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Last chance to book for 2016’s #1 social event

The top social event on the annual South African Jewish calendar is without doubt the Absa Jewish Achiever and Jewish Report awards gala banquet – and it is just a few weeks away, on Sunday August 28. What’s more, this year’s black-tie fundraiser promises to be the best ever – and that’s saying a lot as anyone who has attended the event before can vouch for.




Nominations for the 2016 Jewish Achiever Awards have closed and winners have been chosen. Their names are locked away and will only be revealed on the night.

There are still a limited number of individual seats and tables available – but, as in previous years, it is bound to be a sell-out affair as space at the prestigious VodaWorld venue is limited.

Last month Absa signed another big, multi-year sponsorship contract – much of it for the networking and entertainment value they and their clients derive from the event.

Read what some of last year’s attendees said to Suzanne Belling after the event:

BARBARA LEVY, whose late husband Ivan was in the forefront of leadership in the SAJBD and other communal organisations, said the Achievers had reconnected her with the community. “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.”


Achievers 2016

ABOVE: Just when people say it couldn’t get any better, the fundraising event somehow manages to outdo itself, year after year. And, by all accounts, 2016 will continue this legacy. But you’ll only know if you are there. To avoid disappointment, make sure you book your seats or tables soon by simply clicking here: 

GRAHAM KLUK, husband of the President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Mary Kluk, felt 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,” he said.

Rhodes Mary Kluk chairperson SAJBD - LONG - Copy

RIGHT: SAJBD President Mary Kluk’s husband, Graham,said after attending his third Absa Achievers event in 2015: “I have been twice before and am very impressed – it’s fantastic”

, 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 said SA 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 sends out a message to the “detractors of Jews 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.”

SASHA STAR – ChaiFM newsreader, who covers worldwide events on radio, including reporting on the Oscars in Hollywood, said that for her, the event is “basically the Jewish Oscars”.

ANTONY SEEFF described the gala dinner as “incredible” and “an event the community should be proud of”. He said celebrating success is 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 the Jewish NGO 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 event is underrated, she believes. 


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Nominate achievers who bring us hope



Remember when you were raving about the incredible work someone in the community had done? Well, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to nominate them for the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards. You don’t have much time…

Last year, the focus was on what winners did over and beyond COVID-19 and through the toughest part of the pandemic.

This year, it’s all about hope, as we see the end of the pandemic in sight, death rates are dropping, people are vaccinated, and we are looking towards a brighter future. Who is enabling this? Who are the people who have brought us hope? Who’s bringing us hope right now, and will continue to inspire us in the future? Who are our winners?

“We are looking for those people who brought us hope in professional excellence and business leadership during these tough times,” says Howard Sackstein, the chairperson of the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards and the board of the SA Jewish Report.

“Nominate those who showed true leadership and went way beyond the call of duty when there was looting and rioting in the country as well as a spike in the pandemic numbers.”

Sackstein admits that the judges’ decisions will be tough this year as many heroes have risen to the challenges of community and country. “It’s essential to create a record of these times, and those who have stood out when life was at its most challenging,” he says.

Professor Barry Schoub last year won the Kia Community Service Award for his awesome contribution to the Jewish community through COVID-19. The emeritus professor in virology at the University of the Witwatersrand and the former director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases came out of retirement to help the community, going on to become chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines. Since his award, he has led South Africa through the process of acquiring vaccines and getting vaccinated.

Dr Mervyn Mer, who won the award for professional excellence in the time of COVID, has gone on to save many more lives from this dreaded coronavirus. He also almost singlehandedly reopened the COVID-19 ward at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital after the medical facility was closed following a fire. As the numbers of people getting desperately ill due to COVID-19 rose during the third wave, he did what he believed he needed to do to save lives.

Our other winners, Johnny Broomberg, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Liran Assness, Michael Katz, Wendy Fisher, Jody Scheckter, and Sir Sydney Kentridge have gone from strength to strength since then.

You have until the close of business on 3 September to make your nominations. Don’t wait, do it now. Go to

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Nominations are now open for Absa Jewish Achiever Awards 2021




  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has achieved iconic status within the business community.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has played a critical leadership role in business during this period.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has achieved national recognition and acclaim in their profession during this period.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has a proven track record in entrepreneurial ventures.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has served the Jewish community with remarkable distinction.


  • Honouring the leadership, success and overall contributions of distinctive Jewish women in business or in the broader South African community.

in honour of Helen Suzman

  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has contributed in an extraordinary manner over a long period of time.


  • Awarded to a Jewish person who has excelled in any of these spheres.

In honour of Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris

  • Awarded to a Jewish or non-Jewish person who has contributed substantially to the betterment of the lives of the people of South Africa.

To nominate visit this page.

Nominations close at 17:00 on 3 September 2021

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Build hope by reaching out and nominating



As the sun rises through the darkness of the pandemic and looting in South Africa, we begin to renew our hope for the future, and with that, we start our search to celebrate our Absa Jewish Achievers in 2021. Nominations are now open.

This year, we will celebrate on 7 November with great ‘hope’, the theme of this year’s event that so perfectly fits our growing sentiments.

The past 18 months have been so incredibly tough on our community, our country, and our world. What with more than 200 Jewish people dying from the COVID-19 pandemic in Johannesburg alone, we have really felt the coronavirus to our core.

We haven’t been able to be at loved one’s funerals, and have sat shiva alone. We have isolated from our loved ones to protect them. We have put much of our lives on hold because of this illness. Many have lost businesses and livelihoods.

But the end of this pandemic is in sight. We have “hope” again. As we vaccinate en masse, we move towards a new tomorrow.

We survived the wholesale looting and violence of the past month, and people have gone to great lengths to help each other make it through.

As a community, we work best together. We support each other, making us stronger and more resilient.

The Absa Jewish Achiever Awards is all about our community putting heads together and coming up with those unique individuals who stand head and shoulders above others.

We will pull out all the stops to celebrate our 2021 achievers on 7 November. Once again, we’ll keep it online to avoid any potential COVID-19 risks. But in so doing, we’ll bring your international fantasies to life with our annual revelry. And in so doing, we will enable far more people to participate than can fit in a large hall. Last year, we took our numbers from 1 000 to 60 000 viewers.

It’s time to look around and find those unique individuals, those gems within our community who have performed in their own areas like no other. You know who they are, and they will be given the kavod only if you nominate them for the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards. It’s up to you.

“The Absa Jewish Achiever Awards is so important as it allows us as a community to take stock and celebrate our disproportionate contribution to the people of South Africa,” says Howard Sackstein, Absa Jewish Achiever chairperson.

“It allows us to create role models for everyone to emulate as we celebrate the extraordinary. In so doing, we encourage others to find greatness in their own fields.”

Though we will once again be looking for lifetime achievers this year, a humanitarian champion, and those who have gone way beyond the call of duty for the community, we are also focusing on those who have excelled in the past year.

We want to find those outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves over this past year with its unique challenges.

We are looking for nominees in the following: women in leadership; business award; entrepreneurship; business icon; professional excellence community award winner; a lifetime achiever; a winner in sport, science and culture; and a humanitarian award winner (who doesn’t have to be Jewish).

It’s up to you to nominate these people. Without your nominations, they won’t get the acknowledgement they deserve. Although there are judges involved, we need your nominations and online participation in the public vote.

This is a communal event, focusing on our magnificent community, to find the individuals that will become icons for the rest of us. “As you all know, we work best as a community, and in this, we encourage each other to take pride in the achievements of others,” says Sackstein.

Nominations are open from today, until 17:00 on 3 September.

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