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20 years on and the love continues




In an exclusive interview with SAJR Online last year, senior ANC politician BEN TUROK said that in preparation for said interview, he had done the research and came to the realisation that 60 percent of white treason trialists were Jewish. “Of the 23 white treason trialists in 1956, fourteen of us were of Jewish origin,” Turok said.

After the late Prof Phillip Tobias became the fourth Jew among the 16 named to date in lensman and filmmaker Adrian Stern’s “21 Icons SA project” last year which saw each of the 21 having a poster published in the Sunday Times and a short film shown on TV, SAJR Online did a story on the fact that 25% OF SA ICONS to date had been Jewish.

brusssels---howardHOWARD SACKSTEIN, a struggle supporter who sat the years to 1991 out at Harvard among other places, wrote a delightful story about how he engineered a dinner for Euro-Jewry with Madiba in Brussels – en route home from addressing the UN. Howard went on to draft much of the IEC Act and headed the 1999 SA Election.


RIGHT: It made riveting TV-viewing for
his mother, says Howard. He is pictured
here with Madiba at the results board

Two of the MANY BOOKS dedicated to the relationship between Nelson Mandela and SA Jewry were both still available in small quantities at the time of his death in December 2013. SAJR Online said “both are hugely worthwhile and iconic tombs which every Jewish household in SA should have on their bookshelves.” Users can also find reviews of other books of the relationship between the community and democracy on the Board’s website. Click here: SAJBD BOOKS

We also related how Madiba had been awarded a DOCTORATE BY AN ISRAELI UNIVERSITY. “In BGU we have a centre of excellence which represents the best in the traditions of the Jewish people: a sense of mission; internationalism; inventiveness. It is an institution that gives inspiration through its chosen mission. We admire the efforts that are being made by Palestinian and Israeli citizens to transcend the historical divide and thereby lessen the tensions endangering the process.” Read the story…

Twenty years - original pictureLEFT: Pieces of the queues waiting to vote in this iconic photograph of the 1994 elections, were used by SAJR Online to create the Star of David that appears above and below for our branding of the celebratory event

Many well-to-do Jewish alumni of SA institutions remain major funders of their alma maters (although some of them have started withdrawing funding to those where Jewish students do not feel welcome).  


The love continues…

The relationship between SA Jewry and the country as a whole, the spirit of Ubuntu and of Tikkun Olam – delivering assistance – to all South Africans in need in modern times are all around us.

Organisations such as MaAfrika Tikkun, ORT SA, Bet David’s support for homeless and childcare in neighbouring Alex, Jewish Women’s Groups, the incredible activities of the JNF… it goes on and on.

Businessmen, and so many more stand out as a proud lesson of our continuing involvement in building SA.

Images of SAJBD national director Wendy Kahn mopping hospital floors during a public service strike, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein drafting a Bill of Responsibilities to go along with our Bill of Rights (now distributed and taught at all schools), the stories of the ongoing work would fill volumes.

Addressing the first Board Conference after being appointed President, Jacob Zuma said the Jewish community could teach the broader SA community a lot. One such issue Zuma highlighted was the way the community took charge of its own security needs.

Twenty years - logoSpeaking at a later Board conference was former President and then-deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who appealed to Jewish businessmen to assist in creating jobs. He spoke of the millions of unemployed and under-educated youth who could rise up like the Arab Spring and coalesce around a strong leader. Little could he have known that he was predicting the rise of the EFF under Julias Malema.

Mothlante was quite correct. Since immigrant Jews went from workers to employers 100-odd years ago in SA, the community has always been a major provider of work. And SA Jewish bosses have always been known to be fair employers too, wanting to share their success with their staff. The efforts of the old guard, the captains of industry, have been replicated by the amazing emerging young lions among SA Jewry.



 Footnote from the writer: As the then Publisher of several weekly community newspapers in the Eastern Cape, I became involved in the struggle from 1984 after being approached by a cadre, the husband of an employee who knew me to be a leftist. He felt my ability to move in and out of anywhere, from townships to police cells, could be most useful in situations where passing on information or couriering notes were concerned.

I subsequently had the honour of meeting Madiba twice. On the one occasion he said he had heard I was Jewish – and he proceeded to have a lengthy private discussion with me in which he waxed lyrically about his belief that had the Jewish community not provided the struggle with many of its greatest leaders from SA, and much of its funding from foreign shores, he was not sure the fight for freedom would have been victorious.

Twenty years - advert

ABOVE: Pieces of the queues waiting to vote in the 1994 elections, were used by
SAJR Online to create the Star of David that appears in our celebratory branding

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