History My New Dwindling Community
posted by March 27 at 12:18 PMon
Last night at around 3 am, I joined the mailing list for the Zimbabwe Jewish Community. Though the present number of Jews in Zimbabwe is extremely small, around 250 (and mostly old people who can’t leave the horrible place), not too long ago their number was beyond 7,000 and growing.
This web site aims to celebrate nearly 110 years of Jewish Communities in Zimbabwe and help record the history and details of a unique period for the benefit of both current and future generations. From a peak of some 7,500 Jews in the early 1970s - the total Zimbabwe Jewish community in 2006 is approximately 270 souls (from 294 in 2005). This is the story of a once vibrant community who settled for many different reasons in what was originally Rhodesia - later to become Zimbabwe. Time however, is of the essence as the numbers of those that can “tell the story” and the remaining community dwindle.
The ZJC’s remaining mission is “to collect data on the Jewish cemeteries in Zimbabwe [and] have every tombstone photographed, in all the cemeteries of Harare, Bulawayo and the smaller towns.”
The website also has great pictures like this one:
What a lovely bracelet on that wrist.
I did not join the Zimbabwe Jewish Community’s website out of boredom brought on by insomnia (I was actually enjoying a book by Jean-Luc Nancy on the subject of restlessness), I joined it because one of the few pleasures left in the mess, misery, and miscarriage that is generally known as Zimbabwe is looking at its history, its hopeful days. When your country is dead in every way—a dead passport, dead dream, dead reality—then its past becomes frozen in time. There is no continuum; no line that stretches from now to then. There is a rupture, a clean break between us and them. The people in these promising pictures exist in a world that we in the infinity of the present know will become nothing else than the history of a community.