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2016-11-18

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EDUCATION

IN FOCUS H

See pages 6 – 14

Jewish

south african

Report

November 18 2016 / 17 Cheshvan 5777

Volume 20 – Number 41

www.sajr.co.za

Photo:Ilan Ossendryver

Shabbos Project – with its challah

bakes – takes the world by storm

Kerren Leibowitz, Eden Leibowitz, Janice Leibowitz, Andrea Wainer, and Bianca Shulman enjoying the Challah Bake at Johannesburg’s

Norwood Mall.

Buying

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2 SA JEWISH REPORT

Celebrations at the Havdalah

Concert at Norwood Mall.

Shabbos Project

18 – 25 November 2016

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AUTO AFRICA

Just say no to… your kids?

Parshat Vayeira

Rabbi

Asher Deren

The Shul –

Blouberg -

Cape Town

One of the kindest and most

gracious personalities on the

landscape of Jewish history

would be our forefather Avraham

Avinu.

Countless stories and episodes

related in both the Bible

and Talmudic commentary

reflect the nature of his desire

to give to others and to help

anyone and everyone around

him - especially his children…

Even when his oldest son

Yishmael began to lead an immoral

and adulterous life, he

could not bear the thought of

the consequences he would have

to implement to protect his

next son Yitzchok from those

influences.

(Only when he was commanded

by G-d to listen to Sarah who

was insisting that Yishmael be

sent away, did he finally give

in - yes husbands, G-d comes to

Abraham and tells him to listen

to his wife, always.)

But the true measure of love

was yet to come.

Shabbat Times

November 18/17 Cheshvan

November 19/18 Cheshvan

Parshat Vayeira

Starts Ends

18:15 19:11 Johannesburg

18:15 20:09 Cape Town

18:14 19:08 Durban

18:15 19:25 Bloemfontein

18:15 19:40 Port Elizabeth

18:15 19:28 East London

Parsha

In one of the most enigmatic

stories related in the Torah,

Avraham is commanded to bring

his son as a sacrifice, only to

be told, when his son is already

bound to the altar that G-d

does not want him to sacrifice

his son, and he is offered a ram

instead.

So why did G-d bother him

with the whole exercise?

Perhaps G-d was teaching us

all that the true love of a parent

is seen not in how they give, but

in how they hold back.

G-d definitely did not want

Avraham to sacrifice his son.

There never was and never

will be a concept of human

sacrifice in the Torah. It was a

tragic pagan ritual which runs

contrary to everything the Torah

stands for - a Torah of life.

But the love which Avraham

expressed to his son during

that critical period, until G-d

clarified His true intentions,

reflected what true love is.

When we can transmit to

our children that our relationship

with them is not bound to

whether or not we bought them

a Nintendo Wii, took them to

Plett and filled out everything

else on their shopping list, then

we can show them true love.

A love that is there when we

sacrifice their desires as much

as when we fill them, a love that

is guided by a higher calling to

our Divine mission in Torah and

mitzvot, a love that shows them

that they too have a purpose to

live for - then we have shown

them love.

No, being good parents may

not be easy, but it can - and

should - always be filled with a

love for our precious children,

even when we have to say no.

We buy and sell cars

Shabbos Project 2016: Best one yet?

PAULA LEVIN

Now in its fourth year in South Africa, and third year internationally,

The Shabbos Project shows no signs of slowing

down. This year, communities across South Africa interpreted

the Chief Rabbi’s call to keep one complete Shabbat

together in increasingly unique and unexpected ways.

“You might think that the novelty would have worn off

by now, but each year it gets more powerful,” said Rebbetzen

Natalie Altman of Phyllis Jowell School, Cape

Town. “It’s starting to feel like a Yomtov,” said Rebbetzen

Michele Zail of Ohr Somayach, Glenhazel.

It truly is a grassroots movement that has captured

the country’s imagination, not to mention its worldwide

impact on an estimated million people in 1 150 cities. It

kicked off with a challah bake in Johannesburg. A record

6 000 women braved a fierce Johannesburg downpour, hot

on the heels of the city’s worst storm in 100 years, to celebrate,

pray and make challah together.

Emmarentia and Victory Park Shuls as well as other

communities co-ordinated simultaneous challah bakes for

those too frail to take part in the main event.

Said Emmarentia Shul’s Wendy Richard: “We also had

people staying over at the shul and at friends in the area

and my daughter ‘adopted’ three little girls who were keeping

Shabbat and were at shul the whole day. It was so inspiring

seeing people take it to heart.”

Ohr Somayach, Glenhazel, held a musical-themed Shabbat

with the various groups who share the campus, joining

together. Rebbetzen Zail explained: “The men had a musical

kumzits before Shabbos and the singing continued

throughout Shabbos.

“We had an amazing number of new faces. We felt like

we were a part of something bigger than ourselves and

every person got involved, from marketing to catering to

organisation. The kids especially were so inspired because

the Chief Rabbi had visited the school.

“Just knowing they were connected to Jewish children in

over 1 000 cities, made such an impact.” (Rabbi Goldstein

had in fact visited every Jewish school in the country leading

up the the Shabbos Project.)

Shaarei Torah channelled their inspiration into “The

Cholent Project”, singing, dancing and handing out cholent

to KosherWorld shoppers as people stood in lines for

Shabbos Project helium balloons to decorate their homes.

In Cape Town, Robyn Smookler led a challah bake at the

V&A Waterfront, urging the crowd of 1 800 women to turn

their plastic challah bowls into makeshift drums, as a deafening,

almost primal clatter wafted over the waters of the

Atlantic Ocean. “This was the best one yet,” said Altman.

The sentiment was echoed by Umhlanga Jewish Community

Centre’s marketing director, Angie Sacks. “We had

over 250 women at the challah bake, organised by the Union

of Jewish Women, and we’ve never had so many people

book for a communal meal.”

An afternoon thundershower ensured that those who

attended a lunch at the centre stayed for the afternoon

and enjoyed Seuda Shlishit, Shabbat’s third meal, together.

“I’ve never felt so connected,” said community member

Sandy Furman.

Back in Johannesburg, the weather seemed to conspire

to disrupt The Shabbos Project celebrations - unsuccessfully

as it turned out. At first, “it was as if G-d was smiling

down on us,” said Taryn Marcus who hosted an open Friday

night at her home in Atholl, Johannesburg.

“There wasn’t a drop of rain until all 100 guests were in

the marquee, then the heavens opened up and it poured

outside all night. But we were bullet- and lightning-proof.

The connection between neighbours and friends kept us

warm all night and by the end it had cleared up so people

could walk home.

“My father said: ‘Where in the world would you have 100

strangers rushing to book a Friday night dinner at a random

person’s house?’ It’s because we are not strangers. We

share the common tradition of Shabbat.”

Despite ominous clouds on Shabbat afternoon, families

in the Sandringham area made their way to Jabula Park

where Rabbi Zevi Wineberg ran a children’s afternoon programme

with stories, snacks and Torah verses.

Said Devorah Leah Wineberg: “It was such a beautiful

gathering turning an ordinary stroll to the park into something

so meaningful.”

Huge storms earlier in the week, however, had almost

put a damper on plans to host a street party at the bottom

of Orchards Road, when a tree fell down in last week

Wednesday’s storm.

“Even a marquee wouldn’t have worked,” said Pine

Street Shul’s Rabbi Anthony Gerson. “As we were not using

our hall that night, we offered our neighbours the use of

our venue. People quipped that Orchards Road had been

washed into Pine Street Shul.”

The next day, the shul hosted a cholent lunch for 300

people, an all-day kids programme and a musical havdalah.

Cholent was not on the menu for Sandton Shul, though,

who hosted an “African Shabbos under the Stars” with dinner

for 350 and lunch for 700. “We served biltong and bo-

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Jewish Report

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18 – 25 November 2016 Shabbos Project

SA JEWISH REPORT 3

erewors for starters, and a potjiekos and bobotie mains,

followed by koeksisters and malva pudding for dessert,”

said organiser Kirsty Ross.

“We had African dancers, African decor and dancers

and the shul foyer became a shebeen. Women got beaded

bracelets and the men had beautiful yarmies. The whole

theme served to upskill some previously disadvantaged

service providers. We really got to appreciate how Shabbat

offers an opportunity for mindfulness, for being present.”

Meanwhile, the Shul in Sandton Central held a Shabbos

Project retreat at the Balailaka Hotel where staff were

briefed on helping guests open their rooms so they didn’t

use electronic key cards on Shabbat.

Guests were given welcome packs including snacks and

reading material. Shabbat began with a guided meditation

and candle-lighting. The natural beauty of Cape

Town formed the backdrop to several other Shabbos Project

events. Phyllis Jowell School held an afternoon picnic

in St John’s Park, Sea Point which saw about 100 people

attend, including passersby walking their dogs.

“We sent out the message through social media and

were thrilled with the response,” explained Altman. “People

are asking to do this once a month!”

Sunset Beach was the scene of a pop-up shul Friday

night service led by Chabad of the West Coast’s Rabbi

Asher Deren. “I stayed there overnight without my family

even though The Shabbos Project is all about being with

family,” says Rabbi Deren.

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

talking at the Challah Bake on the

rooftop of the Norwood Mall.

“That’s because our community is family! The next day,

Sunset Beach residents met at the Engen Garage to walk

along the R27 to Blouberg Shul. It’s well over an hour’s

walk, and I couldn’t ask my community to do it if I didn’t

do it myself.

“We had two six-year-olds, who didn’t complain once

and were so proud of themselves. One of them was keeping

Shabbat with his family for the first time despite the

fact that their walk took two hours!”

Victory Park in Johannesburg’s Rabbi Azriel Uzvolk

also had a full day line-up, including a table tennis competition

for teens and a cholent lunch.

“I had people calling to say that they would not be in

shul on Shabbat because they didn’t want to drive on

Shabbat, and asking what other laws they needed to

know about,” he said.

At the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest synagogue, people

were “glamping” in the field next door Cape Town’s

Garden’s Shul. A company had been hired to set up luxury

tents, with beds, linen and furniture so people could keep

the full Shabbat in the centre of town.

Overall there was something for everyone - from quiet

dinners at home, to huge communal affairs, picnics in the

park and a 11-piece Argentinian fiesta band, Tiembla!,

who rocked both Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Ultimately, while South Africa wowed with originality

and effort, the real reason The Shabbos Project is still going

strong in its fourth year, is the core experience at its

heart. Shabbat. Shabbat can do that.

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Pretoria’s Challah Bake.

The Havdalah Concert at Norwood Mall.

At the Norwood Mall Challah Bake.

Jaxon Diamond at Yeshiva

College pre-Shabbat.

Tiembla Band from Argentina, at the Havdalah Concert.

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4 SA JEWISH REPORT

Annual global Shabbos Project just grows and grows...

Some 8 000 gathered for a challah bake in Buenos Aires,

Argentina, as part of The Shabbos Project.

Shabbos Project 18 – 25 November 2016

Photo courtsey of the Shabbos Project

RYAN GREISS

NEW YORK

Following one of the most bitter,

divisive and exhausting presidential

races in the history of the

United States, the Jewish world

took a well-deserved collective

deep breath this past Shabbat

with the 2016 global Shabbos

Project. Now in its third year – it

outdid its predecessors on all

fronts, attracting record numbers

of participants.

“The response to this year’s

Shabbos Project has been

stronger than ever,” says South

African Chief Rabbi Warren

Goldstein, founder and director

of The Shabbos Project. “It has

been so inspiring to see how The

Shabbos Project connects with

millions of Jews from every kind

of background, and how people

around the world have worked

in partnership to make this a

sublime moment of Jewish unity,

all centred on Shabbat.”

The Shabbos Project brought

together Jews of diverse backgrounds

and persuasions in ways

never seen before and many of

the participants observed Shabbat

in full for the first time in

their lives.

In the US - from Cleveland to

Coconut Creek, Houston to Hoboken,

New York to North Druid

Hills - there were a total of 543

participating cities. Celebrations

in Baltimore and San Diego drew

tens of thousands of participants.

“We’ve witnessed an outpouring

of emotion across the Jewish

world, as Jews from all walks of

life have embraced The Shabbos

Project, putting aside their differences

and gathering together

in a spirit of love and unity,” says

Rabbi Goldstein.

“There is a real thirst worldwide

for true Jewish unity and for a

genuine connection to Judaism.

And people really resonate with

the way Shabbat carves out a

sacred space of tranquillity and

togetherness amidst the frenzy of

modern life.”

Jewish girls in Santiago, Chile,

take a break from baking challah.

Stories big and small from

across the globe are already

beginning to emerge – 8 000 at a

challah bake in Buenos Aires; 15

families in the tiny Jewish enclave

in Cancun, Mexico, keeping Shabbat

for the first-time; 850 Sydneysiders

“seaing” in Shabbat at a

musical Kabbalat Shabbat service

on Bondi Beach; a Shabbaton on

board a cruise ship in the Atlantic;

and a lone Jew in Karachi,

Pakistan, keeping Shabbat with

the rest of the Jewish world.

This year, thousands of Israelis

from 160 cities and towns, also

joined events across the Jewish

state, including 1 000 Tel Avivians

eating Friday night dinner together

and a Havdalah ceremony with

2 000 people in Ra’anana. Entire

buildings across Israel hosted

“Kiddush Binyani” services, with

residents gathering in the buildings’

lobbies for Shabbat meals.

France boasted 19 participating

cities, including Paris, Strasbourg,

Grenoble and Nice. For first-time

participants in Metz, The Shabbos

Project coincided with the anniversary

of the liberation of the

city’s Grand Synagogue in 1944,

and various Shabbat celebrations

were held commemorating the

event.

Singers Shlomi Shabbat and

Yishai Lapidot brought the cur-

Pretoria celebrates its ‘best-ever’

Shabbos Project

DIANE WOLFSON

PRETORIA

This year’s Shabbos Project in Pretoria was the best

yet; a view widely uttered at shul on the Shabbat

morning following the Friday night Shabbos Project

dinner, and not by the hosts, but by those who were

hosted. Regardless of which home the hundreds of

members of the Pretoria Jewish community congregated

at, each one felt that the dinner they attended

was definitely the best!

While actually no comparison could really be made,

each of the dozen or so hosts achieved the ultimate objective

of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s goal, namely

bringing members of the community together for a

unique and wonderful unified Shabbat experience.

A huge yasher koach to all those who opened their

The WIZO Challah Bake.

tain down on the Paris event at a

Havdalah concert for 3 000 people.

To co-ordinate the global initiative

on such a large scale, The Shabbos

Project’s head office in Johannesburg

worked with some

6 000 global partners - up from

5 000 in 2015.

Rabbi Goldstein, who recently

debuted at 21 on The Jerusalem

Post’s “50 Most Influential Jews”

list and was dubbed the “Good

Shabbos Rabbi”, is driven by a

conviction that the two major challenges

facing the Jewish world -

assimilation and apathy on the one

hand, and divisiveness and discord

on the other - can be reversed

through innovative thinking and

“big ideas”.

“Through the transformative

power of Shabbat, we’ve seen

individuals and communities do

great things. We’ve seen walls torn

down, families rejuvenated, deep

feelings awakened, deep friendships

formed: this is what Shabbat

can do,” said Rabbi Goldstein.

“Big ideas can change the world

and The Shabbos Project is one

such big idea - a call to Jews all

around the globe to think boldly

about our future, to connect across

the walls we’ve put up. The Shabbos

Project is the story of Jews returning

to their roots, reconnecting

with their heritage, returning

to their bonds of natural closeness

and friendship - all through the

Shabbat experience.”

homes, whether it be for 10 guests or for 100. The aim

of the Pretoria Jewish community was to try and ensure

that everyone was included at a Shabbat dinner

and hopefully no one was left out.

Those who came to the Pretoria Hebrew Congregation

on Shabbat morning, were further privileged to

enjoy a wonderful service with a choir on top form,

followed by a Kiddush and cholent lunch.

The new group of bochurim introduced themselves

before the community were addressed by the guest

speaker, Jack Bloom, caucus leader of the DA’s Gauteng

Provincial Legislature.

He gave a most interesting talk on Jews and their

involvement in politics, which was followed by a range

of questions and answers. Shabbat ended with a spiritually

uplifting musical Havdalah concert, enjoyed by

all.

Jody Filipovsky; Sarit Shull; Melissa Brower; and Tamar

Kahanowitz at the WIZO Challah Bake.


YOUR ACADEMIC HOME IN ISRAEL

About BGU

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Student Dormitories

As a student in a semester or yearlong programme at BGU, you’ll live in a student

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In addition to preparing food in your dormitory kitchen, you can dine in a number of

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Among the highlights of studying or interning at BGU are the outstanding trips, tours

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At BGU, you’ll be fully supported by our friendly staff members, available to ensure you

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study@bgu.ac.il | www.bgu.ac.il/global


6 SA JEWISH REPORT

Education in focus

After the recent chaos and disruption on university campuses

across the country, we focus in on tertiary education. It is not

surprising that South African Jews are concerned for their

children’s futures and considering alternatives to the local

universities. Immigration or at least sending children abroad

if opportunity and resources allow, have long formed part of

our narrative.

In this supplement, Jewish Report looks at educational

realities and questions people are asking, the views of educators

and university representatives and what they are advising

students. We also investigate the options of private tertiary

education in this country as well as studying abroad. We even

hear from one black student with ties to the Jewish community,

Jamie Mithi, who implores young Jewish people to stay

in the country.

JAMIE MITHI

Over the last few weeks I have had the privilege

of meeting, through the course of my work, affluent

members of the Jewish community and

I have noted recurring themes when discussing

education.

Firstly, the Jewish community values education

and secondly, several parents are now considering

sending their kids to either Israeli universities or

to American or UK institutions of higher learning.

I understand the source of these concerns;

recently we all witnessed the anti-Semitic writing

on a wall at Wits University, which bore

testament to sentiments that are whispered in

the corridors of learning in most South African

universities.

Additionally, the recent #FeesMustFall protests

have led to heightened racial and class tensions

on most university campuses. The events of this

year seem to portend to an era of an irregular

university schedule fraught with unpredictable

political events.

Watching from the outside these can be upsetting

to a parent considering the best educational

interests of his or her child. I understand the

source of these sentiments and I submit that

while valid, the best decision is still to pursue an

education right here in South Africa.

Firstly, South Africa is home to several of the

top universities in Africa; Wits and UCT are

ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide -

and not for nothing. These universities are making

contributions to academia globally and offer

many students the opportunity to be leading

scholars in disciplines unique to South Africa.

The exposure to constitutional law, emergency

medical procedure and political theory is higher

in a younger democracy than in centuries-old

states. Here one has the opportunity not only to

study the greats, but to make a positive contribution

to the body of learning. The shortages in the

academy are most acute in Africa.

Additionally, it is easier to get admitted into an

Education in Focus 18 – 25 November 2016

south african

Jewish Report

There is also, of course, a large focus on study in Israel which has numerous opportunities as

well as bursaries that make studying there for Jewish youth a real possibility. And we highlight

four of the major Israeli universities who offer amazing academic programmes and a student experience

abroad.

This section is not about advising people what to do in these uncertain times, but about giving

people information and reassuring them that there are exciting options.

– Vanessa Valkin, editor

Strong argument for young Jews

to study at SA universities

Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Ivy League university for post-graduate learning

from Wits or UCT than it would be from an

American institute. This has been my observation

on the ground - strategically I would stay in Africa

because there are more opportunities here.

Secondly there is the issue of affordability.

While it is true that learning here is becoming increasingly

prohibitive for the majority of the disenfranchised,

it is still incredibly more affordable

than the costs of education as an international

student abroad, not to mention the hidden costs

of travel and the numerous currency fluctuations.

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to

submit that sending kids away to what we view

as a more stable environment is not in their

best interests as young adults or South Africans.

South African politics is very messy and can

be intimidating from the outside. However,

this is a challenge that young adults must learn

to deal and interact with. There is a need for

young Jewish leaders to embrace the noise and

find their voice. To leave the country does not

teach this tough skill but also removes from

societal discourse a valuable voice.

Young Jewish leaders need to embrace the

noise and articulate themselves or face a peril

of not being heard for years to come. As South-

Africans we have an obligation to build this

nation together. Sometimes it is a dirty job and

requires compromises that are uncomfortable.

However, I submit that it’s worth the effort.

This county is one of the most beautiful and

vibrant democracies on earth and we must all

embrace our generational obligation to preserve

that! It’s my submission that this is the

most powerful reason to stay. South Africa

belongs to all who live in it. That promise is as

true today as at any other time in history.

• Jamie Mithi is a final year law student at Wits,

and has served on the Wits SRC for two consecutive

terms. He has been involved in Israel advocacy ever

since 2013 when a piano recital was disrupted by

BDS activists at Wits.

A gap year may be a good

option to assess the future

SUZANNE BELLING

EDUCATION

IN FOCUSH

Learners writing matric this year face

some dilemmas about their futures in

light of the protests and violence rampant

at universities in Johannesburg,

Cape Town, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal

and other main centres.

Speaking to educators at the Jewish

day schools, the consensus was that the

unrest would blow over and it would

soon be “business as usual” at the main

universities.

Generally, though, they advise learners

on a gap year or the pursuit of studies

pertaining to their interests.

Rabbi Craig Kacev, general director of

the SA Board of Jewish Education, does

not advocate studying abroad unless it

is in Israel.

“We are a Zionist school,” he says

of the King David Schools in Johannesburg,

“and we have always said

‘stay home (South Africa) or go home

(Israel)’, but feel the alumni must study

further.”

Rabbi Kacev said the King David

Schools did not have the Scholastic

Assessment Test (SAT) at present but

were likely to institute this next year to

enable matrics to further their studies

abroad and in Israel and be accepted at

universities there.

“I am not a prophet but I hope things

will go right in this country in the

future.”

A large percentage of former King

David learners often made the Dean’s

list at university and should be given

as many opportunities as possible. He

is in favour of private learning institutions,

especially those offering course

in design and other alternatives to an

academic path.

“Private universities and colleges give

them a good option,” he said. “Why

should an alternative qualification have

any less validity than a degree?”

On the situation in South Africa,

Rabbi Kacev says: “I do have a sense

that the unrest will calm. It’s my philosophy.

“But we are a Zionist school and

always consider study opportunities in

Israel.”

Rabbi Yossi Chaikin, principal of

Torah Academy Boys’ High School, told

Jewish Report: “Generally we always

encourage our graduates to spend a

year in Israel or to study in yeshivot

overseas.

“In high school, they are under such

pressure and are not always able to

devote themselves to religious studies.

These boys should commit themselves

to these studies for a year. Then it is

not a case of interrupted studies and

losing faith.”

The entire high school system is

geared to getting learners into university,

says Rabbi Chaikin, but now

that seems to be a problem unless the

students opt for private tertiary institutions.

These however do not offer all

degrees, especially in the medical and

engineering fields.

“But,” he said, “the matrics are definitely

thinking about alternatives.”

A gap year at a yeshiva would give

them a chance to decide “especially

with the uncertainty of education at

the moment. Hopefully it will blow

over.”

Rabbi Avraham Tanzer, rosh yeshiva

of Yeshiva College, said his school

had encouraged a gap year for over 50

years.

“We don’t call it a gap year, though,

but an opportunity to learn Torah on a

higher level.

“This sets the standard for the

future when they are married and raise

children and their lives are changed. It

is a year that has to be taken seriously.

There is no better investment.”

Rabbi Tanzer added: “But I have not

written off this country yet. People

have to make intelligent choices. We

cannot assess the future of a country -

in a year (many) things can happen.”

Rabbi Yossi Chaikin. Rabbi Craig Kacev. Rabbi Avraham Tanzer.


18 – 25 November 2016 Education in Focus

SA JEWISH REPORT 7

SA universities will push on with a normal 2017 academic year

PETER FELDMAN

In the light of the uncertainty facing South African

universities, given the continuing unrest of all the

major campuses, a strong message has gone out

to students to continue studying and to maintain

their priorities.

Universities were asked what advice they would

give current students and those wanting to enter

university next year with regard to their studies.

Should they take a gap year?

Buhle Zuma, senior communications

officer at Wits told

Jewish Report: “Wits University

remains committed to securing

the future of our youth, the

country and the continent by

remaining locally responsive

and globally competitive.

“We remain committed to

maintaining excellent standards

and producing the high

level skills required to move the

country forward.

“It is because of this commitment

and our beliefs in democracy

and the values enshrined

in the Constitution that we,

under difficult circumstances,

continued with and successfully

completed lectures in 2016,

albeit with the necessary safety

and security measures.”

Zuma said it was a difficult decision to make

but it meant that they did not lose the academic

year. “Further, it means that we have created the

requisite space for those who need to join the

university in 2017.”

The university will open for 2017 as scheduled

and has developed contingency plans to deal with

disruptions and unlawful activities.

“We continue to call upon all constituencies to

work with the university to find lasting solutions to

the socio-economic challenges facing the sector

in particular. It is only through co-operation and

peaceful dialogue that we can resolve the issues

related to the underfunding of the sector in the

#FeesMustFall campaign at UCT.

long term.”

Prof George Euvrard, former dean of the faculty

of education at Rhodes University, said they were

on track. All the exams have been written and

students will be qualifying this year. “We are encouraging

students to continue with their studies

and we look forward to welcoming new students

to the university next year.”

At the University of Johannesburg, a letter was

sent to students from the office of Vice Chancellor

Ihron Rensburg, who praised them for their conduct

during the student unrest. In the letter he also

wished them to stay focused on their studies.

A spokesman commented that the University of

Johannesburg had not closed its doors for one day

and it was business as usual.

Lesiba Seshoka, executive director of corporate

relations at the University of KwaZulu-Natal,

admitted it had been a difficult, disruptive year, but

believed their task was to encourage students to

stay on track and continue studying.

The university environment is safe, he feels,

adding there would always be challenges but how

one dealt with them was the important thing.

“The message is that they must focus on their

studies and try to avoid becoming involved with

issues on the periphery.”

He believed university students today were in a

better position than many of their predecessors.

“I never had a chance to study at a university and

had to do all my studying at night. Today they have

beautiful opportunities to succeed.”

Asked their position on the fiery Free Education

issue, Seshoka acknowledged that students have

the freedom to march, but said they must not be

destructive and destroy property.

UCT spokesman, Elijah Moholola,

said that the University

has worked on a restructured

programme that will see academic

activities proceeding in

2017 as usual.

“The programme includes a

mini semester for students in

some faculties from January

3-20, and the deferred exams

scheduled for January 23 to

February 10. These will be

followed by orientation and

registration from February

27 to March 10, with classes

scheduled to commence on

March 13.”

“There has been no disruptions

or incidents on campus

for almost three weeks now,”

Moholola said. The executive

signed an agreement with

student representatives on November 6 which UCT

views as “a step in the right direction towards the

amicable resolution of a number of issues which

have been subject to engagements between the

executive and student representatives.”

There is no delay in the registration of first year

students. They will register on March 6, 2016

which is in keeping with the times set for registration

for the rest of the university.

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8 SA JEWISH REPORT

Increasing interest shown in local

private tertiary institutions

Education in Focus 18 – 25 November 2016

Tertiary study in UK,

US and Australia

MICHAEL BELLING

Studying abroad may appear an attractive option following the unrest on South

African campuses and the resultant uncertainty about students being able to

complete the academic year.

Three English-speaking countries that have long been popular destinations

for South Africans - Australia, Britain and the United States - all offer advice

and assistance to people wishing to study at universities there.

Both Australia and the United States have official websites providing information

and links relating to the many aspects requiring consideration, ranging

from finance to visas.

SUZANNE BELLING

In the wake of #FeesMustFall and disruption at state universities,

private tertiary institutions have been inundated

with inquiries regarding post-matric studies and what they

offer in terms of degrees, diplomas and subject choice.

“All degrees, whether conferred by a state university

or an accredited college in South Africa, are subject to

accreditation by the Council on Higher

Education and must conform with

its requirements,” said Natalie

Rabson, marketing manager of

Boston City Campus and Business

College.

Boston was started 26

years ago under CEO Ari

Katz (pictured) and has

grown exponentially to incorporate

46 branches nationally

and internationally.

“We offer educational qualifications

in higher education, including

first degrees, post-graduate degrees, higher

certificates, advanced certificates, diplomas and advanced

diplomas. All these are representative of the pinnacle of

any academic journey,” said Katz.

Students can opt for degrees and diplomas in a variety

of subjects including commerce, media, media operations,

systems development, network systems, financial accounting,

human resources, business management, event management,

advertising, integrated communications practice

and even a higher certificate in HIV/Aids counselling and

management.

For those wishing to become involved in sport, there

are sports management, coaching and administration

modules.

Hospitality, tourism and event management are some

of the diploma courses from which to choose.

Students may also study on a modular basis, while holding

down jobs, if necessary.

Boston has its own media house which is housed in

Sandton, Pretoria and Umhlanga for those interested in

print or radio journalism, film, design, video production,

broadcasting, advertising, animation or graphics.

Boston Media House has its own radio station, video

production studios as well as animation and graphics

studios. Many of the leading media personalities in South

Africa have graduated from Boston Media House.

IT is a big focus. “The International IT assessment

body, Comptia, has rated Boston as number one in Africa

and third globally in terms of the throughput rate,” said

Rabson. Boston is particularly proud of this achievement

as this presents an international barometer relating to

quality assurance standards within the IT arena.

A key factor is that degrees and diplomas are fully recognised

internationally via the CHE accreditation.

Katz stressed the importance of students being able to

choose a campus near their homes. This is in contrast

to state universities, which involve commuting or

staying in residence.

“When choosing a tertiary institution, students

should consider the pass rate, personal

touch and quality control,” said Katz.

Accreditation (renewable every five years)

is on the same level as major universities as all

degrees in South Africa are accredited by the

Council on Higher Education while the institutions

have to be registered with the Department

of Higher Education.

Vega School, specialising in design, brand leadership

and business, produces graduates who are able to design

and create original strategic solutions for brand challenges

in business and society.

“To this end, we constantly review our principles of

healthy brand building and as a result recently published

a revived take on ideology, including a proposed model

for building meaningful brands,” said national marketing

manager, Nicky Stanley.

Branches of Vega are in Johannesburg, Cape Town,

Durban and Pretoria.

The school offers diplomas, short courses, post-graduate

and under-graduate degrees and higher certification, with

the emphasis on those opting for a creative career.

“It is an alternative to public universities,” Stanley told

SA Jewish Report.

Vega is a brand of The Independent Institute of Education

(The IIE). The IIE is South Africa’s largest private

higher education institution which operates across 20

campuses. The IIE is internationally accredited by The British

Accreditation Council.

“Vega was formed in 1999 in anticipation of the shift in

the global paradigm away from conventional marketing

and advertising toward a synchronous cohesion of design,

branding and business,” said Stanley.

The World Economic Forum in 2016 revealed the findings

of its study entitled The Ten Skills You Need to Thrive

in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The three skills topping

this list are complex problem solving; critical thinking

and creativity.

“It is a core purpose at Vega to have our students graduate

at an industry-ready level. “The high levels of academic

pursuit are immediately put into practical use as Vega

eschews the ‘ivory tower’ approach in favour of hands-on

immediate application of theory.

“The stellar careers of many of our highly successful

alumni are testament to the success of this methodology,”

said Stanley.

“Interaction with the top-tier professionals and academics

of the Vega Advisory Council help keep curricula in

line with the latest industry innovations.

“A Vega student graduates with a deep understanding

that the most effective strategy is inherently creative; the

most effective creativity inherently strategic.”

Australia

The official Australian government website for international students is

www.studyinaustralia.gov.au.

It deals with planning and applying to study, including entry requirements,

the application process, student visa options, why study in Australia and

student support.

Some of the useful tips on the site help guide applicants. Examples include:

student visa applications must be made online; the document checklist tool on

the website to see what types of documents are required; health examination

requirements; current passport with the correct visa (which is explained as

well); and health insurance.

It even adds that applicants must prepare a statement about why they want

to study in Australia.

Students can then go to the sites of specific universities in the various

centres.

United States

The American site, https://educationusa.state.gov, is a US Department of State

network of over 400 international student advisory centres in more than 170

countries (including South Africa).

The network promotes US higher education to students around the world by

offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities

to study at accredited post-secondary institutions in the United States.

The site has information for students wishing to pursue either a short-term

or full degree programme, providing resources in “Your five steps to US study”:

research your options; finance your studies; complete the application; apply

for a student visa; and prepare for departure.

U.S. Embassy spokesperson Cindy Harvey says that, “In 2015, more than

1 700 South Africans enrolled in US universities in a broad range of disciplines.

The US Embassy in South Africa, telephonically and through EducationUSA

centres in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, continues to provide

educational advising services to students interested in studying in the United

States, as it has for many years.”

United Kingdom

While no general site is available for study in the United Kingdom, Gibson

Rachoene, media liaison and engagement officer at the British High Commission

in Pretoria, said students who wished to study in the UK should make

enquiries online with universities there.

He said that the British government supported scholarship programmes for

students going to study there and mentioned two post-graduate scholarships.

The one, the Chevening scholarship, provided funds, including a living

allowance, to some 60 students this year to study for qualifications of their

choice. The Chevening office assists with visa applications as well. Applications

(which close at the beginning of November each year) are made through

the Chevening website.

The second, a Commonwealth scholarship, is administered by the British

Council in Johannesburg. This year over 100 southern African students

received these scholarships.

Undergraduate scholarships are available directly from the various universities,

Rachoene said.

Students not requiring a scholarship should apply to the university they

choose.


18 – 25 November 2016

Education in Focus

SA JEWISH REPORT 9

Demystifying the United States higher

education system

Harvard University.

CHALAV YISRAEL

BRIOCH

DAN BROTMAN

The United States offers a plethora of options for just

about everything, including where to attend college or

university. There are 4 726 institutions of higher learning

to choose from, and 19 per cent of the country’s university

students are international (although fewer than three

per cent are from Sub-Saharan Africa).

An American undergraduate degree typically takes

four years, and is equivalent to a South African honours

and sometimes a masters degree. Unlike in South Africa,

American universities do not require that undergraduate

and graduate degrees match. For example, your child can

graduate with a BA in English and then attend Law School.

Masters programmes are generally two years, although

there are many programmes that offer a joint undergraduate

and graduate degree in a shorter period of time. Professional

degrees (such as law, medicine, accountancy, etc)

are only offered at the masters or doctorate levels, unlike

in South Africa.

The US follows the liberal arts approach to education

meaning that undergraduates take a range of elective

classes in addition to the university’s core graduation

requirement courses. By the end of their second year,

they will have hopefully found their passion and declare

major(s) and minor(s).

In many colleges and universities, students can pursue

as many majors or minors as they desire. For example, it

would be possible to graduate with a BA in international

relations and psychology and a minor in communications.

When selecting a college or university, your child must

first reflect on what type of institution best meets his/

her intellectual, social and financial needs. Community

colleges offer two-year associates degrees, and it is best

to choose one that has an existing articulation agreement

with the state university system.

This means that he/she can transfer credits from a twoyear

associates degree to a state university, and spend another

two years completing their four-year undergraduate

degree. This winds up being a cheaper financial option and

allows students to forgo taking the SAT or ACT entrance

exams.

Private universities may be a more expensive option.

They may, however be better resourced to provide financial

aid, and can thus wind up costing the same as attending a

public university.

Most liberal arts colleges are private. They focus more

on undergraduate degrees and emphasise developing

intellectual capabilities (such as critical thinking, reading,

writing, etc).

Liberal arts colleges generally have the best student-toteacher

ratios, and often have no more than 20 students

in a class.

All 50 states support at least one public university

system, which offers significantly reduced tuition for instate

residents. Like out-of-state students, international

students have to pay higher tuition than in-state students.

Depending on financial aid packages, public universities

can be less expensive than private universities. State

universities tend to have larger class sizes, although many

have exclusive honours colleges, which offer the small

class sizes and pedagogy of a liberal arts college.

There are many ways to obtain academic credits outside

of class, which can also save money on tuition. Some

academic programmes require that students take part in

an “international experience” during their studies, which

can mean undertaking a for-credit internship abroad or

studying in another country for up to one year.

I obtained the equivalent of a semester worth of credits

when I came to South Africa to do a three-month internship

at the Cape Town Refugee Centre. One can also do

local for-credit internships, as well as take core graduation

requirement courses at a community college, which

charges much lower tuition than a four-year institution.

An F-1 student visa enables international students to

work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and

up to 40 hours per week during university breaks. Shortly

before graduation, international students can apply for an

Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to

work for up to one-year in a job in their related field.

Students who studied science, technology, engineering

and/or mathematics (STEM subjects) are eligible to apply

for OPT for up to 17 months.

By the time I turned 23, I graduated summa cum laude

(top two per cent) from the University of Oregon, had

been awarded numerous scholarships and academic

grants, wrote an academically published thesis, and

was selected to participate in one of the country’s most

competitive paid internship programmes at Nike World

Headquarters.

While I started my undergraduate degree (tuition-free

for new immigrants) in Israel, I managed to successfully

transfer those credits to the University of Oregon when I

returned to the US. This meant that I was able to complete

a four-year degree at an American university in just 1,5

years and only pay 1,5 years’ worth of tuition.

If your child is interested in pursuing a university education

in the US, it is essential that families understand

all the institutional options, admission requirements and

financial aid opportunities before undertaking such a

significant investment.

Given the enormous competition from students

around the world to get into US universities, your child’s

chances of both being admitted and receiving financial aid

significantly increase when one visits these universities

in-person and develops one-on-one relationships with the

relevant decision-makers.

• Dan Brotman is a director at En-novate, a company cofounded

with Investec that links globally-minded individuals

to opportunities around the world through bespoke trips.

En-novate is running a first-ever trip for South African

families to New York and Boston at the end of January to

look at colleges and universities for their children. For more

information, visit www.en-novate.co.za/explore or e-mail

dan@en-novate.co.za.

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10 SA JEWISH REPORT

ANT KATZ

More and more South African Jewish

families are availing themselves of

the opportunities Israel offers in both

high school and tertiary education -

mostly for free and in English - even

for pupils and students who do not

plan to make aliyah.

Three entities, and their sub-entities,

have been working hand-in-hand

to make the notion of completely

free, world-class education in Israel

a possibility. And. never underestimate

the power of Yiddishe kops and

ingenuity to make things happen. For

instance, look at the Birthright Israel

programme which, since 1999, has

sent over 500 000 young adults aged

18 - 26 from 64 countries on a free,

10-day, heritage trip to Israel.

The three organisations are:

• Jafi, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JA

or Sochnut in Hebrew);

• Telfed, the SA Zionist Federation in

Israel; and

• The Israeli government.

Until recently, Diaspora Jewry who

studied in Israel meant that they had

wealthy parents and/or they made

aliyah - and tuition was largely in

Hebrew.

Today, the opportunity - both at

high school and university level - is

available free and in English for Diaspora

Jewry, even if they don’t intend

making aliyah.

Of course, there are criteria and

qualifications that must be met and

not all institutions offer all tuition in

English. The locally-based arm of the

JA, The Israel Centre with offices in

Johannesburg and Cape Town, and

Telfed, have a coterie of highly qualified

staffers who can discuss these

options and give expert advice.

This article does not drill down

too deeply on the how, where, what,

when and who, but in this publication

and on our website, you will find

more detailed separate articles on:

• Na’ale - free home-language high

school tuition in Israel;

• University studies available in Israel;

and

• Financial aid and scholarships for

Israel studies.

Other articles will explain how it

works and who to contact for more

detailed information.

Aviad Sela, the shaliach of The

Israel Centre in South Africa, says

that his staff are working with South

African families every day. “We are

promoting studies in Israel; it is part

of our ‘Be Connected’ goals which aim

to show South African Jewry what

Education in Focus 18 – 25 November 2016

Israel makes - largely free - tertiary education a strong cornerstone

ANT KATZ

Tertiary education in Israel is structured completely differently

from what we are used to in South Africa and it is important

to understand how this system works and what bursaries and

other assistance are available to prospective students.

Firstly, there are state-operated institutions and private

institutions. Until now, the Israeli support systems (Government,

JA, Telfed) were only able to give financial assistance to

students studying at state institutions. Now, however, Telfed

has structured a bursary scheme with the largest private

“university” - IDC (Inter-disciplinary Centre in Herzlia) and

more is planned.

Aviad Sela, JA shaliach in South Africa and head of the

Israel Centres in Cape Town and Johannesburg, told Jewish

Report that there are so many opportunities for South African

students to study in Israel that it is possible to tailor education

packages to suit individuals.

The JA is continuously finding new ways of getting the

information to students and their parents.

One of these, said Sela, is the “Israel Encounter” programme

which will this year see 170 young Jews complete

their high schooling in 2017 or 2018 in Israel, touring that

country to look at the academic opportunities the country has

to offer. This includes visiting tertiary education campuses

and speaking to Israeli students.

“Another door we are opening,” says Sela, “is a partnership

with Telfed and its new SASI bursary programme which has

been very well received”.

The various categories of higher education institutions as

recognised by the Israeli Student Authority are:

• Universities;

• Colleges and academic institutions;

• Colleges and institutions of higher education in the fields of

science, engineering, and liberal arts;

• Academic institutions for pedagogical and education studies;

• Schools and colleges of arts;

• Schools of nursing and healthcare professions;

• Dental hygienist training school;

• Technical colleges and practical engineer training schools.

Regarding qualification standards between South Africa

Israel can offer them,” he says.

Rabbi Dorron Klein, Telfed CEO,

explains that Israeli tertiary education

is structured differently from

what we are used to in South Africa.

“There are only seven main universities,”

he explains, and these are state

institutions. Most have multiple

campuses.

Privately-owned institutions are

not allowed to call themselves “universities”

but these “academic colleges”

offer internationally-recognised

undergraduate and masters’ degrees.

In Israel, there is no such thing as an

“honours” degree, and a “masters”

degree usually requires a minimum of

three years’ studies.

The seven state universities are:

Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan;

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

in Beersheva; Haifa Technion; Haifa

University; Hebrew University in

Jerusalem; Tel Aviv University; and

the University of Ariel.

and Israel, Sela says that while most South African Jewish

day schools write the IEB matric exams, a university entrance

South African pass is not sufficient for most Israeli institutions.

The only “university” that accepts a South African matric

certificate is the IDC (Inter-disciplinary Centre in Herzlia).

However, international students are assessed on a psychometric

test basis and, says Sela, usually manage to gain

entrance; even if the institution feels that they need to catch

up, this service is also provided. Most of the major institutions

offer undergraduate studies in English, and most masters’

degrees can be completed in English.

Another option for foreign students planning to start studies

in Israel - where the academic year begins in September or

All seven have branch campuses.

The largest university in Israel is

Bar Ilan (which also has the most

branches) - while others, says Klein,

“have larger mother campuses such as

Hebrew University and Tel Aviv”.

Another pillar project of the JA is

the Na’ale programme which offers

high school learners the opportunity

to do their last three or four years of

high school studies for free, including

boarding fees (see separate article).

Sela says the programme is

exclusively for foreign students not

making aliyah (but does not preclude

them from making aliyah later). The

learners start their studies in English,

French or Spanish and during their

first few terms spend a lot of their

time studying what olim (immigrants)

would normally learn - such

as Hebrew, Jewish history and Israeli

studies.

They can then move over, once they

are comfortable to do so, to joining

Hebrew classes. While learners may

drop out of the programme if they

choose to, the vast majority do not

and go on to get their bagrut - the

Israeli equivalent of a matric (except

it is accepted as a university entrance

pass almost anywhere in the world).

“Israel opens the gates to every Jew

worldwide,” says Sela. The government

and the JA “budget billions of

shekels for this every year”, he says,

adding that “Israel is for everyone”.

Understandably, the Israel Centres

in South Africa are receiving many

more enquiries. Two factors are

driving the increasing interest and

numbers of young people going this

route. Firstly, the JA, Telfed and

the Israeli government are making

education in Israel for a foreigner in

mother-tongue easier to access and

free. And, secondly, a situation which

many South African parents see as a

crisis in higher and tertiary education

in the country - and their concern for

their children’s future as a result.

Studying in Israel offers international

standards and acceptance

and costs nothing if one can meet

programme criteria. And, if one

can’t, says Klein, Telfed has arranged

discounts that mean even if South African

learners do have to pay for their

tertiary studies in Israel, “academic

studies would cost no more than they

would at Wits”.

With the Israeli academic year running

from early September to June

annually, many learners who intend

to become students join other MASAsponsored

gap-year programmes in

Israel in the interim.

Israel opens its heart - and arms - to Diaspora students

October - is to avail themselves of a complimentary student

authority pre-academic programme after matric and before

studying starts.

These include “mechina” (Hebrew University has a very

good programme) which prepares foreign students to study

in Israel, ulpan or TAKA programmes (SEE MORE ABOUT

THESE ON OUR WEBSITE). All of these are designed for foreign

students and end before the beginning of the Israeli academic

year.

The systems work well and responses are received very

quickly, and in English. Contacts can be made through Jafi,

Telfed or the institutions themselves. All the contact details

are available on our website at www.sajr.co.za


18 – 25 November 2016 Education in Focus

SA JEWISH REPORT 11

Na’ale learners visit the Kotel.

Na’ale means peace of mind for

Jewish parents and learners

ANT KATZ

It can become a challenge when what a parent

thinks is best for their teens is not what

their teen had in mind. And this is all the

more so for South African Jewish mothers

who are known for wanting to hold on…

tightly.

Teens always want more independence

while their parents want to give them the

best possible education to improve their

chances for a successful future and in the

safest and most nurturing possible environment.

One option is to allow high schoolers to

spend their last two or three years of school

in Israel at absolutely no cost, courtesy of the

Jewish Agency for Israel (Jafi).

In August, another five new recruits from

South Africa set out to get the education,

and adventure, of their lives - two or three

years of high school in Israel, in English at

first. And when Jewish Report spoke to

parents and kids after two weeks - they were

all loving it.

These children joined over 10 000 alumni

of Jafi’s Na’ale Elite Academy where they

enjoy up to three years of free education and

board - they even get their uniforms, first

and last flights home, a monthly allowance

and more.

While it is almost the norm in North

America for teenagers to attend colleges

away from home and in other countries to

study abroad and gain new insights into

other cultures, learn a foreign language and

life-lessons, South African Jewish parents

have historically not always considered this

option because of the costs associated.

It may sound a bit daunting at first for a

teen to study abroad, but they discover topics

they are passionate about or interested in

exploring further and it prompts incredible

self-growth and personality transformation,

say the experts.

The consensus of local parents and teens

who are alumni of Na’ale Academy, is that

it has been an enormously positive gamechanger

for them. It helps high school learners

develop greater self-esteem and broaden

their knowledge of the world.

Learners are exposed to a new language,

something scientists now know increases

the size of the brain as new brain circuits are

developed to enable language skills. It also

gives teens a powerful opportunity for personal

development, helps them change their

perspective and broaden their understanding

of the world and of themselves.

And, given the cost of private schooling in

South Africa, the financial benefit is huge.

Na’ale Elite Academy places teens in one of

25 schools participating in the programme

and these include special tracks for religious

and secular as well as high-level science and

art institutions.

Na’ale also includes extracurricular activities

like music, sports etc and many trips to

learn more about the history of Israel.

Fifteen-year-old Sivan Kark of Johannesburg

started in August. She is among the

50 per cent of Na’ale learners who are from

Photo: Na’ale Elite Academy

English-speaking countries and her dormitory

mate is British. They get on well.

She lives in a wired world and calls home

at least twice a day, says her mother, Wendy.

“Sivan is glad she went; she has connected

with so many friends - Italian, American,

even a Columbian girl.”

Sivan, says Wendy, “loves the independence

of the school uniform” - pupils are provided

with school-branded, white T-shirts

(and hoodies to wear over them in winter)

and they can wear anything from jeans to

skirts, earrings and jewellery.

On her second weekend in Israel Sivan

enjoyed her first real taste of Israel when she

went on a day of exploration with some new

friends and discovered their local makolet

(cafe) and the most traditional of Israeli

morning treats: shoko. She had heard of the

ubiquitous chocolate milk drink in a sachet

in South Africa.

Finding the right place for teens to expand

into their best self is the greatest gift for

them and for the entire family.

Simmy and Yaakova Pollock, parents of

two teens who studied at Na’ale, saw incredible

changes in their teens. They say that

when teens are in a good place, the whole

family benefits.

“Our kids talk and communicate with us

more now than they ever did when they were

here - and we were always a close family,”

says Yaakova. “It is certainly a life-changing

experience - a change for the better.”

* For more information about Na’ale

contact the Israel Centres in Cape Town and

Johannesburg or see more on our website:

www.sajr.co.za

Sasi: A special programme tailormade

for SA Jewish students

ANT KATZ

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The all-new

Telfed CEO Rabbi Dorron Kline

who came to SA recently to

promote the SASI bursary

scheme.

Israel is reaching out to Diaspora

students to study in the country

- so much so that it has pulled

out all the stops to try and make

studying in the Holy Land as

a foreigner of Jewish heritage

available in English and, for the

most part, qualifying students

study for the same cost, or less,

than it would cost to study in SA.

Between the Jewish Agency

for Israel (Jafi), the Israeli government

and Telfed (SA Zionist

Federation - Israel), they have

special and uniquely tailored

study programmes for South

Africans. Israel Centres in Johannesburg

and Cape Town offer

extensive information and advice

on these issues.

The newest and most exciting

development on bursaries

for studies in Israel is the South

Africans Studying in Israel

(Sasi) scheme that has been put

together with a huge amount

of effort by Telfed. In this, its

first year in operation, Sasi is

financially assisting seven South

African students to go to university

in Israel.

Telfed’s fledgling Sasi scheme

is co-funded by South African

donors and Israel’s largest private

university, IDC. It combines

the Herzliya-based IDC’s international

curricula in English with

Telfed’s supportive services.

“We are constantly fundraising

among wealthy Jews living

is South Africa,” says Telfed CEO

Dorron Kline. The programme is

costing millions, he says, and is

“expecting to be funding at least

15 students next year”.

The programme, he says, “is a

game-changer for South African

students. Now they can get

affordable study in Israel in English

without making aliyah.”

Telfed is also expanding its

institutional relationships and

will include accommodating

engineering students at Tel Aviv

University next year as well as Israel’s

largest university, Bar Ilan.

The following year, the 2018/19

academic year, they plan to include

Ben-Gurion University.

The system works, says Kline,

to cover the cost of the first year

of a three-year undergraduate

degree course. The Jewish

Agency’s Masa Israel programme

provides up to a US$10,000

scholarship in the first year.

Masa is a subsidised gap year

and study programmes for

Diaspora Jewry to Israel. Since

its founding in 2004, over 110

000 young Jews from more than

60 countries have participated in

Masa Israel programmes.

In the second and third years,

if the student does not choose

to make aliyah, they would have

to make up the gap left by Masa.

Buy if they do make aliyah, the

Israeli government contributes

around $2,500 towards the tuition

costs.

Sasi applies a needs-based

test for eligibility for subsidised

accommodation grants, while

IDC has reduced its fees by up

to 50 per cent (for Sasi students,

based on financial needs). The

grants include access to ulpan,

preparatory studies if needed,

youth counsellors and the

support of Telfed’s full professional

staff including counsellors,

social workers and employment

counsellors.

Kline visited South Africa

earlier this year and presented

the programme to hundreds

of 11 and 12 graders and had

dozens of potential participants

registering for further information.

Needless to say, all seven

bursaries were allocated.

The chairman of the Cape

United Jewish Campaign (UJC),

Philip Krawitz, said: “It’s not just

the financial support that makes

the difference, it is Telfed’s staff

and volunteers that provide

the absorption framework and

assistance for the students. It’s

this added supervision that can

put parents’ minds at rest when

they send their children to Israel

to study.”

Davi Nathan, an IDC graduate,

spoke about his very positive

academic and social experiences

at the IDC. “I completed my MBA

at the university and I am now

going to work for Bloombergs

in London. This shows that the

academic degrees from the IDC

are held in very high esteem,” he

said.

Since the recent student unrest

in South Africa, says Kline,

Telfed has “seen a dramatic rise

in families and young people

contacting us or universities

directly”. So much so, he told

Jewish Report, that IDC extended

registration deadlines for

southern African applicants and

have received 70 new applicants

during this time extension, 45 of

them since Succot.

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12 SA JEWISH REPORT

Hebrew University - Israel’s

academic pride and joy

Education in Focus 18 – 25 November 2016

Hebrew University students having some fun on campus.

ANT KATZ

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the grand old lady of Israeli higher learning.

Founded in 1918, Hebrew U - as the university is affectionately known - opened its

doors in 1925. It has six campuses, seven faculties, 14 schools, 23 000 students and

1 000 senior faculty members. Among the founders of this esteemed institution were

Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Chaim Nahman Bialik and Chaim Weizmann.

But, make no mistake, although Hebrew U is huge and famous, it is by no means

a stuffy old Ivy League-type institution. On the contrary, it absolutely bristles with

youthful energy.

Life on campus can only be described as idyllic. In Jerusalem it maintains three campuses:

the Mount Scopus Campus for the humanities and social sciences; the Edmond J

Safra Campus for exact sciences; and the Ein Kerem Campus for medical sciences.

Its other campuses are the Rehovot faculty for agriculture, food, veterinary medicine

and environmental sciences; the veterinary hospital in Beit Dagan; and the Interuniversity

Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.

The university has three of the most advanced sports facilities in Israel. It has 11

libraries, five computer centres, 6 000 dormitory beds, and dozens of student activity

groups focusing on politics, society, the environment and more.

Hebrew U, which counts itself among the top 100 universities in the world, has a

very deep involvement with foreign institutions, understandably so, given that its

students hail from over 65 countries.

It is actively engaged in international co-operation for research and teaching, has

signed 150 agreements for joint projects with other universities and 25 agreements for

student exchanges with 14 countries. Its faculty members include young scholars who

have returned to Israel from advanced studies at leading institutions of higher education

throughout the world.

The South African Friends of the Hebrew University has a very strong leadership,

with the likes of Prof Michael Katz as president, Jeff Katz as its Johannesburg chairman,

Paul Berman in the Cape Town chair and Julian Beare in KwaZulu-Natal.

The university’s Rothberg International School offers programmes for overseas students

and even boasts actress Natalie Portman among its alumni.

Hebrew U has been a leader in bringing about changes in the world community in

agriculture, environmental quality and public health. Students from developing countries

carry out advanced studies here and return to their home countries to apply the

knowledge they have gained.

In fact, the university is currently involved in a research project on behalf of South

Africa, with foreign funding they raised, to solve a potential food crisis in this country

as pollinating bees are disappearing.

Over the years Hebrew U has accumulated eight Nobel Prize laureates, and a Fields

Medal winner in mathematics among its faculty members.

The Yissum Research Development Company of Hebrew University is 15th in the

world in the number of patents registered. Yissum is responsible for marketing the

technology and scientific know-how generated by Hebrew University researchers and

students.

To date it has registered over 7 000 patents for 2 023 inventions. More than 600

of these patents have been commercialised, and have led to manufactured products.

Revenue from patents bring in over $2 billion a year.

Particularly outstanding developments include life-saving drugs; a cherry tomato

variety with a particularly long and excellent shelf life; Mobileye, a “computer-vision”

vehicle collision warning and driver safety system and agricultural innovations such as

drip irrigation systems.

• South African Friends of Hebrew University’s office is at Beyachad and executive director

Carmel Krawitz can be reached at (011) 645-2506 or by e-mail at safhu@beyachad.co.za.

There’s a wealth of further information on our website at sajr.co.za

At the Board of Governors Conference held on the Mount Scopus Campus of

Hebrew University earlier this year are Julian Beare; Carmel Krawitz; Phillip

Jacobson; Prof Michael Katz (President, SAFHU); Michael Federmann; Prof

Menachem Ben-Sasson (President, HU); Paul Berman; and Ambassador Yossi Gal

(Vice President for Advancement and External Relations).

Photo: Bruno Charbit

The flag-lined entrance to Tel Aviv University is symbolic of its international flavour.

TAU - top-class academics with

a cosmopolitan flavour

ANT KATZ

Through Tel Aviv University, international students

can study in English and choose from a broad selection

of undergraduate and graduate degrees, doctoral

programmes, various study-abroad options and they

also offer a host of short-term, summer, and intensive

language programmes.

TAU is located in Tel Aviv – Israel’s capital of innovation

and culture. The university says it is ranked as

one of the world’s top 10 cities, known for its entrepreneurial

atmosphere and exciting social life. The

institution also claim bragging rights to being ranked

among the world’s top 100 universities.

The university has a strong interdisciplinary focus

and collaborates closely with leading institutions

worldwide. Although not the only ones to do so, it

claims to be Israel’s leading university, attracting talented

students and renowned faculty members from

around the globe.

TAU International programmes are designed for

students eager to challenge themselves with a high

level academic experience. “You will enjoy the ‘real’

Israel by living and studying alongside Israelis,” a

university spokesman told Jewish Report.

Classes, he says, are enhanced by field trips, cultural

and overnight excursions, social events, and much

more. “You will also gain real-world professional

expertise through internships, guest lectures, and

workshops with some of Israel’s leading experts.”

TAU says it has a global hub on its campus, and

that the TAU International office will be the home of

foreign students during their time in Tel Aviv. “The

TAU International staff are always available to answer

questions, and events are organised on a regular basis

for international students,” the university points out.

The International Student Services they offer include:

• Orientation session before the start of each programme

• On-campus housing

• Israeli counsellors providing support and guidance

24/7

• Health insurance plan included

• Social activities including events, overnight trips, city

tours and more

• On-campus state-of-the-art sports facilities

• 24/7 security personnel on campus and in the dormitories

• A student-mentor programme that matches each

international student with a local one.

TAU’s international programmes have students

from over 100 countries. It has comprehensive

student support and extracurricular programmes and

promotes classwork enriched by real-world hands-on

experience.

It offers international students trips and social

activities that allow them to see all of Israel, while living

in Tel Aviv, enjoying the beaches, the exciting night

life and the diverse culinary foods of the region - in the

city that, like New York, never sleeps.

“Students make life-long friends with fellow-students

on their programmes as well as with local Israelis

through TAU International’s study-buddy system,”

says the university.

It also arranges to internship opportunities in a

student’s field of interest.

TAU has the following faculties: Arts; engineering;

exact sciences; humanities; law; life sciences; management;

and medicine.

• Contact SOUTH AFRICAN FRIENDS OF TEL AVIV

UNIVERSITY in Cape Town on (021) 418-6750 or write

to the president at jonathan.osrin@stenham.com. More

links to pdf documents and websites on JR Online’s version

of this story.

Photo: Bruno Charbit


18 – 25 November 2016 Education in Focus

SA JEWISH REPORT 13

BGU known for innovation and multi-disciplinary research

ANT KATZ

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)

is located in the desert city of Be’er Sheva,

south of Jerusalem. It is ranked #18 in the

QS ranking of global universities under

50 years old and has established an international

reputation for multidisciplinary

research.

It offers a modern campus and a dynamic

student population of 20 000 from Israel

and around the world. Students go to BGU

both for academic opportunities as well

as for its famously vibrant campus atmosphere.

Beersheva has what has become one of

the world’s most thriving ecosystems of

technology, innovation and business collaboration.

BGU has managed to do this by

virtue of the city having space to grow - a

rarity in this “innovation nation”.

The BGU campus thus finds itself at the

heart of a fast-developing R&D hub, which

includes Soroka University Medical Centre

and The Advanced Technologies Park within

a one kilometre radius. This has created a

robust R&D triangle.

Imagine this scenario: A student has an

idea in class or in the lab and takes it across

the road to the Advanced Technologies Park

and joins a development incubator - and

before you know it the student is a start-up!

BGU’s says its top-notch academic programmes

educate tomorrow’s researchers

and professionals. A range of interdisciplinary

programmes, institutes and centres of

excellence, such as their Homeland Security

Institute and their ABC Robotics Initiative,

bring together researchers from different

fields to find innovative solutions to the

world’s most pressing problems.

BGU directs students through numerous

specialised tracks, such as:

• Entrepreneurship and innovation - This

track combines courses from several

academic fields as well as practical skills

and theory, providing students with

useful tools and training them in innovative

thinking and entrepreneurship.

Participants in this track, who come

from all fields of study, develop precious

career skills.

• Global health - Students get an inside

look at global health, an emerging field

that incorporates both theory and social

involvement and interweaves disciplines

such as medicine, sociology, economics,

politics and ethics. Through guided

tours of medical facilities in Israel,

students observe emerging aspects of

global health first-hand, as well as participate

in a field practicum.

• Israel studies - Israel is a modern and

progressive country, yet steeped in

tradition - a leader in technology and

entrepreneurship, yet protective of

customs and rituals. In this multidisciplinary

track, students work in

world-renowned archives, participate in

current field research, thus discovering

Israel’s dynamic society.

• Sustainable development and environment

– as a leader in environmental

studies and the sustainable use of limited

natural resources in the desert, BGU

is the ideal place to explore sustainability

and environmental management.

This track examines the challenges of

sustainable development in the Middle

East and their implications in other

parts of the world.

BGU has conferred honorary doctorates

on four South Africans: Nelson Mandela,

Nadine Gordimer, Bertram Lubner and Eric

Samson.

• For further information contact Kyra

Wainstein of SA Associates of BGU at

076-413-5185 or study@bgu.ac.il

Former President Nelson

Mandela received an honorary

doctorate from Ben-Gurion

University in 1997. Pictured

with Mandela at this occasion

are Herby Rosenberg

(chairman: SA Associates of

BGU); Prof Avishay Braverman

(then president of BGU);

and Dr Bertie Lubner (then-

President: SA Associates and

Vice Chairman of the Board of

Governors of BGU).


14 SA JEWISH REPORT

Education in Focus 18 – 25 November 2016

‘Green’ Bar Ilan is much more than a beautiful campus

ANT KATZ

Over the past decade, a tremendous green trend has been

developing at Bar Ilan University (BIU).

The campus area has rapidly expanded and today includes

80 buildings and 300 laboratories on its grounds. It has over

33 000 students in all eight faculties, and approximately

1 700 faculty members teaching 8 000 courses in 52 departments.

All this makes Bar Ilan Israel’s largest university.

Meticulous attention has been paid to the design, ornamental

gardening and artistic landscaping during this enormous

growth period and in 2005 BIU won the Council for a

Beautiful Israel’s Award for “The Most Beautiful Campus” in

the country.

During the university’s expansion, different environmental

aspects have been taken into consideration and were

reflected in the various areas being developed. Even today,

alongside its academic activities, BIU is investing great efforts

into implementing the principles of sustainability and

environmental citizenship, with the aim to trim down its

“ecological footprint”.

Thanks to these efforts, this year Bar-Ilan’s campus won

the official recognition of the Israel Ministry of Environmental

Protection as a “green campus”.

As with many other academic institutions around the

world, BIU is focusing its efforts on improving and promoting

environmental care in four major areas, according to its

website. These are:

Community and education - BIU encourages students and

faculty to initiate and participate in activities that promote

environmental protection and preservation of landscape

values in the community. These activities are a part of the

ongoing actions by the Legal Clinic, Student Association,

Faculty of Life Sciences, and in the School of Education at

the university.

Operations - The university applies the principles of

sustainability on campus by installing advanced technological

aids for preserving water and electricity. In addition, it

promotes conservation of resources and assimilates among

workers and students the principles of recycling paper, cardboards,

textiles and reducing waste intended for landfills.

Academic - BIU promotes research in the field of environmental

protection and the development of energy-saving

measures. Courses are also available on environmental

preservation for students from all departments in order to

increase environmental awareness among them. This means

they have a campus designed to be green from the get-go, by

the students and for the students.

Campus gardens - Developing the campus and its gardens,

which have always drawn inspiration from Jewish ideals and

culture, have resulted in the creation of “Story Gardens”.

Strategically located among the university’s buildings, these

gardens serve as open museums and points of reflection of

the university’s world view, one that combines Jewish tradition

with modern technology and research.

• Contact SA Friends of Bar Ilan University on (011) 887-6766

or faye@kaplan.co.za for more information

World News in Brief

Criminal penalties extended to compliance with

BDS, settlement boycotts

WASHINGTON - Criminal penalties for boycotting Israel would be extended to companies complying

with the BDS movement, including the boycott of West Bank settlements, under a bipartisan bill

introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Representatives Pete Roskam, Republican Illinois, and Juan Vargas, Democrat California, introduced

the bill on Monday. The measure is a companion to one introduced in the Senate in September by

Senators Rob Portman, Republican Ohio and Ben Cardin, Democrat Maryland, called the “Protecting

Israel Against Discrimination Act”.

The House bill amends language in bills passed in the 1970s to combat the Arab League boycott of

Israel to encompass the modern Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement - and to include efforts

that would boycott settlement goods.

Whereas the original anti-boycott laws targeted companies co-operating with boycotts that were

launched before Israel’s establishment as a means of squeezing its Jews, and then as a means of

isolating the new Jewish state, the new bill appears to extend the definition to those who would use

boycotts to pressure Israel into giving up territory.

The measure defines the “boycott of, divestment from and sanctions against Israel” that would merit

penalties as including those “that are politically motivated and are intended to penalise or otherwise

limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israelicontrolled

territories”.

“Israeli-controlled territories” encompasses settlement boycotts.

The bill further defines “politically motivated” as meaning “actions to impede or constrain commerce

with Israel that are intended to coerce political action or impose policy positions on Israel”.

It could face First Amendment challenges for seeking to link criminal penalties attached to export

violations to “politically motivated” actions that include aims as minimal as getting Israel to rejoin

peace talks with the Palestinians.

Furthermore, some liberal pro-Israel groups, like J Street and Americans for Peace Now, sanction the

boycott of settlement goods.

Similar efforts led in 2015 to anti-boycott language, encompassing boycotts of settlements, to be

included in trade bills. In that case, however, the impact of the language was limited: It required US

trade negotiators to raise in their talks with their overseas counterparts US objections to Israel-related

boycotts.

When President Barack Obama signed the bill in February of this year, his administration said it

would continue to advocate against boycotting Israel in its trade talks, but would not include the

language counselling against settlement boycotts.

The legislation was sparked in part by the creation of a database by the United Nations Human

Rights Council of companies that do business with Israel’s settlements. It extends existing penalties for

boycotting Israel to international organisations like the council.

The bill also requires the Export-Import Bank, a government agency that seeks to facilitate American

trade overseas, to consider whether a company applying for a loan adheres to the BDS movement.

(JTA)


18 – 25 November 2016 Opinion and Analyis

SA JEWISH REPORT 15

Bannon a dilemma for Jewish groups seeking access to Trump

RON KAMPEAS

WASHINGTON

Offer an open hand or a closed fist - or maybe

both. Name names. Don’t name names, hint.

Quietly adjust wording.

Welcome to the second week of the World of

Trump, Jewish organisational edition.

Week 1 was fraught enough, with Jewish

statements marking Donald Trump’s surprise

election ranging from the confrontational to

“it’s a new day” accommodation.

Then President-elect Trump named Stephen

Bannon as his chief strategist.

The appointment of Bannon, formerly the

CEO of Breitbart, the right-wing news site that

has been the clearinghouse for the alt-right

movement, has been the buzz in the hallways

and at lunch tables at the Jewish Federations

of North America’s annual General Assembly

meeting here this week. More than 3 000 Jewish

communal professionals and lay figures from

120 communities attended.

Comments on the record, though, were

rare, a reflection of the bafflement prevalent

in the Jewish community at how to deal with

a president-elect who has no experience in

public office and won the presidency through a

scorched-earth campaign.

The Anti-Defamation League and a range of

liberal Jewish groups have condemned Bannon’s

appointment.

“It is a sad day when a man who presided over

the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ - a looseknit

group of white nationalists and unabashed

anti-Semites and racists - is slated to be a senior

staff member in the ‘people’s house’,” Jonathan

Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, said in a statement

last Sunday evening after Trump made the announcement.

Bannon is believed to have authored the October

13 speech Trump delivered in West Palm

Beach, Florida, that cast his Democratic rival,

Hillary Clinton, as part of a secretive international

cabal of international financiers seeking

world control - with the assistance of a servile

media.

The speech did not mention Jews, but the

themes were familiar to anyone with a memory

of conspiracy theories featuring Jewish villains.

The sense that the campaign was dog whistling

to white supremacists who embrace such

theories was reinforced when in its last days, it

ran an ad featuring excerpts of the speech accompanied

by images of three prominent Jews.

Such themes are prevalent at Breitbart, and

while the site does not indict Jews per se - with

rare exceptions - and is robustly pro-Israel,

it also has become a nexus of the alt-right

movement, where anti-Semitism has become

prevalent, as well as misogyny, white supremacism

and homophobia. The site does not remove

anti-Semitic comments.

Bannon’s former wife has also, in an affidavit,

accused him of disparaging Jews; he has denied

the claims.

Breitbart employs Jews and confidants of

Bannon insist he is not anti-Semitic. Jason

Miller, a top Trump campaign official, told CNN

on Monday that media examination of Bannon’s

alt-right ties was “irresponsible” and that

the focus of coverage now should be on Trump’s

planned policies.

Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican

Jewish Coalition, speaking on a panel of Republicans

reviewing the election at the Jewish

Federations assembly, said he wanted to know

more about Bannon, although he was confident

from his statements that he was pro-Israel.

“I look forward to the opportunity to sit down

with him and figure out how to work with him

in the coming administration,” said Brooks,

whose group, until the final days of the campaign,

had avoided advocating for Trump.

The right-wing Zionist Organisation of America

in a release listed stories showing Breitbart

as sympathetic to Israel or to Jews. Its director,

Morton Klein, called on ADL to “withdraw and

Photo: Ron Sachs

Attendees at the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Washington, DC, last Sunday.

apologise for their inappropriate character assassination”

of Bannon and Breitbart.

The American Jewish Committee also would

of state.)

Liberal Jewish groups were unequivocal in not comment on Bannon.

their condemnation of the appointment.

“Of utmost concern is ensuring that policies

proposed and put into place make good on

“If President-elect Trump truly wants to bring

together his supporters with the majority of the President-elect Trump’s Election Night promise,

country that voted against him - by a margin for the benefit of all citizens of our too-divided

that is nearing two million people, Bannon and country, and address the central concerns of

his ilk must be barred from his administration,” the American people and our allies around the

the National Council of Jewish Women said in a world,” said Jason Isaacson, its assistant executive

director for policy. “Presidents get to choose

statement.

The dilemma posed by Bannon’s hiring is their teams and we do not expect to comment

one of access to the executive branch. It is the on the appointment of every key adviser.”

lifeblood of groups seeking to influence every At the Jewish Federations of North America,

nuance of Israel policy, as well as groups that the umbrella body’s chairman of the board

partner with federal agencies on a range of domestic

programmes, including combating bias unsettled by the election to reconcile with their

of trustees, Richard Sandler, counselled Jews

and preserving the social safety net.

antagonists and move on. Sandler suggested

Greenblatt said in a phone interview that the that Jewish Americans may have an overinflated

notion of their importance.

ADL will engage with the government on areas

of common interest and strike a critical posture “Let us stop to try delegitimate those who

when necessary, as it has in the past.

disagree with us,” he said. “We are less than two

“We’re prepared to engage optimistically and

take the president at his word about bringing

the country together but hold the new administration

[to account] relentlessly on our issues,

which means we’ll speak out when there’s a

white nationalist as adviser,” he said.

That’s a formula that has worked with presidents

until now - an array of Jewish groups, including

the ADL, vigorously opposed last year’s

nuclear deal with Iran, but maintained access to

the White House.

In its statement condemning Bannon’s

appointment, the ADL took care to begin by

commending Trump’s other major appointment

of Reince Priebus, the Republican National

Committee chairman, to be White House chief

of staff.

But Trump ran a campaign that set new

markers for invective, with the candidate hurling

insults at reporters, politicians and just

about anyone he didn’t like. The fear among

Jewish leaders is that the White House will be

run the same way.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who directs the Reform

movement’s Religious Action Centre, another

group that condemned Bannon’s appointment,

said - with resignation - that groups would

likely lean more on Congress to advance their

agendas.

“We network with Republicans and Democrats,”

said Pesner, whose group has forged

ties in recent years with Republicans seeking

to protect persecuted Christians overseas and

preserve voting rights for minorities, among

other issues.

Pesner said he expected other organisations

to step up.

“American Jewish organisations have to speak

up with clarity and strength,” he said.

That did not appear to be happening, in the

short term at least, among centrist Jewish organisations.

The American Israel Public Affairs

Committee refused to comment on Bannon,

noting that it did not routinely comment on

appointments. (It has, in exceptional circumstances,

advocating in the mid-2000s for the

Senate to confirm John Bolton as UN ambassador;

Bolton is now on the shortlist for secretary

per cent of the population of this great country.”

It is precisely the place of Jews in the American

firmament that should guide their opposition

to Trump, said Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who

directs T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights group.

Jews have former alliances with other minorities

that feel threatened by Trump, and those

friendships should now guide the community.

“Shtadlanut is a mode of survival,” she said,

referring to the practice of some Diaspora

communities of deferring to a leader in order

to protect themselves. “But in the long run

cozying up to authority never works. The danger

for the Jewish community is cozying up to the

administration to get something for ourselves

but tearing ourselves from our allies.”

Democratic Representative John Lewis, a

civil rights icon who has longstanding relationships

with Jewish organisations, said younger

Jews should draw inspiration from the alliances

of the civil rights generation.

“We are all in the same boat,” said Lewis, who

spoke at a General Assembly gathering at the

new National Museum of African American

History and Culture. “They burned synagogues

and black churches because they are a symbol of

those who march for justice.”

For Lindsey Mintz, the director of the

Jewish Community Relations Council in

Indianapolis who is piloting a programme

building alliances with African-Americans

and Muslims, addressing the proliferation

of anti-Semitic vandalism in the wake of the

election was impossible to tweak apart from

attacks on other communities.

“If this is civil rights 2.0, is the Jewish

community going to show up - not just to

talk but to listen and march,” she said in an

interview at the conference. “That’s the question.”

(JTA)


16 SA JEWISH REPORT

Around the Jewish World 18 – 25 November 2016

Refusenik book scores Prime

Minister Award

SYDNEY - A book chronicling the landmark campaign by Australia,

and notably the Jewish community, to help free Jews

from the Soviet Union so they could emigrate to Israel and

other destinations, has won a major literary prize.

Co-authored by Sam Lipski and Professor Suzanne Rutland,

Let My People Go: The Untold Story of Australia and

the Soviet Jews 1959-89, launched last year, has been jointly

awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award in Australian

History.

The book shares the Prime Minister’s award in the Australian

History category with historian Geoffrey Blainey’s The

Story of Australia’s People.

Judges stated Lipski and Rutland “have produced a pathbreaking

book about the struggles of the Soviet ‘refuseniks’.

Replete with new information, [it] draws on a vast array of

primary and secondary sources.

“These include ASIO files, Rutland’s painstaking research

on Australia and Soviet Jewry, as well as unfettered access

to the massive archive about the campaign for Soviet Jewry

of Lipski’s friend Isi Leibler, who is a former president of the

Executive Council of Australian Jewry and activist for Soviet

Jews.”

Lipski, chief executive of the Pratt Foundation and a former

editor-in-chief of The Australian Jewish News, described news

of the award as “an overwhelming moment - to hear that I and

co-author Suzanne Rutland had shared the Prime Minister’s

Literary Award for Australian History with Geoffrey Blainey,

the doyen of Australian historians”.

At the awards presentation, Lipski reflected the book was an

appropriate recipient of a PM’s Award “because every Australian

prime minister for 30 years, notably Malcolm Fraser and

Bob Hawke, had had to deal with the Soviet Jewry issue”.

Rutland, an associate professor and chairman of the Department

of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies of the Faculty of

Arts at the University of Sydney, learnt she had won, while

attending a meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance

Alliance in Romania. - Australian Jewish News

Lord Sacks warns of dangers of

‘politics of anger’

LONDON - Lord Sacks, the Emeritus Chief Rabbi, has warned

of the dangers of the “politics of anger” following the election

of Donald Trump as United States President and the Brexit

vote.

In an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph, he instead urged a new

politics of hope built on “capitalism with a human face”.

Rabbi Sacks said this year’s events were “not politics as

usual. The American Presidential election, the Brexit vote and

the rise of extremism in the politics of the West are warnings

of something larger, and the sooner we realise it, the better.

“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new politics of

anger. It is potentially very dangerous indeed.”

He warned that anger was “a mood, not a strategy, and it

can make things worse not better. Anger never solves problems,

it merely inflames them. The danger down the road, as

it has been throughout history, is the demand for authoritarian

leadership, which is the beginning of the end of the free

society.”

He said the first step was to recognise “how bad” things

were, with many people failing to benefit from economic

growth.

A politics of hope was, he said, “within our reach. But to create

it we will have to find ways of strengthening families and

communities, building a culture of collective responsibility

and insisting on an economics of the common good. This is no

longer a matter of party politics. It is about the very viability

of the freedom for which the West fought for so long and

hard.” - Jewish Chronicle, London

On the road to solving biggest

healthcare problem

JERUSALEM - It’s one of healthcare’s biggest ironies: going

to a hospital for life-saving treatment can actually cost you

your life. More than one million people in America each year

get sick from infections they contract in hospitals, resulting

in about 100 000 deaths. Fighting these infections costs the

healthcare system about $30 billion every year.

The main reason, says Efrat Raichman, is poor hand hygiene

of the hospital staff.

In response, Raichman has developed Hyginex, a new hitech

system to keep hospital workers’ hands clean. If everyone

from nurses and doctors to orderlies and candy-stripers - even

food handlers in the cafeteria - are required to use it, hospital

administrators can help ensure the highest sanitary standards.

At its core, Hyginex is an online software solution that communicates

with a bracelet resembling a sports watch. Worn by

every shift worker, the bracelet is equipped with gyroscopes

and other movement sensors and emits a gentle red LED light

to remind personnel to wash their hands between patients -

or however frequently the system is programmed to provide

alerts.

Hyginex aims to improve hand-washing compliance and

quality without requiring any special training.

“Today the hand hygiene in hospitals is so poor, that when I

talk to [the managers] they report that the staff is just doing it

about 20 per cent of the time it

is required,” says Raichman, the

founder and CEO of the company.

“They say even a 50 per

cent compliance would be great.

The system can be programmed

to meet any requirement.”

Raichman tells ISRAEL21c

that other products with the

same goal are on the market.

“But we have a patent and they

can’t match us. Ours is the only

system that can test the compliance

of the staff and also test

the quality of the hand washing.

Simply opening the tap doesn’t

mean you’ve washed your

hands, or if you stand near the

hand sanitiser, that they are

sanitised,” she claims.

The Hyginex system incorporates

sensors on the bracelet, in the

dispensers and in the tap to measure

the duration of vigorous hand washing, and then

transfers that information to a computer.

In the future, the bracelet will be equipped with an optional

watch that can be programmed for other functions including

security - so that staff might be able to open or close doors using

the bracelet as a remote control device. - ISRAEL21C

Grant a get - or it’s jail time in

Israel!

JERUSALEM - A Jewish man in Israel who refuses to grant his

wife a religious divorce after being ordered to do so by a rabbinical

court could face criminal charges and be jailed.

Under a new policy directive issued on Monday by the state

prosecutor Shai Nitzan, his office will seek a significant prison

sentence for a husband convicted of violating the rabbinical

court’s order to give his wife a “get”, or religious divorce,

Haaretz reported.

A religious court cannot impose a get, and a man must give

the religious divorce of his own free will.

Nitzan said the state will adhere to those conditions by only

threatening criminal charges after the rabbinical court has

ordered the get and after consulting with the legal adviser to

the rabbinical courts, according to Haaretz.

The husband can still be jailed even if he subsequently

agrees to grant the divorce, however.

A woman who is unable to obtain a get is known as an

agunah, or chained woman. Under Jewish law she cannot

remarry.

Husbands who refuse to grant a religious divorce have been

shunned socially and refused honours, such as being called

to the Torah in synagogues, in an effort to pressure them to

change their minds.

Though 131 women are listed officially as having husbands

who have refused them a religious divorce, groups that provide

help for such women say they get thousands of requests

for assistance each year, The Times of Israel reported. (JTA)

Recipe

Mouth-watering pumpkin spice macaroon cookies

SANDY LEIBOWITZ

NEW YORK

In the autumn in America, we see pumpkin

everywhere. Sometimes it goes overboard

into foods in which pumpkin doesn’t

belong. In this recipe, though, it adds a

subtle creaminess and does double duty to

moisten the (sometimes) dry macaroons.

French macaroons are thin, flavourful meringue

cookies that are sandwiched together

with some kind of filling.

Not to mention, pumpkin has some nutritional

value. It is a good source of vitamins

and dietary fibre - we all need that in

our desserts, trust me.

I shaped them more like cookies because

they seem to bake more evenly. If

you like them with more of a crunch and

less of a chewy centre, just flatten them out

more. Once you let them cool out of the

oven, they will crisp right up.

I topped mine with crushed, sliced almonds,

but feel free to substitute with pecans

or, even better, pumpkin seeds.

Ingredients:

• 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

• 2 tablespoons maizena

• 3 egg whites

• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

• 1/8 cup maple syrup

• 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (from a can, not

pumpkin pie mix)

• Almonds, pecans or pumpkin seeds for

garnish

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking

tray with parchment paper.

• Combine coconut, pumpkin pie spice

and maizena. Set aside.

• In a double boiler (place a small amount

of water in a saucepan, and put a bowl on

top. Put the heat on low and the steam will

gently cook), whisk the egg whites until

foamy.

• Add sugar and keep whisking until you

get soft peaks (the egg whites can almost

hold shape on the tip of your whisk and

then melt again) and the sugar has melted.

• Take coconut and maizena mixture and

add the maple syrup, pumpkin puree and

combine gently. Fold in egg whites gently

until everything is evenly combined.

• With a tablespoon, form cookies and

place about 25mm apart on a cookie

sheet. Top with nuts of your choice.

• Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or

until golden brown on the edges. Remove

and allow to cool (they will crisp up even

more). (The Nosher via JTA)

Sandy Leibowitz trained at the Culinary

Institute of America and worked at top

non-kosher restaurants in New York City

such as the Russian Tea Room and Spice

Market.


18 – 25 November 2016 Opinion and Analysis

SA JEWISH REPORT 17

SA Jewry: Ring the bells that still can ring

TAKING ISSUE

Geoff Sifrin

The death of musician-poet Leonard

(Hebrew name Eliezer) Cohen and

the concurrent ascent to power in

the United States of billionairepolitician

Donald Trump fits in with

the confusion of our era. The former is

mourned by millions, with his legacy of

songs touching the core of what it is to

be human. It is hard to imagine iconic

songs such as “Hallelujah” ever being

bettered.

We don’t know what President

Trump’s legacy will be when he leaves

office. Amidst dismay at his election,

people who find him dangerous look for

an elusive “silver lining”. His attitudes

resonate with the rise of right-wing,

fascist figures in other countries.

Ultra-nationalism, xenophobia,

racism and other social ills that had

become unacceptable in the last few

decades, are respectable again with the

rise of the new right.

Perhaps one positive aspect is that

change is sometimes inherently a good

thing as it moves people out of stale

comfort zones and creates new energy.

In the lyrics of his song “Anthem”,

Cohen wrote: “Ring the bells that still

can ring / Forget your perfect offering

/ There is a crack in everything / That’s

how the light gets in.”

It is hard imagining Trump as a

bringer of light, but perhaps the

crack in the political order he has

shattered was the left’s complacency.

In its enthusiasm for globalisation and

multiculturalism, it neglected masses

of ordinary local people in countries

worldwide who were left behind

and became poorer, while wealthy

international elites were creaming it.

With his contempt for everything

the “enlightened” establishment

regarded as proper political behaviour,

Trump became the voice of those angry

masses.

In times of upheaval, Jews

instinctively ask: “Is it good or bad for

the Jews?” There is cause for concern:

The rise of the new right coincides

with ominous stirrings of racism,

which always goes hand-in-hand with

anti-Semitism and hatred of other

minorities. In countries where it was

taboo not long ago to speak publicly

against the Jews - even if some

people disliked them privately - open

expressions of Jew-hatred have become

common. In France, for example,

masses of Jews are emigrating after

attacks on them.

Even in South Africa, which still

clings to the memory of tolerance and

multiculturalism of Mandela’s “rainbow

nation”, signs are worrying. Earlier this

month, for example, graffiti appeared

at Wits university campus, saying “Kill

a Jew” and “F*** the Jews”; last month,

a kippah-wearing student was called a

“Motherf***ing Jew” by fellow students.

Jewish organisations say anti-

Semitism remains low in South Africa

compared to other countries. But the

rise of populists such as Economic

Freedom Fighters leader Julius

Malema, who claims to speak for

millions of angry, poor and jobless

black masses, brings dangers. His

populist tactics are similar to Trump’s,

but from a leftwing, albeit nationalistic,

perspective.

In their drive to power, demagogues

willingly use any tools, often couched in

simplistic terminology which promises

to solve everything. While he has not

publicly expressed anti-Semitism,

Malema’s vitriol against whites and his

refrain that “white monopoly capital”

is the root of the country’s problems

could easily be tweaked to “white and

Jewish monopoly capital”.

Sinister bedfellows would jump from

the sidelines to support him in this

line. Jewish South Africans must be

prepared for this.

Trump may turn out to be less

catastrophic than doomsayers predict.

In politics, yelling viciously from the

sidelines is easy, but once a person gets

his hands on the steering wheel, things

look different. And US politics has so

many checks and balances, it is hard for

any leader to go completely off track.

For Malema, however, South Africa’s

political restraints are less robust.

Either way, we’re in for an interesting

few years.

• Read Geoff Sifrin’s regular columns on

his blog sifrintakingissue.wordpress.com

World News in Brief

Leonard Cohen buried in

Montreal before announcement

of his death

MONTREAL - Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen was buried in his

hometown of Montreal hours before his death was made public.

Cohen died Nov. 7 in Los Angeles and was buried on November

10 at his family’s plot in the Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery,

according to reports citing a statement from Congregation

Shaar Hashomayim, an Orthodox synagogue in the Westmount

neighbourhood.

“Leonard’s wish was to be laid to rest in a traditional Jewish

rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” the

statement said. He maintained “a lifelong spiritual, musical, and

familial connection to the synagogue of his youth”,

The Cohen family plot is located just through the front gates of

the Jewish Cemetery near the base of Mount Royal, The Toronto

Star reported. The only evidence of Cohen’s burial is unsettled earth

covered by fallen brown leaves in front of an unmarked gravestone,

according to the newspaper.

“Hineni, hineni, My Lord” and other lyrics to the song “You Want

It Darker” from his latest album released in September were read

during the traditional Jewish graveside funeral attended by family

and close friends only, the French news agency AFP reported.

The announcement of his death was made on November 10

after the funeral.

“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles

with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one

of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son, Adam, wrote in a Facebook

post. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique

brand of humour.”

An official statement November 10 on Leonard Cohen’s

Facebook page said there would be a funeral in Los Angeles in

coming days.

Mourners have laid flowers and lit candles at the doorstep of

Cohen’s Montreal home, The Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre reportedly has pledged to find an

appropriate way to honour “one of our greatest Montrealers”. (JTA)

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18 SA JEWISH REPORT

Opinion and Analysis 18 – 25 November 2016

Will SA embrace an inclusive approach?

PROF DAVID BILCHITZ

Just before Yom Kippur, seven

senior modern Orthodox religious

leaders apologised to lesbian, gay,

bisexual, transgender and intersex

(LGBTI) persons. This act of

repentance sought to address and

counter the abusive and insulting

attitudes that many rabbis in the

Orthodox community have actively

promoted against LGBTI persons.

Rabbi Dr Benny Lau, a major

figure in the modern Orthodox

community in Israel, had criticised

the pejorative speech of a senior

army rabbi against lesbian and

gay persons. Rabbi Lau asked his

community to welcome others

who are different, to be “inclusive

people”, to “open our ranks”.

This healing gesture by these

senior rabbinical figures struck

a chord with me, and sparked

a memory of an incident at an

Orthodox synagogue I used to

attend over 20 years ago. One

Friday night, the rabbi decided to

address the question of same-sex

sexuality and I was hopeful that,

perhaps, some understanding and

humanity would emerge.

Unfortunately, the sermon was

in the “fire and brimstone” mould

and consisted of over 10 minutes

of condemnations and abusive

statements that diminished the

dignity of lesbian and gay persons.

His sermon suggested that

no-one in the large audience was a

member of that group. This was a

seminal moment for me as I could

not attend a synagogue with a

religious leader who used his words

as weapons against a vulnerable

group, among whom I count myself

a member.

I decided I would not return

voluntarily unless there was some

overriding reason (like a family

simcha) why I should. Sadly, the

rabbi - as far as I know - has never

apologised to anyone in the LGBTI

community for his hurtful words.

Recently, I heard of another

similar incident at a large Orthodox

synagogue in Johannesburg.

This time, however, there was an

outcry by many members of the

congregation, so much so, that

the rabbi - to his credit - issued

an apology from the pulpit the

following week.

Importantly, this time there

was a recognition that maligning a

group of people was unacceptable

and would not be tolerated. It

illustrated the power that exists in

solidarity and the importance that

allies - in this case, most of whom

were straight - can play in ending

unacceptable conduct.

Indeed, this outcry is indicative

of a revolution that has taken place

in the Jewish community (and the

world) over the past 30 years or so

in relation to attitudes to LGBTI

persons. Greater understanding

- through advances in the natural

and social sciences - has led to the

recognition that there is no moral

or religious flaw in those who

are gay or lesbian: it is simply a

natural fact about the world that a

sizeable proportion of humanity is

attracted romantically, emotionally,

spiritually and sexually to form

relationships with members of the

same sex.

It is cruel and inhumane to

condemn people for forming

consensual, loving relationships

that flow from their natural

orientations.

Similarly, there are also natural

diversities around sex and gender:

the world is not just male and

female but there are variations in

the physical anatomies of persons

(those whose physical anatomy does

not strictly conform to the male/

female binary are often referred to

as “intersex”) and in how people

self-identify with their genders

Prof David Bilchitz

(some people self-identify with a

different gender to their physical

sex at birth and are often referred

to as “transgender”).

Surgically intervening to force

people to conform to a set anatomy

(where medically unnecessary) or

condemning them for living out

their gender identity in a more

authentic manner displays a lack of

understanding and is often deeply

harmful.

The modern understanding and

acceptance of LGBTI persons has,

of course, created challenges for an

ancient system such as Judaism.

That system, of course, was

developed at a time where scientific

understanding was much more

limited.

Take, for instance, persons who

could not hear or speak - generally,

such persons were regarded as

having cognitive deficiencies and

thus a number of legal disabilities in

Jewish law. A well-known anecdote

describes how a highly respected

rabbi, the Ketav Sofer, visited

the Vienna Institute that treated

deaf and mute persons and was

astonished at the accomplishments

of the pupils there. He expressly

doubted whether the traditional

approach in Jewish law applied to

such persons.

The example highlights how

advancements in empirical

understandings can lead to a shift

in Jewish law - and the same is

(and should be) true with LGBTI

persons.

Reform Judaism places greater

weight on modern understandings

and so its positions have changed

more rapidly fully to accept and

celebrate LGBTI persons.

Orthodox Judaism itself has

not been untouched: at the

minimum, there is less of a desire to

condemn and more of an attempt

to understand and connect with

those who are LGBTI. The power

of hurtful words is increasingly

being recognised for its ability to

encourage bullying at schools, to

harm the self-image of individuals

and, in extreme cases, even to bring

about self-harm behaviours such as

suicide.

Ultimately, what is crucial is the

recognition of shared humanity:

lesbian and gay people simply wish

to express their capacity to love and

connect with significant others just

like straight people do; intersex and

transgender people simply want to

be respected for who they are just

like those whose sex and gender

identities are more binary.

The apology by the seven

Orthodox leaders in Israel was

a gesture of reconciliation, of

reaching out to recognise the value

of every person. These leaders have

not stopped at the apology but

continue to build their communities

in an inclusive manner.

Let us hope that our religious,

educational and communal leaders

in South Africa will follow suit and

strengthen our unique community

through embracing the diversity of

all who make it up.

• David Bilchitz is a professor of

fundamental rights at the University

of Johannesburg and director

of SAIFAC, a leading a research

institute. He is also chairman of

Limmud International.

World News in Brief

Trump invites Bibi to

meet him in US

WASHINGTON - President-elect Donald Trump

HAS invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu of Israel to meet with him in the

United States “at the first opportunity”.

A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office

described a November 9 phone conversation

between Trump and Netanyahu as “warm and

heartfelt”.

During the call, Netanyahu congratulated

Trump on his victory and said that both he and

his wife, Sara, were looking forward to meeting

the president-elect and his wife, Melania.

Trump and Netanyahu also discussed “regional

issues”, the statement said without elaborating

on the specifics of the conversation.

Earlier on November 9, Netanyahu

congratulated Trump on his presidential victory,

calling him a “true friend of the State of Israel”.

“I look forward to working with him to

advance security, stability and peace in our

region,” Netanyahu said in a statement in which

he declared: “The ironclad bond between the

United States and Israel is rooted in shared

values, buttressed by shared interests and driven

by a shared destiny.

“I am confident that President-elect Trump and

I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance

between our two countries and bring it to ever

greater heights.” (JTA)

Swastikas on vans

outside London school

LONDON - Swastikas were painted on vehicles

parked outside a Jewish school in a chasidic

neighbourhood.

Police are investigating the incident in which

swastikas and the phrase “f*** off” were found

on vans parked outside the Beis Malka Jewish

Girls School in the northern London neighborhood

of Stamford Hill, The Standard reported Monday.

“Young schoolchildren and their parents were

shocked to discover the offensive graffiti,” a

representative for the Jewish neighbourhood

watch group Shomrim told The Standard. “Sadly,

swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti is far too

common in Stamford Hill.” (JTA)

Reflections and soul searching on the ‘Night of Broken Glass’

MARGOT COHEN

At the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg

last Wednesday evening, reflecting on

“Kristallnacht” or “Night of Broken Glass”,

the German Ambassador to South Africa,

Walter Lindner, asked the question: “Why did

this happen in our country (Germany) with

an impressive cultural background?

“A thriving Jewish community became

isolated, were beaten up, their businesses

destroyed, schools, hospitals and cemeteries

vandalised and more than 30 000 were sent

to Dachau, Buchenwald and other concentration

camps where hundreds died within

weeks of arrival. It was the beginning of the

Holocaust.”

On November 9 to 10, 1938, in an incident

known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany

torched synagogues, vandalised Jewish

homes, schools and businesses and killed

close to 100 Jews.

In the aftermath of Kristallnacht some

30 000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to

Nazi concentration camps. German Jews had

been subjected to repressive policies since

1933, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler

became chancellor of Germany.

However, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi

policies had been primarily nonviolent. After

Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews

grew increasingly worse. During the Second

World War, Hitler and the Nazis implemented

their so-called “Final Solution” to what

they referred to as the “Jewish problem”, and

carried out the systematic murder of some

six million European Jews in what came to be

known as the “Holocaust”.

Lindner said the focus of the German

Republic was to take responsibility for the

events which followed, face the past, never

forget and to ensure that it never happened

again.

“Showing solidarity with Israel and speaking

up for injustice throughout the world is

our moral obligation and a sign of hope,” said

Lindner.

Special guest speaker, Prof Michael Berenbaum,

professor of Jewish studies at the

American Jewish University in Los Angeles,

was warmly welcomed by Johannesburg

Holocaust and Genocide Centre Director Tali

Nates.

Prof Berenbaum is the author of 20 books

and hundreds of articles. He was project

director overseeing the creation of the

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

and later served as president and CEO of

the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History

Foundation, which took testimony of 52 000

Jan Leidecker, director of The Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung; Dr Norbert Spitz, director of the Goethe-

Institut; Prof Michael Berenbaum, professor at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles; Tali

Nates, director of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre; and German Ambassador to

South Africa Walter Lindner.

Holocaust survivors in 32 languages and 57

countries. His work in film has won Emmy

and Academy Awards.

Reflecting on the anti-Jewish violence that

took place in Germany, Austria and Sudetenland

on the fateful “Night of Broken Glass”,

Nates said following the 1938 November

progroms, life in the Reich, had become no

longer possible for Jews. Most tried to leave,

“but there was no place to go”.

The German anti-Jewish policy, known as

“the Final Solution” with the pogroms, “are

considered the beginning of the end and the

end of the beginning”.

Berenbaum said “the third generation

Germans are asking embarrassing questions

of the second generation who were scared

to challenge their parents’ involvement with

the Nazis”. He believed that it takes decades

to confront the past, “but it must be done, as

the weight of mankind is upon us”.

He said the German Jewish community is

expanding rapidly, with Jews from the Soviet

Union entering the German republic.


18 – 25 November 2016 Community

SA JEWISH REPORT 19

Balfour Mall stages a unique DJ competition

Balfour Mall is one of Johannesburg’s oldest and bestknown

shopping centres, boasting a loyal Jewish clientele,

being in the heartland of “Jewish Johannesburg”. With

newly completed renovations, the centre caters for people of

all ages.

Balfour Mall is now giving local talent a platform to compete

and showcase their skills at two live events which will

take place at the Mall for a chance to win prizes worth more

than R340 000.

Aspiring DJs entered their two-minute video clips on the

Balfour Mall Facebook page as well as through an in-centre

DJ booth.

The Mall and affiliated sponsors selected the top 20 based

on creativity, performance and presentation. Customers as

well as the general public voted for their favourite DJ and

the top five will be competing at the semi-finals on Saturday,

December 3.

They are Yaugan Rorke, Phumlani Mzobe, Karabo Mosite,

Denzil Tracey and Dibane Ledwaba (pictured). The top two

will battle it out at the finals on December 16.

African Bank (Balfour Mall), Alex FM, Kulcha Magazine

and Boston City Campus are the competition associate

Clear Asset sells

bulk carrier for

nearly $15 million

Former finalists of the SAJR’s Absa Jewish

Achiever Awards 2015 and co-founders of

leading online auction company, Clear Asset,

recently set a new record for a South African

company.

The company specialises in auctioning

niche assets like ships, mining equipment and

aircraft parts and in just four years has earned

an international reputation for its sales.

Ariella Kuper (pictured) and Warren

Schewitz, co-founders and directors of the

company, on November 10 sold an arrested

bulk carrier in Namibia.

The bulk carrier with seven holds sold for

a spectacular US$14, 95 million to a foreign

buyer, Clear Asset said in a media release.

The auction took place at Bowmans law firm

in Cape Town.

partners and sponsors.

Two lucky customers will stand a chance of winning Boston

City Campus bursaries at the semi-finals and the finals.

‘Lest we forget’ recurring

theme at Remembrance Day

JULIAN POKROY

The annual War Remembrance Day Service for those who made

the supreme sacrifice during the two World Wars, the Korean

War and the South African Border Wars was held at the Union

Buildings last Sunday.

Willie Pokroy, a decorated Second World War Air Force veteran, lays

a memorial Magen David on behalf of the SA Jewish Ex-Service

League, commemorating the Jewish soldiers who lost their lives

during various wars.

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20 SA JEWISH REPORT

SUZANNE BELLING

The Jewish community is deeply saddened

by the loss of Gerald Kleinman (pictured),

who, even as an octogenarian, worked

regularly in his office at the Cape Town

Jewish Community Centre, which he still

maintained till the time of his passing, aged

92, earlier this week.

Up until a few months before his death,

Kleinman, the oldest Jewish communal

professional in South Africa, took his daily

constitutional at 06:00 on the Sea Point

beachfront and then put in a good few

hours work in the office.

The epitome of a distinguished

gentleman, with a head of thick hair - only

slightly greying in his latter years, he had

the energy of a man half his age.

He was friend, adviser and confidante to

Jewish communal professionals, with the

unusual criterion of having the ear of the

lay leadership.

Kleinman, an honorary life vice-president

of the Cape Jewish Board of Deputies, saw

both sides of organisational Jewish life,

including as a past chairman of the Board,

chairman of Weizmann Primary School,

chairman and vice-president of the UCF

to executive director of IUA-UCF-Welfare,

director of the United Jewish Campaign,

top donors convener of the IUA-UCF-

Welfare and latterly concentrated on wills

and bequests.

Despite the usual amount of infighting

within Jewish organisations, Kleinman was

peacemaker in several internecine battles!

Kleinman entered his profession by

default. Formerly a businessman in the

shoe industry - he “stupidly” went to an

AGM of Weizmann School (now Herzlia

Weizmann) and became a vociferous critic.

“How do you silence, someone like that?

You put them on the committee and give

them a job to do, which is exactly what

happened. I said okay, as long as it didn’t

involve fundraising and ended up as

treasurer,” he said in a recent interview.

“I then became chairman, after they

confessed they didn’t have anyone else,

though they expressed doubts about my

ability to do the job. I had to prove them

wrong!”

From then onwards, his communal

involvement, especially fundraising,

snowballed and he found himself chairman

of the UCF, before it merged with the IUA.

He was chairman of the Cape Committee

of the SAJBD from 1973 to 1975, chairman

of the Country Communities committee,

chairman of the Religious Instruction

Committee, a member of the Western

Province Jewish Priorities Board, a trustee

of the Hebrew Teachers’ Pension Fund, a

member of the Herzlia executive, as well as

presiding over the Wellington Rotary Club.

Kleinman was a director of M Kleinman

and Company, a director of Panther Shoe

Obituary

Community stalwart Gerald Kleinman passes on

Company Ltd, managing director of S

Rossiter and Company (Pty) Ltd and

a council member of the SA Footwear

Manufacturers’ Federation.

He commuted for 14 years, sometimes

twice daily, from his shoe factory in

Wellington (about a 45-minute drive

from Cape Town) to attend meetings.

When China created problems for

the local shoe industry, Kleinman

changed career course and became

a Jewish professional, starting with

linking the separate IUA and UCF

campaigns as executive director in

1986. Welfare joined it in 1993.

He remained active in Rotary

as president of the Signal

Hill Rotary Club and was a

recipient of the prestigious

Paul Harris Award and Paul

Harris Saphire award, the

Keren Hayesod Kreutner

award and the Eric

Samson/Mendel Kaplan

award from the BOD. He

was also recipient of

the annual Eliot Osrin

Award (in the category

of community

leadership) from Jewish

Care (Cape).

Kleinman was

instrumental in many

major decisions of the

18 – 25 November 2016

Cape Town community, including the move

to create the CTJCC in the Gardens.

He was married to Rene for 69 years and

leaves her and his children,

Jeffrey, Moritz,

Simone Scherzer and

Marilyn Dubovsky,

grandchildren

and greatgrandchildren.

He was

buried at

Pinelands

Jewish Cemetery

on Tuesday.

Sweet song of success

beginning to ring in Yael’s ears

PETER FELDMAN

Yael, a Johannesburg mother of two, has turned

her singing hobby into a bold career move by recording

her debut album, called “Fly Away”.

Yael (who for professional reasons only uses

her first name) feels if she doesn’t do it now she

will never do it - and under the guiding light of

renowned theatre impresario Richard Loring she is

beginning to create waves.

Yael, who attended Yeshiva College and Crawford

College, never took her hobby of 20 years seriously

until a few years ago when she met Loring who

saw star potential in her and wanted to develop it

further.

She told Jewish Report: “The amount of hours,

commitment and energy I gave to my hobby was

not good enough because I now had to make a serious

decision about turning a hobby into a career.

I consulted with my husband and my parents and

they said I must go ahead and realise my dream

“I had been working as a marketing analyst but I

Arts

grew bored with the job. I loved singing and performed

at various charity events and gave the odd

performance. I made up my mind to place my singing

on a more professional basis three years ago,

believing I really had nothing to lose. I started on

this journey without real direction. I just wanted

to record an album, that was my aim. It’s been an

enormous learning curve along the way.”

A family friend, PR veteran Melanie Millin-

Moore, who had never heard Yael sing, introduced

her to Richard Loring. The rest is history.

Yael’s husband David, and her children Naomi (7)

and Gabriel (5), are her biggest fans but once her

album is released the fan base is bound to grow.

“Fly Away’’ produced by Loring and record

industry veteran John Lindeman, is recorded with

the Soweto Spiritual Singers. They are featured

on five numbers. “It’s been a true labour of love,”

says Yael, “and I love so much working with these

professionals.”

Yael, speaks several languages, including French

and Hebrew, and can sing in eight. On the album,

which she describes as a crossover work that embraces

contemporary songs and light classics, she

sings in Zulu, English and Spanish. “I am a classically

trained singer and the numbers were carefully

chosen.”

The big track on the album is the universal hit

Eres Tu (Touch the Wind) which was a massive hit

in the 70s for Spanish artists Mocedades. It was

originally done in Spanish but Yael sings it in Zulu

(with the Soweto Spiritual Singers) and in English.

The message of the song is universal and is about

unity.

Another popular track is the evergreen South

African hit, Paradise Road, but done with Yael’s

unique touch and again with the soaring sounds of

the 12-strong Soweto Spiritual Singers.

The launch of Yael’s album took place last

Sunday at a new venue, O12 Central, in the heart

of Pretoria. Accompanied by the Soweto Spiritual

Singers on several tracks, she gave a striking onehour

performance.

If the positive reaction from the guests was anything

to go by, it seems Yael’s destined for a bright

future in music.

Sunday (November 20)

What’s On

• RCHCC rescreens the documentary “In Search of

Beethoven”, with over 60 live performances. Venue:

Clive M Beck Auditorium. Time: 19:30. Donation: R70

(incl refreshments). Booking: Hazel or René (011)

728-8088/8378, a/h (011) 728-8378 or e-mail:

rchcc@telkomsa.net or rene.s@telkomsa.net

• Followers of light music (not classical or pop) should

come to the Roosevelt Park Recreational Centre for

two great audio presentations, followed by a short

refreshment interval at R20 pp (optional) then into a

musical audio/video. Time: 14:00. First-timers free.

Information: David (011) 678-972 or 076-574-1446.

Jewish Genealogical Society of SA hosts Dr Jack Mink

on “Jewish Composers of the Tin Pan Alley Era”. He

will play music of this golden age of Hollywood and

Broadway. Venue: HOD. Time: 19:30. Cost: R25

(incl tea and refreshments). RSVP: Hannah (011)

485-2188.

• JJAC invites Jewish singles aged 27 - 49 to the

“Braamfontein Spruit Hike”. E-mail whatson@jjac.co.za

for details.

• Second Innings hosts Helen Heldenmuth on “Travels

and Laughter with my Yiddish Soul”. Venue: Gerald

Horwitz Lounge, Golden Acres. Time: 10:00 for 10:30.

Cost: R20 members, R40 visitors (incl tea and light

refreshments). Contact: Linda Fleishman

(011) 532-9701.

Monday (November 21)

• UJW Adult Education Division hosts urban planner Lael

Bethlehem on “Johannesburg - Decay and Renewal

in the Inner City”. Venue: 1 Oak Street, Houghton.

Time: 09:30. Donation: R40. Contact: UJW (011)

648-1053.

Wednesday (November 23)

• UJW Adult Education Division hosts Dr Lorraine

Chaskalson, formerly from Department of English, Wits

on “The Written Word Leaps Off the Page”. Venue: 1

Oak Street, Houghton. Time: 09:30. Donation: R40.

Contact: UJW (011) 648-1053.

Thursday (November 24)

• JH&GC in partnership with the Lithuanian embassy

stages a temporary exhibition “The Sounds of Silence -

Traces of Jewish Life in Lithuania”. Keynote presentation

by Howard Sackstein, chairman of the SA Jewish Report

board of directors. Venue: Holocaust Centre, Forest

Town. Time: 18:30 for 19:00. Booking is essential with

shirley@jhbholocaust.co.za or (011) 640-3100.

• Desert Rose Productions, an English-language theatre

production company in Israel, is bringing its acclaimed

comedy, “Together, Against the Odds” to South Africa.

Venue: Indaba Hotel, Fourways. Time: 20:00. Cost:

R180 pp (early bird) or R200, from Webtickets

http://bit.ly.2drkhPJ.

Friday (November 25)

• Shalom Masorti Seniors Club have some light-hearted

fun on the last Friday of each month. Tea is served and

there is a selection of board games to play, cards etc.

Maurice Resnik will today speak on “The Golden Years”

and “Learning Life’s Lessons”. Information: Esther

(011) 485-5619 Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or

Friday mornings.

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18 – 25 November 2016 News

SA JEWISH REPORT 21

Iconic songwriter, singer Leonard Cohen dies at age 82

RON KAMPEAS

LOS ANGELES

Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer

songwriter whose Jewish-infused

work became a soundtrack for melancholy,

has died. He was 82.

“It is with profound sorrow we

report that legendary poet, songwriter

and artist, Leonard Cohen has

passed away,” his Facebook page said

late last Thursday. “We have lost one

of music’s most revered and prolific

visionaries.”

It did not give a cause of death, but

said there would be a funeral in Los

Angeles in coming days.

Cohen, born in 1934 in Montreal,

was playing folk guitar by the time he

was 15, when he learned the resistance

song, “The Partisan”, working at

a camp, from an older friend.

“We sang together every morning,

going through The People’s Song

Book from cover to cover,” he recalled

in his first “Best Of” compilation in

1975. “I developed the curious notion

that the Nazis were overthrown by

music.”

As a student at McGill University,

he became part of Montreal’s

burgeoning alternative art scene, one

bursting with nervous energy at a

time that tensions between Quebec’s

French and English speakers were

coming to the fore.

His influences included Irving

Layton, the seminal Canadian Jewish

poet who taught at McGill, and like

Cohen, grappled with the tensions

between the secular world and the

temptations of faith.

He began to publish poetry and

then novels, and was noticed by the

national Canadian press. Moving to

New York in the late 1960s (his song,

“Chelsea Hotel”, is about his stay and

that notorious refuge for the inspired,

the insane and the indigent), he

began to put his words to music.

“Suzanne”, about the devastating

platonic affair with a friend’s

wife that was a factor in his leaving

Montreal, was recorded by Judy Collins

and became a hit; his career was

launched.

Cohen sang in his limited bass,

and wrote his songs so he could sing

them; they would have been dirges

but for their surprising lyrical turns

and their reckoning with joy in unexpected

places.

In “Bird on the Wire”, one of his

most covered songs, he recovers from

a crippling guilt when he finds inspiration

in a beggar, and then in a prostitute:

“And a pretty woman, leaning

in her darkened door/ She cried to

me, ‘Hey why not ask for more’.”

Cohen embraced Buddhism, but

never stopped saying he was Jewish.

His music more often than not dealt

directly not just with his faith, but

with his Jewish people’s story.

His most famous song, covered

hundreds of times, is “Hallelujah” - he

has said its unpublished verses are

endless, but in its recorded version,

it is about the sacred anguish felt

by King David as he contemplates

the beauty of the forbidden

Bathsheba.

Cohen’s version, released

in 1984, did well in Europe

(in a video on German TV he

is backed by a children’s choir

hiding behind a faux Greek

set). John Cale recorded a

piano-driven version for a

Cohen tribute album in 1991.

Jeff Buckley heard that version,

and used it as the basis

for his own six-minute cover,

reinterpreting on his guitar

the arpeggios Cale had used

to accompany the song.

Running longer than six

minutes, Buckley’s version

became in the late 1990s the

go-to song for extended TV

show montages depicting trauma and

melancholy. Cale’s version was used

in “Shrek” in 2001, and that did it:

The song became inevitable.

“First We Take Manhattan”,

recorded in the late 1980s when

Cohen was living much of his time in

Europe, plumbs the anger of a modern

Jew travelling through a post-war

consumerist Europe that has become

adept at ignoring its Jewish ghosts:

I love your body and your spirit and

your clothes

But you see that line there moving

through the station?

I told you, I told you, told you, I was

one of those.

Cohen was droll, but also reverent:

Each of his explanations of his songs

on 1975’s “Best Of” is sardonic except

Leonard Cohen in concert at London’s O2 Arena on September 15, 2013.

for one, for “Who by Fire”: “This is

based on a prayer recited on the Day

of Atonement,” was all he wrote.

Cohen, in his 70s in the late 2000s,

began once again to tour and record;

a manager had bilked him of much

of his fortune. He released his final

album, “You Want It Darker”, last

month.

He often toured Israel, and he

expressed his love for the country - he

toured for troops in the 1973 Yom

Kippur War - but he also expressed

sadness at the militarism he encountered

there. Under pressure from the

boycott Israel movement to cancel

a 2009 concert, he instead donated

its (much needed by him) proceeds

to a group that advances dialogue

between Palestinians and Jews.

Photo: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

Tickets to the stadium at Ramat

Gan sold out in minutes. His Israeli

fans embraced him that September

night, and he returned the love,

sprinkling the concert with Hebrew

and readings from scripture and ending

it with the blessing of the Cohens.

In August he wrote an emotional

letter to his former girlfriend and

muse Marianne Ihlen, who died in

late July, suggesting he too was ready

to embrace his death.

Last month, in a profile of Cohen in

The New Yorker, Bob Dylan compared

his fellow singer-songwriter to Irving

Berlin - linking three iconic Jewish

musicians in one poignant assessment.

Cohen is survived by a son and a

daughter. (JTA)

Above Board

Jeff Katz

National Chairman

If you were to ask our

National Director,

Wendy Kahn, which

aspects of the

Board’s work are

the most complex,

time-consuming and

stressful, there is no

doubt that resolving

problems of university

exams set on Shabbat

or Yomtov would rank

high on the list.

Whether timetable clashes involve many

religiously observant Jewish students or even

a single individual, the Board will exert itself to

the utmost in order to come to an acceptable

alternative arrangement with the university

concerned.

That we have in the vast majority of cases

to date been successful in this regard has in

large part been due to the absolute dedication

with which Wendy has devoted herself to such

cases. It can truly be said of her that she feels

a personal obligation to help each and every

individual and that she will not rest until every

door has been knocked on and every possible

option pursued.

For this, innumerable Jewish students,

and indeed the entire community, owe her a

particular debt of gratitude.

A second area in which the Board has become

involved, is in assisting Jewish medical students

wishing to be placed in reasonable proximity to

a Jewish community when doing their postgraduation

year of community service.

Students accept that they will be placed in

areas where their skills are most needed, but

wherever possible we assist them in obtaining

posts not too far removed from one or other

Community Column

A column of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Working for our students

centre where there exists an organised Jewish

presence. Once again, Wendy has taken this

particular task on her shoulders.

As in previous columns, I would like to

reiterate the need for students who require our

assistance in these or any other such areas, to

contact the Board as timeously as possible on

(011) 645-2521/ sajbd@sajbd.org

Welcome to our new Cape director

Last month, the SAJBD – Cape Council

appointed Joshua Hovsha as its new executive

director. Joshua has very much hit the

ground running, and we have already had the

opportunity of working with him on issues of

national concern. I wish him all success in his

new position, while knowing that he has an

excellent team of lay leaders and professionals

to back him up.

The Cape Council can look back on another

successful year, despite having to deal with

various complex challenges. The latter included

having to address the sensitive question of

women singing solo at Yom Hashoah, and

here, thankfully, it was possible to come to a

mutually acceptable solution for all concerned.

As in previous years, the Council continued to

be active in the interfaith arena and broader

social outreach, was much involved in making

this year’s commemoration of 175th years of

Jewish life in South Africa such a success and

in general played a key role in fostering unity

and co-operation within the Cape Town Jewish

community. Kudos to all concerned, and

especially to Cape Council chairman Eric Marx

for his dedicated and hands-on leadership.

• Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board

Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00 -

13:00

This column is paid for by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies

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22 SA JEWISH REPORT

Mini Councillors: Out with

the old, in with the new

NADIA COOKE

On Tuesday November 1, the Johannesburg Mini Council held a diploma evening to

bid farewell to the outgoing 2016 councillors.

Crawford Preparatory Sandton’s councillors for 2016 served on the executive committee

- Danny Abro as deputy mayor and Cole Wasserman was chief whip.

The school is delighted that Joseph Joffe and Shiraz Bodinger will be the 2017 representatives

and they are wished a successful term of office.

Youth 18 – 25 November 2016

Photo supplied

Shiraz Bodinger (left); Danny Abro; Cole Wasserman; and Joseph

Joffe with Michelle Fourie (Mini Council Co-ordination) and (right)

Shelley Arenson (Deputy Principal and Mini Council Co-ordinator).

Sydenham Pre-Primary holds its own

‘Sydenham Shabbos’

SUE BENJAMIN

Everyone on the Sydenham campus enthusiastically

shared in celebrating the prelude to this

year’s Shabbos Project, with the Pre-Primary

School holding its own “Sydenham Shabbos” in

the Elk Hall.

The Shabbos table was set with the colours of

the school, namely pink, green, yellow and blue.

The staff and children sang, danced and davened

together, thoroughly enjoying the unity of celebrating

with the whole school.

This year the school decided to share the joy of

Shabbos with The DL Link. The school will be supporting

DL Link’s Movember Campaign to create

an awareness for men’s health in the month of

November.

The kids baked purple challahs and each one created

a Shabbos card to accompany the challah.

Photo: Moira Berkowitz

Showing off all the challahs are Ella Hovsha; Danni Cohen; Mila

Hovsha; and Mikah Meyerowitz.

Young Victory Park learners wow

their audience

Shabbos Project inspires

Rimon Nursery School tots

JADE SINGER

The children at Rimon Nursery School in Lyndhurst in Johannesburg

enjoyed creating wonderful works of art with the material supplied by the

Shabbos Project. Every child created a beautiful board with the Shabbat

Kiddush or candle-lighting brocha.

Rimon Nursery School was looking forward to “keeping it together” as

they prepared to participate in the 2016 Shabbos Project.

Photo: Jade Singer

Shayla Gavin; Gavi Zulberg; Batya Rosen; Levi Cotton; Taylor Ross; Logan Epstein;

and Ashira Haberfeld.

A classroom built brick

by bottled brick...

SHANE BASSIN, HEAD STUDENT LEADER

Grade 1 - 3 learners at KD Victory Park Primary entertain the audience.

NIRVANA ROGERS

King David Victory Park Primary School Foundation

Phase recently held its annual concert and celebrated

the year with a colourful bang.

The theme of the evening was “Who’s Who in the

KD Zoo” and the children entertained the audience

with lots of talent showcased in various songs and

dances about zoo animals.

For children of such a young age to memorise all

their words, was a credit to their powers of concentration.

Mention must also be made of the camaraderie

More news on our website www.sajr.co.za

Photo: Nirvana Rogers

exhibited when one performer forgot her lines and

was immediately comforted with a spontaneous hug

and pat on the shoulder by her classmate mouthing

silently: “It’s okay.”

This kind of kinship displayed among the learners

was heartwarming and left the audience with an immense

sense of pride.

The entire cast of Who’s Who in the KD Zoo is to

be commended on their enthusiasm and spontaneity.

Their enjoyment was infectious.

The rehearsals and final delivery of their acts on

stage taught the children about the strength of working

with others to create something together.

A unique concept of “bottled water” stored in the form of a “brick-like”

container, allowing the “bricks” to be used for building purposes, took off at

King David Linksfield. The aim was to use the “bricks” to build classrooms in

underprivileged areas.

In January this year, conversations began with the bottlers and King David

to make King David Linksfield an “official” school selling the unique water

which is in the shape of a brick.

The idea found traction with the learners and the water started selling in all

tuckshops on campus in mid-March, as well as at all school events.

The idea soon became a gemilut chesed project and the school had a new

goal in mind: building a grade R classroom at Sediba Thuto School in Soweto.

Grade 7, grade 10 and grade 11 learners joined together for two Sundays to

help turn the once land of empty grass into a beautiful classroom.

Digging, raking and stacking the bottles were all part of the fun, and the

King David learners even managed to paint the jungle gyms that were old and

rusted that the kids play on during

break time.

A special appearance by Derek

Watts from Carte Blanche added to

the excitement by learners knowing

that their efforts were going to

a very needed cause. Watts posted

a picture of the learners hard at

work on his Twitter account with

over 100 000 followers.

In its final phase, the classroom

was plastered and painted to make

it look like a “normal” classroom

- but it places the emphasis on

recycling.

The classroom, as well as the

newly-painted play area, will be

officially opened early next year

and will serve as the new home to

special grade Rs.


18 – 25 November 2016 Letters

SA JEWISH REPORT 23

Disclaimer

The letters page is intended to provide an opportunity for a range of views on any given topic to be expressed.

Opinions articulated in the letters are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor, staff or

directors of the Jewish Report.

The Editor, PO Box 84650, Greenside, 2034 email: sharon@sajewishreport.co.za

Guidelines for letters

Letters of up to 400 words get preference. Provide your full name, place of residence, and daytime phone number.

We do not publish letters under noms de plume. Letters should preferably be e-mailed. Letters may be edited or

shortened.

The Bible kicks off with a commandment for Jews to make aliyah

During Chol Hamoed Succot, the residents of Sandringham

Gardens and Golden Acres were privileged to hear a sermon by

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. He spoke to us of the hope the

Jewish people show towards Hashem and how this hope will assist

in overcoming any obstacles we might face in life.

For us “old folks” present, his words, taken from the book of

Psalms, were truly inspirational.

Rabbi Goldstein also spoke about the phenomenal rise of

Yiddishkeit in the Diaspora and how the Shabbos Project which

he introduced in 2013, has helped in this rise. He must be highly

commended for this project in which hundreds of thousands of

Jews throughout the world now observe the Sabbath, and probably

many other mitzvot.

Being Succot, Rabbi Goldstein also noted how many more Jews

now attend services with lulav and etrog.

Without detracting from, and with the highest respect for the

rabbi’s sterling work, I would suggest that with his Shabbos

Project being in the week of Parsha Lech Lecha, it might have

been appropriate for him to mention that in the parsha Hashem

commands Avraham: “Go forth from your land... to the land that I

will show you.”(12;1).

These words constitute the first mitzvah ever given to a Jew. Yes,

the first thing G-d ever said to Avraham, the first Jew, was “Make

aliyah”. One would have thought that belief in Hashem, rejection

of idolatry, keeping the Sabbath or any cardinal religious principle

would have been the first commandment given to Avraham. But

G-d chose to begin Judaism with “Go forth to the Land”.

In his talk, Rabbi Goldstein noted that for the first time in nearly

2 000 years, the Jewish people have returned to their spiritual

homeland after the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust.

Israel now has over half of the Jewish population of the world and

without a doubt is well on the way to complete the “ingathering”

of our people. May I suggest to Rabbi Goldstein that while his

Shabbos Project is proving so successful, he also incorporates a

policy of “Go forth from your land” and encourage as many people

as he can to make aliyah. He would then be the “Avraham” of our

time.

History has proved that no matter how strong Yiddishkeit is in

the Diaspora, the destiny of the Jewish people will be determined

by the words in Lech Lecha. “Go forth to the Land of Israel”. Only

there can the Jewish people live a life of Torah. Isn’t that why G-d

sent Avraham to Israel?

Choni Davidowitz

Golden Acres, Johannesburg

Trump’s presidential victory is US’s worst case scenario

Looking for descendants of Morris and Samuel Levine

Like others I am concerned. The result of the

American presidential election (like Brexit) has been

a devastating blow. It’s like comparing Jacob Zuma

with Julius Malema. The latter has recently said he

has “not yet” called for the slaughter of whites.

Should South Africa ever have to choose between

these two, the choice for our country would

be obvious: Jacob Zuma. Of course the man is

repulsive, reprehensible, an embarrassment and yes,

even a nincompoop. But voting for Julius Malema

would be like hammering in the final nail in the

coffin of our country.

The majority of American voters have done just

that. They have taken the worst-case scenario. That

so many Jews have voted for Trump defies logic.

What were they thinking? It’s the same as with Jews

in our country fighting for the Palestinian cause

alongside the ANC and its alliance partners

Add Malema’s EFF to the mix and you have

the perfect cocktail of enemies of the Jewish

State. Nobody is going to remember those Jewish

supporters (the pro-Palestinian faction) when the

final battle for Jerusalem is fought. They will be

targeted for elimination like all other Jews.

Trump is a racist bigot, a homophobe, a sexist and

disrespectful of the disabled. He has made overtures

to the Jews to join his ranks and has promised to

make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Wonderful. But

can such a man be trusted?

The Jewish nation has had its fair share of false

prophets and charlatans over the centuries. Trump

has the support of America’s far right; the Aryan

Brotherhood, the Ku Klux Klan and a host of neo-

Nazi fringe groups are in his camp.

Do the Jews really think that this utopian state

will hold? Will Trump really deliver Jerusalem as

promised? Trump’s victory has given the European

right-wingers renewed hope that they in turn can

win the next elections and make Europe white

again. The signs are there. Membership of these

neo-Nazi parties are rising steadily. Soon they will

impose themselves. And then? Germany has the

most Jews in Europe. What irony! As the rightwingers

begin to assert themselves in their struggle

to rid Europe of Muslims and Africans, guess who

they will target next and accuse of causing this

refugee problem?

I’m surprised Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing

cronies have embraced Trump. Just because

Trump’s daughter married a Jew doesn’t make the

man a Jew-lover or pro-Israel.

He’s a businessman. He sees opportunity. But

at heart Trump is a false prophet. Just like his ilk

who came before him and will come after him, all

promising to fight the cause of the Jews. Then they

end fighting the Jews.

American Jewry, like South African Jewry, should

distance themselves from Trump and those who

call for a Palestinian state in Israel. Trump’s neo-

Nazis will turn on the Jews after the Republicans

had dealt with the Mexicans, the blacks, the gay

community and the disabled. It’s just history about

to repeat itself.

Colin Brian Jantjies

Cape Town

Eddie Ash writes on behalf of English friends “who are searching for long lost family of Morris

(or Moses) Levine and his brother Samuel who were born in 1872 and 1873 in Poland, before

eventually settling in Cape Town”.

Morris had two children, Flavian and Ruth, both of whom remained in Cape Town. Ruth

married a Harold Schapiro. Samuel also had two children - Louis who remained in Cape Town

and Alexander who emigrated to Israel.

If any of Jewish Report’s readers know or recognise any member of this family please e-mail

Eddie Ash at gemtash@icon.co.za.

011 485-5589

74 George Avenue

nicky@mooz.co.za

Come to Mooz...to shmoooooz

Thankful Engelberg keeps debate going on such a crucial issue

I would like to respond to Michele Engelberg’s letter

about the Palestinian occupation as the “least worst”

solution.

Her response gives me some hope for a

brighter future. It is evident that this courageous

woman, whom I clearly remember from Limmud

Johannesburg this year, raises questions of morality

and justice, as any Jew should, on perhaps the

biggest moral question of the Jewish people today.

Yet, her affirmation of “Occupation

unfortunately the only practical solution at present”

remains questionable, even in her own attempt to

legitimise the “least worst” solution: That is the

status quo of finding no just solution, but expanding

unilaterally territories of “Settlement-Israel”.

I would like to refer to some of the points she

made.

First, fear and victimisation cannot justify Israel’s

policies and to believe that these are driven by a

“survival instinct” would be naive.

Ending the occupation cannot be enforced

without processes of reconciliation taking place

among both sides. Mutual recognition is an example

of a prerequisite for sustainable peace.

Engelberg is afraid of a similar scenario to that of

Gaza, given that a similar disengagement from the

West Bank takes place, asking “especially when there

is no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state to begin

with from the other side”.

I wonder if she has ever wondered if recognition

actually exists from our side. If we systematically

deny Palestinians’ right to exist (but demanding

them to recognise ours), condemn their violence,

hatred (but not ours) and terrorism (a term

exclusive for Palestinians but never to Jews), does

she really believe any peace agreement can be

sustainable?

Surely, unilaterally disengaging from any

occupied territory, without negotiating, would

never promote peace. Does she really believe that

Palestinians would give up their right for selfrecognition

and many other rights kept from them

due to the devastating status quo?

Just as we haven’t, nor would they.

I was deeply bothered that Engelberg saw

my letter as lambasting the SAZF. If it wasn’t

clear, I call for collaboration and inclusion

of us “transparent people”, with the formal

representation of Zionist Jews in South Africa. As

she wrote, I share the same premise that “we are

on the same team, namely that of a strong and

Jewish Israel”.

I thank Engelberg for posing these important

questions and urge more people from this unique

community to promote debate, dialogue and

discussions on an issue so crucial for the survival of

Israel as the homeland of Jews around the world.

Matan Rosenstrauch

Maputo, Mozambique

Business decisions are rarely black and white. Dynamic organisations

know they need to apply both reason and instinct to decision making.

We are Grant Thornton and it’s what we do for our clients every day.

Contact us to help unlock your potential for growth.

www.gt.co.za

© 2016 Grant Thornton South Africa. All rights reserved. Grant Thornton South Africa is a member firm of

Grant Thornton International Ltd (‘Grant Thornton International’).

Jewish Report_book.indd 1

2014/03/27 2:49 PM


24 SA JEWISH REPORT

Sport

Larry ensures the show will go on

JACK MILNER

18 – 25 November 2016

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Early in his life Larry Wainstein probably believed his

future was in the world of football not as chief executive

of the Racing Association, the body that represents the

owners in the world of horseracing.

He was instrumental in initiating the International

Jockeys’ Challenge and then, when nobody wanted to

carry on with it, ensuring that it continued.

It will be run again this weekend and once again over

two legs - in Port Elizabeth on Friday and at Turffontein

in Johannesburg on Sunday. Among the jockeys this

year are Italian-born Frankie Dettori, who is one of the

most charismatic jockeys around, and Hayley Turner,

one of the best women jockeys who came out of retirement

to again ride in this event.

When Wainstein was voted in as chairman of the Racing

Association (RA) he was approached by Tex Lerena

and Neil Smith to help set up a Jockeys’

International.

“I spoke to Markus Jooste whose

company, Gomma Gomma, was then

the sponsor of the Summer Cup, to see

if we could host the International Jockeys’

Challenge (IJC) on the same day.

“He agreed on condition I was

involved to ensure the success of the

event. The budget was huge and we

were able to get the big names. We had

Frankie Dettori, Jimmy Fortune, Mick

Kinane, Damien Oliver, Darryll Holland

and Olivier Peslier.”

After the first event the support for

the IJC from some quarters waned but

Wainstein was determined to keep it

going. “The RA board felt it was the

only event that epitomised the sport of

horseracing and get our jockeys recognised

as the athletes and sportsmen/

women they are.”

It has been a tough slog since then. “It

is difficult to get a competitive team of

riders together to come to South Africa

that does not interfere with their riding

engagements in the other parts of the

world.”

Wainstein has managed to turn the

International Jockeys’ Challenge into

one of the biggest events on the calendar,

but has not always had the support

of the racing clubs and sometimes also

the media and the public.

“The criticism you take from all the

so-called experts is frustrating. But on

the other side the most satisfying part

is when the international riders ask to

be invited because of the feedback they

have had about what a great event it is

and how well they are looked after.

“The compliments we get from jockeys

like Joe Moreira, Richard Hughes,

Jamie Spencer and Hugh Bowman are

amazing.”

Larry Wainstein, CEO of the Racing Association,

presents Anton Marcus with his trophy after

the jockey won on Legal Eagle in the Premier’s

Champions Challenge last April.

Wainstein has always been a Johannesburg boy, born

in Doornfontein in 1953, the second oldest of five boys.

But, his life changed when the family moved to Turffontein

in 1960. He matriculated at Forest High and

went on to complete an IMM Diploma at Wits Business

School.

Growing up as a Jewish kid in Turffontein in the 60s

was quite an experience. “The closest Hebrew school was

in Rosettenville and my late brother and I would walk

there every day. On the way we would get into fights

because we would walk with our yarmulkes on and the

Afrikaans kids would say ‘hier kom die Jode’. We soon

showed them whose medina Turffontein and Rosettenville

was!”

The brother Wainstein speaks about is Morris Wainstein,

a boxer who was the Transvaal featherweight

champion. He clearly got his fighting experience on the

streets of Turffontein!

“We attended shul every Friday and Saturday, either

at Oxford or Berea. Often we were asked by Mr Marks,

a horse trainer who ran the Turffontein Shul, to come

there to make up a minyan. As Wainsteins we were

proud to be Jewish.”

Soccer dominated his early life and he played for

Marist Brothers as a youngster and represented Southern

Transvaal and the South African Schools team. At

the age of 17 he signed for Highlands Park as a professional

and was then offered a trial by Wolverhampton

Wanderers in the UK, then one of the leading first

division clubs.

“My father would not allow me to go and said I had to

complete my studies first,” said Wainstein.

By 1973 he was playing for Florida Albion on loan

from Highlands Park. “With Stuart Liley we reached the

Castle Cup Final against our own club, Highlands Park.”

He was living in Turffontein, the centre of horseracing.

“Forest Hill was where all the stables were. My father,

Maisch, was an avid racegoer. He and the late Gabby

Soma (Joe Soma’s father) were buddies and they taught

us about horseracing and the fundamentals of studying

form. My interest was awoken at the age of 13.”

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