Cape Town Jews Get Ready to Swing, Hop, and Eat Pizza in the Hut
Around the globe, Jews are preparing for the upcoming Yom Kippur and Sukkot holy days. Israel National News spoke with Rabbi Mendel Popack, who heads the Chabad House in Cape Town, South Africa, to focus on what is happening there.
"We have several events planned this year," said Rabbi Popack. "Tomorrow morning 150 Jews are gathering in our courtyard to perform the traditional kaparot (atonement) ceremony, which involves swinging a live chicken above one's head and saying the kaparot prayer." (The idea being that any harsh decrees that the person deserved be transferred to the animal, in the merit of this mitzvah of charity.)
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"During Sukkot (the Feast of the Tabernacles), we are planning a Sukkah Hop, an event for families where each family goes to three different sukkot. There will be crafts, building of mini-sukkot, and live music. That takes place on Sunday of Chol Hamoed Sukkot (Sept. 26)."
"Someone stopped me on the street the other day and asked me, 'Are you Mr. Matzah? When I was eight years old you made matzah for us and I still remember it." These are some of the things that the Jews in Cape Town remember from their Yiddishkeit, and for some, this is their connection to Judaism."
Although far from Israel, Rabbi Popack still tries to remain connected to the Holy Land. "My wife was born in Israel," he said. "We are connected to Israel through Kfar Chabad - we get matzah and books from there. I was in Israel a few months ago. I used the time that I was there to rejuvenate. I spent the whole time in Jerusalem."
For more information about Chabad of Cape Town, visit: http://www.chabad.co.za/