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SAJEWISHREPORT 15 20 – 27April 2018 JORDANMOSHE M any SouthAfrican olimhave contributed to thedevelopment of Israel.Here are just threewho have left auniquely SouthAfrican stamp on the Jewish state. MorrisKahn Born inBenoni in1930,Kahn dreamed of moving to Israel andmakinghis home there.At the age of26, Kahn realised hisdream and moved to Israel withhis late wife, Jacqueline, andhis two sons. “Itwasn’t easy forme in the beginning,” recallsKahn. “Ihad a fair amount ofdifficulties, but I always dreamed ofmoving to Israel out of a strong sense of belonging.” Kahn became a successful entrepreneur and a generousphilanthropist.He established several industrial ventures, including a bicycle factory inBeit Shemesh and theHatzvi glove factory.Hewent on tomakehis fortune in a series of business ventures, including Israel’sGoldenPages in1968.This led tohis startingupAmdocs togetherwith Shmuel andTzviMeitar. Amdocs is one of theworld’s largest telecommunications software companies. “The key toprosperity relates to choosing truepartners,who share values like yours,” saysKahn. Together, theywent on to found the AurecGroup in1978,which in turn launched a variety ofpioneering businesses in Israel, includingGoldenChannels, Israel’s first cable company. An aviddiver,Kahn started building aquariums after adiving accidentwhich resulted inhim suffering a burst eardrum, forcinghim to stay on land formonths.His passion saw the creation ofCoralWorld in1974,which includes theUnderwater ObservatoryPark inEilat. One thinghe isnot,Kahn says, is focused. Beyondhis business ventures,hehas also initiated and supported awide range ofphilanthropicprojects, including Save aChild’sHeart, the JinkaEyeProject, a therapeutichorse-riding camp for the disabled, a youth leadership trainingproject calledLEAD, a3Dprinting initiative at TelAvivUniversity to combat cancer, and theMorrisKahn Institute forHuman Immunology atBen-GurionUniversity. “Idon’twant to be the richestman in the cemetery,”Kahn saidwhen asked abouthis philanthropy. “Doing good for othersmakes me feel good.” On the subject of Israel turning70,Kahn says: “Israel iswhat it is because of the peoplewho live in it.Thepeoplewhohave the ideas and the commitment are the ones whomake adifference and ensure that Israel excels theway itdoes.The future is a promising one.” Harold ‘Smoky’ Simon Makinghis mark on Israel in the field of battle, Simon displayed true SouthAfrican mettle in the founding years of the Israeli air force.Hewas born in theOrangeFree State to a father fromLithuania and amother fromEngland. After beingdischarged from the South AfricanAirForce inNovember1945, Simon openedhis own accounting and auditing business. Aftermarrying in1948,he andhiswife Myramade theirway to Israel to volunteer in theWar of Independence.Explains Simon: “We landed atHaifa onMay91948, and thenextday,Myra and I registered at Sarona for servicewith the IsraeliAirForce (IAF).” Simon flew as anavigator in aDakota aspart of anight bombing attack on Damascus – the first air operation against anArab capital.During thewar,hewas appointedChief ofAirOperations at the IAFheadquarters. In addition,he participated in18missions in adiverse range of aircraft. At the end of thewar, Simon accepted an offer fromhis commanders to serve another two years in the air force.Hewas discharged at the end of1950with the rank ofmajor. The Simons returned to SouthAfrica, wherehe beganworking as an insurance agent. In1962, theydecided to return to Israel for good asnew immigrants. Simon openedup a successful insurance agency, which specialised in life insurance. Today, Simon is chairman ofWorld Machal, overseeingDiaspora volunteers to the IDF. And, togetherwith severalMachalniks, hedoeshis best to support IDF volunteers from overseas,meetingwith lone soldiers who volunteered in the IDF just likehe and hiswife oncedid. “I believe in the eternity of the Jewish people and am certain that Israelwill exist in the region forever,” says Simon. “Wehave a country that is vibrant and strong.We are a country of eightmillionpeoplewho are making theirmark on theworld, and that’s just amazing.” South Africans who’ve made their mark on Israel Continuedonpage16>> 11 –18May 2018 4 SAJEWISHREPORT Europcar JewishReport 4May 2018FA.indd 1 2018/05/02 18:37 NicolaMiltz “This isnotatrivialtrip.Wedon’tflythis far for windowdressing.”Thesearethewordsofvisiting kashrutexpertRabbiMenachemGenack. Togetherwithtwootherseniorkashrutexperts, hehasbeen inthecountryto inspecteverynook andcrannyoftheBethDin’skashrutsupervision system.ThethreearepartoftheUnionof OrthodoxSynagogue’s (UOS)“programmeof action” followingtheStan&Pete incident. ThethreeseniorAmerican-basedkashrut expertshavespentthepast fourdaysscouring the innerworkingsoftheBethDin’skashrut departmentand itssupervisionsystems.The visitingrabbis includeGenack,RabbiMoshe ElefantandRabbiSholemFishbane. Theyarethethreemostseniorrabbinic executiveswho formpartoftheexecutive committeeoftheAssociationofKashrus Organisations (AKO),which isthe international governingandaccreditationbodyofkashrut organisationsthroughouttheworld. AccordingtotheUOS,thetermsof reference fortheirvisitare:“Toreviewthe kashrutsupervisionsystemoftheBethDin, andtomakerecommendations, ifnecessary, for improvementstothesystemsbasedon internationalbestpractices.” TheAKOdelegationwillbe lookingatevery aspectofthekashrutsystem, fromkosher restaurants,butcheries,bakeriesandcaterersto certified factoriesandtheshechita.Theyhave metwith inspectors,mashgichimandkashrut personnelandwill lookatthedataprocesses. Genacktoldthe SAJewishReport thatwhile theStan&Pete incidentwas“catastrophic”and hecouldunderstandthecommunity’sshock, it wassomethingthatcanhappenanywhere. “Thissituation isnotuniqueatall,”hesaid. “Nosystem isperfect ifyouaredeterminedto cheat. Itcanhappenanddoeshappen.Wehave tobealertso itdoesn’thappenconsistently. It doesn’thappenoften,though.” Hecitedoneexample inChicago in1987, whenShelatKosherFoodsofChicagoputkosher labelsonproductsthatwereprepared inaplant andnotunderrabbinicalsupervision,thensold thegoodsaskosher– forahigherprice. Therehavebeen incidentsofconsumer fraud anddeceptivetradepractices inotherpartsof theworldtoo,withseveralcases inAmericaas wellas in Israeland inothercountries inEurope. “It is importanthowyourespondto it,”said Genack.“Wewillevaluateandseehowbestto strengthenthesystem.” Headdedthattheywerenothere“tocatch peopleout”,butheretoevaluatesystemsand makerecommendationswherenecessary. “WearerepresentativesoftheOrthodox UnionKosherDivision,asupervisory organisationofkosher food,andwehavea veryhighregard fortheChiefRabbiandSouth Africa’scommunalstructureswithregardto things liketheShabbosProject.Wearetaking thisseriously.” SaidChiefRabbiDrWarrenGoldstein:“These arethethreemostseniorkashrutexecutives in theOrthodoxUnion.Theyarepeoplewithsuch highstandingandtheir integrity isattachedto whateverreportstheycomeupwith.Whatthey puttheirnametohasenormouscredibility.We arenotpayingthem fortheirservices.” Elefantalsospoketothe SAJewishReport abouthis impressionsso far.Hesaidthevisit toSouthAfricahadbeen“verytiring”. “Theyhaveworkedustothebone,”hesaid. Headdedthat,apart fromholdingmeetings withGoldstein,dayonimandeveryemployee attheBethDin,andhavingassessedthe computersystemsattheBethDinoffices, heandtheotherrabbonimhadalsomet withseveralmembersofthecommunity, stakeholders inkashrutandrabbonimnot involved inkashrut. “Wehaveaverypositive impressionso far intermsofthewillingnessofthepeople,”said Elefant.“Peoplearegreat listeners;theydon’t getoffendedwhenyouaskthemquestionsor criticise. “Themostsatisfyingandgratifyingthing is thateveryone isanxioustomove forwardand dobetter.Thebestthing isthegreatattitude acrosstheboard.” Hesaidthevisitingrabbonimhadspenta lotoftimewiththemashgichimatthevarious establishmentstheyhadvisited.Hesaidthere wasnoworldwidestandardofaccreditation formashgichimor formalblueprint forthe trainingofamashgiach. “Everyorganisationshouldhavetheirown internalprocesses.Firstly,onemustbeable to identifywho isand isn’tqualifiedtobea mashgiach.Noteveryonecanbeamashgiach.” Andsecondly,adequateandongoing training isvital. “Amashgiachneedsstrongsupervisionand hands-ontraining,”hesaid. AccordingtoGoldstein,thethreerabbis’CVs speak forthemselves. Genack istheCEOoftheOrthodoxUnion Kosher (OU)CertificationAgencysince1980. TheOUoverseesthecertificationprogramme ofover10000 foodproduction facilities in 94countries. It isthe largestandmostwidely recognisedkoshercertificationagency. Genack istheauthorofeightbooks,the co-editoroftheTorah journal, Mesorah ,and theeditorofOUPress.He isamemberofthe BoardofTrusteesandProfessorofTalmudat TouroCollege inNewYork. Elefant isthechiefoperatingofficerand executiverabbinicco-ordinatorofOUKosher. Hemanagestheday-to-dayoperationsof OUKosherandhasabroadunderstandingof theglobalkoshercertification industryand thepracticalapplicationsofkosher inthe manufacturingandconsumermarketplace. AsdirectoroftheNewCompanyDepartment, heoverseestheprocessing,evaluationand implementationofthehundredsofapplications receivedbytheOUeachyearrequestingkosher certification.He istheauthoroftwobookson halachaandhasan internationalreputationasa MaggidShiur. Fishbane isdirectorofkashrus fortheChicago RabbinicalCouncil (CRC),oneofthefive leading kashrutorganisations intheworld.Manyofhis innovations inprocedurehavebecomestandard inthe industry.Hisproficiency inallkashrut- related issueshasmadehisopinionandadvice widelysoughtafter.Hehas lecturedthroughout theworldand iswidelypublished.He isalsoa certifiedshochet. TheUOShasappointedRabbiDovi Goldsteinas thenewManagingDirector of theKosherDepartment.Hehasworked closelywith the threevisiting rabbis this week. “PartofDoviGoldstein’smandatewillbe to implement the recommendations thatwillbe contained in thevisiting rabbi’sassessment report,” said theChiefRabbi “This isnot somuchaboutappeasementas about the fact thatwearedetermined tohave aworld-classkashrut infrastructureandwe want thebestpeople in theworld toadvise usonourweaknessesandonhowwe can improve.” TheChiefRabbi said that therewasa “vision tobeaworld-class community in every respect”,and that in somanyways, “we haveachieved this”. “WehaveaJewish school system that is the envyof theworld.TheSouthAfricankashrut standardshavebeenhighly respectedaround theworld foryears,but thisdoesn’tmeanwe don’tmakemistakes. “Weneed to continue to strive toensure thatwemaintainworld-class standardswith regard toallaspectsofJewish lifeandnever everacceptmediocrity.” Thevisiting rabbiswill submita reporton theirfindingsand recommendations in the weeks to come. International experts in SA to investigate kashrut RabbiFishbane (left)andRabbiGenackassessing the kashrut facilitiesofoneof theestablishments “Onemustbeable to identify who isand isn’tqualified to beamashgiach.Noteveryone canbeamashgiach.” Photo:MarcShoul LOAD YOUR WEEKLY PERSONALISED CASH-OFF DISCOUNTS AND SAVE Visitwww .picknpay.co.za ,orcall0800 112288.Cellphoneratesapply. MMNTHS4905 Beat thequeuesandshoponlineatwww.picknpay.co.za * *Some dealsmay not be available online Also at LOAD YOUR DISCOUNTS VIA THE APP OR KIOSK MMNTHS4905RCPesach 390x265.indd 1 2/19/18 1:26PM

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