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Chief Rabbi accorded special honour at SONA

  • 16-SONA HOME
Chief rabbi Warren Goldstein (pictured) was singled out to sit among the Judges and Speakers of Provincial legislatures rather that with other religious leaders in the gallery. Michael Bagraim, MP, told Jewish Report this was a matter of great pride for both him and the other Jewish MP Darren Bergman. See what the Chief Rabbi felt about SONA and a picture on the steps of Parliament with the Jewish MPs...
by ANT KATZ | Feb 16, 2016

As is the case every year, religious leaders are invited to the opening of Parliament and the State President’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address. This year, however, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein was singled out to sit among the judges and speakers of provincial legislatures, Michael Bagraim, MP, told Jewish Report.

The two sitting Jewish MPs, Bagraim and Darren Bergman, had hosted the Chief Rabbi at their party’s cocktail party just before the SONA by President Jacob Zuma.

16-SONA“Both Darren Bergman and I were extremely proud to see that the Parliamentary Speakers Office had arranged a VIP seat for the Chief Rabbi on the Parliamentary floor, next to the judges and just five metres from DA leader Mmusi Maimane,” Bagraim told Jewish Report.


RIGHT: Outside Parliament - Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein is flanked by the only two sitting MPs, Darren Bergman, left, and Michael Bagraim


Bagraim said he was “very pleased that the Israel/Palestine issue had not been on the President’s agenda at all,” that “for the first time the President did allude to the business community and to the fact that South Africa has to become more business friendly”.

In an interview on his return from Cape Town, Rabbi Goldstein told SAJR that it was nice that the Jewish community was represented (in Parliament) by such talented people.

About his special seating honour, Rabbi Goldstein said that it gave him “a better perspective” than he was used to from the visitors’ gallery.

“Parliament shows me that we are a free and robust democracy,” he said, whether one agreed with the tactics of the parties or not. “It is a free democracy when members of Parliament and the media can challenge the President in such a bold fashion.”

Rabbi Goldstein says that he was pleased that the constitutional institutions of freedom and democracy have held up so well. He quotes, as an example, that the opening of Parliament occurred in the same week that the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla was before the Constitutional Court.

“We have an independent judiciary, a free press, and working Chapter Nine organisations which are all holding government to account for the people of South Africa,” he said. When a society has strong institutions like these, said Rabbi Goldstein, “it has incredible potential as there is proper accountability.”

He said South Africa had been a “remarkable success story - in the 20 short years since the end of apartheid, where there was no freedom, no accountability and no democracy. We have endured the firing of a deputy president, the recall of a sitting president, the arrest and conviction of a police commissioner and now a Constitutional Court battle over the Nkandla report,” This all went to show that when our country’s institutions have been tested, he said, they come out strong.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Nicholas J Geddes 18 Feb
    Hello from Johannesburg,
    I would like to make personal contact with
    Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.
    I have some very interesting information regarding the oil painting that was presented to Mayor Max Neppe on his retirement during November 1976.
    This ceremony was attended by the Dr. Morrie Lubner the Chairman of the PGSI group and his two sons Mr. Bertram and Ronald Lubner. The astonishing true story spanning an incredible 14 long years has been chosen by an award winning film producer for production into an art documentary - and a big screen movie- together with a sublime musical score. This film was suggested by Mrs Nadine (Gordimer) Cassirer whose late husband actually selected the painting for the presentation ceremony.
    Strangely it was rejected by the late Stefan Welz and the Mane`-Katz museum as not the work of the artist.
    This 75 year old retired art consultant has proved them all wrong. This work has now emerged as the "Magnum Opus" of Mane`-Katz. It has the largest VIP Provenance and is the most valuable. I would like Dr.Goldstein to take a look at this amazing provenance as he knows most of the persons mentioned and who are directly linked to this masterpiece.Perhaps this may correct a travesty of justice in the international Jewish art world. It is indeed a masterpice and has shot right to the top of Google images.
    (ref. Nicholas Geddes Mane`-Katz,
    (ref. Nicholas Geddes Mane`-Katz art research on the Linked-in website).          

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