Rosh Hashana 2012

by David Saks on 21 September 2012

in Jewish Affairs

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.  

The Rosh Hashanah 2012 issue of JA, in keeping with recent issues of the journal, has a strong focus on South African Jewish artists. Coincidentally, the three personalities featured shared the same name, hence the section is subtitled “A Tale of Three Goldblatts”. One of these is the photographer David Goldblatt, today a household word in South Africa as well as being internationally recognised as being one of the leading exponents in his field. In addition to the biographical sketch and interview with him, both by Frank Startz, the article includes selected examples of Goldblatt’s evocative work. We thank him for giving us permission to reproduce them.

Goldblatt Number Two is the eminent sculptor Naomi Jacobson, scion of a distinguished family that includes her grandfather, the great Yiddish scholar and writer David Goldblatt, her redoubtable aunt Sarah Goldblatt, a pioneer of the Afrikaans language, and not least her father, the distinguished advocate and author Israel Goldblatt. Naomi’s story, in addition to her achievements in the sculpting field, includes many interesting insights into what it was like to grow up in South West Africa/Namibia from the early days of the South African Mandate through to the 1960s.

The Pesach 2012 issue of Jewish Affairs included a feature on the late artist Sidney Goldblatt, also by Frank Startz. This issue follows it up with some examples of Goldblatt’s work, kindly provided by his wife, Wendy.

Over the years, Jewish Affairs has regularly published Bernard Katz’s concise, well-researched and eminently readable “potted histories” (with a contemporary focus) of major Jewish communities in Europe. Those areas covered thus far are  France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Lithuania and Prague in the Czech Republic. This time, Bernard has moved further east to deal with Turkey, and as usual has succeeded in encapsulating the essential features of this huge topic. An interesting companion piece by the UK poet and academic Richard Burns looks at the position, historic and contemporary, of Jews in nearby Serbia.

Other items in this issue include Part I of Leon Reich’s examination of the controversial Pope Pius XII, in particular his role in Hitler’s rise to power and the much disputed nature of his responses to the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Reich recognises the importance of liberal Catholic theologians over the centuries, whom he likens to the ten righteous people who (had they been found) could have saved the Biblical Cities of the Plain from destruction, but he is adamant that Eugenio Pacelli – Pope Pius XII – was decidedly not one of them.

Other items include Rubin Musiker’s moving and insightful tribute to his friend and mentor Phillip Tobias and an equally moving account by Jeff Fine of some of the Holocaust artworks in his collection and the stories behind them. There is a shtetl tale with a neat twist by the renowned poet and essayist Bernard Levinson, with new poetry and book reviews making up the balance.

David Saks

Associate Director & Editor Jewish Affairs

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies

Tel :  (+2711)  6452536



David Saks
David Saks is Associate Director at the SAJBD’s National Office in Johannesburg.

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