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Op-eds

    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    Is this the moment when everything changes?

    May 03, 2018 Go comment!
    In every nation, certain events are identified by historians, looking back, as tipping points that defined its character and soul. Israel’s wars – the War of Independence, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War – are markers that gave Israelis and Jews the feeling that they weren’t doomed to forever be “strangers” in other peoples’ countries. Crucial moments in the Jewish soul.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    Maintaining the Jewish connection to Africa

    May 03, 2018 Go comment!
    Last week, Chaya Singer, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies’ (SAJBD’s) lobbyist in Parliament, returned from an 11-day programme to promote inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria. It was a rare opportunity to contribute a Jewish perspective on how to resolve what is emerging as one of post-colonial Africa’s most pressing challenges: the rise of religiously motivated violence and extremism.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    Whatever your view, express it with clarity and conviction

    Apr 26, 2018 1 Comment
    Natalie Portman is not an anti-Semite. She is probably not even anti-Israel. To label her such is stupid. Nearly as stupid as her vague and embarrassing statement about her decision not to travel to Israel in order to accept the Genesis award. She did no one any favours. Not even BDS, which she very clearly does not support.
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    • benjy-Pogrund-1

    Looking at Israel on South Africa’s Freedom Day

    Apr 26, 2018 1 Comment
    Israel has been brimming over with happiness in celebrating 70 years of existence. Thousands have flocked to staged, lavish events and political leaders have given rousing, populist speeches.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to bigotry in all its ugly forms

    Apr 26, 2018 Go comment!
    “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” former US president Abraham Lincoln once said (paraphrasing a verse from the Christian scriptures). While he was relating this to the deteriorating situation in his country in the years immediately preceding the American Civil War, his words could just as easily be applied to any society struggling to maintain cohesion in the face of bitter divisions within the ranks of its citizenry.
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    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    Songs to live (or die) by

    Apr 26, 2018 Go comment!
    What is it about words sung that have the power to inflame? Traditionally, the Yom Hashoah ceremony is built around song. Songs sung by women, by chazzonim, by the crowd. Arguably, the most potent kind of song is the anthem. It is invested with the power of ideology; it can make people change the world for good or for bloodlust. We, as South African Jews, have a particularly complicated relationship with our anthems – Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, Hatikva and the Partisan Song, which have always been part of the Yom Hashoah programme.
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    • PetaNewAmbassador

    70 years of achievements

    Apr 19, 2018 Go comment!
    Israeli Ambassador Lior Keinan reflects on the growth and development of the Jewish homeland into the flourishing state it is today.
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    • BenitaLevin

    Remembering the past, living in the present, hoping for the future

    Apr 19, 2018 Go comment!
    A haunting siren echoes throughout the country. It’s a loud, deep, eerie sound that can be heard along the width and breadth of Israel each year, at 10:00 on Yom Hashoah, the Day of Remembrance.
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    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    When politics turns populist, the smell of blood is in the air

    Apr 19, 2018 Go comment!
    Drama is nothing new for Julius Malema. Already making waves in 2013, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters appeared that year – in the form of a large puppet of a baby – in satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys’ show, Adapt or Fly. Uys caricatured politicians who have governed South Africa from DF Malan onwards, showing most – excluding Nelson Mandela – as horrid. He transformed himself into the characters’ features, such as PW Botha’s gesticulating finger and scowl, and John Vorster’s thick eyebrows and sinister coldness, and held “Malema” in his arms. That infant is grown up now, and some of Uys’ predictions about Malema have come true.
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    • RabbiGreg

    Who represents South African Jewry?

    Apr 19, 2018 4 Comments
    Behind the furore over my colleague, Rabbi Julia Margolis, being invited to lead the interfaith prayers at the DA’s recent electoral conference is the premise that it is only the Orthodox Chief Rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein, who can represent South African Jewry to the public. I want to take strong issue with this assumption and question why it is held by many in our Jewish community.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    Fighting the media battle

    Apr 12, 2018 Go comment!
    The past fortnight has seen a flurry of biased media coverage against Israel in certain sectors of the mainstream media, much of it relating to the furore that greeted local musician DJ Black Coffee’s going ahead with a scheduled performance in Tel Aviv.
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    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    Is this the Wild West or the Middle East?

    Apr 12, 2018 Go comment!
    One thing that puzzles Diaspora Jews seeing images of Israeli soldiers facing masses of mostly unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the March of Return at the Gaza border, and hearing reports of killings by Israeli snipers, is: Why is Israel not using non-lethal means of riot control? Live fire is not the only way.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    Planning Pesach 2019

    Apr 12, 2018 Go comment!
    I want to tell you about something that happened whilst we were away for Pesach. Our family was fortunate enough to spend the week at the Velmore Hotel in Pretoria, a resort that had never hosted a kosher crowd before. The head chef, Jacques, was a lovely and accommodating guy (at least at the beginning of the chag), who told me how impressive the whole kosher thing was to him. “Never,” he said, “have I seen people eat so much. It’s like you guys spend months in training for this!”
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    • Geoff Sifrin blog pic

    Even from the pulpit, it’s just not cricket

    Mar 29, 2018 Go comment!
    “What would Cyril have said?” is what comes to mind for many people among South African Jewry, following last week’s ball-tampering scandal caused by Australia’s cricket team. They would be referring to South Africa’s late former Chief Rabbi, Cyril Harris.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    In response to article on Seligson Commission

    Mar 29, 2018 Go comment!
    Last week’s issue of SA Jewish Report (SAJR) ran with the story of how the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Cape Council election, held last August, had been found to be “flawed” by the Seligson Commission, a body set up to investigate alleged irregularities in the way the election was conducted.
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    • UJWColumnMyraGoldenbaum copy

    Freeing needy South Africans from societal and economic constraints

    Mar 29, 2018 Go comment!
    Pesach celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their eventual freedom from slavery.
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    • BenitaLevin

    Aliya – the good, the bad and the meshuga

    Mar 29, 2018 Go comment!
    What we miss most about SA It’s been just over a year since our family of four made aliya, and this week we returned for a visit to Durban. When people ask what we miss most about South Africa, the answer from all four of us is the same: Family. Being able to celebrate at a simcha is a privilege and a joy for all of us. Children reconnect with their cousins as if it’s been 12 days since they last saw each other, not 12 months. The bonds they share will clearly last a lifetime.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    We need to play our part in supporting a human rights culture in SA

    Mar 22, 2018 Go comment!
    For the third consecutive year, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) marked Human Rights Day by taking a Jewish community delegation to Sharpeville, scene of one of the most notorious atrocities of the apartheid era.
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    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    Are we a society that throws its children down the toilet?

    Mar 22, 2018 Go comment!
    The horrendous death of five-year-old schoolgirl Lumka Mketwa highlights a stark reality of South African society. Lumka fell into a pit latrine at an Eastern Cape school last week and drowned in human faeces; her body lay there overnight before being found. This is the chasm between the high-quality, first-world bubble in which the South African elite – including middle-class blacks, whites and most Jews – live, compared to the millions of desperately poor, who don’t even have a proper toilet.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    So over chicken

    Mar 22, 2018 Go comment!
    I just can’t talk about chickens anymore. I really, really can’t. And that’s not only because I am being sued by Jeffery C Shull of Stan & Pete for defamation of his character, but because I am just done with it. I am so over the chicken story, you have no idea.
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