Beth David’s Luncheon Speaker Series will continue in person on Saturday, December 10, with guest speaker David Sliom. The title of his talk is “South African Jewry: A Personal Perspective.” Beth David’s Luncheon Speaker Series takes place the second Saturday of the month after Shabbat morning services, and is open to the community. People are encouraged to attend the morning service, which begins at 9:30 am. There is no charge for the luncheon.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Sliom and his family migrated to the United States in 1977, living first in San Antonio, TX, and then in St. Louis, MO, where he completed his high school education and then attended Washington University, graduating with a degree in mathematics in 1985. He is employed in the field of cybersecurity for several federal agencies, and resides in Annapolis, MD.
Sliom will discuss what it was like being Jewish in the 1960s and ‘70s in South Africa. He will also speak about the Jewish community and how its practices compare to U.S. ones. “I will discuss some of the traditions that are the same, as well as those that may differ,” Sliom indicated. “I also look forward to sharing some of my family history, which has historical significance. When I used to ask my father why we did things a certain way in our Jewish practice, he always replied, ‘This is the way your great-grandfather did it.’”
The year 2019 was the 120th anniversary of the death of Sliom’s great-grandfather, Shmaryahu Sliom, who was the first rabbi in the Afrikaaner Republic in the 1890s. A commemorative article in the Pretoria Jewish Chronicle marked that anniversary, indicating that there was an active Jewish community there, and that Rev Sliom ministered to that community, taking on the additional functions of cantor, shochet and mohel. The creation of a Chovevei Zion Organization, as well as a Ladies Benevolent Society and Ladies Zionist Society, were also due to the efforts of Sliom and his wife, Hannah.
“We are delighted that David will be sharing his insights based on his experiences growing up in South Africa,” organizers say, “and his personal connection to an important part of its Jewish history. His talk is sure to generate a lively and thought-provoking discussion!”
Since the monthly series’ continuation depends on the generosity of contributors, Beth David welcomes and appreciates donations to the Luncheon Fund in order to keep the program going. Donations, as well as sponsorships, can be made in honor of or in memory of someone, or to mark a special occasion. Those wishing an acknowledgment to be sent to the person being honored, or to the family of someone being remembered, can indicate that along with the necessary information. Donations can be sent to Beth David Synagogue, 39 Riverside Dr., Binghamton, NY 13905, Attention: Luncheon Fund.