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Family.

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Have you ever been part of a whole? No family is perfect. Least of all mine. But there  really is something to say about family.
My father, OBM, was one of 5 brothers. He was the middle child.
They were all born in an era, pre -war and slightly post. Times were tough, and it groomed 5 tough young men.
My grandfather,was killed in a train/ motor accident at a young age. Leaving a widow and 5 boys behind ranging in age from 6-18. ( I could be wrong with the age of my oldest uncle, at the time)
My father, then 13, had to leave school. And his2 older brothers took the reigns.
Together they all started a motor business, that ran the gamut, of selling motorbikes, to second hand cars, to exclusive car agencies, spare parts and pannel-beaters.
The name Ephron, was synonymous with the car industry in South Africa. And the 5 brothers had a reputation that preceded them – both to their benefit and sometimes to their detriment.
As rough and ready as these 5 men were, fearless in the face of odds, their dedication to family was paramount.
They all adored their wives, and their children. But placed huge emphasis on cousins, and aunts and uncles. Yontif meals, and family functions were never less than 60 people ( that was a small get together).
I was born in the 70’s. The youngest of the first cousins. So personally I missed out on a lot of memories that my sisters and older cousins share. But nevertheless my childhood is engraved with family and it’s importance.
In the 70’s The brothers purchased a portion of an the old Schlezinger house in Muizenberg.
This old mansion facilitated all the memories of Decembers gone by – for all of my childhood. Some summers there were as many as 17 cousins – all sleeping together in what was then fondly nicknamed ‘the ball room’. We drew on the walls , knocked prisms off the old chandeliers. This room provided hours of entertainment once we were bathed from the long,hot, relaxing days at the beach.
I also remember climbing the stairway that went nowhere, and that old fashion toilet that we had to pull a flush from a chain. Literally – pull the chain.
And that dank musty smell – whenever we first returned after a year’s absence.
The Ephrons were all big entertainers, each family in its own right. And to say that there were always visitors and friends around, is no exaggeration
As kids we all got the message that life is good, and it should be shared.
As idyllic as it sounds, the brothers also fought like crazy! The yelling matches would reverberate off the 20 ft 18th century walls. And then as quickly as it arose, the argument dissipated. ” we weren’t arguing – we were just discussing…” That was the famous line.

And then the 90’s rolled around.
Life in SA became a gangsters paradise- and one by one cousins began to immigrate. The family diminished to half – with the other half scattered all around the globe.
Immigration is no joke. Life gets very hectic and life becomes a test of survival.
Contact with family that is not immediate, became non existent. Besides the odd family function here and there. And even then- who could just get on a plane and travel across the world. Life changed.
And then…. 20 years later, social media was born. Slowly slowly we reconnected. Saw pictures of each other’s kids, wives, grandkids.
But still – there is only so much and no more.

Last year, when my father passed away, was the first time I had a moment to stop and reconnect with some of my family. And it was very special. But under unfortunate circumstances.
Tonight however, thanks to recent Aliyah and the current Maccabi games ( which three Ephron relatives are representing) we decided to have a family reunion.
It was the largest contingent of Ephrons together in so many years!!
Cousins from South Africa, USA, Australia Canada and Israel — all got together.
And it was a great night. Second and third cousins met for the first time. And we got to reconnect with our old cousins… A very special night it was.
Thank you Clinton and Tanya for hosting…. Thank you to uncle David and Aunty Doreen for making an effort with everyone.
Thanks to all the cuzzies that came from all over the country.
I hope we are able to see more of each other, and reconnect here in Israel. At least this is the central meeting point for everyone.
To all of those not there tonight – you were missed. Aunty Ashy, Aunty Tilly and my mom.
To those that have passed – uncle Aaron, uncle Max, daddy, uncle Sammy and Aunty Rene – I’m sure you all had a whiskey – and were very proud looking down.
And to all the cousins not there – we missed you.
We will have to keep doing this -the more cousins that come to Israel!
Funny how life happens, but none of us would have envisioned a family reunion with so many of us living in Israel. Baruch HaShem!!
Looking forward to many more family occasions.

 

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