Jewish Affairs - Chanukah 2016


To view the latest Jewish Affairs issue online click here Jewish Affairs - Chanukah 2016 - PDF - 7.69MB).

Whereas the Rosh Hashanah issue concentrated on the South African Jewish community and its history, to mark the community’s 175th anniversary, this issue has a more general focus, with articles looking at aspects of, amongst other themes, Diaspora Jewish history, Israel and the Holocaust. Veteran contributor Bernard Katz adds a new instalment to his “A Brief Journey through….” series of skilfully crafted potted histories of major European Jewish communities, this time looking at the Jews of France. The stirring, and little-known story of the formation of specifically Jewish military units to fight the Nazis is recounted by Barbara Rigden’s Rabbi B M Casper and the formation of the Jewish Infantry Brigade in World War II. Honey Gluckman  tackles the broader subject of Judaism and modern science, looking what many see as being a growing congruence between modern-day scientific discoveries and traditional Jewish teachings. 

There remain several items of South African Jewish interest, however. They include Philip Krawitz’ engaging overview of leading Jewish businessmen, who combined economic success equally with impressive philanthropic efforts, Karen Marshal’s appreciation of her late sister, the eminent sculptress Naomi Jacobson, and the first part of Stuart Buxbaum’s life of his uncle, Dr Hartwig Buxbaum. The latter deals with Buxbaum’s early life in pre-World War II Germany, and the sombre circumstances that compelled him and other close family members to flee their homeland and settle in South Africa. Zita Nurock’s short story ‘Holocaust Echoes’ deals with the lingering legacy of the Shoah.

The book reviews primarily deal with items of South African Jewish interest, including Ralph Zulman’s appraisal of a newly-released biography of iconic radio personality John Berks. New poetry is contributed by Charlotte Cohen, Pamela Heller-Stern and Rodney Mazinter. 

Eugene Delacroix’s famous 19th Century painting of a Jewish wedding in Morocco was chosen as this issue’s front-cover image because of its relevance to the article ‘The Farhud vs the Nakhba’ by former Israeli diplomat Zvi Gabay. The article describes the still little-known saga of how the de facto ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities in Arab-speaking countries that took place in response to the Zionist movement, particularly after the birth of the State of Israel. Also on an Israel theme, Rodney Mazinter provides a useful summary of Benjamin Pogrund’s important study, Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel.

On behalf of the editorial board of Jewish Affairs, I wish all our readers a productive, and safe, December break.

David Saks, Editor

Recent Articles

Rivonia Trial stalwart Joel Joffe passes away

Lord Joel Joffe, who passed away in London earlier this week at the age of 85, was a leading human rights lawyer. He was best known for the prominent role he played during the famous Rivonia Trial of 1963-4 as the legal defense team’s attorney. Amongst the leading anti-apartheid activists that he represented in the trial were Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada. After the trial, Joffe settled in the UK, where he gained further renown for his human rights and philanthropic work. 

Jewish community contributes to Knysna relief

Within hours of hearing about the devastating fires raging through Knysna , South Africans countrywide were provided with a range of options of how they could help those most effected.  Within the Jewish community, the SAJBD, working closely with its Cape Town office and the Garden Route Jewish Association, took the lead in assessing the needs of the communities and providing support.