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Legacy of Light

Telfed and Beth Protea joined together on 18th December to present a short documentary celebrating the life of the late Cantor Abraham Immerman at Beth Protea. The event, held in the Beth Protea Shul which seats 100 people was sold out, necessitating a second screening on 27 December.  I would not be doing justice to the events of the evening as it unfolded, were I not to describe them as awe-inspiring and one of the most memorable evenings I have had the pleasure  of enjoying. The evening centred around a heartwarming 16 minute documentary made by Lisa Chait of Cape Town, a former pupil of Cantor Immerman’s at Herzlia School.

December 18, being the 7th night of Hanukkah, the evening started appropriately with the lighting of the seventh candle in the Beth Protea dining room, filled with Beth Protea residents and others who were there to view the documentary. Representing Telfed, I was honoured to be asked to recite the brachot prior to the candle lighting. Following this the audience all made their way to the shul for the screening.

Lyn Bach of Beth Protea welcomed the audience, which included a large number of Cantor Immerman’s former pupils. She then introduced Norman Chait, brother of Lisa who had made the documentary. Norman told us a bit about the origins of the documentary, after which we watched a short message from Lisa about the making of the original video and at a later stage, the documentary. This was followed by a talk delivered by Solly Kaplinski, former pupil of Cantor Immerman and later his principal at Herzlia school. The talk was fraught with emotion, evident of the depth of feeling Solly held for Cantor Immerman.

We then enjoyed one of the highlights of the evening as nonagenarian ex CapeTonian, Morris Marcus, a close friend and benefactor of the blind cantor, shared some of his  memories with us. Morris, with the most amazing recall kept us spellbound as it became clear that Cantor Immerman was blessed with having total recall of all past events. He was able to recognise former pupils by their voices, in some cases not having had any contact with them for up to 30 years.

The documentary was then shown, with the various narrators amplifying much of what had been said by Morris Marcus. Following the poignant documentary which had many of the audience in tears, random members of the audience, several of them relatives of the Late Cantor and others who are Herzlia School alumni related their memories. Some members of the audience recalled having been taught their Bar Mitzvah portions in outlying districts visited by the Blind Cantor. The evening ended with hot beverages and delicious potato latkes.

To watch the tribute by Solly Kaplinski for the late Cantor Abraham Immerman, Click HERE.

December 27 was an equally enjoyable evening with an audience of 40 in attendance for the screening. We once again watched the short message from Lisa Chait, videos of the talks by Solly Kaplinski and Morris Marcus on the 18th followed by the reminiscences of former Herzliya pupil  Margo Sugarman and then the documentary. Former pupils and others that had been associated with the Cantor related their memories, after which a lovely evening came to an end as we enjoyed hot beverages, delicious cake and biscuits.

Article written by Peter Bailey
Chairman of Telfed Events Committee

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