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Op-eds

    • JTAOPEDAbramowitz

    Israel and Africa need each other

    Nov 02, 2017 Go comment!
    The Jewish month that began this week, Cheshvan, has traditionally been dubbed “mar", or bitter, because it alone among the months is devoid of any holidays.
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    • howard feldman

    The cost of being Jewish

    Nov 02, 2017 Go comment!
    As talk show host, listener feedback is critical in order to get a sense of the mood and thinking of the listener. There are days, however, when no matter what fascinating subject I try to discuss, that our listeners seem disinterested and even uncooperative. It is on those days, when all else has failed, and I feel somewhat desperate, that I simply pose the question: “Do observant Jews get value for money when buying kosher chickens?”
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    SA Jewish community happily boxes above its weight

    Nov 02, 2017 Go comment!
    Last week, in my report on the World Jewish Congress Community Directors’ Forum in Cape Town, I observed how highly South African Jewry is regarded in global Jewish circles, to the point that we are today regularly described as being a model for other Diaspora communities to emulate.
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    • GeoffEditorial

    Why murders on SA farms evoke knee-jerk racism

    Nov 02, 2017 Go comment!
    A farmer murdered while working his land is a shocking scene. Yet many people rejected this week’s countrywide protests, called Black Monday, by farmers against the plague of such killings in South Africa.
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    • GeoffEditorial

    Could Israel-Palestine peace rest on personal stories?

    Oct 26, 2017 Go comment!
    Can individual Palestinians and Israelis get past their violent history and see each other as people? A documentary screened in the past two weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town, shows attempts at this by a group calling itself Combatants for Peace.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    WJC National Directors’ Forum a huge success

    Oct 26, 2017 Go comment!
    The World Jewish Congress National Directors' Forum, which concluded in Cape Town earlier this week, successfully combined focused formal discussions and presentations on core issues facing global Jewry with the equally important informal interaction that took place between individual delegates outside of the formal sessions. It is in the latter context that experiences can be shared, potential partnerships discussed and in general contacts made that could be mutually beneficial in the future. Representatives of Jewish communities numbering in the millions, as in the case of Israel, through to those numbering just a few thousand, took part in what was truly a memorable experience for all concerned.
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    • doscel3

    Simchat Torah: Memories and meaning

    Oct 19, 2017 7 Comments
    I have strong memories of Simchat Torah as a little girl. I spent it with my grandfather who was a gentle, open-minded Orthodox Jewish educator in Johannesburg. We would walk up the hill to his shul together.
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    • GeoffEditorial

    What happens when sins of the past come out of the closet?

    Oct 19, 2017 1 Comment
    A long, dirty thread links the sadistic killers of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol and South African President Jacob Zuma to sex offenders who thought they would get away with it as time passed. But people cannot control how they will be remembered in history.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    SA hosts prestigious WJC Community Directors’ Forum

    Oct 19, 2017 Go comment!
    At the time of writing, preparations are being finalised for the World Jewish Congress Community Directors’ Forum, to commence this weekend in Cape Town. This is the first time that this prestigious event will be taking place on the African continent, and we are honoured to have been entrusted with organising and hosting it.
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    • IsraelFlag

    Togo becomes a no-go: Africa-Israel Summit cancelled

    Sep 28, 2017 Go comment!
    From October 23 to 27, up to 30 African heads of state were slated to attend the first Africa-Israel Summit in Lomé, Togo, but Israel abruptly announced its postponement on September 11. While key states like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda supported the Summit, South Africa, Morocco, the Palestinians and most Arab states openly opposed it, in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Israel has reaffirmed its continued interest in engaging Africa despite this cancellation. Why was the Summit called off, and what lessons emerge?
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    A time for remembrance

    Sep 28, 2017 Go comment!
    Speaking at last Sunday’s SA Jewish Ex-Service League’s memorial service at West Park cemetery, Rabbi Ron Hendler emphasised how appropriate it was that this event should always be held between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time when the theme of remembrance looms so large in our thoughts and prayers.
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    • GeoffEditorial

    Skin deep: Is conflict still inevitable between colours and races?

    Sep 28, 2017 2 Comments
    The past week’s events in the United States and Germany add fuel to a perennial question: What is a nation’s true nature behind its outward veneer? What demons hide there? The relevance for South Africa is clear.
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    • antisemitism

    Anti-Semitism in South Africa: Should we be concerned?

    Sep 14, 2017 1 Comment
    South African Jews were justifiably outraged at a recent Holocaust-related tweet (and subsequent comment) from Andile Mngxitama, the leader of Black First Land First (BLF).
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    • GeoffEditorial

    Master stories and their multiple virginities

    Sep 14, 2017 Go comment!
    Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri wasn’t referring specifically to South Africa when he wrote: “To poison a country, poison its stories… A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves.” But he might as well have been, if measured by the toxicity pervading our body politic today.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    Celebrating Yomtov in safety

    Sep 14, 2017 Go comment!
    ​This being my last column before Rosh Hashanah, I would like to use this opportunity to wish you all a ktiva ve chatima tova. For all of us, for Israel and for the Jewish people everywhere in the world, may we be inscribed and sealed with a year of success, health, happiness and peace.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev

    SA Jewish students on frontline in fight for Israel

    Sep 07, 2017 Go comment!
    Last week the Academic Freedom Committee (AFC) at the University of Cape Town, at the behest of the Palestine Solidarity Forum, hosted a debate on whether or not, UCT should sever its ties with Israeli academia.
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    • MichaelSieff

    A spring in my step

    Sep 07, 2017 Go comment!
    I’m writing this column on the first day of September. The weather is idyllically perfect for Spring Day. The temperature is warm, the sun is bright and there is a strong aroma of jasmine in the air - a clear sign that temperatures are on the way up.
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    • GeoffEditorial

    Sick men hold the doomsday nuclear button

    Sep 07, 2017 1 Comment
    Sigmund Freud is probably frowning in his grave while world citizens watch despairingly the rising momentum towards nuclear war between the United States and North Korea, driven by politicians holding nuclear buttons he would have had much to say about. Two at least are psychologically dysfunctional.
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    • Sifrin Geoff HOME
    • Sifrin Geoff HOME

    Statues and heroes: the dangers of erasing too much

    Sep 01, 2017 1 Comment
    Wits faculty members have been warned to prepare for trouble, as universities brace for protests against university fee hikes for 2018, amidst vehement demands for “decolonisation” in academia and abolition of symbols of the country’s racist past.
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    • BenitaLevin

    Long-term lessons learnt after a five-month course…

    Aug 31, 2017 Go comment!
    It’s been a good few years since I sat down to write an exam. But I don’t ever remember being as excited before a test, as I was at the end of our five-month Hebrew language course.
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