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New Fed head has what it takes, says Isla




South Africa’s pro-Israel community is exuberant at the news of the appointment of Nicci Raz as their new national director of the SA Zionist Federation. The move has also been hailed by retiring incumbent Isla Feldman as well as Fed national chairman Ben Swartz.

Swartz - Ben1Nicci is ideally suited to fill the massive shoes of her predecessor and her history of success in serving SA Jewry and Zionism will stand her in good stead, says Swartz.

She will take up her new position at the beginning of October.

Nicci has a good understanding of working within the community, says Swartz, having spent many years contributing to the successes of ORT JET and ORT SA.

RIGHT: SAZF national chairman Ben Swartz

Nicci was elected as a vice-chairman of the Fed at their elective conference earlier this year where she started getting more involved with the organisation.

‘Losing our warrior and champion’

“The leadership of the Zionist Federation is losing our warrior and champion in Isla,” says Swartz, who had spent an extended period trying to find the ideal replacement.

Raz Nicci HOME35-year-old Nicci (Nicole) is married to David, with whom she has three daughters, Edden, Noa and Ora who attend Nicci’s alma mater, Yeshiva College, from where she matriculated in 1998

LEFT: Isla Feldman, left and Amber Cummins – director of JNF-SA which previously also fell under Isla – at the opening of a new community nursery

Nicci went on to get her B Com (law and economics), but for most of her working career has been in marketing, sales and project management. Last year, she completed a social entrepreneurship programme at Gibbs where she up-skilled in the areas of management, operations, human resources and financial management.

“I feel extremely privileged and humbled to have been chosen for this important community role,” says Raz. “This position comes with a lot of responsibility and I hope to lead the SAZF with as much passion and commitment as Isla has done for so many years.”

Raz is thankful for the Fed’s “support and faith in my abilities” and is confident that with the guidance and mentorship of Ben, Isla and the professional staff, she will have the strong foundation needed “to drive our strategic agenda”.


All-round confidence in appointment

“Nicci brings to the community the experience and traits that are ideally suited to the large task at hand,” says Swartz. She will have a few months of hand-over as Feldman will step down at the end of December.

Raz NicciRaz, too, says that this extended handover will assist in “ensuring that the transition is smooth for the team and all involved”

RIGHT: Nicci Raz

in communal affairs probably knows, Isla Feldman had wanted to retire for some time, but had been reluctant to hand over this crucial role to just anybody.

“It wasn’t easy to find somebody,” Feldman confirmed to Jewish Report this week. But, says the veteran of 35 years, she believes that Raz has what it takes. “Nicci is going to make a difference. We are living in a different world today, a world of social media, a world that requires younger and fresher skills. And she is a very clever young lady,” says Feldman.

 Swartz told Jewish Report: “I am sure the whole community joins me in wishing Nicci all the best in her new position as we commit to supporting her and being part of taking the SAZF with its roles and responsibilities to a whole new level.”

On Feldman, Swartz says that she has “commanded the respect of the South African Jewish community for the last 35 years and her positive effect has been felt by each one of us.”

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  1. Selwyn

    Aug 13, 2015 at 6:04 am

    ‘Whilst Isla had a long distinguished career I think that Zionists should go on Aliyah .

    The leadership should be required to do so after , say 6 years of service.

    A definition of a Zionist \” A first person who sends a second person to live in Israel on the money of a Third \”‘

  2. Choni

    Sep 8, 2015 at 10:52 am

    ‘If anybody is more than 100% correct re Aliyah it is you Selwyn.’

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