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Lifestyle/Community

Jewish Achievers get thumbs up all-round

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SUZANNE BELLING

Although not all could win on stage, just to have been nominated, to have been recognised by one’s peers, made everyone a winner.

Those who simply came to observe and share in the fun and festivities of the occasion, think very highly of this impressive annual event. Jewish Report spoke to some of the guests as they arrived at Vodaworld.

 

Unaccustomed to the spotlight, Graham Kluk, travelled from Durban for the occasion. Husband of Mary Kluk, national chairman of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, he feels the Achievers banquet provides an opportunity for people to get together once a year and celebrate the triumphs and activities of the Jewish community.

“I have been twice before and am very impressed – it’s fantastic.”

 

Stacey Swartzberg, who was part of the Discovery table, stressed the importance of bringing the Jewish community together in a social setting.

“The Jews of South Africa make a vast contribution to the GDP of the country. It is fantastic that they always give back huge amounts to both the Jewish and general communities,” she said.

 

Steven Dave is “proudly South African” and even wore a bowtie in the colours of the national flag to identify with this feeling.

He says South Africa has provided its Jewish citizens with the opportunity to achieve. “Of course, we have a little bit of tsoris, but let’s not even go there!

“It is always good to recognise and acknowledge the success of entrepreneurs and go-getters,” he stressed.

 

Jonathan Cooper said an evening such as the Jewish Achiever Awards was sending out a message to the “detractors of Jews and Israel that in this show of unity, we are part of progress and achievement – an important part of society and business.

“The vibe is amazing and this event is unique – something we can claim as our own.”

ChaiFM newsreader Sasha Star, who covers worldwide events on radio, including reporting on the Oscars in Hollywood, feels the Absa Jewish Achievers is “basically the Jewish Oscars”.

She described the dinner as elegant and was happy to attend for the first time, with the intention of reporting on the event.

“It is fantastic that members of the community are recognised,” she said.

 

Antony Seeff described the gala dinner as “incredible” and “an event the community should be proud of”.

He said celebrating success was encouraging. “I am proud to be part of this as it is important to get a dose of positivity in this day and age.”

 

Vicki Kuper, a veteran communal worker for ORT, said the composition of her table was a microcosm of people in South Africa and was an example of ubuntu.

“I now understand what ubuntu means and also why Jews and Afrikaners get on so well together, according to a remark that was passed at our table.”

The effort was sometimes underrated in the greater community – “but with all these people, there has to be something to it”.

 

Barbara Levy, whose late husband Ivan was in the forefront of leadership in the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and other organisations, said the Achievers was bringing her back into the community for the first time in a long while.

“The event is too wonderful. It brings people together, recognises business and other achievement and, especially with young entrepreneurship, encourages people to stay in South Africa, realising the country still has a lot to offer.”

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