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IN FOCUS H
See pages 6 – 14
November 18 2016 / 17 Cheshvan 5777
Volume 20 – Number 41
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
For more information
2 SA JEWISH REPORT
Celebrations at the Havdalah
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18 – 25 November 2016
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Just say no to… your kids?
The Shul –
One of the kindest and most
gracious personalities on the
landscape of Jewish history
would be our forefather Avraham
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
(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.
November 18/17 Cheshvan
November 19/18 Cheshvan
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
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
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
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?
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
“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
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
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
“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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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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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
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
“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
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
“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
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
Singers Shlomi Shabbat and
Yishai Lapidot brought the cur-
Pretoria celebrates its ‘best-ever’
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
“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
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
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
Jody Filipovsky; Sarit Shull; Melissa Brower; and Tamar
Kahanowitz at the WIZO Challah Bake.
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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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“I am not a prophet but I hope things
will go right in this country in the
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
“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
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
“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
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
“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
Rabbi Avraham Tanzer, rosh yeshiva
of Yeshiva College, said his school
had encouraged a gap year for over 50
“We don’t call it a gap year, though,
but an opportunity to learn Torah on a
“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
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
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
“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.
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
“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
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.
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
Boston was started 26
years ago under CEO Ari
Katz (pictured) and has
grown exponentially to incorporate
46 branches nationally
“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
For those wishing to become involved in sport, there
are sports management, coaching and administration
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
“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
“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,”
“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.”
The official Australian government website for international students is
It deals with planning and applying to study, including entry requirements,
the application process, student visa options, why study in Australia and
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
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.”
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,
Students not requiring a scholarship should apply to the university they
18 – 25 November 2016
Education in Focus
SA JEWISH REPORT 9
Demystifying the United States higher
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
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
Most liberal arts colleges are private. They focus more
on undergraduate degrees and emphasise developing
intellectual capabilities (such as critical thinking, reading,
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
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
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
• 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
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10 SA JEWISH REPORT
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
• 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
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
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;
• Financial aid and scholarships for
Other articles will explain how it
works and who to contact for more
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
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:
• 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
Privately-owned institutions are
not allowed to call themselves “universities”
but these “academic colleges”
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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
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
“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:
Sasi: A special programme tailormade
for SA Jewish students
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Telfed CEO Rabbi Dorron Kline
who came to SA recently to
promote the SASI bursary
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 email@example.com.
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
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
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
• 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
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;
• Contact SOUTH AFRICAN FRIENDS OF TEL AVIV
UNIVERSITY in Cape Town on (021) 418-6750 or write
to the president at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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
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
• 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
• For further information contact Kyra
Wainstein of SA Associates of BGU at
076-413-5185 or email@example.com
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
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
“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
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.
18 – 25 November 2016 Opinion and Analyis
SA JEWISH REPORT 15
Bannon a dilemma for Jewish groups seeking access to Trump
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
The Anti-Defamation League and a range of
liberal Jewish groups have condemned Bannon’s
“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
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
Bannon’s former wife has also, in an affidavit,
accused him of disparaging Jews; he has denied
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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.”
16 SA JEWISH REPORT
Around the Jewish World 18 – 25 November 2016
Refusenik book scores Prime
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
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
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
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
He said the first step was to recognise “how bad” things
were, with many people failing to benefit from economic
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
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
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
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,
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
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)
Mouth-watering pumpkin spice macaroon cookies
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.
• 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
• 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
• 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
18 – 25 November 2016 Opinion and Analysis
SA JEWISH REPORT 17
SA Jewry: Ring the bells that still can ring
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
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.
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
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,
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
• 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
“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
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
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
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
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
It is cruel and inhumane to
condemn people for forming
consensual, loving relationships
that flow from their natural
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’
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
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
“Showing solidarity with Israel and speaking
up for injustice throughout the world is
our moral obligation and a sign of hope,” said
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
award from the BOD. He
was also recipient of
the annual Eliot Osrin
Award (in the category
leadership) from Jewish
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,
Simone Scherzer and
Sweet song of success
beginning to ring in Yael’s ears
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
• 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:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
• 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)
• JJAC invites Jewish singles aged 27 - 49 to the
“Braamfontein Spruit Hike”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• 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
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)
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
email@example.com 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
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
18 – 25 November 2016 News
SA JEWISH REPORT 21
Iconic songwriter, singer Leonard Cohen dies at age 82
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
If you were to ask our
Wendy Kahn, which
aspects of the
Board’s work are
the most complex,
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
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
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
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/ firstname.lastname@example.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 -
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
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
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
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
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
Shabbos Project inspires
Rimon Nursery School tots
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.
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
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
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
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
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Letters of up to 400 words get preference. Provide your full name, place of residence, and daytime phone number.
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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
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?
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
74 George Avenue
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”
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
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
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
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.
Business decisions are rarely black and white. Dynamic organisations
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Jewish Report_book.indd 1
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24 SA JEWISH REPORT
Larry ensures the show will go on
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’
“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
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
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
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
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
“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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