Jewish Affairs – Recording the South African Jewish Story
The Rosh Hashanah issue of the Board’s prestigious journal Jewish Affairs has just come out. Now into its eighth decade, having first appeared in 1941, the journal is now widely recognised as being the Jewish community’s leading historical and cultural publication. Today, it is available in both print and electronic form. It has been edited since 1999 by our Associate Director David Saks, whose writings will be familiar to Jewish Report readers. Those wanting to subscribe to the latter version can do so free of charge, and in addition each new issue is immediately uploaded onto the Board’s website (www.jewishsa.co.za). Many people still prefer to pay an annual subscription to receive the hard copy version, however, and in addition a subscription makes an ideal Yom Tov gift.
I invite anyone who is not a subscriber to please consider becoming one, ideally by signing up for the printed version or at least to the electronic one. In addition to providing you with a host of new insights into our community, your participation will help ensure the continued viability of this important publication. For more information, write to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ambassador Ali Halimeh
The sudden passing of Ali Halimeh, the long-serving Palestinian Ambassador in South Africa, was regretted by all who knew and worked with him. This very much includes those of us at the SAJBD who interacted with him on frequent occasions over the years. Despite our essentially coming from opposite sides in the Middle East debate, this interaction was always respectful and constructive. Mr Halimeh never failed to show us courtesy and consideration and (unlike certain public figures in this country, who themselves are not even Palestinian), was always open to hearing our point of view. He will be much missed, and we can only hope that the example he set will be followed not just by his successor, but by all those responsible for negotiating a just and lasting peace agreement between Israel and its Palestinian neighbours.
We were fortunately able to negotiate an arrangement with UNISA whereby exams set just before the onset of Yom Kippur were brought forward by an hour for Jewish students so as to enable them to return home in good time. Once again, I thank the university administration for their willingness to accommodate our students’ religious needs. This year has otherwise seen relatively few Yom Tov exam clashes for us to deal with. However, addressing this perennial issue has to be done on a year by year basis, with each new situation requiring a new solution to be negotiated. I therefore urge all students, regardless of what institution they are studying at, to inform us in good time in all cases of exams being set on a Jewish holiday. The sooner we have all the facts to hand, the easier it will be for us to engage with the relevant institution in resolving the problem.
We are now into the second half of this month’s festivities, a time of joy and togetherness after the solemnity of the Yamim Noraim. I wish all of our community Chag Succot Sameach.
- Listen to Steven Gruzd on Jewish Board Talk on 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00-13:00.