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Blossom Riemer 1926 – 2012

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to have met Blossom while interviewing her for a story on small towns in Southern Africa.

Blossom Riemer was born in the small dorp (town) of Keetmanshoop in Namibia, once known as South West Africa. There were only ten Jewish families in this burg, and in order to provide kosher meat, Blossom's father, the mayor of the town, Elia Silber, brought in a shochet from Cape Town or Johannesburg, a long distance away. He asked the resident cheder teacher who lived with them, to teach the Jewish children something about Judaism.

Blossom's relatives lived in Palestine and she remembers the time they sent them an olive-wood box for storing their etrog. She told me that before Succot, she and her brother Abe handed out a lulav and an etrog to each Jewish family, to afford them the opportunity of saying the blessing over them. On Simchat Torah, Blossom and Abe, together with the other Jewish children, decorated flags,.

Blossom's mother came to Keetmanshoop from Vilna, a large city in Lithuania. She found the move difficult, especially as she knew little English and no Afrikaans. At the age of 10, Blossom was sent to a boarding school in Johannesburg and later attended university there.

In the mid 50s, Blossom made aliyah, met Asher and they were married in the Holy Land. One evening in the 80s, Blossom and Asher went to see a play in English and heard a couple talking with a South African accent, so they started chatting to them and discovered that the man was Mottel, whom her father had once employed They invited them home for a good Shabbat meal.

Blossom and Asher have received ESRA MAGAZINE for many years and always loved reading it and hearing what was happening in the English speaking world. In memory of his dear Blossom, Asher has given ESRA a very generous donation to start a fund – the Blossom Riemer Memorial Fund – that will award scholarships to students participating in the Students Build a Neighborhood Projects.

May she rest in peace and may her memory be blessed.

Donations can be made to The Blossom Riemer Memorial Fund c/o ESRA. 



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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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