25th July 2004
given at funeral by Dave Bloom
Arleen, Mark, Julian, Solly, family and friends
behalf of Telfed (S.A. Zionist Fed-Israel) and CAZO (Central African Zionist
Federation), all fellow former and current Zimbabweans in Israel, around the world and
personally, I would like to extend our heartfelt sorrow at the passing of
only about two weeks since I wrote to Adolph welcoming him to Israel and congratulating him on fulfilling his life-long dream of making Aliyah. We knew
he was seriously ill he but somehow thought and wished he would be with us for
a little longer.
wrote then that it is indeed a unique fact that so many of the leaders of the
Zimbabwe Jewish Community have made Aliyah and his was yet another example of
CAZO Chairmen who have set an example to others.
noted how amusing it was to hear on arrival that his appointment to the
Ministry of Interior was (mistakenly) booked by Telfed in the name of “Mr.
CAZO”. I then realised how appropriate the mistake was…..that
Adolph Leon was in fact probably the last in a line of “Mr. CAZOs” and had earned his
title after so many years of diligent and hard-working running of that
organization in Zimbabwe.
youngster in Habonim in the-then Rhodesia I always felt Adolph’s presence at Zionist Conferences or on various community committees.
processing some of the photos from Salisbury Zionist Council meetings in the1940s and then CAZO meetings through the 50s, 60s and the 1990s and his
smiling face was a common denominator throughout those years. This is just
symbolic testimony to the many, many years of service that he gave to the
Zionist cause in Zimbabwe; whether it was organising Maccabi Games at Wingate,
the annual Bible Quiz or as energetic Chairman of CAZO for a large number of
tribute to Adolph in Harare before he left I read that when he arrived as a young
man in Rhodesia in 1938 Adolph joined the Salisbury Zionist Society and took
the position of treasurer. In
those days it was separate society to the Hovevei Zion Movement in Bulawayo.
In the 1940’s the two organisations amalgamated and became the Central
African Zionist Organisation.
age of 83 Adolph was still active in Zionist and communal activities and was
quoted as saying "he was dedicated to helping his fellow Jews".
As head of the Mashonaland Jewish Communal Fund he raised money to
assist members of the community who were not able to fend for themselves.
During the past
20 years he had been attending to the daily running of the CAZO office
tribute went on to say that Adolph’s departure would leave a big hole in the
social and communal affairs of Harare.
been one of the main-stays of the Central African Zionist Organization; through thick and thin
he had been determined to keep it going in his modest and
- your devotion to communal affairs spanning over 65 years is unsurpassed and even when we met a few
weeks ago you remained so concerned and I could feel how important it was for
you to report about the ongoing running and welfare of the community and CAZO.
say without hesitation that your passing has left a big hole in all our lives
and we will remember you with deep affection and warmth.
your family know no further grief and may you rest in peace.
- to see pictures of Adolph's involvement in community affairs go to the Photo
Albums on this site - starting
in 1947 )
Farewell to Adolph Leon –
dedicated communal worker
By Benny Leon
acknowledgements to the Central African Zionist Digest in which the following
article first appeared)
Leon, who has been president of CAZO for over 16 years, was born in the
Romanian town of Vaslui on the 3rd January 1918.
His father owned a trading store and had a family of three sons and a
of Adolph’s brothers died in the 1940’s. The Russians torpedoed the boat
“Struma”, in which he was sailing for Palestine. His family experienced much anti-Semitism, and when and
anti-Semitic government came into power in 1938, he emigrated to Southern
Rhodesia, to join his elder brother Joseph, who had arrived two years earlier.
first he worked for the wholesalers, Robinson and Schwartz.
He tried to join the army in 1939, but was rejected because he was
considered an “alien”. In
1941 he was called up to do guard duties at various Italian internment camps
situated at Umvuma, Fort Victoria, Gatooma and Salisbury.
At the conclusion of the war he returned to his post at Robinson and
Schwartz, and stayed there until 1947.
with his brother Joseph, and with financial assistance from Harry Robinson,
they opened Advance Dry Cleaners in Telford Road, Graniteside.
They closed the business in 1970 and opened a factory called Rhodesian
Braiding, where they manufactured shoelaces and webbing. This business was
closed in 1990.
1948, Adolph married Ray Kahanowitz, and together they raised two sons and a
daughter, Mark, Julian and Arleen. Ray
passed away in 1992. They have
seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
arrival in 1938 Adolph Leon joined the Salisbury Zionist Society and took the
position of treasurer. In those
days it was separate society to the Hovevey Zion Movement in Bulawayo, where
Barney Katz was already involved. In
the 1940’s the two amalgamated and became the Central African Zionist
the age of 83 Adolph still keeps active in Zionist and communal activities and
says he is dedicated to helping his fellow Jews. As head of the Mashonaland Jewish Communal Fund he raises
funds to assist members of the community who are not able to fend for
the past 20 years he has
been attending to the daily running of the CAZO office in Harare.
prevailing conditions in the country have made it increasingly difficult to
run CAZO due to dwindling financial support from regular donors.
farewell brocha will be held next Saturday 12th June, at the Harare
Hebrew Congregation Synagogue. He
leaves to join his family in Israel
NOTE: Adolf Leon an ardent Zionist died
23rd July, 2004 in the
land he loved at the age of 86, after brief battle with cancer.
May he rest in peace. (by
Benny Leon who is not a relative)