Another successful SABJE conference

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Paul Tough, an acclaimed US author, explained the negative effects of stress on children and the importance of personality traits such as grit and perseverance, to the 32nd SA Board of Jewish Education (SABJE) Conference on Sunday, March 18.
by Jordan SAJR | Mar 29, 2018

Tough, who has written Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, was the keynote speaker at the SABJE conference. The SABJE controls the King David Schools on behalf of the community and represents affiliates on various educational platforms.

Opening the conference, Rabbi Ricky Seeff, the principal of King David Victory Park Primary School, highlighted the importance of Jewish education, the connection to Jewish roots and the significant role that King David Schools have played in the Johannesburg Jewish community over the past 70 years.

Ayellet Black, deputy Israeli ambassador, said education was one of the keys to the success of the Jewish people and reinforced the importance of a strong connection between Israel and Jewish education in South Africa.

Confidence Dikgole, the director of policy and government relations at The Independent Schools’ Association of South Africa (ISASA) discussed the growth of ISASA and its member schools. She spoke about the strong relationship that ISASA was developing with the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation, and the importance of learning about tolerance both in South Africa and Israel.

Outgoing SABJE chairman Steven Joffe addressed the audience on the five key areas that the board had focused on to ensure that the King David Schools remained successful. These included:

•     Prudent financial management of the schools;

•     The strategies used over the past three years to maintain stable student numbers.;

•     The board’s focus on teacher development, which addressed teacher benefits;

•     The investment in maintenance projects at the schools, which has seen roughly R72 million spent over the past three years. At this stage, he addressed the building of King David Ariel, the first Jewish remedial school, as well as the increased spend on security around the school; and

•     The investment in the ethos of the school, which includes various programmes to enhance the Judaica offering.

Joffe reiterated the connection that past students have with Israel and highlighted the importance of building a love for Jewish culture and religion. He concluded by congratulating King David Schools on their excellent results and announced Raoul Gamsu’s appointment as honorary president. He also wished Eli Atie, the new board chairperson, much success in his upcoming three-year term of office.

Rabbi Craig Kacev, director of the SABJE, spoke about King David Schools being “schools of significance in our 70th year”. This, he said, was manifest in three areas at the King David Schools:

•     Shifting their focus to the process of learning rather than just the end results;

•     Focusing on how students go the extra mile to make a huge impact on the community at large; and

•     The fact that King David Schools continue to keep Judaism relevant to children, who look for tradition yet reject authority.

The morning concluded with the election and announcement of the new members of the SABJE.


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