Jewish Affairs

Jewish Affairs, South Africa’s leading Jewish intellectual journal, features a wide variety of articles on Jewish religion, history and culture. It has been published under the auspices of the Board since 1941. To subscribe or take out a gift subscription, please contact Shirley Beagle +27116452583 beagle@beyachad.co.za or david@beyachad.co.za

We are pleased to report that the latest (Rosh Hashanah, 2014) issue of Jewish Affairs has now appeared.

The special focus of this issue is on this year’s 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa and how it has affected, and been influenced by, the Jewish community. The editor’s historical overview of the transition years to the present is followed by a feature on the SAJBD’s 2014 ‘Freedom Seder’, in which Chief Rabbi Goldstein, Zev Krengel and Johnny Copelyn provide their insights on the attainment of freedom in SA in the context of the Biblical exodus narrative. An enlightening analysis of where the country finds itself today and what led up to it is provided by Tony Leon, one of the main actors in that story. Marlene Bethlehem looks back on her ten years on the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Commission, a statutory body created in this case to promote and protect the rights of South Africa’s many diverse ethnic, faith, linguistic and cultural groupings. One of the ways in which Jewish community members are trying to make a positive difference in addressing the legacy of apartheid is in the educational field. Here, Honey Gluckman has written a moving and inspiring account of her work as a Second Innings ‘Granny’ tutoring underprivileged learners.

The transition to democracy theme also features in the Book Reviews, with Naomi Musiker and Ralph Zulman looking at two important recent books on the subject, Liberation Diaries: Reflections on 20 Years of Democracyand Tony Leon’s latest book, Opposite Mandela: Encounters with South Africa’s Icon. Marcia Leveson writes on a compelling new novel on a Jewish family in 1960s Port Elizabeth and Gary Selikow evaluates a recent work countering the standard anti-Israel narrative now so commonplace in the global media and academic and NGO environment.

Section Two is of a more historical nature, with the essays exploring various aspects of the South African Jewish experience. Bernard Katz writes on General Jan Smuts, using the original text of a speech he gave to show why he has been described as one of the greatest Gentile Zionists. Shirley Klein Kantor writes on the Jewish legacy of Calvinia and her own life-long connection with that Western Cape town while, also on the theme of South Africa’s largely vanished rural Jewish heritage, Joy Kropman reflects on the many exhibitions on that subject that she has curated over the years. Finally, Gwynne Schrire looks at the little-known link between three prominent British Zionists – novelist Israel Zangwill and his cousins Montague David Eder and Joseph Cowen – and South Africa. Other items include new poetry and Isaac Reznik’s obituary on the distinguished rabbi and scholar Dayan Denis Isaacs.

We hope you enjoy this latest Jewish Affairs issue, and that you will pass it on to anyone who might likewise be interested.

 

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish everyone a Shana Tova Umetuka.

 

David Saks

Editor

Jewish Affairs, South Africa’s leading Jewish intellectual journal, features a wide variety of articles on Jewish religion, history and culture. It has been published under the auspices of the Board since 1941. To subscribe or take out a gift subscription, please contact Shirley Beagle +27116452583 beagle@sajbd.org or david@sajbd.org

Jewish Affairs – Rosh Hashanah 2014

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The Chanukah 2014 issue of Jewish Affairs has now appeared. You can access it (as well as previous issues from 2008 onwards) online at http://www.jewishsa.co.za/category/media/jewish-affairs/ or click on this link Jewish Affairs – Chanukah 2014 to view it.

Two ‘anniversary themes’ make up a large part of this issue. The first marks the centenary of the start of World War I, and looks at the impact of the conflict on world Jewry, and specifically on the community in South Africa. The essay on South Africa was compiled by notes written by the late Gus Saron for his history of the community, which was left incomplete on his passing. Dr Anthony Grenville provides an international perspective and Naomi Musiker and Stephen Gray focus on the wartime careers of two English Jews with a South African connection, Jack Rich and war poet Isaac Rosenberg.

The second anniversary is the seventieth year since the deportation to Auschwitz of the Jewish community of Rhodes (Rhodos), a reminder of how severely the Holocaust decimated Sephardi as well as Ashkenazi Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. Essays and perspectives on the Jews of Rhodes, including on the commemorative visit of survivors and their families earlier this year, are provided by the late Violette Fintz, Maurice Turiel, Isaac Habib and Zmira Cohen.

The remainder of the issue features perspectives on a range of issues, viz. the Jewish sympathies of the Russian composer Shostakovitch (Cecil Bloom), the ideological war against Israel (Shelley Glaser), a related perspective by Kenneth Penkin on the controversial Deir Yassin ‘massacre’, an interesting riff on ‘life before birth’ by Bernard Levinson and the editor’s look at Jewish POWs in World War II, including further memories of successful escapee Stanley Smollan.

There are reviews (by Ralph Zulman and Gary Selikow) on Suzanne Belling’s recently published book on Cyril Karabus and his unjust detention in the UAE and on Martin Gilbert history of Jews under Muslim rule. Obituaries pay tribute to three distinguished community members who had a strong connection to Jewish Affairs, Mervyn Smith, Ronnie Mink and Rabbi Norman Bernhard. Poetry and an interesting letter responding to a previous Gwynne Schrire article complete the issue.

We hope you enjoy this latest Jewish Affairs issue, and that you will pass it on to anyone who might likewise be interested.

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish everyone Chanukah Sameach and a restful end-of-year break.

David Saks

Editor

 

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Jewish Affairs Pesach 2014 EDITION

 

Pesach 2014

This Pesach 2014 issue of Jewish Affairs is divided into two broad themes. The first looks at the legacy of Jewish Lithuania, providing perspectives by those who were born and grew up there, those descendants of Jewish Lithuanians who have returned to visit and from a renowned rabbi and historian on Lithuanian Jewry’s enduring spiritual-intellectual heritage. Veronica Belling, Natalie Ginsberg and Joseph Rabie are all descendants of Lithuanian Jews who settled in South Africa. In their accounts of visiting the land of their forebears, they bring their particular family experiences and academic training to bear in describing their thoughts and feelings on confronting the echoes of a culture that was all but obliterated seventy years ago. The Lithuanian boyhood of Solly Per features in a memoir written up by his daughter-in-law, Linda Per, and the editor tells the harrowing yet also inspiring story of Lithuanian Jews who escaped the Nazi killing machine through being sent to a Soviet slave labour camp just days before the German invasion. The opening article by Rabbi Berel Wein is taken from the recent book The Legacy: Teaching of the Great Lithuanian Rabbis, co-authored with South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. This stresses the importance of ethical, moral conduct and fitting inter-personal conduct in Jewish philosophy, one of the areas in which Lithuanian Jewry did much to enrich the Jewish world.

Part two of this issue deals more broadly with the themes of identity and culture. Gwynne Schrire’s witty and erudite take on Jewish eating habits through the ages provides, as it were, much food for thought on the question of how much diet and Jewish identity are intertwined. Bev May, a new contributor, exams with much sensitivity the complex area of gender in Jewish tradition. The extent to which the British connection has influenced Jewish modes of worship in South Africa is addressed by David Sher, and SAJBD archivist and frequent contributor Naomi Musiker looks back on an invaluable oral history project conducted by the Jewish Historical and Sociological Society in the middle of the last century. Finally, veteran Israeli scholar Dr Aryeh Newman puts the case for a more open and flexible approach to current Halachic challenges.

Book reviews include Ralph Zulman on Robe Rose’s take on a local Jewish Ponzi scammer and two new studies focusing on the theme of immigration from Eastern Europe. Hazel Frankel’s original Yiddish poem poignantly relates to the opening theme of this Jewish Affairs issue.

On behalf of the Editorial Board of Jewish Affairs, I wish you all a Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach.

David Saks
Editor

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Jewish Affairs – Chanukah 2013JA CHAN 2013

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JEWISH AFFAIRS CHANUKAH 2010

29 November 2013

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CHANNUKAH 2008

4 November 2013

JA CHANK 2008

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Jewish Affairs: Rosh Hashanah 2013

2 September 2013

Download Volume 68, Number 2, Rosh Hashanah 2013  Why Jewish Affairs serves such an important purpose is that it is the only vehicle that allows for a properly detailed, extended exploration of subjects of interest to South African Jewry, unlike other publications where space constraints seldom allow for topics to be dealt with in more […]

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Jewish Affairs: Pesach 2013

3 April 2013

Volume 68,  Number 1,  Pesach 2013 Highlights of this issue include a focus on the artist Samuel Bak by Ute Ben Yosef, including numerous examples of his internationally acclaimed work.  In the field of South African Yiddish literature, Hazel Frankel and Cedric Ginsberg respectively write on the renowned poet David Fram and the short story writer Nehemiah […]

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Jewish Affairs: Chanukah 2012

29 November 2012

Volume 67, Number 3, Chanukah 2012 Jewish Affairs in large part serves to showcase the achievements of members of our South African Jewish community. We have seen of late a strong focus on South African Jewish artists, including Sidney Goldblatt, Herman Wald, Naomi Jacobson, David Goldblatt and Moses Kottler. In this issue, we feature the work […]

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Rosh Hashana 2012

21 September 2012

Volume 67, No. 2.  Rosh Hashana [.PDF] This year is the 71st year of publication for our prestigious journal, today South African Jewry’s premier forum for historical research, debate and cultural expression.  

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Pesach 2012

20 March 2012

Volume 67, No 1 Pesach 2012 SOUTH AFRICAN JEWRY IN POST-APARTHEID SOCIETY One Foot Out: Young Capetonian Jews in Post-World Cup South Africa by Dan Brotman Jewish Contributions to Johannesburg Inner City Development by Naomi Musiker 

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Chanukah 2011

20 November 2011

Volume 66, No 3, Chanukah 2011 In this edition OBITUARY Harold Rudolph by Suzanne Belling ISRAEL, THE DIASPORA AND THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT Utopia, the Liberal Left and Israel by Chuck Volpe Real South African Lessons for the Middle East by David Benatar Trying Times for Venezuela Jewry, interview of Sammy Eppel by Steven Gruzd

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