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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Dear Jewish Affairs readers

2015 marks the seventieth anniversary of both the end of World War II and the liberation of the remaining Nazi death camps in Europe. Accordingly, Jewish Affairs will feature various perspectives on these themes in the three issues this year.

The first 2015, Pesach, issue has now appeared and been uploaded onto this site. It includes Ann Harris’ report on her participating in a special commemorative ceremony held at Auschwitz on 27 January this year, marking to the day seventy years since the camp’s liberation by the Red Army. How a leading South African Jewish artist interprets the Holocaust legacy is a prominent theme in Ute Ben Yosef’s appraisal of the work of Abigail Sarah Bagraim.  A different perspective of the impact of Nazism in the arts field is provided by Gwynne Schrire, who writes on the persecution of German Jewish artists in the years leading up to the war and the connections some of them have with South Africa.

The eminent Jewish historian Dr Gabriel Sivan, a long-serving member of the JA editorial board, contributes a substantial monograph on the intriguing figure of Joachim Gans, believed to be the first practising Jew to live for a time in North America. His story is tied up with such famous events and personalities as Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon and the defeat of the Spanish Armada, as well as the first British settlement in the United States. Articles with a South Africa focus comprise Veronica Belling’s account of writing the recent history of Cape Town’s Oranjia Jewish orphanage, David Sher’s tribute to the extraordinary philanthropist and Jewish communal leader, Samuel Sher, and a short story by Zita Nurok invoking how Jewish families and their black servants related to one another during the apartheid era. Finally, Maurice Skikne reflects on themes of mysticism and sexuality in the writings of I B Singer.

Book reviews look at an important new book on Reform Judaism in the US (by Bev May), a history of the Jews of South West Africa Namibia (Naomi Musiker), an important new Holocaust memoir (Marcia Leveson) and the autobiography of eminent local Judge Edwin Cameron (Ralph Zulman). New poetry and a reader’s letter complete the issue.

Wishing all our readers a Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach

 

David Saks

Editor

 

Click on the link below to view the Pesach Edition.

 

Jewish Affairs – Pesach 2015 – Updated

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Dear Jewish Affairs Subscriber

We are pleased to announce that the Rosh Hashanah 2015 issue of Jewish Affairs has now appeared, and is available online.

The issue comprises three main sections. The first, and largest, is “South African Jewry in World War II” which, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, looks at various aspects of South African Jewish involvement in the conflict, including militarily, on the home front and the war’s immediate aftermath. There is a mix of original articles and reprints of past articles, particularly from The Judean, organ of the SA Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s League. Extensive use has been made of the SAJBD’s photographic archives in illustrating the various articles.

This is followed by a section on the early years of the State of Israel, including the role South African volunteers played in the nascent Israeli Air Force. The final section focuses on the foundations of post-apartheid South Africa, with reference to this year being the 60th anniversary of the ratification of the Freedom Charter.

Book reviews, poetry, an obituary for Jewish Affairs stalwart John Simon and readers’ letters make up the balance of the issue.

We hope that you will find much that is of interest in this enjoy this special Jewish Affairs issue, and hope that you will pass it on to those who might likewise enjoy it.

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

 

David Saks

Editor

 

Click on the link below to view the Rosh Hashana Jewish Affairs:

Jewish Affairs Rosh Hashana 2015 

 

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