Story-ideas-1011172

Sevitz structured out in UOS shake-up

  • UOS 70 – The UOS executive director Darren Sevitz and president Harold Novick in conversation with guest speaker Raymond Ackerman – PIC ILAN OSSENDRYWER
Popular UOS Executive Director Darren Sevitz (pic), is leaving after 14 years’ service. This has been done “in order to maximise efficiencies and improve levels of service delivery to the community”, UOS Chairman Jonathan Levitt told Jewish Report Online today. The UOS, said Levitt, “has embarked on a strategic restructure” & as part of this restructure the UOS decided to replace Darren's position with 2 new positions”. Levitt praised Sevitz for serving “with dedication”. Asked if he had anything to add to the UOS’ statement today, Sevitz declined to comment. Read the full story…
by ANT KATZ | Nov 10, 2014

The first inclination that anything was amiss beyond rumours at the UOS, was at 21:09 last Thursday on the Kashrut-SA Facebook page, on which Sevitz has built a huge audience, when he posted the following statement: “After having had the privilege and honour to serve as the executive director of the UOS for more than 14 years, I will be leaving the organisation at the end of November.”

 
He told SAJR on Friday that “because there was a lot of chatter” on the Facebook page, he felt he had to say something.

“I would like to thank the organisation, its member shuls and our special SA Jewish community for the wonderful years of partnership and support,” he wrote. “I wish the UOS the greatest success with its future endeavours on behalf of the SA Jewish community.”

At the request of Jewish Report on Friday, UOS Chairman Jonathan Levitt prepared a statement over the weekend which SAJR has just received.

Sevitz said on Friday that he had appreciate the sentiments expressed in the online support because it made him realise the extent to which he had affected people’s lives positively.

Statement from the UOS exco

In order to maximise efficiencies and improve levels of service delivery to the community, the UOS has embarked on a strategic restructure, which was led by an independent expert consultant.

Levitt Jonathan UOSAs part of this restructure the executive council and management team decided to replace the position of executive director with two new positions: head of finance and group services, as well as head of kashrut.


PICTURED RIGHT: UOS Chairman Jonathan Levitt

Darren Sevitz has served with dedication as executive director for the past 14 years and although he was offered a senior position in the new structure, he decided instead to leave the organisation in order to pursue new opportunities.

The UOS executive council and management team acknowledge Darren's years of loyal service as well as the many wonderful contributions he has made to the success of the organisation during his tenure.

We wish him great success in his new endeavours.

Plans are in place to manage the organisation in the transition until the new positions have been filled by candidates of excellence.

We are confident that the restructure will significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the UOS and its service to the South African Jewish community.

The statement is signed by Jonathan Levitt, chairman of the UOS, “on behalf of the Executive Committee”.

No comment, says Sevitz

Asked today if he had anything to add to the UOS statement, Sevitz declined to comment.

Sevitz Sackstein composite HOMEFAMOUSLY FUNNY: Sevitz's sharp wit was often challenged on Kashrut-SA by the equally slippery-tongued Howard Sackstein. The two men developed a strong online repartee



During a recent interview Sevitz told SAJR that the Kashrut-SA Facebook Group had grown to over 3 500 members and continued to grow daily. On an average day, said Sevitz at the time, he would field anything from 20 to 50 questions - excluding around 10 private messages per day.

Sevitz pointed out, however, that the Facebook Group was seasonal. “When it comes to Pesach - and December when people are in unfamiliar territory,” he said, there was a huge uptick in numbers. Also, when new products are launched, the Facebook page sees more activity.

He has always prided himself on answering questions in less than five minutes. “If it takes more time I am either in a meeting or I had to research the answer”, he says.

Shortly before Shabbos, Darren posted on Kashrut-SA again: “Thank you for all the positive comments and good wishes. I am overwhelmed by the response and goodwill. I am excited about my prospects for the future, and look forward to the opportunities and challenges which await me. I reiterate my comments about the UOS – I wish them well, and the best of success in their future endeavours on behalf of the community.”

We part as friends and colleagues and I look forward to hearing great things from the UOS in the months and years to come.

There are currently over 160 postings on the Kashrut-SA Facebook Page relating to Darren’s original announcement. Added to that, someone opened a “Bring Back Darren Sevitz” Facebook Page on Friday morning.

“The reality is that I am not coming back,” says Darren, and so he messaged the person who opened the page, someone whom he only knows casually, to please close it down, which was done on Friday - but not before it had accumulated close to one thousand members.

63 Comments

  1. 63 Chaya 10 Nov
    "Senior Posision" my foot - i here it was at half the pay!
  2. 62 Mark Esterhuizen 10 Nov
    I am shocked! I work for a large corp and have regularly worked with Darren for years - both on the business side and kasher side.

    What's the point in changing 1 guy who does such a good job - for 2 who may do worse? 
  3. 61 Ann Levit 10 Nov
    We want Darren! What's not broken, don't fix!
  4. 60 Howard Kassel 10 Nov
    We will miss Darren very much. he was outstanding at this job, and not only in kashrut related matters. He brought the UOS out of the dark ages and made it into the personal, relevant organisation it is today.
  5. 59 Heather 10 Nov
    Sounds like you Mr Levitt may require some restructuring yourself. No matter what this is not how to treat people with long service and GREAT service. Sounds to me you did not like dealing with his independent efficiency. When something is not broke don't try and fix it. Perhaps a greater explanation about 2 for 1 would be in order! 
  6. 58 Lance 10 Nov
    It appears to be more smoke and mirrors and it reeks of a cover up and behind the doors going ons. Why can we not be treated with respect and told the truth?
  7. 57 Gobsmacked! 10 Nov
    One must commend Darren for the class and humility he has shown through what must be a terrible time for him and his family.

    Based on the truly cynical and nonsensical statement that was put out by the UOS, one has no option but to feel that there is more here than meets the eye.

    Perhaps the way forward (even if it does not save Darren's job) is for a commission of enquiry to be appointed (perhaps by the SAJBD) to get to the bottom of why this happened and whether the process that was followed is sincerely in the community's interest.
  8. 56 Hayley Coleman 10 Nov
    #BringBackDarren
  9. 55 Max Melamed 10 Nov
    @ Mark Esterhuizen
    It's quite simple really, two subservient employees are more useful than one free thinking independent employee.
  10. 54 Lorraine Zive 10 Nov
    It was an unbelievable shock to see that Darren is no longer going to be at the other end of the computer and very promptly too.

    Why is it, when someone is well like, a mensch and a pleasure to deal with, do we constantly find that they are made redundant.  I feel very sorry for Darren, he worked so hard and now this is what has happened, not the first time either.

    I can actually understand why their is so much anti-Semitism going around because it comes from within.

    Totally disgusted.
  11. 53 appaled 10 Nov
    This is such rubbish. There is for sure more going on than we are told. Maybe Mr Levitt should look closer at the real useless staff that are employed at the UOS and Beth Din and rather restructure there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Disgracefuland appaling
  12. 52 Sue 10 Nov
    This reeks of dishonesty... Darren is the face of the UOS ....too much for whom?
  13. 51 DAVID 10 Nov
    THIS IS'NT RIGHT. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER PUT A COMMENT ON A WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE. THAT'S HOW ANGRY I AM. I SORT OF THOUGHT I MAY HAVE SEEN THIS COMING WHEN DARREN SEEMED TO HAVE LESS AUTHORITY FROM ABOUT A YEAR AGO - AND WE HAVE SEEN THE LOWERING OF SERVICE STANDARD. 

    THIS REALLY, REALLY IS'N'T RIGHT. DARREN IS ALWAYS A MENTCH SO I AM NOT SURPRISED HE WONT COMMENT. BUT THAT IN ITSELF SAYS TO ME HE IS NOT GOING VOLUNTARILY. BUT HE STAYS SHTUM AND GETS ON WITH THE JOB FOR THE LAST FEW DAYS AS IF THEY WERE ANY OTHER DAY.

    THE TRUE MEASURE OF A MAN 
  14. 50 hopeful 10 Nov
    I know many people who have served long and hard at the beth din. I hope this "restructuring" does not filter through the entire.uos. I have a feeling mr levit is the.spokesman for a higher power
  15. 49 Dror Michal (Israel) 10 Nov
    I visit South Afrika a lot and I tell my friends all over the world that it has the best run orthodox authority in all Jewish world. If Mr SEvitz made this over 14 years, then this is a disgrace. Such a young man. I am going to come and shake you hand befor you leave soon.
  16. 48 Nicole 10 Nov
    Sounds like constructive dismissal!  Darren is amazing and why would a restructure result in two junior positions? Just proves Darren does the job of at least two people! Pity some people can't be as honest and transparent as Darren or have his integrity!
  17. 47 michael 10 Nov
    looks like a mini dictatorship. were they too scared that Sevitz was becoming popular and actually doing some useful work?
  18. 46 Sam 10 Nov
    That what happens when the beit din has a monopoly in the market. Firstly over charging, lying, no gratitude. I guess that how a business needs to run to keep the dictators on the top. Disgusting! 
  19. 45 Anonymous 10 Nov
    It's refreshing to see that the community is not entirely blind sighted...  Pity that it's only a handful of comments. Yes there is far more to this story, although its pretty straight forward - Darren was driven out in a full blown back-stabbing coup de tat. Power hungry megalomaniacs. With Darren has left the last shred of dignity in that organisation.Hmmm all well and good to get 40 000 Jews keeping Shabbos... but what ever happened to true Derech Hashem? Disgrace. 
  20. 44 David B 10 Nov
    Not suprising.
    Isn't this the same office that gave that ridiculous psak (ruling) not to do kindness to the Breslov Chassidim who clearly were destitute and not-all-quite-there - leaving them hungry and shelterless, on Erev Pesach of all times?

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