Emeritus R. J. Menashe Attains 90 Years of Age.
Raphael Jacov Menashe this attained his ninetieth
birthday. In this year he also lost Regina, his wife of over fifty
Gabbai Emeritus, who has served the Sephardi community with dedication, also
suffered a set back to his health after a fall in which he broke his left leg,
and has left him frail and infirm.
born in Rhodes Island on the 24th October 1910, being the youngest in
a large family of four brothers and four sisters.
His father Jaco Menashe ran a general store in the Juderia.
His mother was Ester Tarica.
When the rabbinical College was established
in Rhodes, his father wanted him to become a rabbi, but Raphael had other ideas.
He remembers hios father taking him by the hand to the Silihot services.
These were held during the Ten Days of Penitence, in a private home,
beginning at two o’clock in the morning and finishing at sunrise.
here that he learnt the Sephardi tunes currently sung in prayers in the
He worked for five years in the foreign
exchange department in the bank of Isaac Alhadeff.
In 1936 he received a visit from a Jewish gentleman who worked for the
British Council in Rhodes. The man
asked him if he was happy there, and the young Raphael replied, “Why
shouldn’t I be?” The man warned him that things were not going well in Europe
and that he should leave the island. He
suggested that Raphael should go to the British colony of Southern Rhodesia and
that he would facilitate all the immigration formalities.
June 1936, he left the island sailing to Genoa, through the Straits of Gibraltar
to Cape Town a journey of two weeks.
From Cape Town, he traveled by train to Bulawayo,
where he was met by Boaz Menashe. In
Salisbury the immigration facilities proceeded smoothly.
He worked for two months for Eli Menashe,
who had married his sister Rachel, before opening a trading store in Charter
Road. He had brought enough money
with him to buy a Ford motor car, the registration number he remembers very
clearly – S40. It cost him 140 pounds!
A few years later, together with Mr. A. H. Benatar he opened a clothing
and suitcase factory, which he sold ten years ago.
(1990). In 1946, he married
Regina Hasson, a survivor of Auschwitz. She
was forced to work in a munitions factory, and as the result of a poor diet her
health suffered in later years, and when they had two children they both died
before reaching their teens.
He remembers the first president of the
congregation, Mr. B. D. Almeleh, with great respect and affection.
B. D. as he was affectionately known, kept the congregation together by
holding Shabbat services in his home, in Fife Avenue.
When B. D. Almeleh passed away in 1979, aged 98,
Raphael Menashe accepted the position of gabbai in an honourary capacity,
stating that he did not wish to be paid for his services.
He has held this position until 1994 when he was made Gabbai Emeritus.
He also remembers a past president and
benefactor of the congregation Mr. B. S. Leon, who always befriended members of
the Ashkenazi Jews stating “We are all Jews.”
He and Kipps Rosin were great friends.
age of 90, Raphael Menashe still goes to work to his shop in the industrial
sites of Southerton