Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, and Dr Zweli Mkhize, ANC Treasurer General, will be amongst those participating in the SA Jewish Board of Deputies Gauteng Council, to be held this Sunday, 14 September, at Investec from 14h30 – 15h15.

The focus of the conference will be to celebrate the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy, reflect on the journey thus far and also engage in a topical discussion about pertinent issues in the development of South Africa and its citizenry. A panel discussion on ‘Journeys to Freedom’ will form part of the conference. Panellists are Dr Mkhize, Colin Coleman and Prof Michael Katz. Mr Coleman, who is head of the SA office of Goldman Sachs International and nominee for the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders for Tomorrow award, will explore the economic transformation of our country. Prof Katz, a past president of SAJBD, Chairman of ENSafrica and former chairman of the Tax Commission, will focus on changes in the Jewish community over the past 20 years. Dr Mkhize will share his contribution to the establishment of a democratic government, specifically within the health sector.

In addition to this, there will be a session on Gaza during which the Jewish leadership will report back on issues affecting the Jewish community during Gaza, including anti-Semitism and media bias.

The SAJBD, through its conferences and other internal projects, engages actively on issues with the Jewish community and the broader South African citizenry. While its primary audience and constituency is the Jewish community, it creates platforms of dialogue and is the interface between the minority group and the broader South African population.

During the Apartheid years, although constituting a small minority of the population, the Jewish community played a disproportionate role in the struggle for democracy.  The book Jewish Memories of Mandela, which chronicles some of the stories from those dark years, will be available at the conference.

NB:  RSVP Essential: or 011 645 2521




Hate Crimes should be considered as both a priority crime, and be understood and reported on differently from other forms of crime, said Dr Juan Nel, at a Hate Crimes Working Group Media breakfast on 22 October.

The aim of the breakfast was to strengthen the media’s understanding of hate crimes, and the sensitivity around reporting on it.  What made hate crimes different from other criminal acts, explained Dr Nel, of the Hate Crimes Working Group, was the motivation for the attack:  Hate Crimes were motivated by prejudice, and the perpetrators seek to demean and dehumanise the victim based on the fact that the victim doesn’t conform to the ideas of the “norm”.  These can include the victim’s race, ethnicity, culture, appearance, age, religion or sexual orientation.

The reason they should be a priority was not because of its prevalence, but because the severity of the attack extends to the family, group and society at large.  These attacks were anti-democracy and anti-open society.  The fear with which victims live prevents them from living life to the full.  He and his colleague, Yolanda Mitchell, provided details on the legal attempts to delete crime and hate speech, as well as then news tool that have been developed to capture details of both victim and perpetrator.  This will aid in understanding the phenomenon better.

Dr Nel noted that hate crimes are preceded by hate speech.   In her presentation, Wendy Kahn, the National Director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies gave concrete examples of some of the hate speech made through social media, against the SA Jewish Community.  She joked that it should be referred to as “anti-social” media, due to the viciousness of the attacks that can be now made anonymously.  Lucinda van der Heever from Sonke Gender Justice gave a practical example of a hate crime that occurred against a young David Olyn, a young gay man in Cape Town among a coloured community.  Olyn was viciously raped and murdered.

The media were encouraged to ask questions of the various partners that were there.  The breakfast was hosted by Sonke Gender Justice and was funded by the Open Society for South Africa.



Earlier this week, the annual Yom Hashoah ceremonies took place under the auspices of the SAJBD in all the main Jewish population centres. The ceremonies in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth took place on Sunday and in Cape Town and Durban the following day. The keynote speaker in Johannesburg and Durban was Eva Schloss, a survivor of Auschwitz whose mother later married Anne Frank’s father, Otto. On Wednesday, she also spoke at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre. One of the themes stressed by speakers at this year’s events was that this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Holocaust in Hungary, in which over 400 000 Hungarian Jews were murdered within a few months.

Schloss recounted how for many years after the war, she had not spoken about her experiences, and how since the 1980s she had increasingly dedicated herself to doing so. On the first occasion she spoke, she had been shocked to be told by a young Israeli in the audience that she and her fellow victims had gone like sheep to the slaughter instead of fighting back. This, she said, had helped inspire her to testify and educate people regarding the terrible realities of the Nazi genocide, and the helplessness to which its victims were reduced.

Like Anne Frank, whom she had known and been friendly with before the war, Schloss (born in Vienna to Erich and Fritzie Geiringer) survived in hiding in Amsterdam for a lengthy period before, after two years, she and her mother were betrayed and arrested. Her father and brother, Heinz, had by then been sent to the Mauthausen in Austria, where they died just days before the camp was liberated by US forces. Eva and her mother were sent to Auschwitz, where new arrivals were processed and sent either to work in Auschwitz or to immediate death in nearby Treblinka. Because she was wearing her mother’s hat and coat, the fifteen year-old Eva looked older than she was, and hence was selected by Josef Mengele for the former. Somehow, she and her mother survived for nine months before one day waking up to find that the Germans had abandoned the camp, taking most of the inmates with them. A few days later, the Soviet troops arrived to liberate the camp.

Schloss spoke movingly of her lost brother, a gifted musician, poet and artist whose paintings made whilst in hiding she was able to recover after the war. She concluded her address by reading one of his poems, which appears in her recent book The Promise and which she wrote in his memory to keep the promise made by his father that he would live on in the memory of those who knew him.

In Johannesburg, messages were delivered both by Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk, Hungarian Ambassador Bela Laszlo. The latter stressed the Holocaust had been a tragedy for the entire Hungarian people and further acknowledged and apologized for the fact, long suppressed, that the Hungarian government of the time had cooperated with the Nazi administration in the deportations and murders.

******note : EVA SCHLOSS left a few signed copies of 2 of her books in our offices, if you would like to purchase these please contact Jenni on 0116452521, stock is very limited.




With the country’s 5th elections since the democratic transition less than a fortnight away, the Gauteng Jewish leadership had the opportunity last week of hearing from two of the parties likely to between them attract the bulk of the Jewish vote. On Thursday evening Jack Bloom, leader of the DA in the Gauteng Legislature, headed a delegation of mainly Jewish city counsellors that met with representatives of a range of Jewish organisations at Beyachad. The following day, it was the turn of the ACDP, represented by the party’s Chief Whip in Parliament, Cheryllyn Dudley. The meetings took place under the auspices of the SAJBD, which earlier this year arranged for Minister Fikile Mbalula to address a Jewish youth gathering on behalf of the ANC.

Bloom said that the success of the DA’s record in the Western Cape was one of the main planks of its campaign. Under successive DA administrations, the Western Cape had been a model of good governance, in contrast to the corruption and mismanagement that was rife in the remaining, ANC-led provinces. Voters, many of whom were of the ‘born free’ generation and therefore less influenced by the apartheid and ‘Struggle’ legacy, now had it in their power to extend this successful record to other parts of the country. To break the ‘ridiculous’ syndrome of people toyi-toying against bad service delivery one day and voting for the government the next, the DA was saying to them, “Lend us Your Vote” to give it a chance to meet their requirements. Given the extent of government corruption and its dire impact on economic growth and job creation, the DA needed to get as much support as it could so as to save South Africa. It had, Bloom said, become as urgent as that.

Both events included a focus on the Israel-Palestine question. It was accepted, that the DA’s traditionally measured and nuanced policy on the matter had not changed at all. However, it was suggested that there was a disconnection between official DA policy and implementing it when issues arose at parliamentary level. The party had failed, for example, to oppose measures aimed at boycotting and delegitimising Israel, such as in the BDS-inspired cancellation of South Africa’s participation in an agricultural conference there. Bloom said that better communication was needed to convey the party’s true position to the community. He nevertheless pointed out that at the recent International Relations Parliamentary Portfolio Committee discussion on the outcomes of the Solidarity Conference on Palestine, the DA had not only helped ensure that the final declaration adopted was a greatly watered-down one, but had even joined with the ACDP in still voting against it.

In introducing Dudley at the following day’s lunch meeting, SAZF Vice-Chairman Ben Swartz described the ACDP as having been, often to their own detriment, the “greatest and truest friend of the Jewish and Zionist community in South Africa”. Dudley observed that by providing the Jewish community with another option, the DA had been made to realize that it could no longer take its support for granted. In the course of her presentation, she outlined the philosophy and modus operandi of the ACDP as a Christian, Biblical-based party that nevertheless had to be realistic in terms of what could practically be achieved. In a democratic society, nobody could be compelled to follow Christian-Biblical precepts, but by the same token, government did not have the right to impose secularism on the population, such as in interfering with the way religious communities chose to bring up their children. Dudley rejected the argument that voting for the smaller parties was a wasted vote, pointing to the many successes the ACDP had been able to achieve in influencing government policy and as an honest broker in facilitating constructive debate when this was so often paralyzed by the bitter rivalry between the ruling party and the official opposition.


SUSHI, SPORT & SA : Jewish Youth meet Minister Filile Mbalula

12 March 2014

  With the elections now just two months away, the ANC has embarked on a “Suburbs Outreach” communications initiative aimed at making contact and engaging in dialogue with various minority constituencies around the country. On Monday evening, it was the turn of the Johannesburg Jewish community, with Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalule addressing […]

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Interfaith Women’s Day of Prayer, 12 December 2013, Orlando Stadium

13 December 2013

Wendy Kahn & Jenni Fearnley, SAJBD attended this tribute at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. The event was well attended by Women’s Church Groups and prayer messages were delivered by the Muslim, Jewish, Bahai, Hindu and SA Federation of Churches to the audience. VIP’s at the event included Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Gauteng Premier / Ms […]

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11 December 2013

    Zev Krengel, Mary Kluk and Wendy Kahn from SAJBD accompanied by Avrom Krengel, Ben Swartz SAZF, at FNB stadium yesterday  

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6 December 2013

Dear Community Members We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Nelson Mandela and together with our fellow South Africans we mourn this loss. Please find below the statement that was released to the media earlier this morning: “The Jewish community of South Africa mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela, beloved father of […]

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South African Ambassador to Israel Lights a Candle of Hope for Disabilities in Israel

5 December 2013

  In honor of  International Disabilities Day – which this year coincides with Chanukah – South Africa’s Ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngmonbane, lit a Chanukah candle of hope at Beit Issie Shapiro with Yoav, a child with intellectual disabilities, and had high praise for Israeli innovation at Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel’s leading disabilities organization.   […]

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70th Anniversary of the holocaust in Hungary. Holocaust commemeration event with SAJBD, JHGC & the Hungarian Embassy

11 November 2013

The SAJBD Gauteng Council hosted an evening with the Hungarian Embassy and JHB Holocaust & Genocide Centre to commemorate the beginning of the year commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary. November is also the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. This featured an evening of traditional Hungarian food such as Hungarian Goulash and Cucumber & […]

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SAJBD National Director Presents at ADL Conference in Washington DC

9 May 2013
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Holocaust Survivor Rena Quint – Inspiration to all South Africans

11 April 2013

Over the past week, Yom Hashoah ceremonies were held under the auspices of the Board in all the main Jewish population centres. In addition, and possibly for the first time ever, a ceremony was held in Grahamstown as part of a visit by a delegation from the Board, SAZF and SAUJS to meet with the staff and students of Rhodes University […]

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