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Noah’s ‘playful’ jokes don’t offend us – Kluk

A global furore broke out last week over accusations that renowned comedian Trevor Noah (who takes over hosting top-US political satire show “The Daily Show” next month) was anti-Semitic. The Sunday Times interviewed SA Jewish Board of Deputies chair Mary Kluk to hear what SA Jewry felt about Trevor Noah’s Jewish jokes and tweets, culminating in their article: “Trevor Noah’s ‘playful’ jokes don’t offend us – SA Jews.” Kluk said the body was delighted with Noah’s appointment and that he is known for taking on just about everyone – whites, blacks, coloureds, Indians, women and fat people as well as various religious groups. This is a must-read story…





The above short Youtube video “That’s Racist – Tacos” has had 2.3-mil views. Another This hilarious two-minute Youtube video, “Trevor Noah: Crazy Normal – President Jacob Zuma’s Speech” can be found in SAJR Online’s VIDEO FILES.

Mary Kluk, chairwoman of the Jewish Board of Deputies, said the body was delighted with Noah’s appointment on The Daily Show. “Negative stereotypes of all people are potentially offensive. However, the SAJBD believes that tweets made by Noah do not constitute anti-Jewish prejudice on his part. Trevor Noah’s style of humour is playful, and is intended to provoke a response,” said Mary.

Kluk Mary Madiba“The SAJBD wishes him all the success and wisdom that he will require in his new position, and is confident that he will do our country proud,” she said.

RIGHT: SAJBD chair Mary Kluk

The award-winning South African comic was announced as the new host of the US late-night news satire TV programme The Daily Show.

Tweets by Noah that offended some people, wrote the Sunday Times, include: “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man”

When the furore over some of his jokes emerged this week, Noah’s new employers, Comedy Central, came to his defence, saying: “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Local comedians also defended Noah, with Kagiso Lediga saying those who criticised the Johannesburg-born comic were jealous.

Cape Town stand-up comedian Marc Lottering said if there was anyone ready for the Daily Show role, it was Noah. “I’m helluva jealous! It’s a big deal. A life-changing moment. This is not only fantastic for Trevor, but also for young Africans who have big dreams,” said Lottering.

Riaad Moosa tweeted: “Well done to @Trevornoah – continuing to kick ass.”

Related reads on Jewish Report Online

A cursory glance at the two op-eds/blogs on Jewish Report Online – one from Jewish Report chairman and blogger HOWARD FELDMAN titled: DID TREVOR NOAH HAVE A SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THAT WOMAN – AND OTHER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS; and the other from New Yorker GEOFF MITELMAN’s: MOVING “FROM SHAME TO PRAISE” – TREVOR NOAH, MONICA LEWINSKY AND US give an indication of the emotions that the disclosures evoked last week.

Related reads of interest elsewhere


Blogging on the LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS website, Dr Amy Bree Becker posted: “Political satire makes young people more likely to participate in politics. Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show is likely to continue that trend.” She writes that such programmes can have a real impact on voters’ attitudes and that Noah’s arrival occurs at a time when political comedy is benefiting from a new wave of talent, such as John Oliver… (and) is likely to further increase the influence of the genre. Becker’s own research (she is an Assistant Professor at Loyola University, Maryland­ ) shows that The Daily Show and others like it “increases the likelihood that young people who watch will participate in politics.”


An article posted on New York business website CRAIN’S by Matthew Flamm and Emily Laermer  titled: “No, really, new ‘Daily Show’ anchor is a stand-up guy”, says that “The uproar surrounding South African comic Trevor Noah’s tweets reflects the challenge networks face in finding new franchise personalities.” Jon Stewart’s fans, already reeling over news of his departure, flipped at the news that “his replacement trafficked in stereotypes about Jews… (and) likened (it) to John McCain failing to properly vet Sarah Palin.” By the end of last week, however, “the controversy seemed to have burned itself out.”

A TWEET IS A TWEET IS A TWEET – AND LITTLE MORE Arts Editor, Jeff Simon, wrote an article on Sunday titled: “What do Trevor Noah’s ‘tweets’ really mean, anyway?” Simon offers some examples, see below, but concludes that he is, after all, a comedian.

  • “So now that Adele is singing, does that mean it’s over?”
  • “I’m watching Olympic women’s hockey. It’s like lesbian porn. Without the porn.”
  • “Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look before crossing but I still would have felt so bad in my German car!”
  • “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful.”

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  1. Choni

    Apr 7, 2015 at 11:30 am

    ‘\”Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look before crossing, but I still would have felt so bad in my German car\”

    So Ms Kluk, to you this is a \”playful’ joke and you are not offended? In my opinion you should not hold any office in any Jewish organization, unless of course the Holocaust meant nothing to you.’

  2. nat cheiman

    Apr 8, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    ‘Lets give this guy a break. He won’t last in America if he is anti semitic.

    There are people from another religion that riot, kill and burn because someone insults them or their religion. Let us not emulate them. People will always have a stab at Jews just because they can.Let us endure it and not complain.’

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Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi



More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.

Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.

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UJW Sewing School graduates model creations



The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.

They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.

UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.

The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.

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Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke



The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.

Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.

The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.

“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.

Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.

Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.

“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).

Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”

Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.

“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”

Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.

“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.

The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”

Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.

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