Shalom, Tata, we will remember you… always

  • SAJR Top Reads 2014
Unsurprisingly, we kick off this year’s Top Reads with the stories surrounding the community and the passing of our much-loved Madiba last December… The incredible relationship between Madiba and SA Jewry throughout his life was legendary and so it was little wonder that the more we published the more our readers wanted. It is hard to believe that just last December South Africa tragically laid to rest an icon of a man, a man who was arguably the country’s finest son: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, “Madiba”, or, to so many, simply “Tata”.
by Ant Katz | Dec 17, 2014

The incredible relationship between Madiba and SA Jewry throughout his life was legendary and so it was little wonder that the more we published the more our readers wanted. We followed community-related events after the tragic news of his passing in close to real time and brought you every significant event. Much of what was covered at the time can be found at: SA JEWRY REMEMBERS MADIBA EVER-SO FONDLY.

SAJR Online also provided organisations the opportunity to place tributes to Madiba on this website. Some of those who availed themselves of the opportunity were: The SA Jewish Board of Deputies; The SA Zionist Federation; The SA Jewish Report; WIZO South Africa; and The State of Israel.

Mandela Link




This series can be picked up by searching “SAJR TOP-READS 2014” on this website or on Google Search




SAJR Online ultimately posted close to one hundred tributary items on the unique relationship between Madiba and SA Jewry. We had, of course, filed many stories over the years, and users can find 74 SEARCH RESULTS FOR MADIBA and over 200 SEARCH RESULTS FOR MANDELA by clicking on these links.

Some of the highlighted stories

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING! - ANT KATZ’ OPINION piece on December 13 unpacks the question of what it was that Tabo Mbeki seemed so determined to warn about at Oxford Shul last Sunday. This is food for thought.

A PITY WE DIDN’T LISTEN TO MADIBA - The former Israeli ambassador to SA, ALON LIEL’s December 13 piece in which he writes that Madiba wanted good ties with Israel, dependent on freedom for the Palestinians. ‘I hear Israel is changing its policy,’ Madiba told Liel at 6am on the latter’s 3rd day in SA. ‘Let’s talk!’ Read Liel’s incredible account of how events unfolded from then…

SPOKE IN NY & ATE WITH JEWRY IN BRUSSELS - On 12 December we recounted a delightful story of how a youthful HOWARD SACKSTEIN engineered a dinner for Euro-Jewry with Mandela in Brussels – en route home from addressing the UN. This is THE must read story of the week and users can even buy the book!

WHERE WAS NETANYAHU? – SAJR’s then-editor GEOFF SIFRIN posed this question published on December 12. “The larger question in the minds of SA Jewish leaders was not answered satisfactorily: Why was it not Netanyahu talking to them in this room, why didn’t he come to represent Israel?

KNESSET SPEAKER HEADS ISRAELI DELEGATION  - Online editor ANT KATZ wrote on December 12 that Israel sent a high-powered delegation for the Madiba Memorial, including Speaker of Parliament Yuli Edelstein & 5 other parliamentarians.

CELEBRATING THE LOSS OF MADIBA THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAY – On December 12 we published a remarkable account of the FNB memorial service, written by editor GEOFF SIFRIN with PICS BY BEN SWARTZ. “Now that the ‘father of our nation’ is gone,' asks Geoff, the question peering at South Africans from every corner is: 'What comes next?'

BOOKS ON MANDELA/SA JEWISH RELATIONS - Two incredible books dedicated to the relationship between Madiba and SA Jewry are both still available and worthwhile for every Jewish household. Read more about them.

TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA BY ELLIOT WOLF- On behalf of the King David Schools’ Foundation that represents thousands of King David alumni worldwide, ELLIOT WOLF extends to Madiba’s family “our deepest condolences on their personal loss”.

ISRAELI OFFICIALS FAIL TO PITCH AT SA EMBASSY MEMORIAL - DAVE KAPLAN from Israel write: “We invited members of the Government but as I look out upon you all I cannot see any,” said Ambassador Sisa Ngombane. "WOW!" writes Dave.

PROGRESSIVE JEWRY TO HONOUR MANDELA LEGACY on December 10 we published an announcement by the SOUTH AFRICAN UNION OF PROGRESSIVE JEWRY that they would be holding a special memorial Tuesday afternoon at a private home in Houghton.

ALMOST 50 STORIES & WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED! On December 10 ANT KATZ pointed out that the SAJR Online had posted almost 50 stories on the unique relationship between Madiba and SA Jewry. “We’ve followed community-related events since the tragic news of his passing last week and brought you every significant event in close to real time.” wrote Ant.

And the above only cover selected highlights of SAJR Online’s new, pics and video coverage of events!

In our VIDEO archives users can see we first posted Johnny Clegg who was surprised when Madiba joined him on stage singing his iconic Struggle song. This was followed by the SAJR/Absa Achievers tribute to Madiba, and then Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein's addresses at Oxford Shul and his honoured opening prayer at the FNB Stadium memorial service. Between those two sombre videos we published a CNN video of the hand-sign translator debacle at FNB. This was followed by an SAUPJ tribute and Barack Obama's FNB speech as well as Michelle Obama’s tribute.

Other top-read Tata stories included:




Stories in this series of Top Reads 2014:




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