By Joanne Levy, April 2024
What an incredible evening we had for our first Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle event, where we honoured the Egyptian heritage of our community, in the lead up to Pesach.

We welcomed Marcelle Levi, as our guest speaker. Not only is she a valued and much-loved member of our Synagogue but she recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

Sassoon Yehuda Sephardi Synagogue President, Joanne Levy, welcomed all and gave a short Dvar Torah (thanks to Rebbetzin Sara) about the upcoming festival of Pesach. This resonated with all, especially as many, including Joanne’s family, were refugees from Egypt.

We then enjoyed a sit-down dinner with schnitzel, honey/soy chicken, Sephardi rice, Moroccan vegetables, mushroom rice, and an array of salads.

After dinner, Marcelle spoke and shared insights about her life in Egypt and then her marriage and living in Australia. We learned about the pain of separation from her family at a time when her husband was cruel to her. We were inspired how she was able to leave him at a time when this went against social norms, and live her life with her sons in happiness, separated from her husband.

We then surprised Marcelle with cake and sang happy birthday, filling the hall with song, and love for this matriarch…adored by so many. And then we enjoyed a dessert buffet of cake and fruit.

In lieu of a gift, we presented Marcelle with a certificate of thanks from RCWC, who generously donated tubs of soups to our affiliated charity, FOSY, to those in need, in honour of Marcelle’s birthday.

The attendees loved the event, and also the beautiful gift of printed serviettes, provided to all on the occasion of our first RCWC event. We were expecting 20 to our event, and had over 40 women in attendance. It was a very special evening.

We are looking forward to our next event in Elul, as we honour the Moroccan women of our community, and their cultural heritage.

Remarks from our guests:
“My mother and I have left the event feeling deeply uplifted and ennobled. Uplifted by and grateful for the community, Chesed and example that you create; and so moved by Marcelle’s speaking to us from her heart and telling us what she truly went through. She has given my mother and I all the more hope that life can not only get better after decades of cruelty, but that it can be defined by happiness.
Baruch HaShem…you are doing an amazing job. It takes 4-5 people in other Synagogues to organise what you organised today. And what you did was way more warm, happy and exciting.”

“It was very successful and everyone enjoyed it sooo much.”

“Thank you for the lovely evening. What a turnout! Really enjoyed it. Put me on your list for further RCWC meetings.”