The Rosh Hashanah 2017 Issue of Jewish Affairs

We are pleased to inform you that the Rosh Hashanah 2017 issue of Jewish Affairs has been posted to our website. To view previous issues from Pesach 2009, click here. The printed version will be mailed to subscribers shortly. As always, your assistance in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding these links to those who may be interested would be much appreciated.

There are two main themes in this issue, both concerned with the two events that defined the 20th Century for the Jewish people – the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Regarding the latter, 2017 is a year of multiple anniversaries. 120 years have passed since the inaugural World Zionist Conference in Basel, 100 since the Balfour Declaration, 70 since the UN partition resolution that gave international sanction for the creation of a Jewish state and 50 since the Six Day War and liberation of Jerusalem. A section of this issue is devoted to exploring some of these topics. Regular contributors Rodney Mazinter and Cecil Bloom look at the genesis and significance of the Balfour Declaration while a contemporary report in the old Zionist Record recounts how South African Jewry reacted to the news of the UN partition plan. David Sher’s comprehensive article on the founding and development of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue underlines the theme of restored Jewish sovereignty in the Holy City.

We are honoured to be able to publish in this issue the first part of Don Krausz’s memoir on his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Don was recently honoured at the Jewish Achievers Awards for his unparalleled work in testifying and teaching about the Holocaust over the past three decades. An accomplished writer as well as public speaker, his cogent responses to anti-Israel bias in the mainstream media will be familiar to many readers. Further instalments of his testimony will appear in future issues of Jewish Affairs.

In the mid-1930s, Jewish leaders in South Africa found themselves caught between a growing antisemitic backlash against further Jewish immigration and the moral imperative of doing whatever could be done to alleviate the ever-worsening plight of Jews in Germany. How they responded forms one of the more painful and controversial episodes in the annals of this community. JA editorial board member Judge Ralph Zulman has long been interested in this subject, and in this issue provides a methodical and measured analysis of what happened and why the Jewish communal leadership took the stance it did.

On 27 January 2017 Marlene Bethlehem,  also a long-serving JA editorial board member, delivered the keynote address at the InternationalHolocaust Remembrance Day gathering in Hanover, Germany. The text (slightly adapted) of her profoundly moving address, presented in hercapacity of President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, appears as the third Holocaust-related item in this issue.

Also included in this issue are: an obituary for the late Dr Elaine Katz, written by her friend and colleague of long standing Kathy Munroe, the story of the Yiddishe Volk School and the now largely defunct Yiddish culture that motivated its establishment by architect, architectural historian and town planner Shirley Zar, a biographical sketch of pioneering South African dermatologist Professor Walter Gordon by his daughter Glenda Woolf, a short story with a starker, unromanticised take on shtetl life  by Dr Eugenie Freed, new poetry and book reviews.

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish everyone a Shana Tova Umetuka.

To view the publication click here.

David Saks


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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.