I remember the warm sunny Thursday in 1972 that Mendel & I landed in South Africa. It was the 10th of February & a beautiful summers day.
We came on the El Al flight & were met at the airport by Koppel Bacher, Mitzi Yachad together with his 11 year old son Mandy ….I think his wife Ann was also there…Ruth Benjamin….maybe with her 5 year old daughter Debbie (today Devorah Shinan)& Gila Pels ( now Lilian).
Koppel drove us to his house at 4 Gill Street Observatory.
Everything was new, unfamiliar.
As we drove down Innes Street I remember seeing the silver-domed Observatory glistening in the distance & asking Koppel what it was…We were welcomed South African style…. Selma’s large dining room table covered with a hand embroidered cloth…. tea & cakes elegantly set out. I remember Winnie Gourarie being there & explaining that this was not her home & that Selma would soon be home.
With all my love I will always remember the Lipskars. So many happy, sad and funny Memories come flooding back.Not always easy as you know memories of names and places do fade away with age.
We opened the Connoisseur Hotel in 1975 giving us the nachas and joy that Rabbi Mendel and Mashi Lipskars so gallantly shared with us. I often think of malka Goldie, so smart and knowledgable strutting around the Chabad Shul examining all the ladies as they walked into shul. She examined each lady’s shoes as they walked into Shul “why are you wearing leather shoes today – “you must observe the rules” Then where is your shaytel your hair must be covered” Well on this particular Suchot we were taught an unforgettable incident. The Connoisseur always built a beautiful Succah which was used during the whole day when business men came to eat. We were always Boruch Hashem full. Rabbi Mendel and Rebbetsin Mashi Lipskar on the last Friday walked down to lunch with us. It was a beautiful day and we had an enjoyable time when suddenly the rain came pelting down with such force. The Lipskars also brought a new baby with them. Friday night arrangements had been made for the Lipskars to entertain members and friends for Shabbos.
What’s to do? Mendel walked all the way sopping wet back from the Connoisseur Hotel to the Chabad Shul and calmly requested for his guests to be taken over to their Succos of friends and relatives. Having achieved this mitzvah he walked back to the Connoisseur sopping wet. The Connoisseur always had a small covered dining room for cover in case of rain. The Chief Rabbi and his wife were sitting in the sheltered dining room and I was talking to them,when Goldie came marching in “excuse me but are you Jewish?” I gave a horrified gasp and wondered what now?
The Chief Rabbi answered her “of course little girl I am certainly Jewish why do you ask? Goldie answered if so why are you not sitting in the Succha?
Well little girl we are not sitting in the Succah because it is pouring with rain:
Little young lady, boss of the Connoisseur pointed to the Succhah and showed the Chief Rabbi that her father Rabbi Lipskar, Michael Rootshtain, and Dov
Grauman were having a wonderful time- soup dripping with rain water and enjoying themselves under peals of laughter. The Chief Rabbi explained to her that it was forbidden to be uncomfortable in the pouring rain and once again assured her that they were Jewish. Well I think I needed to be taken to a hospital for shock treatment. However Boruch Hashem
We all survived and we have never forgotten that night. Always something to
I will never forget the erev Pesach demonstration that I gave to our Chabad ladies in the Connoissuer Hotel’s Orange Room I remember when Mendel met his parents at the airport and told them that before taking them home he was going to show them the most beautiful place. He proudly brought them to the Connoisseur Hotel and we all had tea and cake together.
I remember all the wonderful Chabad functions and you always proudly showing them the way Darling Mashi I don’t’ want to bore you with many stories so please let me know how I can help My precious love to all Lovingly as always.