a much larger influx began to arrive,
encouraged by the regular reports sent by my late father to Rhodes
Island, spurring them to come out to make a success in a new
country. Fortunately biblical Hebrew was recognized as an official
qualifying language for new immigrants and this is how the majority
of our ancestors were gladly admitted into this new pioneering
country.
For want of members the local Sephardi Jews were members of the
Salisbury Hebrew Congregation, with a yearning always to have a
congregation of their mother community of Rhodes Island
In 1931 this desire was finally achieved, when, with the persuasion
of the late Marco Alhadeff, B.D. Almeleh and J.C. Benatar separate
services for the High Festivals were held in the Duthie Hall, then
located at the corner of Jameson Avenue and First Street The


Mr J.C. Benatar arrived here in 1906, becoming a founder member,
serving on the committee and as chairman of the Hevra Kadisha He
played an important role in assisting new Sephardi arrivals. He
intervened with police and immigration authorities on behalf of
those who had problems For over a year his home at 86 Salisbury
Street, was used as a Hebrew school
In those days by far the largest percentage of the Sephardi Jews
were established in business enterprise scattered in all comers of
the country viz
Elie Capelluto at Chakari, the Hassons, the Fereras, the Scemarias
chose Gatooma, Mardoche and Joe Tarica in Darwendale, the
Leons, Amatos, Merdjans and the Trevis family in Eiffel Flats, whilst
the Menashe family were in force at Que Que, others, too numerous
to mention had settled in places like Shamva, Shabani, Penalonga,
Bindura and Selukwe.
It will serve as an indication as to the strength of the community and
their happiness at being able to have separate services, when it is
realized that the Minyan numbered considerably over 100 from the
outlying districts who had come for the High Festival services The
sweetness of incantation, in the Rhodes Island manner had touched
a long forgotten chord to all who were present Problems there were
many, but with perseverance and resolution they were surmounted
and the three active leaders, as a team, now set about their task of
forming a permanent society.
The first general meeting of the newly formed society bore the
unwieldy name of the Hebrew Sephardic Society of Rhodesia,
taking place in the Palace Theatre on Sunday 18th October 1931.
Mr. B.D. Almeleh was elected to the Chair and Mr. J.N. Alhadeff was
the able, active Secretary. The Chairman explained in detail that the
population of Sephardi Jews had now reached such numbers that it
had become essential that a Society of this nature should be formed
for the purpose of looking after their social happiness and to their
religious and burial needs.
The members were wildly enthusiastic and besides themselves
with joy at the formation of the new Society and even entrenched a
clause in the Constitution that a unanimous 100% acceptance was
necessary in the event of a dissolution or disbursement of the new
Society.
THE FIRST OFFICIALS 1931-32
President Mr. B.D. Almeleh
Vice President Mr. Behor Alhadeff
Treasurer Mr. M. Tarica
Secretary: Mr. J.N. Alhadeff
Committee: Townr Messrs David Franco, AN. Alhadeff, H.S. Leon
and Isaac Mizrahi
Country: Mr. J.S. Benatar for Gwek/Victoria
Mr. Albert Leon for Mazoe District
Mr. Leon Ferera for Gatooma District
Chairman: Hevra Kadisha Mr J.C. Benatar
Gabbai: Mr. Marco Alhadeff
A big Sepher Torah was procured, with beautiful scroll work,
exquisite mantling and silver appointments to replace the three very
small ones, which up to now, had been used more in a symbolic































The temporary place of worship In Montague Avenue, while the Synagogue was under construction in
the early 1950's.


sense than for their utility, and at the first lively ceremony of Seum
Hatorah, the ritual for the completion of the scroll in the time
honoured manner of writing in an initial, the vast sum then of 200
was realized in order to purchase the two Silver Teaks (religious
scrolls) which adorn and grace our Ark.
At no time was the Hebrew education of the growing children
allowed to lapse. Mr B.D. Almeleh taking it upon himself to tutor and
see that those who had started off their studies in the Ashkenazi
way reverted to the Sephardi manner of pronunciation. The first
Barmitzvah to be celebrated in this manner was that of the writer-
an occasion of great jubilation and festivity within the new
community.


Our 1931 story is told Anniversaries are occasions not only for
celebrating and revering the past, but also give us an opportunity to
take stock of ourselves and to resolve to conduct ourselves in such
a way as will enable those who follow to have cause to celebrate
anniversaries in the future.
Time, of course, brings many changes. Circumstances have
drastically reduced our numbers, but let those of us who keep the
fruits of our lovely community remember with pride and gratitude
those three stalwart and gallant gentlemen who in 1931, planted
the tree and founded our Sephardi Hebrew Congregation.


The staff of the Sephardl complex who have given the congregation many years of loyal service. L to R:
Camillo Chldumba (26 years), James Muzawazi (22 years) and Paul Nyahotsi (18 years).








THE EARLY YEARS


In the early years the young Hebrew Sephardi Society of Rhodesia,
had no permanent home and services were held in various venues,
as divergent as hired halls and private homes. On 9th September,
1934 at the fourth annual general meeting of the congregation, it
was decided to purchase a stand in what was then known as
Jameson Avenue. In 1940 an adjacent stand was purchased at the
instigation of Mr I.R. Rosin and shortly thereafter the Sephardi Hall
was built It was the first true home of the Sephardi community in
this country and served as a place of worship, a school and a
communal centre./
In 1 944 Mr. I.R. Rosin approached the Chief Rabbiof CapeTown, Dr.
Abrahams, regarding the employment of a minister for the
congregation. Up until that time the founders of the community, all
of them lay men, had guided the congregation and attended the
services and instruction of the children. But obviously, as the
community grew, so the need for a Rabbi became more pressing.
Dr. Abrahams recommended Rabbi Dr. M. Papo who at that time
was serving in Manchester. Dr. Papo was persuaded to come to
Africa and arrived in 1944. It was the beginning of just under 20
years of distinguished and selfless service. From the beginning Dr.
Papo took a keen interest in the affairs of the young congregation.
He introduced children's services and brought out news bulletins.
His saintliness and inspired teachings helped tremendously towards
the development of the community.
In January 1953 the S.N. Alhadeff Nursery School was opened
under the supervision of the late Mrs. Clara Mogilnic, a qualified
nursery school teacher. The first three children in fact they were
the sum total of pupils were Bella King, Marc Naim and Victor
Hasson. By the second term the numbers however had risen to
twenty-five children. The nursery school has continued from that
time and now, with Mrs. Eileen Allan as its principle, has more than
ninety pupils and a reputation (among Jew and gentile alike) as one
of the best nursery schools in the country.
But just as the institutes of learning under the wing of the Sephardi
community had to grow, so did the community itself. It became
apparent that the hall on Jameson Avenue would not suffice. In
1951 Mr. I.R Rosin was instrumental in purchasing the site where
our community centre now stands. Shortly after the hall was sold
and work began on the new complex. The Rhodes Community
Memorial Hall was the first building to be erected and served
initially the dual purpose of synagogue and community centre.
In 1957 work began on the Sha'are Shalom synagogue. When the
architectural plans were first discussed, some members pressed for
a more modern, inovated building. But the majority looked for a
synagogue in the classic tradition, a building built with simple lines
with a warm dignified interior.
The synagogue was consecrated on the 1st June, 1958. On that
occasion the Haham, Dr. S. Goan, was a distinguished guest along
with the Governor of Southern Rhodesia, Lord Dalhousie.
But the centre was to see more expansion In 1961 the foundations
were laid for the Samuel Leon Hebrew School The school was
officially opened on Sunday 13th May, 1962.


In January 1960, Rev. S.R. Ichay was appointed associate minister
of the congregation. He too showed a keen interest in the youth and
introduced post barmitzvah classes, arranging for the youth to
partake more fully in Shabbat evening "youth" services In 1963,
upon the retirement of Dr. Papo to Vienna, Rev. Ichay took over as
minister. He held the appointment for five years until he moved to
Atlanta, Georgia, where he is now the Rabbi to the Sephardi
community.
In 1967 Reverend I. Benzaquen joined as assistant minister and
was inaugurated as a Rabbi in 1974. He too was popular with the
youth. In 1976 he emigrated to Brazil and was succeeded by the
Rev. R Suiza who served as minister until 1979 when he emigrated
to South Africa where he is now the minister with the Sephardi
community in Cape Town.
From its inauguration in 1931 until the early seventies, the
Sephardi community in Zimbabwe grew from strength to strength.
Inthe mid seventies, however, the political uncertainty(made worse
by the growing war), took its toll of the Sephardi community as it did
every other community in the country. Slowly the numbers of the
community have shrunk but the work of the community has not
Today we may be back in the days when we had to rely on lay
religious leaders. But it is sincerely hoped that this will only be
temporary.
During the sixty years of its span, the congregation has produced
leaders in every walk of life. It has counted amongst its numbers
University Professors, Judges, Doctors, Attorneys and Advocates,
Chemists, Industrialists, Social workers and honest hard working
citizens. The Sephardim have etched a proud record of history of
this country. They have proved themselves to be hard working,
industrious community and it can only be prayed that the years
ahead will allow it to gather strength and build its numbers again.
A photograph taken in 1937 at the Eiffel Flats
near Gatooma. Seated on the boot are Moshe
Amato and Rachel Hasson. On the running board
are Sam Hanan and Allegra Trevis.







A TRIBUTE TO KIPPS ROSIN


MR. I.R. ROSIN OBE, M.D. FRCS

Now in his eighty-eighth year, Mr I.R Rosin OBE, FRCS,
affectionately known as Kipps Rosin, a man with a distinguished
professional career behind him as a surgeon, was made Honorary
Life President of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation in 1970. This
was a singular honour bestowed by a community in the main
transplanted from Rhodes, upon a man who could trace no ancestry
to that island. Kipps Rosin's influence upon the Sephardi community
is an example of how out of sadness, and perhaps a certain
bitterness, good and powerful things grow.
In 1935 Kipps Rosin became disenchanted with the Salisbury
Ashkenazi Congregation for the manner in which he felt it had
treated his father, the late Rabbi Joseph Julius Rosin, after eighteen
years of service.
It was the young Aron King who encouraged him to approach the
fledgling Sephardi community, then some four years old, and
conducting their services according to Rodis traditions. Kipps joined
for Rosh Hashana and remembers that "They welcomed me with
open arms."
While training as a houseman in Manchester, Kipps attended the
Withington Sephardi Synagogue, where the Rabbi had extended a
warm hospitality. Enjoying a similar hospitality in Salisbury, Kipps
asked if he could join the young congregation, was accepted and
even preached a sermon at the high festivals. This was the
beginning of a long custom and since 1935 Kipps has given
countless sermons to his congregation.
Soon his influence was being felt In 1938 he served his first term as
president "If we were going to be a congregation, we had to be a
proper congregation," he recalled. "We could not wander around
with the Sefer Torah in a suitcase, and take a hall here and a home


there for our Festivals. We had children growing up. We had to teach
them to be Jews. We had to find a Rabbi." During his many terms of
office as president a piece of land was acquired in Jameson Avenue
(Samora Machel Ave.) and the first Sephardi Hall erected.
It was now essential to have a Minister and through Chief Rabbi I
Abrahams in Cape Town contacted a Sephardi Rabbi one who had
been an inmate of Dachau concentration camp. He was Rabbi
Manfred Papo who came to Rhodesia in 1944.
Kipps remembers that General Smuts had to give special permission
for him to travel up from the Cape to Rhodesia, in those war years,
Dr Papo was an Austrian, considered in theory an enemy alien.
There were the more subtle and complex problems of trying to
harmonise the old Rhodes Island traditions with the needs of a
modem congregation. "This was not always easy," he recalls Many
of the old Sephardis wished to stick to the old Turkish ways. But
slowly the necessary transformations were made. In this I had
tremendous support from B.D. Almeleh, B.S. Leon, J.N. Alhadeff,
Saul Alhadeff and Salvatore Alhadeff."
In all, Kipps Rosin served sixteen years as president
He also made a tremendous impact on television viewers in the
1960's when he appeared on a religious programme "Viewpoint", in
which members of the Christian and Jewish faith exchanged views.
He cleared up many misconceptions Gentiles had about the Jewish
faith even to the extent that many wrote letters expressing the wish
to convert to Judaism.
Perhaps the crowning culmination of his work was the building of
the Sha'are Shalom Synagogue and the Rhodes Community
Memorial Hall. He conceived the complex, was the mastermind
behind the plans and with tireless support of AI. Menashe, saw the
centre become brick and mortar.
He recalls that one of the golden moments of his life, was the
consecration of the synagogue in 1953. The building was packed.
Dignitaries consisted of the Governor General, the Governor and the
Mayor, all in morning coats and top hats. He was Master of
Ceremonies that day and had the honour of escorting Lord
Dalhousie. The ceremony was conducted by the Haham Dr Salamon
Gaon assisted by Dr Papo.
Despite the fact that he comes from an Ashkenazi background,
Kipps still believes that the Sephardi Community must retain its
own identity. "I do not believe in religious tribalism," he says, "but
the Sephardi community has many beautiful traditions and rituals
which should not be submerged to those of another community." He
believes that all communities should work in harmony, each of them
in their own separate ways towards the greater glory of Judaism.
Kipps Rosin is now semi-retired but remains passionately interested
in the affairs of the congregation and still delivers the occasional
sermon. His message throughout his life to Jews and non-Jews
alike is that Judaism is not a dogmatic religion but a way of life.




































The Hon. Life Gabbal, Mr Raphael Menashe, holds one of the Sepher Torahs which were brought to
this country from Rhodes Island. The Sepharim In the orante casks are from Baghdad. A number of
Sepharim were donated in the 1970's to the Sephardl communities in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Sepharim are never purchased by a congregation, but are loaned to it by other congregations, or
donated by congregants in memory of relatives.


FOR OUTSTANDING SERVICES


In recognition of his outstanding services to the congregation, Mr
Raphael Jacob Menashe, had the title of Honorary Life Gabbai
bestowed upon him by the committee in 1980.
In the past ten years, Mr Menashe has continued to take upon
himself the task of Hazan, and to lead the services in the Kehila In
the absence of a minister he conducts the burial services and is
always available for Zehirot
Born in Rhodes Island in 1911, R.J. Menashe emigrated to Rhodesia
in 1936, settling in Salisbury where he immediately became a
member of the congregation. He established himself as a merchant
here and in later years as a clothing manufacturer.
He has served on the committee and in the early 1970's, assisted in
the conducting of religious services. During Rabbi Benzaquen's
absence on sabbatical leave, he conducted the services and recalls
that in that year there were twelve barmitzvahs
In 1946, he married Regina Hasson, a survivor of Auschwitz. They
were married in the Salisbury Street Synagogue.
In 1979, he succeeded Leon Mayo as Gabbai to the congregation
and the following year the honorary life title was bestowed upon
him Throughout this period of service he endeavoured to keep the


beautiful and cherished traditions of Rodis He has indicated that
he feels a moral obligation to keep these traditions going, but now
that he is in his eightieth year he would welcome a gradual
retirement

THE GABBAIS

In the early 1930's before the congregation was able to take on the
services of a Minister, it has been the Gabbais who have given
spiritual leadership in the services of the community. They have
continued their work even during those periods when the community
had its own Minister. It is a task requiring considerable devotion and
the Sephardi congregation has been particularly honoured to have a
succession of such competent and dedicated men:-
Marco Alhadeff, the community first Gabbai
Behor David Almeleh, the first Hon. Life Gabbai Emeritus
Salvatore Alhadeff, Gabbai and first Hebrew teacher;
Santo Codron;
Joseph Menashe;
Leon Mayo;
Raphael Menashe, Hon. Life Gabbai Emeritus
Jacques Hasson; Leon Hanan assistant GabbaL










CHEVRA KADDISHAH

The Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Zimbabwe is particularly
fortunate in being the only Sephardi Congregation south of the
equator which boasts of the fact that it has a completely voluntary
Chevra Kaddishah. From its inception the Congregation has had
dedicated service from both men and women who have served in
this indispensable organisation.
The Congregation acknowledges the part played by, and pays
tribute to such past members on the mens' Committee as
J.C. Benatar, J.N. Alhadeff, I.B. Benatar, V. Israel, S.N. Alhadeff,
A.I. Menashe, M. Franco, B. Alhadeff, M. Strugo, J.Amafo,
V. Alhadeff, M. Dozetos and I.E Menashe; and on the Ladies
Committee, V. Amato, EN. Levy, M. Galante, C. Soriano,
F. Menashe, F. Capelouto, LR Surmany, E Alhadeff, H. Ben Yehuda,
R. Benatar, B. Krikler, E. Bondi, S. Piha and D. Hasson.
If we have Inadvertently omitted anyone's name, we apologise in
advance and would explain that most of our records were sent to
Israel and were not available at time of printing.
To present members of this Organisation, we express'the hope that
they will continue to perform their Holy work in the highest
traditions of our faith and our forebearers.


MESSAGE FROM THE
PRESIDENT OF THE
SEPHARDI HEBREW
CONGREGATATION OF CAPE TOWN

It is a pleasure for me, on the occasion of your Diamond Jubilee, to
extend greetings and good wishes to the Congregation.
Your congregation ought to be proud of its past achievements for
upholding Sephardi ideals, traditions and customs and for all the
efforts presently being made to safeguard our rich heritage.
Although numerically small I am sure that your future endeavours
will be as fruitful and successful as in the past years
In a few months time Sephardi communities throughout the world
will commemorate the Quincentenial anniversary of the expulsion of
the Jews from Spain in 1492, and it is indeed of historic value and
significance to know that this commemoration, which is a tribute to
the survival of Sephardi culture, will also be held in Zimbabwe
On behalf of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Cape Town I
congratulate you on your 60th anniversary and may you be blessed
to go from strength to strength.
Cordial Shalom.


MOISE SORIANO
PRESIDENT


FROMC ) C JC .)


MESSAGE FROM
MR DOREL BEER,
PRESIDENT, JOHANNESBURG
SEPHARDI HEBREW
CONGREGATION

Not only in my capacity as President of the Johannesburg Sephardi
Hebrew Congregation, but also as a past member of your
community for 20 years, it is with great pleasure and honour that I
have been asked to send a message to your Congregation on the
occasion of your 60th Anniversary.
I want to take this opportunity on behalf of myself, my Executive,
Committee and, indeed the entire Congregation, to wish you all a
very happy, prosperous and successful future. May God Almighty
guide you and help you to continue the progress in the work for
Hashem and your Community.
Yours sincerely
DOREL BEER
PRESIDENT



E)C JC .) XfCgC.) gI&3ga


The Gabbal, Mr Jacques Hasson, kindles the
eternal light above the Ark where the Sepher
Torah's are kept. The lamps burns olive oil upon
which a cotton wick is placed.





































Ladles Committee 1991
Seated Lto R: Mesdames Vivian Codron, Clalrette Alhadeff, Stella Cohen, Marle Scemarla. Standing L
to R: Ray Cohen, Sarah Shapiro, Nelly Israel, Betty Bondi and Allegra Trevis. Inset left: Sarah Benatar
and Rachel Hanan.


THE LADIES SOCIETY


Following a meeting called by Mrs Sarina Koblenz, the Sephardi
Ladies Society came into being in 1954. The first chairlady was Mrs
Amelie Benatar- a position she was to fill for six consecutive years.
On the original committee is Mrs Sarah Shapiro who is still a
serving member of the society.
The original committee comprised the following:-
Chairlady: Mrs Amelie Benatar
Vice-Chairlady Mrs Sarina Koblenz
Co-secretaries: Mesdames, Ruth Ferrera and Sarah Shapiro
Committee Members: Mesdames Behora Alhadeff, Perla Alhadeff,
Rosa Ferrera, Alegra Hasson, Rica Menashe, Rachel Surmany and
Rebecca Tarica.
This society is an often unsung, but nonetheless vital organisation
which keeps the day to day running of the community so well oiled.
The duties of the ladies are to attend to the upkeep of the
synagogue, to visit Jewish patients in hospital, to assist in raising
funds for the congregation and especially to cater for Barmitzvahs,
weddings and festivals. Over the years the society has done sterling
work for the congregation.
In 1987 under the chairmanship of Mrs Stella Cohen a publication
"Sephardi Cuisine" proved very popular and raised a considerable
sum for the congregation.


The chairladies of the society, since its inception have been as
follows:-
1954 Amelie Benatar
1955 Amelie Benatar
1956 Amelie Benatar
1958 Amelie Benatar
1959 Amelie Benatar
1960 Amelie Benatar
1961 Sarah Shapiro, Rachel Roditi
1962 Sarah Shapiro, Ettie Mizrahi
1963 Amelie Benatar
1964 Justine Piha
1965 Camilla Soriano
1966 Camilla Soriano
1967 Camilla Soriano
1968 Camilla Soriano
1969 Camilla Soriano
1970 Sarah Shapiro
1971 Rosie Benatar
1972 Camilla Soriano, Rosy Benatar
1973 Vivianne Capelluto, Ketty Amato
1974 Eve Bondi, Rosy Benatar
1975 Eve Bondi Rosy Benatar































The Sephardi Ladles Committee 1981
Seated L to R: Mesdames Yvonne Kay, Doris Menashe, Becky Krikler, Eve Bondi, Freda "Babs" Nalm and
Rosie Benatar. Standing: Mesdames Elsie Alhadeff, Rachel Surmany, Miriam Surmany, Katie Dozetos,
Rachel Hanan, Suzanne Alhadeff and Betty Rodman. Not In photo: Stella Cohen.


Etty Mizrahi, Lydia Marks, Betty Rodman
Rosie Benatar, Babs Naim
Babs Naim, Doris Menashe
Rosy Benatar, Gene Trevis


1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1988
1989
1990
1991


Becky Krikler, Sarah Shapiro
Stella Cohen
Stella Cohen
Stella Cohen
Stella Cohen
Stella Cohen
Donna Hasson (July)
Donna Hasson
Clairette Alhadeff, Stella Cohen & Rachel Hanan
Clairette Alhadeff, Stella Cohen & Rachel Hanan


MRS SOL TREVIS, who at ninety eight years of
age is the oldest emigrant from Rhodes Island,
where she was born on June 13th, 1893.
Together with many other Rodislis she was
brought out by her brother Mr B.S. Leon in 1920.
In Rhodes she had married MrJackTrevis and on
arrival In Rhodesia settled at the Eiffel Flats near
Kadoma.


1976
1977
1978
1979







OUR CHOIR
A very novel and interesting innovation on the educational faculty of
the congregation was the start in 1946 of a choir. Under the
guidance of the late Salvator Alhadeff and Leonid Bersin the choir
then consisted of the young pupils of our Hebrew School and was
limited solely to the youth services. Mr Leon Hanan a foundation
member was also instrumental in the formation of the choir. He is
still a member and sings regularly at the Shabat evening services.

In 1947, Stella Alhadeff, a music graduate of the Cape Town
University, willingly gave of her services and together with the
blessing and co-operation of the late Rabbi Dr. Papo succeeded in
achieving outstanding results with the new choir which now had
attracted the adult members of the congregation.

The present choir is still called upon to participate in several varied
functions within the Jewish community. To them we extend our
grateful and sincere thanks for their extreme loyalty and the The Sephardl Choir In 1981
wonderful and important contribution they have made to our From Lto R: Mrs Stella Alhadeff, Mrs Rose Leon,
Sephardi congregation. Mr Al Nalm, Mr David Arenson, Mrs Esther
Arenson, Mr Leon Hanan and Mr Jack Benatar.


The Sephardl Choir In 1991
In recentyears It has been Mr. Al Naim who has keptthe choir going by recruiting new members. One of
the highlights of the Shabat evening services has been Mr Nalm's moving singing proclamation of the
"Shema", a tradition he has kept for over twenty years.
From Lto R: Mr Leon Hanan, Daniel Hasson, Joey Hasson, Sadoc Codron, Al Naim, Babs Nalm, Rose
Leon, Avron Alhadeff, Mary Levinsohn. Inset Esther Arenson and Stella Alhadeff.














In 1981 the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation celebrated its i
S Golden Jubilee with a banquet and thanksgiving service, at
which the guest of honour was the Haham of the World
Sephardi Federation, Dr Solomon Gaon. On these pages are I
reports published in the Jewish press. The banquet was
attended by 350 people. Three hundred copies of com-
memorative books were printed. Each family within the
congregation received a copy, many other copies found their C
way to relatives and friends in other countries. This year due
to the anticipated demand from congregants four hundred i
\ opies have been printed. fr v

on, G ounr in.t OF the
a h8 J ie abbi of e, p se ts

Ulity.









A optimistic report on the future 2"e t eo hon ue J ar H.
of the Zimbabwe r Jewish community i S ~ ChS ded n aioio e ae
has been given by Dr Solomon Gaon, gou toard of e a dabal f e the en l s.
the Haham of the World Sephardi V bre eRat ,oept. ie, Pe e o
Federation, on his return to London th og ate rsi p, e' t
after attending the fiftiethanniversary e eer os lihe ,b sent o
I e rident o y Ue at the s



m tawe bSep h ardi community in ol e d oua. t ry
"I found no tistisemitism during my e present e ryoan s o 1 on ,
visit and indeed, no anti-Israel feelings Ldearsated was a eJob eo t c aton David o
among the indigenous s community," So s'e C l eat e le aO er
DrGaon told the JEWISH CHRONICLE. bew e RIt n tekRi y O, f the
Dr Gaon spent Yom Kippur and tho eo Cm 1.yeeort ona ition f o was
part of Succot with th thweZimbabwe ryd ohp as 8o lnaive "eof i.1o
Sephardi community, and addressed eousalde4no Oud no a.f idby Gofthe Zi r
the congregation at several services in ClnGun i.AIsrae lelti aon hiefbawe
the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Mr I. R.Ron, DrolomIoI Go., Mr DW M d'MrI.J.t Meswh asy lee eaon h id. elig'n durj ri eturlr
"I found no ntisemitism during my resee b.iratio"l ed. an 'L

It was his first visit since 260 people,a nearly l Salisb'ury's communities had been the absence of ra e ige
Zimbabwe's independence in April, Sephardi community, attended a minister until recently, but he o
1980, and he said that "both the synagogue, and Dr aon was praised the lay leadership, includinRONICLE. tion t the
V Sephardi and Ashkenazi (communi- particularly pleased that 45 per cent of Mr David Kay and Mr I. R. Rosin, th 1.ue *"-g ChriSt n eCoa.
ties) are given every religious the congregation was made up of president and honorary life president Dr e baku fIe
freedomm" teenagers. of. the Sephardi Hebrew Congrega- Sali8ij"g the 4 aneeo 8aid that ito
Dr Gaon added: "Although the There are some 400 members in the tretion. O f ls118
State (Zimbabwe) has not yet Ashkenazi community and there is Rabbi Stimon Assaraf, a graduate Ue and dathe
recognized Israel, there is no anti- also a small Progressive congregation of the Judith ady Montefiore College t or aone i
Zionist activity and Jewish help in in the capital,. in London, was nowmianistering to the h abdere tee oeyo Pafti tu a enlea o
building the new nation is welcomed." Dr Gaon said that a main problem Sephardi community, Dr Gaon- he thtre lis e on rt rleas the Ofa-
During the High Holy-dayts, some of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi added. A nai it toa toat er
There are some 400 members in the tion.t


During the High Holy-days, some -of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi added. '1malLhMdea fZ 45per
























The Sephardi Committee 1991
Seated L to R: Leon Hanan, Victor Alhadeff (Vice President), Sam Benatar (President), Phillip Hasson
(Hon. Secretary), Jacque Hasson (Gabbal). Standing: Benny Leon, Bobby Krikler, Sadoc Codron,
Raphael Mizan, Isaac Menashe and Salvo Hanan.
Inset: Eddie Hasson, Victor Hasson, Marc Dozetos.


The Interior of the Sha'are Shalom Synagogue, Harare. Above the Ark are the shields of the twelve
tribes of Israel, and behind the curtain Is the organ which accompanies the choir during weddings.
The choir also leads the congregation on the Friday night Shabbat services. The synagogue was
consecrated In 1958.


W-
















































7;.
S-
C~ZK .A


The Reading of the Law -
around which synagogue
services are based- photo-
graph taken during an early
morning weekday service,
when a congregant cele-
brated his Barmitzvah.
Photography is not permit-
ted during the Sabbath. L
to R: Mr Arnold Roth, Mr
Leon Hanan assistant
Gabbai and Mr Isaac (Zac)
Menashe, who for many
years has taken it upon
himself to ensure that the
Torah, or Scroll of the
Law is ready to be opened
at the correct place for the
Shabbat morning service.











And thou shalt bind them for a sign
upon thine hand, and they shall be
frontlets between thine eyes. Deut
6:8. Mr Leon Hanan (70), who was
born in Rhodes, carries out the
commandments of the Torah, as he
teaches Avron Alhadeff to wear the
tefelin and read a portion of the Law in
preparation for his Barmitzvah this
year.














One of the highlights of 1990 was the
pastoral visit of Dayan Dr. Pinhas
Toledano, Av Beth Din of the Spanish
and Portuguese Synagogues of Great
Britain. L to R: Sam Benatar, Jacque
Hasson, Kipps Rosin, Dayan Toledano,
Raphael Menashe and Leon Hanan.


















The first communal Pesach
Hagadah held in the Rodis
Community Memorial Hall In
1990. Leading the opening
blessings are Lto R: Mr Jacques
Hasson, Gabbal, Mr Leon Hanan
and the Vice President Mr Victor
Alhadeff.















Members of the congregation
participating in the Hagadah are
L to R: Mrs Felice Hasson, Mrs
Dora Alhadeff, Mrs Vivian Codron,
Mr Sadoc Codron and the Presi-
dent, Mr Sam Benatar.















The Sephardi ladies preparing
food forthe communal Hagadah
are from L to R: Mrs Donna
Hasson, Mrs Elsie Alhadeff, Mrs
Lizette MIzan, Mrs Rosemary
Codron and Mrs Rosalie Hasson.


_f -^1r w La
0f







THE JEWS OF RHODES
(Extracts from Marc D Angel's Publication
of the same title)


The Kal Shalom In Rhodes. Built In the 1370's, destroyed in the seige of 1480 and rebuilt, then
ransacked afterthe Nazi deportation in 1944 and finally refurbished in the 1960's. It embodies
the spirit of La Juderia like a holy shrine, entombing the memories of the living and the dead. It
is the loyalty and dedication of Mme. Lucia Soulam that keeps open its doors and the only
remaining link with our past


The story of the Sephardi Community in Rhodes Island begins in
1523, when the forces of the Ottoman Empire conquered the Island,
and encouraged Jewish settlement there. The immigrants of that
time were the descendants of the victims of the expulsion of Jews
from Spain in 1492. The Island remained under Turkish rule until it
was occupied by the Italians in 1912 and later their Nazi allies who
deported nearly all its Jewish inhabitants to the death camps of
Europe. Today, only a handful of Jews live in Rhodes, no more than
half a dozen.
To study the past of the Sepharadim of Rhodes, one must go beyond
the accumulation of historical facts. One must make a study of the
people's inner life.
Rhodes Island lies in the Aegean Sea, approximately 12 miles off
the South West Asian Coast Its strategic location in the
Mediterranean, has made it the target of many battles and wars
over the centuries.
Alphonse de Lamartine, who passed through Rhodes in 1832 said,
"Any European Power who was Master of Rhodes, would hold at
once the key of the Archipelago of Greece, Smyrna, the Dardanelles,
and the seas of Egypt and Syria I do not know, in the world, of a
better Maritime Military Position, a finer climate, or a more prolific
soil"


Rhodes, at its extremes, is 20 miles wide and 45 miles long. It has a
mild climate and is a productive and scenic island. There are several
small towns and villages dotted along its picturesque coastline.
Historical Background
There are various traditions and Legends which describe the origin
of human civilization of Rhodes. According to biblical tradition, the
inhabitants of Rhodes derived from Rodanim, son of Javan, son of
Japeth, son of Noah, who lived in the second generation after the
great flood. Greek tradition suggests that the Island's first
inhabitants were the children of the sun, descended from the Union
of the Sungod Helios, with the Nymph Rhodon, whose name was
given to the Island. Another tradition has it that the Island's name
was derived from the Greek word for the rose, "Rhodos". Historical
information became more precise at about 1000 B.C.E. when Dorian
Greeks invaded and occupied the Island. From about 540 to 470
B.C.E., the Island's three main cities united to establish the city of
Rhodes.
During the fourth century, B.C.E., Rhodes was occupied and
controlled at various times by Athenians, Spartans, Carians,
Persians and Macedonians. In 323 B.C.E., Rhodes regained its
independence and embarked on its period of greatest glory. It was
during this period that one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient



































The entrance or foyer of the Kal Shalom with hanging vine leaves and cobblestone
floor. On the left at the entrance is the stone tablet bearing the names of the families
who perished in the Holocaust.


World, the Colossus of Rhodes, was constructed The Statue stood
astride one of the City's ports and was so wide that ships could sail
into the port between its legs. In 225 B.C.E., the city and the
Colossus were destroyed by an earthquake. Rhodes became part of
the Roman Empire in 164 B.C.E., it remained part of the Roman
Empire until 773 C.E., when the expanding forces of Islam took
control of the Island, for about 8 years. During subsequent
centuries, it was ruled by various local Lords. In 1251 it fell under
Byzantine rule, and in 1307, it was given by the Byzantine
Government to the Knights of St John to defend against possible
Turkish attack They were driven out by the Turks in 1523. To this
day, the walled city of Rhodes reflects the Knights' Two Century
occupation of the Island. It extraordinary fortifications, the Citadel
of the Knights, the great hospital (which is now a museum), the
medieval buildings and streets, are still visible reminders of the
Order's rule.
The Island remained under Turkish rule until 1912, when it was
occupied by the Italians. In 1944 the Nazis moved onto the Island
and after the Second World War, it became part of the Greek
Islands.


Jewish History on Rhodes
Jews may have lived in Rhodes in ancient times, but no information
is available as to when they first settled there. The first indications
of Jewish inhabitants of the Island are mentioned in the First Book
of Maccabees. "Simon, son of Mattathias, who was chosen byJews
as High Priest and Governor, sent a delegation to Rome in 142
B.C.E." As a result of this delegation a letter was sent to the King
and countries of the Roman Empire, instructing that no harm should
come to the Jewish Communities in their countries. A copy of this


letter was sent to Rhodes and, therefore, one can assume that there
was a Jewish community there.
The first specific information on Rhodian Jewry dates from the
second half of the 12th Century. Benjamin of Tudela, Spain, when
recounting his travels in the Mediterranean, wrote that he
encountered a Jewish community of about 400 people on Rhodes.
They were led by Rabbis Hananel and Eliah. Under the Knights of St
John they were designated a quarter, which extended from the
South East angle of the wall surrounding the city, to the Port
reserved for merchant vessels. During this period the Jews were
treated fairly well and were free to practice their religion without
disturbance.
In 1480 the Sultan of Turkey, Meshmet II, attacked Rhodes Island
from the Southern perimeter of the city which housed the Jewish
quarter. They bombarded the area with thousands of stones and
cannon balls for five weeks, but their attack was unsuccessful and
they retreated from the Jewish quarter and left the island
altogether. Their attack however, caused extensive damage to the
area and there was considerable hardship for some years later. The
Jewish inhabitants of Rhodes fought valiantly alongside the
Kr;ights of St John during the siege.
The expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 was to have a major
impact on the Islands tiny community. Spanish Jewry was the
most numerous, influential and cultured Jewry of the middle ages.
Their achievements, while living in Islamic and Christian Spain,
have rarely been matched by any Jewry before or since. Their
contributions to Biblical and Talmudic studies, Hebrew grammar,
poetry, Jewish philosophy and literature as well recognized. Their
involvement in medicine, astronomy and the sciences in general,
was noteworthy.


































The street where the Kal Shalom stands. The archways connecting the buildings gives
onethe impression of being in Jerusalem. The Juderia was known by its inhabitants as
Little Jerusalem. Here Mme Lucia Soulam is about to open the doors leading onto the
foyer of the synagogue.


The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 marked the
culmination of the erosion of Jewish Christian relations In 1391,
Christian fanaticism fuelled a series of anti-Jewish outbreaks in
Spain, and over the years many Jews were forced to convert to
Christianity or face death.
In 1481, at the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition, Christians who
were suspected of"Judaizing" (observing Jewish practices), were
victimised
The reign of religious terror lead to the expulsion of the Jews from
Spain. On 31st March, 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella
issued a decree of expulsion. The Jews were given only three
months in which to settle their affairs and leave the country.
The majority of exiles went to Portugal, but in 1497 they were
subject to a forced baptism and official Jewish life there was also
terminated. Other groups of Sephardim went to North Africa, the
Middle East, the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe.
During this period the exiles suffered great hardship. They often
boarded overcrowded ships, where plague, hunger and fatigue took
their toll on the lives of the passengers Ruthless ship captains took
their Jewish passengers out to sea and cast them overboard. They
then returned to port for another load of ill-fated passengers
At this time the Turkish Jews enjoyed prosperity and freedom under
the Sultan Bayezid II who, in fact, encouraged the immigration of
the Spanish exiles Although the Greek speaking Romaniot Jews,
who were the original Jews of the main centres of Turkey, welcomed
their aggrieved co-religionists, they were also wary of them. They
considered the Sephardim to be too aggressive and feared that they
would soon dominate all Jewish life in the country. There were also
differences on matters of Jewish laws and customs Despite these


fears and differences, the Jewish communities of Turkey soon
developed into relatively harmonious congregations. The Sephardic
customs became predominant in the religious and social spheres
and the Spanish language was adopted by the Ashkenazim and
Romaniot Communities.
In the early 16th Century, following the wave of religious unrest in
Spain and Portugal, the Jews of Rhodes faced similar Christian
intolerance. The Grand Master of the Knights of St John issued a
decree expelling all Jews from the Island. Some Jews converted to
Christianity under pressure, while others emigrated, and others
were killed for following theirfaith. All official Jewish life ground to a
halt on the Island.
In 1522, under Sultan Sulyman, the Turks again attacked Rhodes
Island and this time they were successful and the Jews on the
Island rejoiced and returned to openly practicing their faith.
The victorious sultan encouraged Jewish settlement in Rhodes The
historian, Abraham Galante, recorded a tradition passed down
through generations of Rhodeslies, that Sultan Sulyman issued a
decree offering special privileges to Jews settling in Rhodes. There
were:
1. Exemption from taxes for 100 years.
2. Enjoyment of the profits of sulphur mines in Rhodes.
3. The right to bury and mourn the deaths, to have processions to the
cemetery and even to pass through the Moslem quarters during
such processions.
4. The privilege of buying Kosher meat at the same price and under
the same conditions as meat sold to Moslems
5. The right of each family to a house given freely by the Ottoman
Government













lTh .' *toa ho lsR`,iAth SN" ,



AdlNAPECF,-, 1 .... .-ANMl





ANEL' '"O Il Lto uDIS -

oAROus't o Iare s-a"
ASCNER CRtiA .M.,ALLEL MS IA




aZKts tIsKNaZ nasos sso
mEs Na4SzD so3sor



LMSAR FRANO WODIANO SORIANO"


Al ALA P Oc ALO TRYcIE :
N611 ICLOtlU :OH SAS ,.
A09 G*AW tI-W Ef.AA><1






"CHER "AX ALI
UNIECHNAZI MARCOSS SWSOW

RLt ,r..RCSoOS l OU k i '. ;4S 0 $ t ,"

GA; A I- ^ .c,

SAcanK L LVSLO


With the encouragement of these incentives, large numbers of Jews
moved to Rhodes Island from all parts of Turkey and from
surrounding areas in the Middle East
In the early stages there were some difficulties experienced
between the Romaniot Jews and the immigrating Sephardim.
These, however, were overcome in time and as the Sephardim
increased in numbers, so Sephardi practices influenced all phases
of Jewish laws and customs
Under Islamic law, full civil rights and privileges were given only to
Moslems All other citizens were divided into two categories. These
being:
a) Idolaters, who did not have divinely revealed scriptures and were
forced to.convert to Islam or face death.
b) Dhimmis, who were people of scriptures and were protected by
law.
The Dhimmis had no rights in the State, but were allowed to exist in


Mme. Lucia Soulam, caretaker
of the Kal Shalom, stands at
the entrance ofthe synagogue,
next to the stone tablet com-
memorating the six million
Jews amongst whom was the
community of Rhodes.


return for the payment of a tribute. The Jews of Rhodes fall into this
category.
Under Turkish rule they were given basic freedoms These allowed
them to own property and to practice their religion As a result of the
Turkish laws, the Jews were permitted to run their own community
affairs. They ran their judicial and educational systems Taxes were
paid to the Jewish community, disputes were settled in Jewish
Courts

After nearly 400 years of Turkish rule, Rhodes Island was occupied
by Italian forces in May 1912. The Island remained under
occupation until July 1923, when under the Treaty of Lausanne, it
was officially given to Italy. As a result, the Jews enjoyed the same
rights and privileges of the Jews in Italy.
The Juderia was the Jewish quarter of Rhodes. Here they felt at
home and were happy despite the generally depressing surroundings,
This area of the City of Rhodes was inhabited by Jews from as far




























A close up of the fountain with the plaque commemorating the Alliance
Israelite Universelle- the Hebrew school financed by the Rothschild family In
1904. Below the Italian government recognizes the Jewish community. This is
the only reminder of a Jewish presence.


back as when the Island was under the rule of the Knights of St
John.
The houses were made of stone and lined the streets of the Juderia,
crowded one building against another and the streets were long and
narrow. The majority were paved with tiny pebbles. The main street
"La Calle Ancha" had in the Central Square, an ancient monument
with bronze sea horses. This was known as "La Fuenti". The Calle
Ancha was the main meeting place of the Jewish quarter and many
wedding and other joyous processions passed through this street
Another popular place was the Mandraki where people would meet
stroll along the sea front and enjoy refreshments at the restaurants.
There were several synagogues on Rhodes These were built over
the centuries, as the Jewish population grew. There were, however,
two main Synagogues in the Juderia, The Kehila Grande, which was
built in the 1480's, and the Kehila Shalom, which was built in the
1370's.
There were also Jewish educational institutions on the Island. The


first grammar school was founded in 1895 byAbraham Galante, but
owing to poor support it was closed in 1897.
In 1899 another school was started in poor, inadequate accom-
modation. As the school progressed, they occupied the building
which had formerly been used by the Community for Talmud Torah.
A school for girls was opened in 1902. This, too, was housed in poor
accommodation. In 1903, after visiting Rhodes, Baron Edmond de
Rothschild donated 15 000 francs for the construction of an
Alliance School This was completed in 1904. Under Italian rule the
Jewish schools progressed at a rapid pace, and on 11th December,
1928, the Government of Rhodes decreed the establishment of the
Collegio Rabbinico. This College attracted students from Bulgaria,
Egypt Palestine and Turkey and it soon earned a high international
reputation, owing to its high standards Unfortunately, in 1938,
under the rule of the Facist Government the College was closed and
so ended the short but successful existence of one of the leading
Sephardi Rabbinical Seminaries.


SYNAGOGUES OF RHODES


There were six synagogues in Rhodes. One, the largest, was the Kal
Grande, which already stood when the Sephardim arrived. It had
been built by Greek Jews called Romaniots This Kehila was
demolished by a bomb during World War 1I. In the late 16th century,
members of the community built the Kal Shalom, which remains
standing to this day. The Sephardi synagogue in Harare is named
after this one.
The restoration of the Kal Shalom after World War II was made
possible through the aid of Rhodeslis from Zimbabwe, Zaire, the
United States and elsewhere.
The other synagogues were Kal Tikkunhatsot; Kal del Midrash
(situated on Talmus Torah Street); Kal del Ermano Shemuel Hanan
(situated on the Kay Ancha); Kal del Ham Yusufachi Franco


(situated in front of one of the doors in the walled city that leads to
the sea shore).
All the synagogues had balconies with decorative wooden screens
which served the women's section The women seated in the
balcony could see and hear the services below, but the men could
only see the screens The men's area was known as La Kehilah and
the women's section as La Azara
None of the synagogues had social halls. Celebrations were held in
the large court-yards of the synagogues. The only social hall that
existed was the "Hall Notrica" which belong to all the organizations
and was used by the members for social functions This hall was
situated in the same building as the Notrica Girls School


~-~--- -- __ __ __

__ I Ew;



































The newest of three cemeteries In Rhodes. The Italian government required the land to build a stadium and
ordered the Jews to exhume and re-Inter the remains in this cemetery. Some tombstones, mainly inscribed
in Hebrew and Ladino date back one hundred years or more.


THE CEMETERIES OF
RHODES


The Jewish community of Rhodes had four cemeteries. It was
customary to visit them on Lag B'Omer.
In the oldest one found tomb stones with Spanish names dating
back 300 years. It was situated in front of the Baths of Marde Cova,
next to the beer factory, Beera Dreher. As one climbed up this street
to the top, there was another cemetery like the first, not as old, but,
completely filled. The third Jewish cemetery was at the end of the
street of cemeteries
The last one that Is still In existence and in good condition is
situated quite far from the others in the Greek Quarter. It is
maintained today by a Greek family that lives on the premises They
are paid from funds collected from the rents of homes that had
belonged to Jews of Rhodes and were abandoned during World War
IL
Mrs Rebecca Amato Levy writes, "I want to tell you about the last
cemetery where one can see tombstones dating back 100 years
and more. The tombstones were not the originals. They were
transferred from the third cemetery because the Italian government


needed the land to build a stadium and required the Jews to move
their dead When the wise and holy men were transferred, the
Jewish community conducted burial services at the new site. Many
families had their relatives' remains transferred to this last
cemetery."
Mrs Levy personally transferred the tombstone of her father who
passed away in 1935. When she visited Rhodes in 1978, she found
the grave intact as she had left it
This burial transfer was not without criticism. The old Jews of
Rhodes used to say that this act of moving the dead would come
back to haunt them. Strangely enough not too many years later, the
German persecution of the Jews began and then came the end of
Jewish lfe on Rhodes.
(For many years the late Moshe Soulam and his wife Lucia were
custodians of Kal Shalom. Mrs Soulam continues as custodian Mr
Moise Soriano and his family who still live in Rhodes, are the
custodians of any records belonging to the Juderia).







RODIS CHERISHED MEMORIES OF

MY CHILDHOOD
By Salvo Almeleh
On seeing him my grandfather promptly turned away and to my
grandmother declared "Turks and Greeks I do not receive in my
house!" She had to plead with him to bend a little and understand
the changing times.
The greatest respect and veneration were paid to our Rabbanim,
some of whom were considered truly holy men, with a shining aura
of saintliness around therm Nearly all our religious festivals were
National holidays for La Juderia It was against this background,
that I spent my idyllic childhood.
We all enjoyed our religious festivals and lived from one to the next.
There was Pesach, with the weeks prior to it, spent in removing
anything that was "hametz" in the home. The matza was baked in
our own local ovens. Rosh Hashanah and Kippur was the big event
of the year. We were all fitted out with new clothes. A week before,
we had all gone to the cemetery to "bury the Law", and on the way
back, we would look amongst the hills for a certain very tender and
tasty "bean", called "avica de mulino". The various synagogues,
large and small, were all filled to capacity. We loved listening to the
shattering and reverberating sound of the shofar, towards the
termination of the services. As the different calls were made from
the Tevah, window panes had been known to shatter, when the
sound went beyond a certain pitch. Tremors used to run through me,
as the sounds came, loud and clear.
During Kippur, in the afternoon, we went to the seaside, to cast all
MR SALVO ALMELEH, was born on Rhodes our sins into the sea
Island on 4th February, 1917. His father Mr
Behor David Almeleh was the first president of ,Z
this congretation. Together with his family, at
the age of nine, he left Rhodes.


I was nine years of age, when my father cameover to Rodis from
Rhodesia in 1926, to collect his family and return with us to
Penhalonga, where he had his business My memories therefore
only go back from that year. But to me, as the song goes, Rodis has
always been that "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere", and my memories
of that island are treasured ones.
Rodis was a world of its own combining the old with the new. The
new progressive spirit under the Italian colonial influence was
beginning to exert itself in all walks of life, amongst the different
communities the Turkish, the Greek and the Jewish. La Juderia,
under the benign and protective rule of the Turks, had kept up for
centuries, after the expulsion from Spain, its customs, its language,
Ladino, and its religious traditions.
The Jews of Rodis lived in a sort of hierarchy, where religion took
precedence over everything else. Exemplifying the very strict
rigidity of their religious observance, here is a very poignant and
touching story narrated by my late father Behor David Almeleh. As a
young man, he had been working in Turkey, supplementing the very
meagre family income of my grandfather, a poor shoemaker.
After the absence of a year he came home to spend the high The walled city of Rhodes has several gates, and
festivals with the family. It had become fashionable to be clean this one known to the Juderia as "la puerta di la
shaven and he had removed his beard. That of course, was sacrilege mar" was the smallest of them all. It was small
and he had committed the unpardonable sin, almost tantamount to because It faced the sea and easier to defend
excommunication putting a razor to his beard when attacked by medieval armies.
































A landmark of Rhodes, three medieval windmills on the MandrakI Harbour. On the
extreme left Is the fort of St Nicholas, built by the Knights of St. John. The windmills are
shown against a cold cloudy winter sky, with no trace of tourists.


Then there was Chanukah and the lighting of the candles in every
household, quite apart from those lit in the synagogues; and of
course the "burmuelos", dipped in honey.
Purim was something else. The whole city of La Kay Ancha was
turned into a veritable fun fair. It was the time, when we used to get
Purimlicks from our parents and relations. We would go visiting our
uncles, aunts and grandparents, as a matter of duty. It was a nice
duty, as we had ulterior motives the Purimlicks at the end of the
visit
Succoth was another festival I loved, with every home building its
own Succa, adornmed with myrtle, palm fronds, chinese lanterns and
all manner of fruit and nuts hanging from the branches
Each and every festival had its own special attraction and all
inculcated a sense of belonging, of brotherhood and of God, as the
object of religion should be. Embodying the spirit of La Juderia,
stands alone the Kal Shalom, like a holy shrine, entombing the
memories of the living and the dead, ou one and only link with our
past It stands alone and solitary, having withstood the ravages of
time and untouched by the barbarian Nazi hordes. At the entrance
grows a grapevine, age old symbol of our strong, monotheistic spirit
that has survived all the tests of time. The Kal stands there as our
guardian sentinel, watching over our treasured past
Our schooling followed the usual course, beginning with our early
years in theTalmud Torah and then on to La scola de L'alianca, as it
was then known. The medium was Italian, with French as the
second language. Of course we also picked up Greek and Turkish in
our daily contacts with those people.
Our holidays were a dream. We were off to the beaches, to the
villages Chrimasto, Kumbumu, Kandill, the Chimilikis with the


merry-go-round Off to the orchards and vineyards. All these we
raided, and when the olives were in season, we used to bring armfuls
of them for my mother to crush and make "Zitunas Chakiste".
I remember an occasion, when my life was saved by a Turk My
friends and I had gone to the Puerta di la Mar and were playing,
jumping from rock to rock in the sea Eventually they all left, but I
cared on, not noticing the tide coming in. The distances between
the rocks grew greater and eventually I could not get back to the
beach I stood there in the dusk with the water fast rising above my
ankles I started to cry. After a while a Turkish fisherman, passing
on his way home, heard me and coming over, flung me on his back
and took me to safety. I grew to like the Turks. They were kind and
hospitable to their friends, but they also never forgot an injury and
never forgave.
We had a good understanding with the Turks, who were not unaware
of some of our young men's melodious and powerful voices. There
were occasions, when a Muezzin being unavailable, they would be
asked to go up the minarets and chant out the Muslim call to prayer.
An odd and amusing situation The Muslims have always
considered the Jews as the people of the "Book".
I must mention our own "homegrown" doctor, il ermano Aaron
Hugnu. He was our orthopod, and faith-healer. He was a legend and
everybody went to him with their various ills. The villagers also used
to come down to see him. And he was strong He could break the leg
of a horse. We used to go to him with broken limbs, dislocated
shoulders etc. We did have our other more orthodox doctors, such as
Dr. Hasson and Dr. Gaon.
I remember the winter gales. There was a certain spot around La
Calle, by the "Pegnas", along the Puerta di la Mar, where you could




































Behind the towering ramparts is "Lu Kemado" now known as Hipocrates Square. The buildings In this
square were burnt down in the 1920's and has been known by the Jewish community by that name since.


not get round, for fear of being blown off your feet I used to love
going to'las Pegnas' and sitting on the rocks. It did something to my
soul, watching that surging and tempestuous sea with angry waves
coming in with such fury and dashing themselves against the rocks.
It was an exhilarating feeling to look out to those mountainous
waves and see all the sailing boats, large and small, being tossed
about like matchboxes, now on the top of one wave and the next
moment invisible behind another. A cyclone at sea was something
frightening. Rodis was also subject to earthquakes I remember one
in particular, when we were all sent home from school Shortly after
we left Rodis, we heard of an earthquake submerging a whole island
near by. I think its name was Castelrosso
Then there were the "spookie" stories told in the winter nights when
I dared not take one step out of the house, so terrified was I.


and lucid blue waters, its beautiful beaches, its fairy-story setting,
with its medieval walls surrounding part of the island, its Roman
statuary, its Grecian temples, its mythical, classical and Byzantine
histories, not omitting the crusaders, who had Rodis as one of their
headquarters; and going back to the times of the Persians. This was
my beautiful island
So when you see a Rodslie, stop and think awhile. He deserves your
respect Remember he is one of the very few remaining of the last
generation and represents a way of life, that has come down to us
through the centuries, with its special traditions, its own culture, its
language and even its very special and popular cuisine. He has been
the 'pioneer of our community and like a Marathon runner has
succeeded in handing over to us all the values and legacies of our
forefathers "qui sus almas reposin in pas, Amerd"


This was my Rodis, gem of the Mediterranean, with its sparkling

PUBLIC FOUNTAINS


The water supply consisted of private wells in almost every
residence, the water of which was used for utility purposes. The
drinking water, however, before the 1930's, was brought in from the
four public fountains in the Jewish Quarter. The children were
responsible for filling the jugs of drinking water. There were times
during a drought that the water supply was limited for days and so
each family made sure they had an earthenware jug of reserved
water.
In the Jewish Quarter, a fountain was situated in La Kay Ancha (The
Wide Street), another outside Kal Shalom, one at the entrance of the


Alliance School, and the last on La Fasana. When there was a
drought another fountain further away called Aslam Berro, could be
used It was situated between the Jewish and the Turkish Quarter.
When a line was formed at these fountains, the Turkish women
would sneak into the queue and soon fighting would break out
Many a time Jews returned home with a handle or even the entire
jug broken
In the early 1930's, the Italian government built aqueducts and
power stations that provided the utilities so cheaply that almost
every home in the Jewish Quarter had water and electricity.



































The street where the Kal Grande once stood. The domed building on the left is what
remains of the fountain which served this synagogue. The building to the right was the
home of Mr Nissim Trevis.


This plaque was erected in the Rhodes cemetery
in cherished memory of the employees who
worked in the bank of Salamon Alhadeff.


In the cemetery stands this memorial to the six
million Martyrs and the Jews of Rhodes who
perished in the concentration camps. The
inscriptions are in Hebrew, French and Greek.
The horizontal stone bears the names of the
families of the Rodis Community.


A LA CLHrt MI OAE DE TUS L-S COLLA
ET Tmoors or LMV rso, Y T LA 1sANX SALMONON
A t m AD a" .9 a IoK IT AuIYemsLs cOu.AS -
R- - DO LES MOXS IAC L w MoUv KCOAppEMT,
rTOUI DoDpOn T AISrr Hs PAR LU.IAZIs aS I
CAMP SE COCTAO- WON"=ALLBWam
1DE VCTOR RECLXA AmDuAF,
tuSma1 OAtas EuE aEL j8s9p ,
AUMO SSaIN ELIUER MISSM tAELO M
JuAumFF oAITT FIERA ISAmSt 5 Ar..
!,uuoormi mroASI*I 33au Sr *u*.'0 --
AuuomrF nFLIO FRao NmACO I ISRAE lnM
ALKNADOF AIXM9 FRANCOI OSt:EPH LIEVY Hi
Auucmur nvso nuco NOMOCHna vy aW
AuuADIr aJOSmn FRACO TCauLE i ALmRT
AULDAMFR SAOC FRAI LEON DAYI
.ALUELtCH ALItT HALFOU4 ACtUlS LcEW NMStr
ANATO DAVID HAMAN WSSM ILW T4 .
WZRAOIL JACS HASSON HACCO Im=s mIIIW
-sas aA Ao asoS. raae mans.ssa 1..
sllso AUst a $mme a ele S( t.,I

rLstrwss masoyn aeanso
OUMO MlAIMl lum1A MM IMIDIMMt
101114 M AIOO MSSHM acagR R@
AIM ALAH AM NAI1 31I10,I S "


11A WRL N=ASSM SAM B =


cL "M W I


;: `.r""~74~~







THE LAST DAYS OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF

RHODES
As told to Benjamin Leon by Rachel Hanan


Mrs Rachel Hanan (nee Hougnou) a survivor of
Auschwitz holding a grim moment a cake of
soap with the markings "Pure Jewish Fat".
These tablets of soap were handed out for use to
the inmates of Auschwitz concentration camp.

For over five centuries Jews of Spanish descent (Sephardim) had
lived on the colourful island of Rhodes in the Agean Sea At the time
of the Spanish Inquisition and the subsequent expulsion of Jews in
1492, the population increased as the victims sought refuge from
religious persecution. Throughout the centuries the population
fluctuated between alternate periods of isolation and persecution.
Within the walls of the old city of Rhodes they had lived according to
the Laws of Moses The Torah and the synagogue was the centre of
communal life In the summer of 1944 on July 19, the end of this
flourishing Jewish community, with its close family ties, began.
Mrs Rachel Hanan (Hougnou) 65, who survived the horrors of
Auschwitz, recalls that during the German occupation of the island
of Rhodes, the Wermacht were quite friendly with the Jews most of
the time. It was when the SS arrived that the Nazi tyranny began.
Two Jewish brothers, hoping to make favourable impressions on the
SS, arrived with two SS officers from Salonica, and called at the
office of the Sephardi president one Jacob Franco (Shalem), from
whom the Nazis demanded a list of names of all the families in the
community.
It was at this time that the Juderia, because of its close proximity to
the port, was subjected to Allied bombings. The bombs were


intended for German shipping, but a few stray bombs fell on the
Jewish quarter. Consequently, the Sephardim sought refuge in such
country villages as Trianda and Kremasto to Vilanova
Under pressure from the Nazis the president of the congregation
visited the Jews in the country side and told them that all males
above the age of sixteen should report to an old building outside the
old city. They were instructed to bring their personal papers and
report the next morning.
The following day the Nazis used the trick they had played on all
other Jewish communities throughout Europe. They instructed the
remaining women and children to report the next day with all their
papers and valuables. Anyone who did not comply would have their
menfolk shot They were later told that they would all be resettled in
labour camps on Rhodes No mention was made of deportation.
The Nazis left no stone unturned and rounded up even those who
were sick in hospital A young Jewish male who had had a leg
amputated was turned out of bed. Strangely enough two old Jewish
ladies who were unaware of the tragic turn of events, remained in
the Jewish quarter until the end of the war. A young Jewish man
named Beru who had a Greek girlfriend, hid in village in Lindos. He
was betrayed by the Greeks and shot by the Germans.
Only twenty-five Jews remained on the island, and they were saved
from deportation by a Turkish Bey because they were Turkish
nationals.
Once assembled, the Jews of Rhodes spent three days in a building
under sentry guard without food. Many Italian friends visited them
and left baskets of food at the door.
The Nazis were truly amazed that such a poor community had
turned in so much gold and jewellery. In the community as such,
there were no banking or savings facilities, and gold and jewellery
was used as a form of inheritance or dowry to be passed from
generation to generation.
The Nazis sounded the air siren drawing the Italian and Greek
residents indoors as they sought shelter. It was whilst they were
out of sight that the Germans began to load the unfortunate Jews
onto boats A seething mass of humanity was packed like sardines.
The boat under normal circumstances, took one day of sailing to
Pirraeus, but because the Germans wished to avoid allied bombing,
they only travelled at night, and the journey took about eight days.
Mrs Hanan recalls that the German Wermacht on the boats were
very kind and allowed those who wished to cool down, a swim in the
sea. They also allowed them to use the boat's cooking facilities.
At Pirraeus they were handed over the the SS officers, who showed
no kindness at all. From the dock they were told to embus onto
lorries. The SS officers whipped the elderly men and women who
could not alight quickly, and it was at this point that many of of them
realized that this was the end and that certain death was imminent
After a few days in prison they were loaded into railway cattle
wagons Seventy to eighty people were crammed into these with
only two barrels of water to suffice in spite of the summer heat
Mrs Hanan remembers a nightmare sixteen day journey to
Auschwitz concentration camp, at which they arrived on 16th






August 1944. The train was stopped once in twenty-four hours to
allow the deportees to carry out ablutions. The train stopped for only
five minutes. Those who alighted to go into the bush, were
interrupted regardless of what they were doing, by guards wielding
whips and were forced back onto the train. In time many began to
excrete through the wooden floor boards of the wagon, without
privacy.
Many died during the night and the Nazis took away the bodies to be
burnt with paraffin on a station platform
The young man whose leg had been amputated survived the terrible
train journey to Auschwitz, only to die in the gas chamber.
At Auschwitz the Jews were confronted by about twenty Nazi
officers, amongst whom, Mrs Hanan recalls, was the infamous
Angel of Death, Dr Josef Mengele. It was here that their fate was
decided. With a pointed finger the Angel of Death would indicate
silently to the left- to the right The very young and very old were
put to one side and that very night they met their death in the
notorious gas chambers.
Those who were young and could work were herded into a large hall,
where they remained for the whole day without food or water.
The men were separated from the women. Later that night Nazi men
shaved the women from head to toe. Soon after Mrs Hanan and her
two sisters were thrown into Block 20 where they had to fend for
themselves. The place was already overcrowded The bunks were in
three tiers. There was no bedding and one had to squeeze in. Often
the flimsy bunks collapsed and sixty people would find themselves
in a heap on the floor. Few of them ever had much sleep at night
Roll call was at four d clock in the morning. They were permitted
half an hour for latrine functions and ten minutes for washing. She
remembers that she was very thirsty and when her turn came at the
tap, the whistle blew. She continued to drink and was set upon by a
guard wielding a whip she continued to drink Her left shoulder
was raw and bleeding. Today she still has scars from that brutality.
The wound bled and festered for a number of days.
Any inmate of Auschwitz concentration camp who reported to the
sick bay for treatment would subsequently perish in the gas
chamber.
Her own sister Diamante Franco(now living in Cape Town) reported
sick and was hospitalized. At night the nurses would give each
patient a pill and the next day they were dead. Diamante did not
swallow the pills and managed to evade death for the two nights
that she spent in the hospital
In Auschwitz bread was a currency- with it you could buy almost
anything. Rachel Hanan exchanged her ration of bread with one of
the workers at the hospital, for a doek and uniform. She pretended to
be a worker and managed to spend some time with her sister. She
would hide under her sisters bedclothes and talk to her for hours.
A few days later the Nazis decided to evacuate the patients by lorry
to the showers one never knew if the latter were real or the gas
chambers. In the confusion Diamante managed to worm her way
into Block 20. The Nazis were puzzled there had been one extra
inmate at roll call!!
As news of the advancing Allies reached the Germans, they realized
that they were losing the war. Rachel Hanan believes in Divine
Providence. She and her two sisters were already naked and
queuing up outside the gas chamber. It only had a capacity of 200
persons Her little sister was included in the batch. Rachel and
Diamante would be herded in with the next batch. One sister


Mrs Stella Habib, (nee Benvenlste) whowas born
in Rhodes on 8th January 1921. At the age of
twenty-three she was deported by the Nazis to
Auschwitz. After the war she settled in Italy
where she married and had two children. In 1965
she emigrated to Rhodesia alone and was later
married to Mr Jack Habib. She now lives with her
sister Mrs Marie Scemaria.


Mrs. Regina Menashe (nee Hasson) was born in
Rhodes on 10th September, 1923. Was deported
to Auschwitz in 1944 and later transferred to
Germany where she was forced to work in a
munitions factory. The Russians liberated her in
1945 whilst in Vienna and later repatriated to
Italy. She survived in good health. Mrs Menashe
arrived in Salisbury in 1946, when she married
Mr R.J. Menashe in the Salisbury Street
Synagogue.






perished, and at that moment a despatch rider came in on a motor
bike. All gassing and cremations would stop immediately!
What was in store for them, was a forced death march to a mass
grave miles away! Other inmates were taken to other places of
infamy such as Bergen-Belsen, Mathauzen and Dachau.
After they were clothed they began a night-long gruelling march
through sleet and snow. They were exhausted but they dared not
stop. Anyone who did not get up and continue the march after a
break was shot by guards. Two young girls, Janet and Belina
Hasson were killed because they could not continue.
Again Rachel Hanan believes in Divine Providence. At one stage
when Rachel felt unable to continue, her sister Diamante said, "If
you don't get up then I won't". This forced Rachel to continue. After
another break it was Diamante who could not carry on. Rachel made
a similar threat
At that point a despatch rider arrived in a whirl of snow and spoke to
the guards Unknown to the girls, the Allies were very close. The
girls sat there waiting for the order to continue the march. None
came! The guards had fled. At that point they thought they were the
only survivors of the Jews of Rhodes, four girls from Rhodes and five
from Salonica.
They did not know what to do next They scouted around and
eventually found a guards' shed. It was deserted and in the grounds
of a large coal dump. They built up the fire and kept warm. They
melted snow for drinking water and foraged the guards' quarters for
food
They lived in splendid isolation for about four weeks until a Russian
soldier stumbled upon them and informed them of a camp a few
miles away.
A week later they reported to the Russian commandant who
regarded them with suspicion and after some persuasion let them
into the camp.
They stayed there for two months and there was no sign of
repatriation. There was even a rumour of being shipped off to
Siberia!
They were moved to Bialistock and then onto another camp. In July
1945 they decided to escape from the Russians.
They boarded a passenger train at a railway station not knowing
exactly where they were going. When asked for a train ticket, they
pointed to the Auschwitz tatooed number on their fore arms. This
was a ticket to anywhere. Europe was in a shambles and chaos
reigned. They boarded one train after another and eventually ended
up exactly where they had started, having completed a full circle!
They went onto Prague and Budapest The Red Cross helped them
with food. Rachel Hanan ended up at the Italian frontier and
eventually stopped at Bologna where she met twenty five other
Jews from Rhodes. There she stayed for fifteen months before
emigrating to the Belgian Congo in September 1946.
In 1952 she came on holiday to Salisbury (Harare) where she met
Leon Hanan. In 1953 they were married and settled in Salisbury.
The foregoing is only a fraction of the experiences Mrs Rachel
Hanan and the Jews of Rhodes had at the hands of the Nazis. The
brutalities were unspeakable. She was more than willing to relate
these stories because she believes that the world should know what
had happened and that it should not be forgotten.
She has a rather grim memento in her possession to this day. It is a
cake of soap from Auschwitz, with the markings "Pure Jewish Fat".


Mr. JACQUE HASSON, Gabbal of the synagogue
and a survivor of Auschwitz, was born in Rhodes
Island on 10th December 1927.
His education was Interrupted in 1942 when the
Germans closed the school he attended. At the
age of seventeen and a half he was deported by
the Nazis to Auschwitz. He was there for forty
days before being sent to Ridaultau, Poland,
where he was forced to work in a coal mine.
On January 25th, 1945 he was sentto Malthauzen
until May 5th 1945, when he was liberated by the
Americans. He was dehydrated with typhoid and
weighed only twenty-seven kilograms. He spent
a month recuperating in a hospital in Lintz,
Austria. In June 1945 a year after his deportation
he was repatriated to Merano in Italy. He later
joined other Rodislis survivors in Bologna.
In 1947 he went to the Belgian Congo. Later in
1952 he set up a business partnership with a life
long friend and companion in Auschwitz, Sammy
Modlano.
In 1957 he married Ray Sorlano, who did not
wish to live in the Congo. In 1958 they both
moved to Salisbury (now Harare).
Jacque Hasson is self taught in Hebrew and has
been the Gabbal since 1985.






MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF RHODES ISLAND
by Una Kantor (ne6 Amato)


The last Hebrew class to have been held in
Rhodes after Mussonlini discriminated against
Jewish education in 1938. The class was a
private one. The young girl on the right is Lina
Kantor (nee Amato). The other pupils perished in
Auschwitz. Note the cobblestone floor whichis
characteristic of Rhodes.

Tourist brochures describe Rhodes Island as "The Bride of the Surf
and, as one ancient writer said. "a town bathed in sunshine,
endowed with beauty befitting God."
My childhood memories of Rhodes were somewhat different As a
child of three, oblivious of the horrors to come, I remember having
tantrums in the "Mandraki", the main town square, after my mother,
distraught at the news that war had been declared, had refused to
buy me an icecream.
Warnings of what was to befall our community came with the new
Racial Laws introduced by the Fascist Govemment Jewish children
were not permitted to attend government schools. My parents,
together with three other families who lived outside the Jewish
Quarters, arranged for a young Jewish teacher, whom we called "La
Signorina", to conduct classes for us at the home of my great friend
Isi. I was the only girl in the class of four. The Germans had not yet
invaded Rhodes and the four of us led an idyllic but sheltered school
life. We had our own uniform, the same for the boys and myself,
consisting of a shining black pinafore and white collar. At the end of
the school year, all four of us, under our wonderfully gifted teacher,
even staged a prize giving concert Two of the boys and our teacher
perished in the gas chambers.
During the day, we felt secure in the companionship of our friends
and teacher, but nights were filled with the noise of aerial bombing
and the wail of the sirens although we were fortunate to have a
shelter under the small block of flats in which we lived As children,
we had not Initially understood the trauma of the bombardments.
When the sirens first started, I can remember my friend Isi
innocently asking "Why don't they throw the bombs?", thereby
causing his mother to explode in anger and deliver a parental slap, to
the mirth of the others present We children considered the shelter
impregnable and, at the beginning at least, the air raids a glorious
fireworks display. After the all clear sounded, we could not wait to
run outside to see who could find the largest or most unusual pieces
of shrapneL In the early days of the war my friends and I collected


shrapnel like others collect antiques, until the quantities grew so
large that our parents objected. Of course no toys were available in
wartime Rhodes, these were our playthings.
After the German invasion, the first realisation of the cruelty and
greed of war to penetrate my childhood occurred when a lorry full of
German soldiers arrived to requisition our piano. Until then our
house had been filled with music. My mother was a wonderful
pianist and she and her friends regularly practised and performed at
our home.
There were of course a few lighter moments, though they did not
seem so at the time. We were not allowed to listen to foreign news
broadcasts. When my father did so, my mother was posted near the
entrance as a look-out On one rainy evening she saw strange
figures at the front door and screamed a warning to my father. The
figures quickly disappeared. The next day, my parents' two best
friends described how they had run away from our ground floor flat
(where they were sheltering from the rain). They thought, from my
mother's screaming, that domestic quarrel was in progress. On
another night we heard scuffles outside our home and thought
surely the Gestapo had come to collect us. The next morning we
discovered that-all our neighbours' chickens had disappeared!
My parents were eventually rounded up by the Gestapo S.S. and
held at the army barracks with the rest of the Jewish community.
Prior to their internment they had placed me in the care of some
wonderful Catholic friends. To cover my Jewish identity and for my
own personal safety, they had even instructed me in the Catholic
religion. I was taken daily to the Cathedral where I received the
cathechism from a Catholic priest It was a most bewildering
experience for a little Jewish girl, both for its suddenness and for the
new surroundings I was thrown into without knowing what had
happened to my parents.
Because my granny had Turkish Citizenship (and Turkey's neutrality
during the war) my parents, my grandmother and a few other
families were eventually released from custody. The rest of the
community were shipped out to the Gas Chambers. My father still
had to present himself daily to the Gestapo. One day he was told to
prepare for another departure this time by boat I was collected
from my foster Catholic parents and spent the rest of the day on the
balcony scanning the harbour for the wretched boat When it arrived
it was commandeered by the Germans themselves trying to escape
the Allied blockade Meanwhile food became scarce and I can
remember people with bellies distended by hunger dropping dead in
the streets.
Eventually we were allowed to leave for Turkey. We found a decrepit
boat to take us to Marmaris on the Turkish mainland. It was January
1945. The day was very windy and wintery. With about thirty people
on board, our boat sprung a leak halfway across and started to sink
I remember my father and other men on board baling out water with
their hats and me crying "But I don't know how to swim." We were
saved by another miracle Three motor vessels arrived suddenly as
from nowhere and took us in tow all the way to the Turkish mainland
When I think of the few survivors of that once vibrant and ancient
community amongst whom we were fortunate to count ourselves, I
can't help feeling "Why us?"











/FAMILY NAMES OF THE JEWS OF RHODES

From the book"l Remember Rhodes" by Rebecca Amato Levy the following is the first category of the oldest families that had lived
thereforas long as she could remember.


Alkana
Alhadeff
Angel
Almelech
Amato
Arougheti
Avzaradel
Bar David
Benatar
Benun
Benveniste
Beraha
Berro
Biton
Capuya
Capelouto
Cordoval
Codron


Fiss
Ferrera
Franco
Galante
Gategno
Habib
Halfon
Hanan
Hasson
Hazan
Huniu
Leon
Male
Mayo
Mazal
Menashe
Mizrahi


Notrica
Pelousof
Piha
Pizante
Rousso
Sadis
Shalom
Shaul
Sidis
Soriano
Surmani
Tarica
Turiel


The second category are names rarely found in Rhodes. These names were of immigrants who came to Rhodes in the
beginning of the 1900's.


Eskinaz
Gaon
Fresko
Skapa


Rozio
Shioti
Treves


The third category are the names of people who emigrated to Rhodes from Turkey and Greece after the first World War.


Albagali
Arditi
Azikiri
Alaluf
Abuaf
Behar
Bega
Benozilio
Benezra
Calvo
Calef
Cori
Dogno
Danon


Ergas
Erera
Eskapa
Estrugo
Fernandez
Rosanes
Fonseca
Gerusalmi
Hemsi
Hassan
Moreno
Merdjan
Nahum
Nahamias


Butchuk
Peres
Perahia
Romano
Salomoni
Silaniku
Catan
Sarfati
Segura
Varon
Sereno
Zuvi







A PILGRIMAGE TO RHODES

Article and photographs by Benjamin Leon


The entrance to the Mandraki Harbour with the Fort of St. Nicholas in the background.
The mythological Colossus of Rhodes is said to have straddled the entrance. The fort is
now used as a lighthouse.


The airport was crowded, the tarmac was very hot as I stepped off
the Boeing 737 at Rhodes on a June summers day in 1990. This
was my second visit to this holiday Mediterranean island.
The bus followed the road along the crowded beaches and finally
stopped at the terminus a short distance behind the Mandraki
Harbour. I hitched a lift and was soon in the very heart of the old
medieval city of Rhodes.
The car stopped in the Kay Ancha near the"Fuente" or fountain The
manager of the Old City Hotel was pleased to see me and greeted
me with a very friendly hug. He showed me to my room on the floor
above his restaurant and I settled in This would be my quarters for
the next week I walked onto the balcony or balcony and looked out
onto the Kay Ancha with the fuente in the foreground
So here I was once again in the city where my ancestors had lived
for five centuries. As a child I had heard my parents and
relatives speak of the Kay Ancha, la puerta di la mar, the Mandraki,
Kremasto and Trianda. Here they were right before me. Although I
was born In Zimbabwe and had never met my grandparents I had a
feeling of affinity for this place.
I made my way down the Kay Ancha to a narrow road turning off the
busy square. On the corner of the building was a sign which read
"Synagogue 20 metres". Next to it was a stone set in the wall which
read "Martyron Evreon" which is the Greek for Hebrew Martyrs
Square. Regrettably, unless one could read Greek, the plaque was
meaningless.


I walked along the cobbled stone road as I turned the corer I came
across the Kal Shalom, the synagogue after which the one in Harare
is named The archways connecting the buildings on either side of
the street gives one the impression that this is part of Jerusalem.
I walked up three steps and was in the foyer of the synagogue.
Above me were vine creepers and my feet walked on neat cobble
stones. An elderly lady wearing horn-rimmed glasses rose to greet
me speaking French. I reply in Ladino informing her that my paternal
grandfather was Jacov Leon and my maternal grandfather was
Nissim Benveniste. She did not remember them.
This is Madame Lucia Modiano Sulam who has been the caretaker
of the Kal Shalom for over twenty years. If it were not for her
dedication and loyalty this synagogue would close its doors
At the entrance on the right is a large stone tablet bearing the family
names of all those who perished in Auschwitz.
The synagogue has carpets on a cobblestone floor and from the
ceiling hang some magnificent chandeliers.
A wave of emotion came over me as I gazed around this magnificent
old synagogue which had been the centre of Jewish culture and
tradition for more than five centuries. Here the traditions and
commandments of the Torah had kept our ancestors through
centuries of persecution and adversity.
The following day I called on the president of the Jewish Community
of Rhodes M. Maurice Soriano, a hale and hearty man in his

































The early morning sunlight falls on the KayAncha, with the "Fuente" in the foreground.
Within an hour this peaceful medieval setting will be filled with merchandise and
teeming with tourists.


eighties. He recalled that in 1949 he returned to Rhodes after the
war to discover that all that remained of the synagogue was "los
quatro paretis" the four walls Slowly but surely with funds from
Rodislis living in the Americas, France, and the Belgian Congo, the
synagogue was restored to its former glory.
He showed me an old births register which he came across by some
miracle. It was dated from 1850 and contained many names. I was
unable to trace any ancestry. It is, according to M. Soriano the only
surviving document of the Jews of Rhodes.
He informed me that there were only 35 Jews on the island, six of
whom were born in Rhodes, the remainder came from the
Dodecanese Of the six, four were survivors from Auschwitz.
One evening whilst walking alone along the KayAncha I met Esther
and Leonard Salzman together with her sister Sheila(nee Capeluto)
Almeleh, and her husband Albert Shortly we were joined by Nissim
Trevis, the nephew of Mrs Sol Trevis, and his family.
Albert decided that we should have a conducted tour of the Juderia.
With everyone talking at once he led us to the house in the Kay
Ancha where he was born. He, together with many other young
people left Rhodes in 1938 soon after Musolini had passed his anti-
semetic laws. He did not think he had a future under such
conditions. He returned to Rhodes for the first time in 1962.
He was most upset to feel the absence of the Jews of Rhodes and
sold the building in which he was born. He was now regretting it
We moved on to the Kal Shalom. Here, we were greeted by M.
Soulam.
We moved on down the road and it was at this point the Nissim
Trevis met two elderly Greek ladies who had remembered the Jews


of Rhodes. We moved on with both Nissim and Albert pointing to
various doorways and saying, "here lived so and so the tinsmith" or
"here lived so and so the shoemaker." At one point Nissim choked
with emotion, almost in tears said, "They are not here anymore."
We turned the corner and came to the "calega di la scola" the
street of the Hebrew school and the Kal Grande. Nissim pointed to
the building adjacent to the fountain that had once served the Kal
Grande, and said, "this is where my family lived." We climbed the
stairs and with emotion began to reminisce saying, "This floor was
laid by my father." The Greek tenants were most hospitable and
understanding.
Again down at street level, Nissim turned to me and pointed to a
double storey building across the road and said,'Aki morava il papo
tu yu Nissim Benveniste, il tinikegie"-"Here lived your grandfather
Nissim Benveniste, the tinsmith" I looked at the building and it bore
the sign "Hotel Cava D'Oro."
At the end of the tour we sat down at a table at one of the many
cafes and restaurants in the Kay Ancha and agreed that we would
all meet again at the Kal Shalom for the Shabbat evening service.
The following day whilst sitting in the cafe of my pension, a Greek
gentleman approached me, speaking Ladino, and said that someone
in Faliraki wished to speak to me. The gent on the phone said that he
was a relative of mine and wished to meet me. His name wasJoseph
Alhadeff. His mother was the sister to the two brothers Ermano
Behor and Jacov Leon, the latter being my grandfather.
He was a first cousin to my father. I was indeed surprised that
someone had made this connection. It turned out that the Greek
gentleman, who spoke Ladino had worked with the Jewish
community in the Belgian Congo














The Kay Ancha now named by
the Greek authorities as "Matryon
Evreon" or Hebrew Martyrs
Square. The sign points to the
Kal Shalom.
(Below) Another view of the Kay
Ancha with the "Fuente" In the
foreground. On the right is the
"Old City Hotel" where the
author stayed.


Mr Alhadeff and I agreed to meet in the Kay Ancha at the fountain
the following day. I asked how we would know each other. He said,
"Don't worry, I will know who you are."
We met and somehow he knew who I was, although I could not have
done the same. Once again we went on a tour of the Juderia This I
welcomed because on my previous visit I found that peoples'
memories were not all that reliable and he confirmed what was in
doubt or uncertain. He pointed to a door on which the name of a
relative had been carved with a penknife. It was still there after all
these years. Alado di la puerta di la mar he showed me where my
paternal grandparents had lived
He offered to take me out to dinner after the Shabbat service on
Friday night and this I happily accepted.
The Shabbat service in the Kal Shalom was a memorable one. On
the tevah was Joseph Alhadeff and Albert Almeleh It appears that
both these gentlemen and their wives come on an annual pilgrimage
to Rhodes The congregation comprised mainly of tourists with three


residents present Mr Maurice Sorriano, Sammy Modiano and Mme.
Soulam.
Prior to the service Mme Soulam was supervising the time
honoured custom of lighting the candela di Shabat the Sabbath
candles A glass containing water with oil floating on top and wick
comprised the candle..
The prayer books in use are identical to the ones used in Harare and
are edited and compiled by Rev. Dr. David de Sola Pool In the front
pages one comes across some touching inscriptions, written in by
tourists, commemorating family and ancestry.
After the service Joseph Alhadeff and his charming wife Louise took
me to Trianda for dinner at a Greek restaurant I discovered that
Joseph was a gourmet and recommended some delicious Greek
dishes, one of which was slovaki pieces of fish grilled on a skewer
and tastily seasoned.
Whilst chatting over the meal he reminisced about our family and
recalled that my aunt Marica the youngest of the family had
























"
,r .. o^


The Presidentof the Jews of Rhodes Mr. Maurice
Soriano, now in his eighties, examines the birth
register, which he stumbled across by some
miracle after the war. It appears to be the only
surviving document of this community. Births
date back as far as 1850. He also maintains a
register for the cemeteries of Rhodes.
perished in Auschwitz. He used to tease her and say that he would
wait for her to grow up so that he could marry her. We also spoke
about a camera my aunt Violette Hasson had brought from Rhodes,
it was the first camera I had used. He remembered it well I
discovered that my name was Benjamin Di Leon, but somewhere
along the line the prefix had been dropped.
To finish off an excellent meal he suggested that we go back to the
old city where he knew a Turk who made excellent bacclava and
cadaif.













The ruins of a 13th cen-
tury church stands on
Salamon Alhadeff Street
the only street in Rhodes
to have retained a Jewish
name, that of the well
known banker.


Mr Benny Leon, born Kadoma, Zimbabwe on
21 st February, 1936. Professional photographer.
Keen on historical and archival works.




This we did. There in lu kemado literally "the burnt"- now known
as Hipocrates Square, was a little shop where a Turkish gentleman
did a thriving trade selling Greek delicacies
I bid Louise and Joseph Alhadeff farewell after thanking them for an
excellent evening.
My week in Rhodes was, a memorable one, and I was indeed
fortunate to have met some of my family.


1


-.;;

~a~5~





































The Order of the Knights of St. John left imposing evidence of their presence in Rhodes, and gave to the
island the particular character it retains to this day, with its impregnable walls, gates, churches, hospitals,
inns and palaces. Their stay in Rhodes lasted 213 years, until 1522, when on December 29, the last of the
Grand Masters, Villiers de I'lsle Adam, was compelled to surrenderthe island to Suleiman the Magnificent.
Needless to say, it took a siege of six months in the face of strong resistance from the Knights, with the aid of
local inhabitants, before the city could be forced to give itself up. Afterthe fall of Rhodes, Charles V and the
Pope were instrumental in finding the Knights a new home-in Malta. Afterthattime theywere known as the
Knights of Malta.
To the Jews of Rhodes it was known as "la puerta di la scala" or"la puerta di MichaelAmato" a Jewwho sold
groceries near the gateway.











The Greeks call it Ippiton and the
Italians "Via de Cavellieri". It is
the road of the Knights of St. John
which has not changed in cen-
turies. On either side of the streets
arethevarious Innswhich knights
of seven nationalities occupied.
Above each door are the various
coats of arms. This is one of the
best preserved medieval streets
in Europe, and leadstothe Palace
of the Grand Master.



































A photograph taken at the tum of the centurywith Turkish dream very much the mode. This sthe familyof Isaac and
Mazaltov Benatar, the younger generation of whom, emigrated to Rhodesia.
Standing L to R: Joseph Benater(father of Nick Benatar), Rfca Amato, Marco Alhadeff and Leon Benatar(fatherof
Leonl Benatar).
Seated Mazaltov Benatar with Halm Amato In arms. Iaac Benatar with Lucy Benatar in arms, mother of Stella
Alhadeff. The two little girls in front are Joya and Rachel. Joya later married Isac Levy and became the mother of
Sam Levy and brothers. Rachel married Albert David Bondi and Is motherof the Bondl brothers. Miss Violet Benatr,
who was not bor when the photograph was taken, is part of this family and at the age of 87 Ia still with us.


WHAT IS THE SECRET OF JEWISH IMMORTALITY?

If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the
Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of.
He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his
bulk His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abtruse leading are also way
out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.
He has made marvellous flight in this world, in all ages, and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be
excused for it
The Egyptian, and the Persian and the Babylonian rose, filled the earth with sound and splendour, then faded to dream stuff and passed away;
the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung and held their torch high for a time, but
it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no
decadence, no infirmaries of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are
mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains.
What is the secret of his immortality?
From the article "Conceming the Jews" by Mark Twain.

DOES THIS AUTHOR HAVE THE ANSWER?
Jewish history consists of a unique series of events- accidental or purposive- which have had the practical effect of preserving the Jews as
Jews in an"exile" to fulfil their avowed mission of ushering in a brotherhood of man. Whether this mission was initiated by God or retroactivity
attributed to God by the Jews themselves in no way alters our thesis of a Jewish manifest destiny. We contend that this exile is not a
punishment for sins, but a key factor in Jewish survival. Instead of having doomed the Jews to extinction, it funnelled them into freedom
As long as the Jews stick to the ethics of the Torah and the ideology of the Prophets, they will remain indestructible. When all men embrace this
ethic and ideology, they, too, will symbolically become Jewish. There will then be only man.
From "The Indestructible Jews" by Max 1. Dimont






THE PUBLICATION OF THIS COMMEMORATIVE BOOK WAS MADE POSSIBLE


THROUGH THE GENEROSITY OF THE FOLLOWING DONORS:


Mr & Mrs Solly Alhadeff

Mr & Mrs Victor Alhadeff

Mr & Mrs Leon Benatar

Mr & Mrs Albert Bondi

Mr & Mrs Elie Bondi

Mr & Mrs Joe Bondi

Mr & Mrs Salvo Capelluto

Mrs Ray Cheny

Mr & Mrs Victor Cohen

Mr & Mrs Jack Ferera

Mr & Mrs Morris Hanan

Mr & Mrs David Hasson

Mr & Mrs N Joselyn


Mrs Lena

Dr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs

Mr & Mrs


Kantor

Max Kaplan

Herzl Keril

Robert Krikler

Isaac H Menashe (Jnr)

Isaac Merdjan

Robert Merdjan

Raphael Mizan

A J Naim

J Pitluk

Raymond Shapiro


African Agencies (Pvt) Ltd.

Arrow Zip Fasteners (Pvt) Ltd.

Cone Textiles (Pvt) Ltd.

Continental Fashions (Pvt) Ltd.

Crown Clothing Co. (Pvt) Ltd.

I Fintz & Son (Pvt) Ltd.

Flair Furniture Co. (Succ) (Pvt) Ltd.

Gerber Goldschmidt Group

Maurice Hasson Garments

Inter-Continental Leaf Tobacco Co (Pvt) Ltd.

Kunzwana Lobels

Machine Tools & Accessories (Pvt) Ltd.

Mannix Agencies

Mining & Engineering Agencies (Harare) (Pvt) Ltd.

Premier Clothing

Sambena (Pvt) Ltd.

Strand Stationers (Pvt) Ltd.

Winfields Clothing Manufacturers (Pvt) Ltd.






The publication of this commemorative book was made possible through the generosity of the following donors.


S. Alhadeff
V. Alhadeff
Arrow Zip Fasteners
Albert R Bondi
E. Bondi
Mr & Mrs Joe Bondi
Salvo Capelluto
Mrs Ray Cheny
M. Cohen
Victor Cohen
Continental Fashions
Crown Clothing
I Fintz & Son
Flair Furniture
Jack Ferera
Gerber Goldschmidt Group
Leon & Albert Hanan
Morris Hanan
David Hasson
Maurice Hasson Garments


S.R. Hanan
Intercontinental Leaf Tobacco (Pvt) Ltd
N. Jocelyn
H. Keril
Mrs Lina Kantor
Dr Max Kaplan
Bobby Krikler
Kunzwana Lobels
Machine Tools & Accessories
Mannix Agencies
Isaac Menashe (Jnr)
Isaac Merdjan and Robert Merdjan (Zacks Cycle Co)
Mining & Engineering Agencies (Harare) (Pvt) Ltd
Raphael Mizan
A.J. Naim
J. Pitluk
Sambena (Pvt) Ltd
Raymond Shapiro
Strand Stationers
Winfields Clothing Manufacturers


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The President and Executive of this Congregation acknowledge
the contribution made by Mr. B. Leon in the compilation and
production of this publication.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Editor Acknowledges that extracts from the following books
have been used and wishes to thank the authors.
THE JEWS OF RHODES
Marc D. Angel
OUR YEARS OF PROGRESS
Solly Alhadeff
I REMEMBER RHODES
Rebecca Amato Levy
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE JEWS
Max I. Dimont



THANKS TO
Stella Cohen for front cover design
Salvo Almeleh, Phillip Hasson and Sam Benatar for proof reading
and assistance.
Rose Leon for unwavering support









v. 1e ': ..
r __ ***^ i -
'* * **^" ^ O


La


- ---I


"