SA Organisations

Readers go mad over Darren’s leaving the UOS

  • 14-Chirp new HOME
Popular UOS exec director Darren Sevitz is leaving after 14 years’ service. This was “in order to maximise efficiencies & improve levels of service delivery to the community”, UOS Chairman Jon Levitt told Jewish Report Online this week. But SAJR users were having none of it! Within 18 hours the story became the third-most-read of all time and our famously rowdy readers have already racked up over 50 chirps in support of Sevitz. So much so, that an embarrassed Sevitz today personally posted a comment asking the community to stop trashing the UOS.
by ANT KATZ | Nov 12, 2014

The first inclination that anything was amiss beyond rumours at the UOS, was at 21:09 last Thursday on the Kashrut-SA Facebook page, on which Darren Sevitz has built a huge audience, when he posted the following statement: “After having had the privilege and honour to serve as the executive director of the UOS for more than 14 years, I will be leaving the organisation at the end of November.”

UOS 70 – The UOS executive director Darren Sevitz and president Harold Novick in conversation with guest speaker Raymond Ackerman – PIC ILAN OSSENDRYWERSevitz (PICTURED RIGHT) told SAJR on Friday that “because there was a lot of chatter” on the Facebook page, he felt he had to say something.

 “I would like to thank the organisation, its member shuls and our special SA Jewish community for the wonderful years of partnership and support,” he wrote. “I wish the UOS the greatest success with its future endeavours on behalf of the SA Jewish community.”

At the request of Jewish Report on Friday, UOS Chairman Jonathan Levitt prepared a statement over the weekend and SAJR published SEVITZ STRUCTURED OUT IN UOS SHAKE-UP mid-morning Monday.

Within an hour almost 500 people had read the story which went absolutely viral and has now clocked up well over 3 000 reads and over 50 comments - all along the line of #BRINGBACKDARRENSEVITZ!.

Read the story the UOS put out (which clearly enraged Sevitz's followers), see what he has to say and enjoy the comments. You can even leave your own comments, personally or anonymously. Just don't trash the UOS, asks Sevitz in his post today.

Read it for yourself, and enjoy the chirps:


  1. 3 Samuel Shalom 13 Nov
    Proper English is better than problem English! (Unless it's coming from the ministry of misinformation of course.)

    One of the bizarre aspects of this case is the weird and totally incorrect usage of English by the UOS spokesman. One usually encounters mangled syntax and poor grammar coming from foreign countries' ministries of propaganda when they are trying to convey their own convoluted ways of thinking and expression into English. But it is really hard on the ears and jangles the nerves when a leading organisation and its leaders use a "wordspeak" that is so alien that it makes one think what are they trying to hide by using bad language that just sidetracks the mind and makes it difficult to focus on what is really happening?

    Just take a look at this and decide if this would get you through English in high school, never mind getting a distinction:

    From "Sevitz structured out in UOS shake-up" (bad English for a heading that is derived from the UOS press release.) Is this a new English phrase "structured out" and who else has used it? Sounds like maybe it's "corporate speak" perhaps, something that CEOs and CFOs and COOs use, but is "lost in translation" for people outside of that world and comes across as terrible English.

    [Hi Samuel, in journalistic terms, headlines and posters, and on websites, teasers, do not always follow “proper English” simply because of space constraints. The idea is to get the message across so that media consumers can easily choose what to buy/read. So, for example, a poster for The Star usually has four words no longer than six letters – and in the case of this website, a headline should have no more than six words to fit the formatting and style. Hence, you will see that all media has limitations on their headlining and. Particularly, on posters     -ED]

    The UOS statement states: "In order to maximise efficiencies and improve levels of service delivery  to the community, the UOS has embarked on a strategic restructure, which was led by an independent expert consultant."

    There are at least three grammatically incorrect phrases in the above sentence: 1. "maximise efficiencies" (how does one "maximise efficiencies"? It should have rather said something like "in order to provide maximum efficiency" or "in an effort to be maximally efficient" but there is NO SUCH THING as "efficiencies"!)  2. "service delivery" (should be "delivery of service" and who uses "service delivery" and would an English teacher accept that?) 3. "a strategic restructure" (huh? that is not English. This is: "a strategic restructuring" and just what is "a strategic restructure" is that singular and what tense is that?)

    "As part of this restructure the executive council and management team decided to replace the position of executive director with two new positions: head of finance and group services, as well as head of kashrut."

    Again, just what is a "restructure"? when the correct word is "restructuring" and just how many new positions are being created is also not clear, read the ambiguity for yourself. Does "head of finance and group services, as well as head of kashrut" mean that there will be: 1."head of finance" + "group services" + "head of kashrut" (that are three different types of jobs) or 2. "head of finance and group services" that are two types of jobs, or 3. "head of finance and group services" (that are two job descriptions performed by one person) + "head of kashrut"? The bad language only reflects muddled thinking and lack of forethought as to just how important it is to be clear especially when the public is SHOCKED and is demanding CLARIFICATION.

    "Darren Sevitz has served with dedication as executive director for the past 14 years and although he was offered a senior position in the new structure, he decided instead to leave the organisation in order to pursue new opportunities."

    What is this supposed to mean: "he was offered a senior position in the new structure"? What is this supposed "new structure"? A statue? A building? Because that is what  a "structure" is, it refers to a, well, a structure, but not an organisation in this context where the correct wording should have been "with the restructuring of the organisation he was offered a senior position in it" [or "in the organisation"] or if you must, "he was offered a new position in the restructured organisation" but NOT "in the new structure" that is incorrect syntax and bad grammar.

    "We are confident that the restructure will significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the UOS and its service to the South African Jewish community."

    Again that horrible phrase: "We are confident that the restructure" that grates on the ears. Why couldn't it say correctly that "We are confident that the restructuring..." that would not jump out at you as if someone is mangling the English language and creating jangled and jarring sounds that just reflects the dissonance of the whole upsetting situation.
  2. 2 Curious 13 Nov
    Darren is right that it is wrong to make this issue personal or to demonise anybody, as this tends to divert attention from the real issues.

    Having read most of the comments through the various social media and Chai FM, it seems that a number of issues/allegations are being made against the UOS, Beth Din and Chief Rabbi, which will be listed below.

    I think that in order to clear the air, the UOS, Beth Din and Chief Rabbi owe the community a comprehensive and honest response to all of them. At the end of the day they serve us!

    The community wants to know:

    a) Why exactly was Darren let go? Please do not insult our collective intelligence with nonsense about restructuring.
    b) If Darren was paid to leave, how much and where is  the money coming from?
    c) Did the Chief Rabbi usurp power and "hijack" control of the UOS? If so, was this in line with the constitution of the UOS? If not what is Mr. Levitt,  the chairman of the UOS and as such responsible for the governance of the UOS, doing about it? And for that matter, how did he allow it? Was he complicit in it?
    d) Is there a campaign under way to install the Chief Rabbi as the Head of the Beth Din after Rabbi Kurtstag retires?
    e) Are more people going to be "restructured" out? If so, who and why?
    f) Is it appropriate to have one person having unfettered control of the community?

    The sooner these issues are brought into the open and debated, the sooner we can go back to what we should be doing, namely being a model of unity and tolerance.
  3. 1 Samuel Shalom 13 Nov
    Re @Curious 13 Nov

    An important question also needs to be, that how is it that coming on the heels of the much touted and hyped Shabbos Project why is this new "restructure" [sic] happening now?

    When two major events such as the Shabbos Project that is tied in with the Chief Rabbi who is connected with the UOS happens almost at the same time as the departure/ouster of Sevitz at the UOS there has to be a connection.

    Just looking at the scope and sophistication of the Shabbos Project it OBVIOUSLY involves the backing of millions of Rands if one tallies up the global efforts, yet no one knows who is giving the money and the amounts involved, then we are talking big money mysteriously flowing in to the Chief Rabbi's coffers, and of course it does not go personally to him but nevertheless flows from donors/organisations/philanthropy to organisation/recipient institution/Chief Rabbi's office/UOS/Beth Din. In this case either the "Office of the Chief Rabbi" which is supposedly a subsidiary of the UOS just as the Beth Din is an affiliate of the UOS.

    There needs to be ACCOUNTABILITY and most of all TRANSPARENCY as in any major financial operation that involves public charity and communal funds, in this case also coming in from overseas to fund the Shabbos Project and with that infusing the office of Chief Rabbi and the UOS with new found financial backing that is now under the spotlight.

    Any shull or corporation would have to "open its books" at frequent intervals and in some cases this information should and is public knowledge because it is based on the donations from the public not to mention its good will.

    Not too long ago the King David Schools Foundation (KDSF) in Johannesburg hired forensic accountants to review its cash flow and donations going back decades and discovered to its horror that literally millions of Rands had been mysteriously and quietly siphoned off and that the KDSF had been defrauded by one of its own employees due to INSUFFICIENT scrutiny and oversight as one of its own "trusted" employees had been defrauding it even as outside and local donors thought that their money was going to genuine Tzedaka to help the pupils when instead it was going into the pockets of a corrupt employee. This scandal was in fact eventually settled, with the Chief Rabbi's involvement, by the Beth Din itself that imposed financial penalties and communal service on the guilty parties. This example amply proves the need for OVERSIGHT, TRANSPARENCY and TRUST at the UOS & at the Chief Rabbi's Office & at the Beth Din that is now in question given the arbitrary nature of the recent moves to oust a high level employee to date deemed fully trustworthy and very reliable not to mention highly efficient, extremely popular and amazingly successful at his tough job at the Byzantine UOS and now he is suddenly gone leaving behind more perplexing questions than any satisfying answers, just useless platitudes that's justifiably leaving the public confused, angry and disillusioned.


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.


My Place advert 300px x 300px 110820




Yad Aharon GENERIC2020


Follow us on