The Chanukah 2017 Issue of Jewish Affairs

We are pleased to inform you that the latest (Chanukah, 2017) of  is now online, and can be found here. The printed version will be posted shortly.

This issue includes an Arts & Culture focus, comprising:

  • An overview by the late Stefan Welz of the significant role played by Jewish philanthropists, collectors, gallery owners and dealers in the development of the visual arts culture and industry in South Africa. Welz was for many years a leading figure in art dealership, highly respected as much for his integrity and dedication as for his expertise. Many of those he refers to in his article were colleagues and friends.
  • Ute ben Yosef and Gwynne Schrire trace the background to a painting, now owned by Cape Town’s Arthur’s Road synagogue, depicting a passionate discussion on the Talmud. They show how variations of this scene were produced over the last two centuries, testifying to the popularity of the theme amongst Jews of North European origin.
  • Cecil Bloom, whose essays on such themes as the history of Zionism and Jewish classical composers have regularly appeared in Jewish Affairs over the decades,  relates how George Gershwyn’s famed jazz opera Porgie and Bess probably would not have been written had he been able to fulfil his original intention of writing an opera on Ansky’s play "The Dybbuk".

Elsewhere in the issue:

  • Chuck Volpe considers the civilizational crisis gripping the West and how Jewish civilization points to ways in which the downward trend might be reversed.     
  • In the second part of his testimony to his experiences during the Holocaust, Don Krausz records his family’s transferral from Westerbork to Ravensbruk and the growing horrors which he experienced and witnessed during this time. The matter-of-fact, restrained manner in which he lays out the story only adds to the power of his testimony.  
  • As a follow-up to his article on the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, David Sher (who has since received his semicha and will henceforth be identified in these pages as Rabbi Sher) records the multiple achievements and contributions of the Wolfson and Wohl families who had been an integral part of that story.
  • Rabbi David Nossel argues that in order to achieve true interfaith harmony, one must celebrate the good that other religions have to offer rather than merely showing ‘toleration’ towards them.
  • Anthony Pamm writes on the virtually unknown role of Indian Jewry in the First World War, which included producing the war’s first Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross.   
  • Cultural history enthusiast Maurice Skikne, a frequent contributor to these pages, looks back on a Brakpan childhood and the much-valued part a loyal family servant played in his emotional and intellectual development.       

A larger-than-usual new poetry section features contributions by Charlotte Cohen, Pamela Heller-Stern, Denis Herbstein and Abigail Sarah Bagraim. Under ‘Book Reviews’, Ralph Zulman looks at a new edition of Deborah Lipstadt’s account of her successful defence against a charge of libel brought by Holocaust denier David Irving.

As always, your assistance in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding this message and link to those who may be interested would be much appreciated.

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish everyone a Chanukah Sameach and a safe and restful end-of-year break.

David Saks


Recent Articles

Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich Censured for Threatening Jewish Community

On 13 August 2014, then Western Cape Cosatu chairman Tony Ehrenreich posted a comment on Facebook calling for revenge attacks against the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and other “Zionist supporters” in retaliation for the deaths of Palestinian civilians. Amongst other inflammatory comments, he wrote, “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye”.  

Charisse Zeifert writes for Saturday Citizen

Have you heard the joke where a Jew, an Afrikaner and an Indian walk into a Shebeen? It sounds like the kind of “witty” yarn that EFF leader Julius Malema would spin. Oh, wait, actually, he has already told tales about different minorities – singling them out for abuse. Most recently, he “cleverly” managed to insult two minority groups at the same time, when he said: “There’s a group of white right-wingers (read Afrikaners) who are being trained by Jews in Pretoria to be snipers.” (sic)

Jewish Affairs Rosh Hashanah 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Rosh Hashanah 2018 issue of Jewish Affairs has been posted on our website. The printed version will be sent to subscribers shortly. As always, we ask that you assist us in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding this message to anyone who may be interested.

In May this year, the State of Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary. To mark that memorable milestone, the Rosh Hashanah 2018 issue of Jewish Affairs is devoted almost entirely to the subject of Israel, and in particular to the noteworthy role that South African Jews played in its birth and early struggle for survival. The editorial board thanks all those who responded to its invitation to contribute their own memories and perspectives for this special JA issue.