Leizer Abrahamson - 107th
For Zimbabwe, a country in
serious economic decline that has this month been designated as having the
lowest mortality rate in the world (see
story) - Leizer Abrahamson is an interesting
individual by any standards.
Leizer Abrahamson, the grand
old man of the tiny Jewish community celebrated his 107th birthday in
Bulawayo on the 2nd April 2006.
He's certainly the oldest Jew
in the Southern African region and unless we hear to the contrary, perhaps
the world's oldest Jew. Leizer recited Haftorah in the community's Sinai
Shul, as he has done often. On Erev Shabbat he said Kiddush with a strong
voice at Savyon Lodge - the only Jewish Old Age home in Zimbabwe where he
has resided for the last 30 years.
Leizer at his 107th Birthday - click to enlarge
Leizer, born in 1899 at a
shtetl near Bialistok, Poland, has lived through three centuries. He came
out to then Rhodesia and joined his brother Morris, who had a trading
store in Bulawayo, in 1926. His wife for 40 years, Baila, died in 1978. He
drove a car until he was 93.
Among the hundred guests and
misphocha (family) at Leizer's birthday party was his nephew, the Hon. Abe
Abrahamson, aged 83, who was a minister in the former Rhodesian government
and now lives in Johannesburg. Abe quipped "with my uncle Leizer at
107 and I recently celebrated by second barmitzvah at 83, let's hope that
between us we can complete two centuries."
Leizer was heard to remark
"I'm like one of those old cars, the engine is till working but the
bodywork could do with some repairs."
Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, of the
African Jewish Congress and Rabbi for country communities with Bulawayo's
Rabbi Nathan Asmoucha paid warm tributes to Leizer. African nurses and
helpers at the home marched in the party singing "Happy Birthday Dear
The grand old man has ideas on
longevity. " Dont eat between meals and avoid fizzy drinks and
alcohol." He gave up smoking over 30 years ago and until quite
recently took daily walks.
Needless to add many wished
Leizer - bis un hundred and tzvanzig...until 120.
And so say all of us !
Bulawayo June 2004
click on each photo to enlarge
|Family Photo with "Uncle Leizer"
on his 105th Birthday
||Blowing out the candles..
|With Anita Abrahamson
||With Abe and Anita
|Surrounded by Family..
||The Birthday boy
|Mazaltov Leizer !!
||With Elsie Furman and Benji Lasker