We were once a thriving Jewish Congregation of some 3000 souls – today we number only 74 souls. Our congregation, in it’s heyday, was extremely vibrant, and was Jewish to the core. We had the most magnificent facilities which included the only Jewish Old Aged Home, Savyon Lodge, in what was then Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), a Jewish Primary Day School – Carmel School – a sports club – Parkview Sports Club – a magnificent Orthodox Synagogue, a Reform Synagogue, a Jewish Communal Centre known as the Jewish Guild Hall which was the centre of Jewish life and a Jewish Nursery School and Youth Centre.

The Jewish Cemetery has been in existence since the community began in the 1890’s, and although a new Ohel was built, the old Ohel still stands, having been built in 1913.

Savyon Lodge, our Jewish Old Aged Home, is still the pride of our community and is a model of its kind. As our comunity is an aging one, it is needed more than ever as it services both the Bulawayo and Harare Communities.

Sadly, our beautiful Shul burnt down just before Yom Kippur about 5 years ago – by a miracle we managed to save our Sifrei Torahs and the whole community joined in and helped us to move to what used to be the Reform Shul and we were able to hole our Yom Kippur services. Communities from South Africa sent siddurim, machzorim and talleisim and we were able to survive.

We still hold regular services at the centre – a little bit of our old shul is preserved there – we collected glass mosaic tiles from the burnt out synagogue and made beautiful murals next to the Aron Hakodesh. There are so few of us left, that it is sometimes difficult to get a full Minyan, but we still hold services every Shabbat, and try to get a Rabbi from SA to come and officiate for the Chagim.

– Written by Raymond Roth