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COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

- By Shani Silove

Project TEN is an international development program that operates volunteer centers in developing areas, all around the world. Project Ten currently runs centers in Ghana, Uganda, Mexico, Ethiopia and Israel. Due to a fruitful collaboration between the Jewish Agency and the SA Zionist federation, together with the generous assistance of the Victor Daitz Foundation Project Ten is launching its newest center in Durban.

Project TEN aims to bring together young Jewish adults from all over the world, to a program that combines volunteer work with local South African communities, alongside service-learning in the fields of international development, culture, identity and Jewish activism. This program embodies the essence of Tikkun Olam while teaching Jewish leadership on the ground. Together with the Jewish community in Durban we hope to create sustainable projects in developing communities, while exploring and practicing what it means to be a “Jewish Activist.” 

This is the first time a Project Ten center will be in such close proximity to a Jewish community and we are excited at the prospect of all the incredible things, which can be achieved with the support of such a wonderful and warm community. We invite anyone and everyone to come and meet us and take an interest in the work we will be doing. We are always happy to meet new friends.



ROSH HASHANAH MESSAGES

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

- Prof Antony Arkin 

There is a note of universality to the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that we do not find on other festivals. According to Rabbi Lord Sacks the key section on other festivals is the emphasis on Jewish singularity. “You chose us among all the nations”. On the Yamin Noraim, the concentration is on human solidarity. “And so place the fear of the Lord our God, over all that you have made …so that all of creation will worship You…” And human solidarity is what the world needs right now.

It is evident that the hate that starts with Jews, including hatred of Israel, the democratic state of the Jewish people, never ends with the Jews. The most significant enemies of the Jews today are the enemies of freedom everywhere. Worldwide we are correct to feel anxious. However, there are large parts of the Middle East where Christians are being butchered, beheaded, driven from their homes and living in terror 

As for the Muslims, one prominent academic recently estimated that of the hundreds dying daily, more than 90 percent were being murdered by their fellow Muslims. Bahais and Yazidis are at risk too. In other parts of the world so are Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and for that matter atheists. No historian looking back at our time will call it an age of tolerance.

But we are not back in the 1930’s. On the contrary, for the first time in the more than three thousand years of Jewish history, we have simultaneous independence and sovereignty in the land and state of Israel, and equality and freedom in the Diaspora.

Through Israel, Hebrew the language of the Bible was reborn as a living tongue. Jewish communities under threat have been rescued. Jews have come to Israel from over a hundred countries. A desolate landscape has bloomed again. Jerusalem has been rebuilt. Torah scholarship, devastated by the Holocaust has been revived. Economically, politically, socially and culturally Israel’s achievements are unmatched by any country of its age and size.

The past year’s events have reminded us that in a profound existential sense we remain one people. As we face the Yamin Noraim, we stand before God not just as individual Jews, but as the Jewish people. But the past year has shown that it is not just Israel or Jews whose freedom is at risk. It is the whole of the Middle East, large parts of Africa and Asia and much of Europe. Therefore let us approach the New Year with a real sense of human solidarity. May God write us, our families, the people and State of Israel and Jews throughout the world in the book of life. And may the day come when the righteouses of all nations work together for the sake of freedom, peace and life.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

His Excellency Ambassador Arthur Lenk

State of Israel   

Dear Ambassador Lenk,

Unfulfilled agreement on the Egalitarian Section of the Kotel

At the moment, the traditional Western Wall area functions as an ultra-Orthodox synagogue, where women and men pray separately; where the principle of Kol Isha is enforced and where not all Jews are free to worship as they choose. Five months ago the Government of Israel approved a plan that was negotiated over a two-year period by Women of the Wall, the Reform and Conservative movements, the North American Federations and the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate of the Kotel.

The agreement would expand and solidify an egalitarian presence at the Southern Western Wall. This agreement states that this prayer space would be monitored and controlled by representatives of the Liberal streams without interference by the Chief Rabbinate or any other Orthodox authority. Since the agreement was signed the Government has delayed its implementation due to the pressure from the Ultra-Orthodox parties that are seeking changes to the original agreement that would effectively give control of the space back to the Chief Rabbinate of the Wall. 

The government’s reluctance to move forward with the negotiated agreement is worrisome due to the recent bills presented into the Knesset by the Ultra-Orthodox parties and supported by the Israeli ruling government coalition that would curtail the use of Mikvaot for the purposes of Reform and Conservative conversions. Not moving forward on this plan undermines and contradicts Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that every Jew should feel at home in Israel. It is hoped that this egalitarian pluralistic prayer space will demonstrate that in terms of Israel’s Declaration of Independence that it is a place of religious freedom, religious diversity, tolerance and mutual respect among the religious streams.

Prof Antony Arkin

Chairman Arzenu South Africa.

Chairman KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council


COMMUNITY NEWS

Is-Lit

By Michelle Shapira

Another initiative of the Hasbara Committee of the KNZC is Is-Lit – the Israeli literature Circle – formed to explore the theme of “Living Israel through Literature”.  This group has been meeting bi-monthly for more than seven years.

Is-Lit provides a relaxed and informal setting where participants discuss books, short stories, articles and issues relating to Israel.  Participants are privileged to enjoy the expertise of Miriam Maltz and Rochelle Puterman, both of whom are past lecturers at UKZN, in Jewish Studies and Literature.  At each Is-Lit meeting an interesting and relevant topic is discussed, and each participant getting the opportunity to talk about the book, short story or article he/she has most recently read.  

Is-lit owns a vast number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, that participants are encouraged to take home to read, enjoy and discuss. It is certainly not a “high brow” academic gathering and the only requirement is a love of Israel and a love of reading. There is a fee of R50 per participant which includes refreshments and access to all the books, and all are invited to join.  


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

By Michelle Shapira

One of the most important aspects of the work of the Kwazulu Natal Zionist, both within the Durban Jewish community and also in the wider society, is to enhance knowledge and understanding of Israel, and one of the most effective ways is through film. Israel has a thriving film industry with world-class directors and a wonderful pool of acting talent. Annually, Israel produces numerous quality films that are often thought-provoking, informative and controversial, but always entertaining.  Israeli movies do very well at film festivals world-wide and walk away with many awards.

Organised by the Hasbara (Information and Education) Committee of the KNZC, the Israeli Film Club (IFC) hosts monthly screenings of the latest from Israeli cinema.  At each screening, Rochelle Puterman, the convener of the IFC, presents a brief introduction, followed by the screening of the evening’s film.  After the screening, there is usually a lively discussion, with the audience being encouraged to participate and express their views and opinions, over tea/coffee and eats.  

Attendance over the past year has grown most impressively and our audience is quite diverse in all aspects.  Attendance is free and donations are most welcome.

We look forward to you joining us.  For more information:  knzc@djc.co.za or 031 337 1507.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

By Michelle Shapira

The choice, by the State of Israel, to observe Yom Hazikaron, the memorial day for the fallen of Israel, just before celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, is a symbolic gesture that is meant to remind us of the very high cost of statehood and independence. It is meant to put our joy into perspective, and to recognise the struggles endured and the sacrifices made for this great achievement. On Tuesday evening, 10 May, the Durban Jewish community observed Yom Hazikaron in a very moving event at the Durban Jewish Centre.  

It is often difficult to emotionally identify and intellectually process the magnitude of loss, when we relate only to the numbers of the fallen. For this reason, the KNZC chose to focus on the life of one fallen soldier in a ceremony which left few dry eyes in the room. The very well attended event told the story of the life of Michael Levine, who left his comfy life in the diaspora, to become what is known as a lone soldier in the Israeli Defence Force.  A lone soldier is one who serves in the IDF without having any immediate family in Israel. Michael Levine fell in combat in the Second Lebanon War at the age of 22.

Every single one of the 23 447 who gave their lives in defence of the State of Israel was a son, a daughter, a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a beloved friend.  23447 families continue to grieve and will never be the same. On Yom Hazikaron, we dedicate a day each year, to think of them and share their terrible anguish. Theirs was the ultimate sacrifice. Am Israel Chai!


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

By Michelle Shapira

The community celebrated the 68th birthday of the State of Israel on Wednesday evening, 11 May. A crowd of just under 300 enjoyed the very festive atmosphere and the delicious food. The main hall at the Durban Jewish Centre was decorated with lovely white draping and blue lighting for the occasion, and street and traffic signs in Hebrew adorned the walls.

The MC for the night was Jeremy Droyman, chairman of the IUA/UCF, who welcomed all to the event. After his short Yom Ha’atzmaut address, Antony Arkin, the chairman of the KNZC, invited everyone to enjoy the music, the food and the activities on offer.

Following a flag procession by all the children, the pupils of Temple David Cheder read a wonderful poem written by an Israeli child, on the wonder of the rebirth of the Hebrew language. The choir from Akiva College also sang for the very appreciative audience.

 Igal, our entertainer for the evening, was much enjoyed by the crowd, with his a great mix of Israeli and contemporary music. The well supported food stalls were prepared and manned by members of the various community organisations. Felafel, shwarma, hot dogs, curry, and hot chips were followed by cake, ice lollies and fruit salad. A very big thank you to the members of the HOD, the UJW, WIZO, the Sisterhood of Temple David and the Synagogue Women’s Guild who contributed their time and efforts to making this function a success.  A special thank you goes to Troy Schonken and the staff of the Durban Jewish Centre for setting up, cleaning up and running the bar.

The photo booth proved to be a tremendous attraction, generating a long queue of patrons wanting to take home photos of themselves with appropriately festive attire and props. Much fun was had by the children on the jumping castle and many a little one went home absolutely exhausted.  Other highlights for the children included a fooseball table, generously donated by Bridges For Peace, a strong supporter of Israel and a good friend of the South African Jewish community. Craft activities, donated by Nadine Gering, of Melissa & Doug, were also thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Amy Groer for so capably organising the children’s activities and for her supervision of the children on the night.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

The Biennial General Meeting of the KNZC took place on 14 April 2016, with Professor Antony Arkin continuing for a further term as Chairman, and Mr Greg Bass as Treasurer.   The committee, consisting of Mrs Suzanne Edmunds, Mrs Rochelle Puterman, Mrs Jeanette Bank, Mr Glen Sol and Mr Gilad Friedman, was unanimously voted in.  

In his report as chairman, Prof. Arkin highlighted the varied and abundant achievements of the KNZC, considering the constraints, both financial and in terms of human resources. Professor Arkin noted that when he was first approached to chair the KNZC 30 years ago, the KNZC had 14 full time employees, while presently, only one employee.  Nevertheless, the KNZC would continue to carry out the goals set by the South African Zionist Federation to the best of its ability, adapting to the changing circumstances. 

Prof Arkin enumerated the continuing challenges which face Israel and the Jewish people and made special note of the way in which our response is most often one of deeds of loving kindness and outreach.  He described the ongoing, wonderful work of DIVOTE, an affiliate organisation to the KNZC, so ably run by Mrs Cheryl Unterslak, which provides comfort and support to those affected by terror in Israel.  Professor Arkin lauded the work of the JNF Victor Daitz Eco Educational Centre at Hammarsdale, which carries out, in co-operation with the KZN Dept of Education and Durban Solid Waste, education in the fields of recycling and permaculture to local school pupils. He also mentioned the efforts made during the past few years to strengthen relationships between our community and other groups, such as the Christian Zionist community and the Zulu Royal household. Prof Arkin highlighted the very important contribution of the KNZC to the community, in the organization of Israel related events, speakers and programs, especially the annual Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut events, which involved an enormous amount of time and effort.  In addition, the KNZC have held a large number of public events, hosting the Israeli ambassador on a number of occasions, the King David String Ensemble of Jerusalem, the film director Gloria Greenfield, the pianist Astrith Baltsan, journalist Paula Slier, and Colonel Richard Kemp. The work of the KNZC, to protect the interests of Israel in the diaspora, continues, so that the world can see the positive, hugely impactful contributions that Israel has made globally, and so that Israel and Jews world-wide are able to continue the task of tikkun olam and striving for peace and prosperity for all.

Mrs Rochelle Puterman was singled out for her many years of dedicated service to the KNZC, as a committee member, as Honorary Treasurer for many years, and also as the head of the Hasbara committee during the last few years.  

Professor Arkin especially thanked the four, very significant pillars of the Durban Jewish Community,  The Victor Daitz Foundation, the Beare Foundation, the JAKAMaR Trust and the Lazarus Family Trust for their unfailing support of the KNZC, without which the KNZC would not be able to continue to function.  

Mr Greg Bass, in his report as Treasurer, also thanked the four trusts for their financial support.  He further thanked the IUA/UCF for its contribution which enabled the employment of the community youth worker, Ms Amy Groer.  In addition, over the past year, the contribution by the IUA/UCF to the KNZC towards the administrative costs of the KNZC office, enabled the KNZC to balance its books for the first time in a number of years. 


The first keynote speaker of the evening was the National Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Mr Ben Swartz. Ben spoke of how, in recent years, the focus of the SAZF has expanded to include investing resources in strengthening ties between the Jewish community and other South African communities, especially Christian supporters of Israel.  Ben expanded on the phenomenal achievements of the organisation South African Friends of Israel (SAFI), which was formed under the auspices of the SAZF 5 years ago.   SAFI, through its hard work in areas such as Israel advocacy training, arranging group specific tours to Israel (such as groups of leading party political figures, Christian leadership groups, young political leadership groups, and profession specific tours) and their annual Israel Advocacy Conference, has grown from strength to strength.  He also went on to outline the ways in which the Jewish community has been able to reciprocate the support received from South Africans, in the development of projects in the areas of health, agriculture and education facilitated by the SAZF and SAFI, though which Israeli ideas and technology can benefit the lives of ordinary South Africans.

The second speaker was Her Royal Highness, Princess Mukelile Zulu, representing the Wellness Program of His Royal Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini.  The Princess, in a very heartfelt and sincere way, described the work of the Wellness Clinic at Matubatuba, a project which was undertaken by the Bayede Trust in conjunction with the KZN Dept of Health, the Dischem Foundation and the KNZC.   The Princess described some of the great successes of the clinic so far and spoke of the challenges which prevent the clinic reaching its full potential.  She thanked the Jewish community for their support of the underprivileged and expressed her hope that in the future this project would be expanded to incorporate a further 9 clinics in areas which are badly in need of better primary health care.  

Following the close of the meeting, the attendees were able to spend some time talking with the speakers while enjoying a wonderful spread so ably catered by David Jacobson.  

The KNZC would like to thank all the attendees for their support, not only on the night, but throughout the years.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

The Biennial General Meeting of the KNZC took place on 14 April 2016, with Professor Antony Arkin continuing for a further term as Chairman, and Mr Greg Bass as Treasurer.   The committee, consisting of Mrs Suzanne Edmunds, Mrs Rochelle Puterman, Mrs Jeanette Bank, Mr Glen Sol and Mr Gilad Friedman, was unanimously voted in.  

In his report as chairman, Prof. Arkin highlighted the varied and abundant achievements of the KNZC, considering the constraints, both financial and in terms of human resources. Professor Arkin noted that when he was first approached to chair the KNZC 30 years ago, the KNZC had 14 full time employees, while presently, only one employee.  Nevertheless, the KNZC would continue to carry out the goals set by the South African Zionist Federation to the best of its ability, adapting to the changing circumstances. 

Prof Arkin enumerated the continuing challenges which face Israel and the Jewish people and made special note of the way in which our response is most often one of deeds of loving kindness and outreach.  He described the ongoing, wonderful work of DIVOTE, an affiliate organisation to the KNZC, so ably run by Mrs Cheryl Unterslak, which provides comfort and support to those affected by terror in Israel.  Professor Arkin lauded the work of the JNF Victor Daitz Eco Educational Centre at Hammarsdale, which carries out, in co-operation with the KZN Dept of Education and Durban Solid Waste, education in the fields of recycling and permaculture to local school pupils. He also mentioned the efforts made during the past few years to strengthen relationships between our community and other groups, such as the Christian Zionist community and the Zulu Royal household. Prof Arkin highlighted the very important contribution of the KNZC to the community, in the organization of Israel related events, speakers and programs, especially the annual Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut events, which involved an enormous amount of time and effort.  In addition, the KNZC have held a large number of public events, hosting the Israeli ambassador on a number of occasions, the King David String Ensemble of Jerusalem, the film director Gloria Greenfield, the pianist Astrith Baltsan, journalist Paula Slier, and Colonel Richard Kemp. The work of the KNZC, to protect the interests of Israel in the diaspora, continues, so that the world can see the positive, hugely impactful contributions that Israel has made globally, and so that Israel and Jews world-wide are able to continue the task of tikkun olam and striving for peace and prosperity for all.

Mrs Rochelle Puterman was singled out for her many years of dedicated service to the KNZC, as a committee member, as Honorary Treasurer for many years, and also as the head of the Hasbara committee during the last few years.  

Professor Arkin especially thanked the four, very significant pillars of the Durban Jewish Community,  The Victor Daitz Foundation, the Beare Foundation, the JAKAMaR Trust and the Lazarus Family Trust for their unfailing support of the KNZC, without which the KNZC would not be able to continue to function.  

Mr Greg Bass, in his report as Treasurer, also thanked the four trusts for their financial support.  He further thanked the IUA/UCF for its contribution which enabled the employment of the community youth worker, Ms Amy Groer.  In addition, over the past year, the contribution by the IUA/UCF to the KNZC towards the administrative costs of the KNZC office, enabled the KNZC to balance its books for the first time in a number of years. 


The first keynote speaker of the evening was the National Chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Mr Ben Swartz. Ben spoke of how, in recent years, the focus of the SAZF has expanded to include investing resources in strengthening ties between the Jewish community and other South African communities, especially Christian supporters of Israel.  Ben expanded on the phenomenal achievements of the organisation South African Friends of Israel (SAFI), which was formed under the auspices of the SAZF 5 years ago.   SAFI, through its hard work in areas such as Israel advocacy training, arranging group specific tours to Israel (such as groups of leading party political figures, Christian leadership groups, young political leadership groups, and profession specific tours) and their annual Israel Advocacy Conference, has grown from strength to strength.  He also went on to outline the ways in which the Jewish community has been able to reciprocate the support received from South Africans, in the development of projects in the areas of health, agriculture and education facilitated by the SAZF and SAFI, though which Israeli ideas and technology can benefit the lives of ordinary South Africans.

The second speaker was Her Royal Highness, Princess Mukelile Zulu, representing the Wellness Program of His Royal Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini.  The Princess, in a very heartfelt and sincere way, described the work of the Wellness Clinic at Matubatuba, a project which was undertaken by the Bayede Trust in conjunction with the KZN Dept of Health, the Dischem Foundation and the KNZC.   The Princess described some of the great successes of the clinic so far and spoke of the challenges which prevent the clinic reaching its full potential.  She thanked the Jewish community for their support of the underprivileged and expressed her hope that in the future this project would be expanded to incorporate a further 9 clinics in areas which are badly in need of better primary health care.  

Following the close of the meeting, the attendees were able to spend some time talking with the speakers while enjoying a wonderful spread so ably catered by David Jacobson.  

The KNZC would like to thank all the attendees for their support, not only on the night, but throughout the years.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

By Michelle Shapira

On Sunday 13 March, the South African Friends of Israel (SAFI), an affiliate organisation of the South African Zionist Federation, held their annual conference at Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg. Over 500 delegates attended the daylong conference which kicked off with a welcome speech by the founder and Co-Chairman of SAFI (and also the current Chairman of the SAZF), Mr. Ben Swartz. This was followed by a very inspiring address by Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, during which he was lauded with a great deal of applause from the very diverse audience.

The Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, HE Arthur Lenk, in his usual entertaining manner, spoke of the relationships that Israel has with various countries and the fact that Israel is not isolated as detractors would have it. He enumerated the various ways in which South Africa and Israel would benefit from closer ties.

The day included three keynote speakers: Mr Winton Steward, the Director of Pro Israel Campus Outreach in historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) in the United States, Mr Shahar Azani, the Executive Director of “Stand With Us”, kept the audience spellbound with his often amusing account of Israeli culture, and Mr Zeev Ben Shachar. Zeev Ben Shachar is the Director of Israel Education for an organisation called Jerusalem U. Jerusalem U, among other things, conducts Israel activism through educational movies and relevant curricula, and also runs gap year programs for collage age Jews from abroad to develop community leadership and Israel activism skills. Zeev spoke on activism in general and also specifically related to combatting the BDS movement. 

Also included in the program was a panel discussion during which the attendees were fortunate to hear the likes of the charismatic Ms Olga Meshoe, the CEO of DEISI, Mr Nicholas Selamolela, religious leader of the Lemba tribe, Mr Bejani Chauke, political strategist and Mr Michael Freeman, Deputy Head of Mission of the Israeli Embassy to South Africa.

The final hour of the conference was taken up with a choice of four workshops: Mr Riad Hassoun, a well-known pro-Israel speaker and prominent member of the Zionist-Druze Association and the former city manager of Daliat El Carmel Municipality; Dr Lydia Meshoe, wife of MP Reverend Kenneth Meshoe and Co-Founder of the Hope of Glory Tabernacle Church; Mr Chris Eden, the National Director of Bridges for Peace an organization and Mr Zeev Ben Shachar, one of the aforementioned key note speakers.

Mark Hyman, the co-Chairman of the South African Friends of Israel and conference convener, delivered a rousing closing speech to the plenary of the organisation’s fourth annual Israel Advocacy Conference – appropriate as the day was marked by one rousing event after the other that left delegates inspired, empowered and exhausted after ten hours of non-stop action. 


COMMUNITY NEWS

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND OF SOUTH AFRICA

- By Suzanne Edmunds

Under the auspices of the Kwa Zulu Natal Zionist Council and Jewish Nation Fund (JNF), a large number of the community, young and old, gathered at the UJC to celebrate TuBshvat.

An excellent video on the work of JNF was shown. JNF Tree certificates were handed over to community organizations.

The main ceremony was held at the interesting Garden of Biblical Plants, developed by Debby Shapiro. A pomegranate was planted by the children and then it was over to the youth leaders and their young charges, that had a grand time playing with origami from JNF. 


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

By Michelle Shapira

Founded in 1976, Bridges for Peace is a Christian organisation supporting Israel and building relationships between Christians and Jews, in South Africa, Israel and internationally. Through their programs, they give Christians the opportunity to actively express what they consider their biblical responsibility - to support Israel and the Jewish community.

A quote from their website sums up their support for Israel and the Jews: “For too long Christians have been silent. For too long the Jewish community has had to fight its battles alone. It is time Christian individuals and congregations speak up for the people who gave us the Bible” 

Bridges for Peace supports Israel in a wide variety of ways, and one of these ways is their “Israel Foundational Course”.  The goals of this course are to deepen the attendees’ understanding of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, develop a better grasp of the current situation in Israel and empower them to support and defend Israel by sharing their knowledge with others.

During November, Bridges for Peace held their annual “Israel Foundational Course” in Durban, attended by 16 Christian leaders of various denominations.  As part of their course, the KNZC organized a visit to Temple David on a Friday afternoon, during which the participants had an informative tour of the Synagogue let by Rabbi Avidan, followed by attendance at the Kabbalat Shabbat service, thank you Rabbi!  On Sunday 15th of November, Michelle Shapira spent an hour with the participants in an informal QA session on Israel and Zionism, and this was followed by tour of the Holocaust Centre led by Maureen Caminsky. 


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

- By Michelle Shapira

His Excellency, Mr Arthur Lenk, visited Durban this week. Most of his time was spent meeting with various business representatives and visiting various projects, but an appreciative audience was privileged to hear him speak on Wednesday evening, 18 November at the Durban Jewish Centre.

Mr Lenk is an easy-going, no-airs-and-graces ambassador, very active on social media and extremely approachable. His address touched only lightly on the subjects of terror and politics, about which he reasoned, his audience was already well informed. Rather, his talk focussed on the ways in which co-operation with Israeli businesses by South African entrepreneurs, government agencies and NGO’s could contribute to solving the many dire problems that face our continent. He highlighted issues such as the shortage of potable water, the very low prevalence of water recycling, the quest for sustainable energy, the need for cost effective and up to date medical technology, and the problems of food security. Mr Lenk discussed the ways in which Israel had solved its own problems in these areas, and informed his listeners about projects which were already up and running in South Africa through co-operation with Israeli companies. The Ambassador’s realistic but optimistic take on the situation was a breath of fresh air. This was followed by a question and answer session and a chance for the attendees to chat with Mr Lenk over tea. Thank you Mr Ambassador for your warm and accessible manner. It is always a pleasure to see you in Durban!


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Michelle Shapira

An audience of more than 260 turned out to hear Col. Richard Kemp speak at the Durban Jewish Centre on 14 October. 

Col. Richard Kemp CBE has spent most his life fighting terrorism and insurgency, commanding British troops on the front line of some of the world’s toughest neighbourhoods, including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. He is now a writer, journalist, media commentator and motivational speaker. 

For 40 minutes one could have heard a pin drop as the Colonel gave a most enlightening and entertaining talk, explaining and analyzing the roles of the various players in the ever changing Middle East conflict, including Russia, Iran, Syria, and most importantly ISIS.  In addition, Israel’s relationships with the Palestinian Authority, Europe and the United States were examined, including the very recent surge of terrorist attacks in Israel. 

Col. Kemp, a committed Catholic in his own words, emphasized his admiration for the high moral standards of the Israeli Defence Force and commended the South African Jewish community for its contributions to the State of Israel. He urged the community to continue to do all in its power to combat the widespread negative image of Israel in the South African media and in South African society in general.  

The Kwazulu Natal Zionist Council would like to thank the Beare Foundation, the JAKAMaR Trust, the Lazarus Family Trust and the Victor Daitz Foundation for their generous support which enabled us to host a speaker of this stature. We would also like to thank our audience for their donations at the event.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KZN Zionist Council

The King David String Ensemble has become one of the foremost chamber music groups in Israel, and around the world, since their founding in Jerusalem in 1992.

The KNZC had the pleasure of hosting this highly acclaimed String Ensemble, at the Durban Jewish Centre on 9 September. Consisting of members of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and featuring conductor Anita Kamien, and piano soloist Roger Kamien, this unique modular chamber orchestra, have been praised in the Israeli press for their “uniform, singing and brilliant sound,” “their courtly, refined style,” and for being highly “synchronized and well-disciplined.”

Likewise, they were praised by our Durban audience, with comments like “Magical!”, “Poetic” and “Thoroughly enjoyable”.

Clapping of hands and tapping of feet throughout the evening were a great indication of the enjoyment of the beautiful music, played by gifted musicians.

We would like to thank the community for the support of this event and therefore the support of the work the KNZC does.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Michelle Shapira

Kendyll Jacobson, daughter of Sue Jacobson, has been has been the Durban Youth Worker for nearly two and a half years. It is with great sadness that we bid her farewell. She has been a wonderful youth worker, putting her heart and soul into her job.  She comfortably moved between the various youth organisations and shuls, getting children together to have fun and connect with Israel. Kendyll’s enthusiasm and dedication saw increased numbers of children attending youth activities, both communal and within the youth movements. She encouraged the children to go to a camp of their choice, and here too, we have seen increased numbers of children attending camps.

Kendyll also assisted with Talmud Torah lessons at Eden College, Umhlanga Jewish Day School and the various Durban schools attended by Jewish children, inspiring a new generation of children to a personal connection with and a richer knowledge of Israel. In addition, Kendyll sat on various committees, and assisted in the arrangement of many functions and events hosted together with different community organisations.

On behalf of the Durban Jewish community, the KNZC would like to wish Kendyll all the very best in her future endeavours. We will miss you Kendyll!  You have set the bar very high for all future youth workers in Durban.


The KNZC would like to welcome Amy Groer to her new position as Durban Youth Worker. Amy is the younger daughter of Rina and Morris Groer.  She grew up in Durban and has been an active member of Netzer for many years, first as a channie and later as a maddie.  During the past few years Amy has had valuable experience, under the guidance of Kendyll, in leading community and Netzer youth activities.  

We look forward to many interesting and fun activities for the children of Durban with Amy at the helm. Parents of Durban, your support is vital and we would encourage you to get your children involved in the activities on offer. Amy can be contacted on groer145@hotmail.com or 031 335 4454.

Mazal Tov on your new position Amy, wishing you much success, enjoyment and fulfilment!

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COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Suzanne Edmunds

For three years the KZN Zionist Council has been building a relationship with His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini. From our first visit, when we travelled to his palace near the Swaziland border as the King’s guests at the Marula Festival, through various other encounters, the King has been a most warm and charming host. On every visit he made us feel most welcome.

From the beginning our objectives were very clear.  Ben understood that as Jews we need to make friends and reach out to other communities.  We decided to go with a ‘gift’. In fact we went with two gifts. With the assistance of our generous donors, the Victor Daitz Foundation a male medical circumcision clinic in eMondlo, in the Vryheid area, is being upgraded; in Mtubatuba the Dischem Foundation has helped us create a Community Wellness Centre. It was to this Mtubatuba Wellness Centre that Antony Arkin Chairman of KZNC, Sue Edmunds of KZNC and CEO of Project Build together with Pradeep Boodoo, also of Project Build, travelled recently.

Princess Mogay, the charming daughter of his Majesty, and Rhana Naicker, CEO of the Bayete Trust, welcomed us and showed us the work that is being done in the Centre. Primarily, it is used as a Male Medical Circumcision Clinic, but other areas of community health are also dealt with.  Many of us will remember when the Israelis of Operation Abraham first opened this door to His Majesty, with the groundbreaking work they did in this field! Princess Mogay is the King’s personal ambassador in the matter of community wellness.  She has been charged to bring to the fore information about life style illness, AIDS management, healthy boy/girl relationships and sexual behavior.

The Jewish Community of Durban can be proud to be partners in this  endeavour.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Grant Maserow

Once again the community gathered at the Jewish Club to celebrate Israel’s 67th year after its re-establishment. A crowd of about 250 people filled the hall and a fun evening was had, with some new exciting additions to Durban’s celebration.

The children of Durban kick-started the celebrations, leading into the hall, waving Israeli flags. Antony Arkin (KNZC chairman) welcomed everyone, we sang songs of hallel, blessed Israel and were entertained with a few songs by the children of UJDS.

Igal entertained the crowd with his lively mix of Israeli and contemporary music. We are very lucky to have him as part of our community. As usual, the food was delicious and a big thank you goes to all the organisations who contributed their time and efforts to making this function a success.

The highlights of the night were for the children to enjoy.  A fooseball table was generously donated by Bridges For Peace, a strong supporter of Israel and very good friends of the South African Jewish community. Amazing activities were donated by Nadine Gering, of Melissa & Doug, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. The children also entertained themselves on the inflatable Velcro wall. Thanks go to Kendyll, Amy and Jordan for their assistance with the children and the supervision.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Grant Maserow

For every joyful occurrence we remember loss or pain, to put our joy into perspective, to recognise the struggle for achievement. As such we commemorate Yom Hazikaron immediately prior to our celebrations of Yom Ha’atzmaut.

The Durban Jewish community had a great turn out to pay respects to those who have lost their lives fighting for Israel’s survival. Sadly we have had to add candles in recent years, to mark the battles that have taken place in Gaza. These include: Operation Pillar of Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defence and Operation Protective Edge. We were very fortunate to have Itai Melchior, the Israeli trade consul to South Africa, address the Durban community, explaining the crucial role the IDF plays to ensure the safety and security of Israel’s citizens and residents, whilst living in a hostile region. Despite all of this, Israel still manages to place a focus on their economic, humanitarian and technological advances.

We salute these brave souls and their families who have suffered losses to protect and ensure Israel’s safety. Am Yisrael Chai.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Kendyll Jacobson

Israel recently went to the polls to vote in a new Knesset (Parliament). Elections are somewhat tricky for younger kids to understand, but holding a mock election allows them to have some insight into the process, so this is exactly what happened.

On Sunday the 22nd of March, our kids cast their vote at the Young Israel Centre. They each were given a blank Israeli Passport to fill in their details and draw their picture. Whilst doing this, they were told a bit about the various parties, leaders and seats given. After this, they each ‘cast their vote’ and had their passport stamped.

This event was not only successful in terms of the kids enjoying themselves but more importantly, by the end of it, they were able to answer a few questions about the voting. Our children are well on their way to being informed active Zionists.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Grant Maserow

What a spectacular Conference the SA Zionist Federation produced in Sandton on the weekend of 7 and 8 March 2015. The opening night was an outstanding event with a high profile array of international speakers, including the Israeli Ambassador to SA, His Excellency Arthur Lenk; Natan Sharansky (Chairman Jewish agency and former MK); Nir Barkat (Mayor of Jerusalem); Irwin Cottler (MP Canada) and Paula Slier (MC). The evening was mixed with phenomenal musical talent by the Amakhono We Sintu choir and reporting and information from these influential personalities who make such significant impacts on behalf of Israel and world Jewry.

The following day saw much excitement at the Sandton ICC. The morning started off with a heated discussion on “Unity, Diversity and Dissent” with a panel of three speakers: Micaela Browde (national mazkirah Habonim Dror), Ari Kruger and Durban’s own Kendyll Jacobson (national mazkirah Netzer). The conclusion reached was that Israel and Judaism have a wide tent with many voices and, despite our disagreements, we find common ground in our love for Israel and the Jewish people. We heard talks on varied aspects of Israel on an international, local and national arena, from religion to politics and from the economic to technological spheres. Since independence, Israel has grown from strength to strength. Israel is a world leader in Science and Technology. It is making a huge difference in Africa, to equip and better the lives of those less fortunate, as well as making positive differences in Rwanda, Nigeria, Angola and other places throughout the continent.

Within SA the Jewish community has good relations with the Christian community, who show a strong support for Israel. There were many Christian Zionists at the conference, whose love for the Jewish people and homeland is steadfast. Despite the noise by BDS supporters outside the venue, the love for Israel in South Africa is strong. We wish Mazal Tov and Kol Hakavod to Prof. Antony Arkin who has been re-elected national co-treasurer of the SAZF.

The conference ran concurrently to the Israel Expo which saw the exhibits of all things Zionist. Stands included those of the youth movements, the Jewish Agency, Israeli products, local Jewish businesses and delicious kosher foods and entertainment. The SAZF created a successful masterpiece of love and support for our homeland. The conference showed how strong the Jewish community’s love for Israel and South Africa is and we stood proudly as strong Zionists in the face of our detractors. Our motto, which continually repeated - Am Yisrael Chai!!


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Grant Maserow

Gloria Greenfield returned to Durban to screen her new documentary: “Body and Soul”. This documentary refutes propaganda and lies and shows the unbreakable bond between the Jews and the land of Israel. This film is the third one for Docemet productions, starting with “The Case for Israel” and “Unmasked: Judeophobia”, both of which have already have been screened by the KNZC. This comes at a particularly significant time when anti-Semitism is rising again in Europe and surfacing across the world. 

Gloria’s motivation for producing this film was education and information. Adults, she says, need to inform themselves and their children. We also need to get the message out there, beyond the Jewish communities. Jews have had continued presence in the land of Israel for 3500 years, despite times of exile. Jews have returned to Israel over the millennia, despite exile. Any suggestions of a Jewish national homeland other than in Israel seemed pointless to Zionist leaders, as this is where all meaning and history has taken shape for the nation of Israel. 

After the re-establishment of Israel (1948) and with modern Zionism having a rebirth in Europe, the Middle Eastern Jews still felt a pull to go to Israel after their exile from their host Arab nations. Israel as a national homeland is inherent in every Jew regardless of their host country. Israel was the logical choice to re-establish a Jewish homeland, no other land in the world is of any meaning to Jews. The connection of the land of Israel to Jews and Judaism is undeniable and this is what Gloria has achieved in the making of this documentary. 

The screening was very successful, with over 100 people in attendance. The audience was a mix of Jews and Christians. Included in the audience was Wayne Thring (Deputy President of the ACDP) and Alida Schoultz of Ebenezer Church and Operation Exodus (Director, SA).


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Kendyll Jacobson


The Revival of Habonim Durban


Habonim Durban has finally broken through

once again. After a long hiatus, Habonim

sent down three madrichim for a weekend to

spend time with the kids and start building

those bonds once again.


Whilst their schedule was jam packed, it was planned in so that their

time here could be optimized. As soon as they arrived, they went

to the DUHC to participate in the youth service there. On Saturday

morning they were at the DPJC to play some games with the cheder

kids. The shuls were most accommodating in allowing Habonim to

introduce themselves to the kids before their big events.

On Saturday night, the grades 5’s to 10’s were invited to ten pin

bowling. Before leaving for this, the camp video was screened to

break the ice. The bowling was a resounding success with 17 kids

participating! I have only heard positive feedback from this evening

and I think it was a great way for that group of kids to bond outside

of shul and school.


The younger kids also had an opportunity to have some fun on

Sunday morning at the Young Israel Centre. Two of the madrichim

played games and did some crafts with the kids - which resulted in

beads all over the show, but loads of laughs and smiles.

While the kids were busy, Ilan - the current Mazkir Klali and Rosh

Machaneh for 2014, spoke to the parents giving them an update on

Habonim’s ideology, actions and how the movement works. There

was a questions and answer session and in the end the parents who

were there left with a clear and positive picture of Habonim SA.

I think that it is only up from here for Habonim Durban. There is a

solid group of kids going to camp this year and hopefully as a result

of this visit (and future visits) there will finally be a Habonim hub

back in Durban.


COMMUNITY NEWS

DURBAN CHILDREN’S HOME GARDEN RENEWAL

Kendyll Jacobson

The Young Durban committee organized with the Durban Children’s Home to redo their memorial garden. On Sunday, 12 of our children teamed up with kids from the home to completely overhaul the garden. The plants were all donated. Bnei Akiva and Netzer both had their Rosh Machaneh at the event too!  This was a good opportunity for our kids to interact with those less fortunate but also with each other.  

There was plenty of work to be done, in all sorts of ways. Even those whose fingers are not so ‘green’ were able to paint some pots, play with the younger kids or help carry the compost.

As a continuation of this project, a gardening club will be set up so that the kids from the Children’s Home will learn how to look after and maintain the garden – something they put time and effort into.

This was the first of hopefully many more events geared towards our high school learners and I have no doubt that the next one will be equally successful.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

- Grant Maserow

Israeli Film Club

Zionist  hasbara is about enhancing one’s knowledge and understanding of Israel and one of the most effective ways is through film. Israel has a thriving film industry with innovative and world-class directors, as well as a large pool of acting talent. Annually Israel produces several quality films which are thought-provoking, controversial or just entertaining. The Israeli Film Club (IFC) makes an effort to acquire these award-winning films.

The IFC, organised by the Hasbara (Information and Education) Committee of the KNZC, has been running for several years, initially under the name “Seret (film) Society”. This is a monthly gathering where the KNZC screens Israeli movies.

In recent months the group’s name has changed to the “Israeli Film Club” so as not to be seen as “secret” as it had appeared in the past, and there has been an increase in the number of attendants.

Rochelle Puterman, the convener of the IFC, presents a brief introduction and, after the screening, there is usually a lively discussion, with the audience being encouraged to participate and express their views and opinions.

We are delighted with the marked increase in the number of people attending from both the Jewish and wider communities, which we put down to our marketing efforts.

The IFC is a great evening out to enjoy a variety of films, over the year, to have a cup of tea/coffee and enjoy an evening with friends. Please look out for our notices and emails. Attendance is free and donations are most welcome.

We look forward to you joining us.

Is-Lit

Another initiative of the Hasbara Committee of the KNZC is Is-Lit - the Israeli literature Circle - formed to explore the theme of “Living Israel through Literature”. This group has been meeting regularly for over seven years.

Is-Lit provides a relaxed, informal environment where participants sit round a table to discuss books, short stories, articles and issues relating to Israel. Participants are fortunate to enjoy the expertise of Miriam Maltz and Rochelle Puterman, both of whom were lecturers at UKZN in Jewish Studies and Literature. At each meeting an interesting and relevant topic is discussed with each participant getting the opportunity to talk about the book, short story or article he/she has read. Tea/coffee and refreshments add to the enjoyment.

Is-lit owns a vast number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, that people are encouraged to take home to read, appreciate and discuss. All are welcome to join.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council

Grant Maserow 

The reunification of Jerusalem took place on 28 Iyar 5727 (7 June 1967). It was at this time, after almost 2000 years, that Jerusalem was back in Jewish control. We were fortunate this year that the Zionist Caravan was visiting Durban, with archaeologist Dr Jon Seligman, who has specialised in antiquities in Jerusalem.  As such, a combined function was held with the Zionist Caravan, on the topic of Jerusalem archaeology to commemorate the reunification of Judaism’s holiest city, illustrating the lifestyles of various periods over the last 2500 years.

While there is, of course, an abundance of Jewish history in Jerusalem, Jon spoke about the Byzantines, Romans, Greeks, British, Christians and Muslims who all have a history here. One thing was clear, though, that there has always been continuous Jewish presence in the city of Jerusalem. This is evident in the mikva’ot (Jewish ritual baths), currency and cooking utensils of the different periods of time. Jerusalem’s different periods were physically built one over the other, until modern times where the old has been cleared to make way for the new. Jon had many stories to tell of Jerusalem’s history, including engineering feats which were overcome to supply water to the city and the transportation of boulders to construct massive walls.

There was a great turn-out of Jewish community members and Christian Zionists, who came to hear Jon speak about the rich and diverse history, for such a small area. The audience was treated to delicious Israeli snacks and wine. The evening was a prime example of the power of Jerusalem to unite people and the eternity of this holy city.

Zionist Caravan

Ori Leizer and Yaron Shiponi were lucky enough to visit two schools this year with the Zionist Caravan. The first stop was Umhlanga Jewish Day School where, during break time, the kids where quizzed on their knowledge of Israel’s cities. They were treated to sweets and Bamba afterwards. It seemed as though there wasn’t enough space in most of the hands for the amount of Bamba wanted!  

Next, they went to Eden and spoke to the little ones about all the different cities in Israel, as well as exploring the map of the country. With the older kids they discussed various options of tours and programmes available. This event was small but still fun and informative!


COMMUNITY NEWS

South African Friends of Israel (SAFI): Israel Advocacy

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Grant Maserow

Under the SAFI banner, the KNZC has been working with Christian Zionists in Israel advocacy. On Sunday, afternoon (6 April), we screened the dvd “Israel Inside” as the second part to our series of documentaries to educate the broader public about Israel.

“Israel Inside” is a short documentary about an Israeli, who was living in America and the decision he made to return to Israel to raise his family. It touches on the personal, economic and social values that Israel holds dear. This is a side to this beautiful country that is so often neglected to be shown by the media and Israel detractors, today.

In the SAFI environment we are able to show what a thriving, contributing society Israel really is and the more people we reach, the closer we get to others, to show the true face of Israel. Israel has many supporters around the country and throughout Africa and it is up to us to provide them with the correct narrative. Those who attended were so appreciative to see this aspect of Israel, to see that there is so much more to Israel than a war, to see the human side of Israel, a democratic country with so many advances and opportunities.

This is the Israel the world needs to see and accept and, as Jews, we need to make every effort to advocate for Israel and not just defend her. With all the support Israel gets from Christian Zionists, how much more so should we give Israel our support?  We should be leading by example. How can we expect support from others if we are not willing to give it ourselves?

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COMMUNITY NEWS

“HATIKVAH” - THE HOPE

Grant Maserow

Durban was thoroughly entertained and moved with the performance of Astrith Baltsan’s “Hatikvah”(25 February 2014). Astrith explained how, during the first concert that her elderly father attended, with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, his eyes sparkled during her performance of Czech composer, Beldrich Smetana’s work, Die Moldau. This is because Die Moldau contains the melody similar to the Israeli national anthem - “Hatikvah”. This struck a chord within Astrith, so to speak. For eight years she researched the origins and influences of “Hatikvah”. With each piece of information she found, emerged more questions, which lead to more discoveries. All of this research and interest was compiled into the mesmerizing performance that entertained us, at the Durban Jewish Club.

Astrith eloquently explained the evolution of a tune that came to be the music of Hatikvah. Die Moldau might have influenced the melody …. or maybe it was an ancient sephardi prayer, which Smetana might have heard, that provided the structure to the melody of the anthem. This tune was interwoven with a Romanian folk song. Whatever the case is, the melody has been with Jews for hundreds of years.

While the wording of Hatikvah is partly biblical, more interesting is that part of the wording was penned by a “mediocre”, 19th century, Austro-Hungarian poet, Naphtali Imber. Imber was a Zionist, albeit secular Jew, who was taken to Palestine by a wealthy Englishman (Laurence Oliphant), as a secretary and a tutor to his wife. After having been fired for his drunken ways and indiscretions, Imber wandered the country, offering to write anthems for early Zionist settlements, which he came across on his travels. He sold each village the same anthem. He even sold the anthem to some Druze villages. Because of this, a common anthem came into being across the land of Palestine.

The official orchestral arrangement for the anthem, played on the day of the declaration of an independent State of Israel, was conducted by Bernadino Molinari, an Italian conductor, who came to Palestine after WWII, after claiming that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him in a dream, to go help the Jews. The final crescendo of the night was the revelation that soon after Israel’s Independence Molinari was deported to Italy and tried as a fascist sympathiser who collaborated with Joseph Goebbels. His orchestral arrangement was banned in Israel for 19 years, until after Jerusalem was recaptured in 1967. It was finally unbanned after official considerations that Molinari’s involvement in Israel, after the war, was his penance for war-time his actions.

“Hatikvah” came to be chosen by chance, as an anthem acceptable to all cultures and religions in Israel. It was only in 2004 that it was officially approved as Israel’s national anthem, after it was recognised, not only by the Jews, but also by the Druze, as an anthem common to all people of the State of Israel.

Astrith’s performance was very engaging and interesting. Her range of music, video-footage and pictures helped paint a picture of the timelessness of “Hatikvah”, from its biblical roots to a yearning for the continuation of the homeland of Israel.


COMMUNITY NEWS

KZN ZIONIST COUNCIL

Grant Maserow


Christian Israel Advocacy
On Sunday, 8 December 2013, the KNZC hosted a Christian Israel Advocacy event. This was modelled on a similar event which took place in Johannesburg. We screened two video lectures: “A Jew Talks to Christians” and “A Christian Gives Facts About the Arab-Israeli Conflict”. The event was held in consultation with Bridges for Peace, who have been very strong supporters of Israel and Stephen Abrahams (Vocals) and Stanley Lipschitz (keyboard), entertained the residents of Jewel House on Wednesday 4 December, with music from the 60’s. This included The Beatles, Cliff Richard, The Monkees, C.C.R., Neil Diamond, Elvis, to name but a few.

It didn’t take long before the residents joined in the singing and dancing, and had a wonderful time.

Stan Lipschotz and Stephen Abrahams performing at Jewel House.
Members of Jewel House who got together to enjoy the music.

Jewel Houseof the Jewish Community in South Africa. Pastor Eugene Reddiar spoke to the audience about prophecies and the support for Israel and Rob Griffin was also on hand to offer words of wisdom.

There was a great turnout, with an audience of almost 60 people from various churches around KZN. What was clear and unanimous from everyone present, was that they are strong supporters of the Jewish state of Israel and they feel they ought to be more vocal in their support. The success of the event was that it provided the necessary education and information that people need to be able to advocate for Israel. They also expressed their desires for more functions such as this one and also wish to have similar functions in conjunction with the Jewish community.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Bridges for Peace: Israel Foundational Seminar

Grant Maserow

For the past few years, Bridges for Peace has run an Israel Foundational Seminar in Cape Town.  This is a religious seminar for this Church.  The seminar is run for people that are leaders or are involved in the running of their churches or organisations.  For the first time this year, they held their 5-day seminar in KZN.  One of the days is dedicated to learning about the local Jewish Community and the Jewish Community of South Africa.  Bridges for Peace is a strong supporter of Israel and the Jews and have been vocal and active.
A group of 14 delegates were co-hosted by the CKNJ and KNZC.  They learnt about the work of the CKNJ and the KNZC and were addressed by Linda Nathan and Grant Maserow respectively.  They were also introduced to Mary Kluk, were given a tour of the Holocaust Centre, by Maureen Caminsky and a tour of the Great Synagogue, by Allan Cohen.
The whole day was very successful and the Jewish community is very appreciative of the support and advocacy given by the Christian Zionists.  The more people speaking out on behalf of Israel, the easier it makes it to combat anti-Semitism and to have the world recognise all the good that Israel does, especially Chris Eden and Theuno Swart who made this day possible.
“The combination of activities and speakers presented the delegates with a balanced input on the life of the Jewish community, the role that they have and continue to play in South Africa and the centrality of Israel. All the speakers did an excellent job and we need again to reiterate our gratitude for the arrangements and the hospitality that we received.” – Chris Eden.
“Every single one in the group expressed their appreciation for the day and gratitude for the interaction with each of you.” – Theuno Swart.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

New Israeli Ambassador Visits Durban

Alana Baranov

The Durban Jewish community recently welcomed the new Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, on his first trip to our beautiful city. In his address to the community at the Durban Jewish Centre on the evening of October 9th, Ambassador Lenk stressed the fact that Israel and South Africa had much in common and much to gain from strengthening the relationship between the two countries.
Arthur Lenk, born in New Jersey, made aliya to Israel at the young age of 17 and joined the foreign ministry 11 years later. A lawyer by profession, he is a member of both the bar of Israel and New York, Lenk was appointed ambassador to South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and Swaziland just two months ago. He was previously the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan from 2005 to 2009.
In his address to the community, Ambassador Lenk expressed his excitement to be posted to South Africa. “It is a fortunate thing to be an Israeli Ambassador in South Africa. When most foreign ambassadors arrive in Pretoria they are there on their own with maybe one or two landsman and one or two contacts to assist them. When the Israeli Ambassador arrives here, he or she immediately has 70 000 people who want to have them over for Shabbat!” He referred to the community as ‘family’ and said that the name and commitment of the South African Jewish community truly preceded it. Ambassador Lenk highlighted various signs for real optimism since his arrival in the country, including meeting with Christian leaders here that debunked the conventional wisdom that South Africans don’t like Israel, but also noted a small and vocal group of individuals who wished to keep Israel and our country apart.
Whilst in Durban, Ambassador Lenk had a brief but successful meeting with the Mayor and met with various water officials in the city. He will be presenting his credentials to President Zuma in Pretoria and hoped that his legacy in South Africa would be to change and improve lives here through cooperation with Israeli skills, technology and experience. With Syria to the north and Jordan to the south, Ambassador Lenk also spoke of the trouble currently affecting the Middle East, and made it clear that no one objects to diplomacy and that he hopes and prays that negotiations with Iran will be fruitful. “Israel supports a two state solution and negotiations for peace with the Palestinians are underway right now. The South African legacy of peace-making is something worthwhile for people in the Middle east to learn from”.
Itai Melchior, the Trade and Industry attaché for the Israeli Embassy in South Africa joined the Ambassador for the trip to Durban. Mr Melchior, who has been in the country for just over a year, described his job as that of ‘shadchan’ - making business and investment matches between South Africa and Israel that would be mutually beneficial to both partners. He explained that many of the challenges currently facing South Africa have been faced and resolved by Israel in the past, and that Israel could provide positive and uplifting solutions to many of South Africa’s development needs. Mr Melchior urged our community to take up their role as ambassadors for the Jewish State and reiterated the Ambassador’s ‘open door policy’ for anyone wishing you share ideas, advice and connections. Both gentlemen also met with community leaders for a breakfast discussion the following day, as well as with the media and visited Israeli projects in the province.


Community News

OBITUARY - LUBA BILCHICK

Suzanne Edmunds, Hon.Life Vice-President SAZF

Our Community has produced many great leaders, many great Zionist leaders. And in particular great woman Zionist leaders. Luba Bilchik of blessed memory was a Great Women Zionist of our community, a leader among leaders.
Memories of Luba for me go back to sitting in her Hebrew Class at Silverton Road Cheder lapping up every moment of her teaching.
Together with Simon her husband they brought up Aura and Edna whilst both giving great service to the Community.   Luba was always a leading member of the Women Zionist League, the predecessor to WIZO Durban and a member of the Natal Zionist Council as it was then known.  Those were the days of many country communities, when the leadership travelled to wherever there were Jews in Natal.  Luba had stories to tell of these visits.
When representing  the League and Zionist Council at local, national and international conferences she was a popular delegate and highly regarded for her wise input.  She mixed with and was one of the great Jewish intellectuals of South African Jewry.
One of the strongest memories women of my generation (the next generation) have of Luba and her amazing peers was the energy they put into training and teaching the women who came behind them to think, to lead, to appreciate the great heritage we as Jews of the early years of the State of Israel had.  To many of us she was a mentor and an inspiration.
When she and Simon left Durban to join Aura and her family in Toronto they were truly sorely missed.  In these years she suffered the tragedy of the untimely death of her daughter Edna in Israel. May her memory be a blessing.




KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Girls Pamper Party

Kendyll Jacobson

What a glamorous day! On Sunday the 29th of September, our pretty princesses flocked to the Young Israel Centre to be pampered and have ‘high tea.’
Whilst sipping away on their tea, the girls had their make-up (not so professionally) done by me and their nails manicured by Amy Groer. It was so lovely to also see the grade 3s helping the younger kids plait their hair and accessorise! Most of them left with more clips and accessories than hair on their heads but beautiful nonetheless.
Sandwiches, biscuits and hilarious banter sure did make for one of the best events I have had all year. Even though I left looking like a rainbow exploded on me – the girls all took it upon themselves to make me ‘beautiful’ – I also left with a great sense of togetherness and connections between our young ladies.
On behalf of our girls I would like to thank the Union of Jewish Women for sponsoring this event, I truly believe it made as much of an impact on the girls as it did me. Here’s to our girls growing up together into beautiful, successful women!


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

From Anti-Semite to Proud Zionist

AdGrant Maserow

Kasim Hafeez recently visited South Africa and amazed audiences with the account of his transformation from an anti-Semite and enemy of Israel to becoming a proud Muslim Zionist.  In Durban the KNZC and WIZO hosted him for a very successful function.  He explained how he was raised to hate Jews and Israel and he was fed so much propaganda that he felt driven to make an impact, going to the extreme measures of attending terrorist camps and learning to fight. His goal was to go to Israel and kill Jews. He was consumed by hatred and grew up a very angry adolescent. What had aided this belief was that he had never met any Jews and in his mind Jews were able to be dehumanized. They were just an evil concept.
His views were turned on their head when he bought Alan Dershowitz’s book: “A Case for Israel”. Initially he was amazed that the Jews could concoct a story so detailed that it could be compiled into such a thick book. Upon further reading and investigations he began to doubt the lies he had been fed and decided to travel to Israel to see the country for himself.  There he encountered the antithesis of his expectations.  He saw Jews, Muslims and Christians interacting, going about their daily business, using the same public transport, shops, universities etc. He expected to see the “apartheid” that has been falsely portrayed in the media. This caused an internal struggle, having to come to terms with his long-held, firm beliefs of the “evil Jews” and his enemy, Israel not being what he was taught to believe. He asked himself if he is to close his eyes and carry on as if everything is as it was, or admit the truth and move forward.  He had to reconcile extremism, anger and disappointment and the knowledge that lies had blinded him with facts that he had come to see in Israel.  He was frustrated and angry, not at just believing these lies, but also with propagating them. After two years of research and reading and visiting the Holy Land, his epiphany occurred at the Kotel, of all places, making him realize that he is to stand up for humanity, stay true to human values, speak the truth and deliver a message of peace.
Kasim says that while we can recognise that there are problems in Israel, as there are everywhere in the world, supporting the Palestinian cause does not imply that one cannot support Israel.  That is his message in his support for a two-state solution.  True peace comes with acceptance of each other. When speaking to Jews, Kasim generally finds that they are pleased to hear a Muslim voice in favour of Israel, but they do not expect to see peace. When speaking to Muslims, he says that they generally think that there is the idea that he is being used by the Israeli government to repeat Israeli propaganda.  He did find, however, that with South Africa being a multi-cultural society, that there is a little more willingness to understand both sides of the story.  Kasim was a breath of fresh air, for the Jewish people to know that there are Muslims out there who support Israel.  He now considers himself a proud Zionist.
We were privileged to have Kasim visit Durban and were especially pleased to have so many people attend his talk.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

SA Flag Flies High at the 19th Maccabiah Games

AdGrant Maserow

From 18th to 30th July Jewish sportsmen from around the world gathered in Israel to participate in the 19th Maccabiah Games.  
About 15 to 20 additional countries participated this year, more than any previous games. Some of the new countries included: Cuba, Mauritius and Zimbabwe, the latter two entrants being facilitated by South Africa.
South Africa had great representation at the games and came away with excellent results, including 18 Gold medals. Four of these gold medals were for swimming and won by Durban’s very own David Letschert (50m [games record], 100m, 200m freestyle & 50m butterfly), as well as a silver medal (50m breaststroke). David said that his experience was amazing and that he highly advocates that any Jewish athlete, young or old, make an effort to participate. It was a very memorable experience.
The Rugby open side, in which the Hirshovitz brothers, Kym and Jason were team members, won a bronze medal and Eugene Lazarus was voted player of the tournament for the SA Futsal team. David Shevil also ranked well in the golf, finishing 14th overall (second best SA player) out of 120 players. The golf team, including David Shevil and Gary Bernstein, just missed winning a bronze, finishing fourth overall.
Maccabi SA’s chairman, Cliff Garrun said the games were a huge success. They were the largest games to date with 9000 participants from 77 countries. (6500 from the diaspora and 2500 Israelis).  He said the Israelis have made massive improvements in the caliber and quality of athletes and have made huge strides in their level of expertise. For the first time in Maccabi history they dominated the games, winning the most medals.
Garrun said South Africa’s best athletic performance was Kevin Evans, who won the cycling (road event) beating the Ukranian, former u23 world champ.
Well done to all the Durban participants and the whole SA team, for their successes and making the SA Jewish community’s presence known in Israel.  We look forward to seeing many more Durban faces at the next Maccabi Games.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Mini Maccabiah Function

AdKendyll Jacobson

On Sunday the 4th of August, Durban was the host of the spectacular Maccabiah Games, or at least a mini version of it. What the kids had waiting for them were bean-bag tosses, rounds of Hot Potato and an egg ‘n spoon race with a twist. Holding their spoon in one hand and their marble in the other, the kids stood ready and excited to cross the grass without dropping the marble - hoping not to have to start again!
Tossing the bean bag turned into more of a target practice with the target being Liam Shapira but at least no one was hurt and I now know that some of our kids have a good hand when they want to.
Only five children attended and two of my madrichim, yet it was a jam-packed hour of fun. Everyone left with a prize which they were only too pleased with. The camaraderie and sense of teamwork truly made it a meaningful activity to run. I can only hope that next time there is a bigger group of kids with the same enthusiasm as this group.


New Year Messages From ...

Prof Antony Arkin, Chairman KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

AdRevival Of  Middle East Peace Talks

This month Israeli and Palestinian leaders have "established a basis" to resume direct peace negotiations for the first time in three years, Secretary of State John Kerry announced. He said that "if everything goes as expected," Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator; Tzipi Livni, the Israel minister in charge of the peace process; and Isaac Molho, Prime Minister Netanyahu's special envoy, would join him for talks.
Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet that the resumption of the diplomatic process is a vital strategic interest for Israel. The goal is to prevent "the creation of a bi-national state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea,  alongside preventing the establishment of another Iranian-sponsored terrorist state. These will not be easy negotiations, but we will enter into them with integrity, sincerity and the hope that this process will be conducted responsibly, seriously and substantively, and ... discreetly."
However much we would like the talks to succeed, it should be remembered that Abbas and the PA are too weak to agree to any deal that would conclusively end a conflict that neither Hamas nor much of Fatah actually wants to end. Recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn, is something that no Palestinian leader can afford to do at this point in history. The culture of Palestinian politics that has revolved around the deligitimization of Israel and Jewish history makes it impossible. That is why they have already rejected three Israeli offers of a Palestinian state.
As a consequence, Israel and world Jewry, including of course the Durban community, have been confronted by an increasingly sophisticated, well-funded propaganda campaign of the anti-Israel lobby. Members of the ANC leadership have at times taken a vicious anti-Semitic stance. Other structures of civil society, such as COSATU and the South African Council of Churches, have followed suit. They have become the leading components of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.
The  BDS movement openly speaks of the fundamental illegitimacy of a Jewish nation-state, even as it supports the founding of a Palestinian nation-state. These groups are not driven by a critique of Israel's policies but of its very existence. This attack does not demand simply an end to occupation, but also Israel's abandonment of the sacred Western Wall, the demographic swamping by so-called Arab "refugees" and the cancellation of the Law of Return. The goal is the end of Zionism, the total dismantling of Jewish self-determination, the destruction of the Jewish, democratic state of Israel.  In spite of these attacks, Israel enters the New Year as a vibrant democracy with a sophisticated economy, in a region of failed states.
The KNZC wishes the community l'shana tova tikateivu v'teichateimu.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Camp Snoopy

AdYeira Kalmonowitz

The Bnei Akiva Camp Snoopy was an unbelievable success. It ran from 24 – 27 June, from 8am - 4pm. It was run by myself and two other, incredible madrichim Chen Smudja and Rafi Moskovitz, at the Young Israel Centre.
The days were made up of davening, awesome outings, fun, educational activities and arts and crafts such as beading, mug decorating, challah baking and making blessings for the home. The various outings consisted of Glow-in-the-dark Putt Putt, Mini Town and the beach, Tenpin bowling and Bumper Cars, and Ice-skating.
There was a great turn-out from Day 1, with 18 kids attending, and grew rapidly. By the third day, there were 30 kids loving the Bnei Akiva experience. The camp was most definitely enjoyed by all who attended, from channichim to madrichim.
We look forward to many more successful and exciting camps together.  


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Maccabi Farewell

AdGrant Maserow

It was with much excitement that the participants of the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel were bade farewell, for a successful sporting tour to Israel.  It was an enjoyable evening for all who attended.  There were 4 Durban athletes present at the event: Jason Hirshovitz (Rugby), Eugene Lazarus and Darren Smith (Futsal Soccer) and David Shevil (Golf). In addition, there were past Maccabi participants, the KZN Chairman of Maccabi, Michael Selikow and National Chairman of Maccabi, Cliff Garrun.
One of our guest speakers for the evening was Dennis Port.  Dennis shared his experiences of past Maccabi Games, from as far back as 1957 and offered advice on things not to miss out on and memories to cherish.  His personal recollections and love for Maccabi were felt by all.
Michael Selikow made mention of Cliff Garrun’s efforts to revive Maccabi SA. It was a privilege to have Cliff at the event. As he noted, this is the largest contingent we have had from Durban in recent years and he had to be here for them.  SA is sending a very large contingent relative to the size of the community – approximately 320 participants and 40 staff.  He mentioned that it is imperative that we encourage the youth to become involved in Maccabi for future games and it was great to see some youth there, especially those that have the potential of qualifying for SA Maccabi teams in the future.
A highlight of the evening was the athletes receiving their SA kit. We wish the whole Maccabi SA team well and safe travels, as well as much success.  We look forward to seeing many medals on their return.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Institute for Christian Leadership Development (ICLD)

AdGrant Maserow

In South Africa, Israel has a great amount of support from a large Christian base.  As such, on 26 June, the KNZC hosted a cocktail party for the Institute of Christian Leadership Development.  At the request of Pastor Olisegun Olanipekun we sent out an invitation to our Christian Zionist database to invite them to a promotion of the ICLD’s Africa Leadership Summit, Jerusalem 2013.  Organised by Pastor Segun, this tour will take Christians from all over Africa to Israel.  The intention is to take 100 African leaders in each of the areas of politics, agriculture, business and the church from north, south, east and west Africa to Israel.  They are to meet Israelis, see the country, network and learn from Israeli expertise.  Thereafter, they are to bring their knowledge back to their respective countries in Africa and implement what they have learned.
In Durban a group of approximately 40 people attended our function, which was well-received. We wish Pastor Segun much success with his tour and hope that there are many South Africans participating in this tour, to bring back much-needed assistance for our economy and also for Africans to learn about and see Israel.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

A Trip around Israel at the Young Israel Centre

AdKendyll Jacobson

On Sunday the 26th of May, I had a function for all the kids at the Young Israel Centre. It was titled ‘A Trip Around Israel’. The invitation was an aeroplane ticket which had a great response and everyone was very excited about it.
We had 6 different stations as six different places in Israel and at each station they learnt something about the area as well as did an activity. The two teams were sent on different routes with Liam Shapira as one tour guide and Jordan Shapira as the other. The kids explored places like Tel Aviv – where they had a light snack and some juice - , Tiberias – a great place to go fishing, they fished using magnets – and Masada - where they climbed and climbed up the jungle gym then slid down the ‘cable car’- as well as sipped on bitter tea in the Bedouins and made their own Dead Sea Salt bath crystals. The station which proved to be the most popular was a rather surprising one, Jerusalem. Here, the kids wrote letters and drew pictures which they wanted to place into our mini Kotel. Every child wrote at least two letters to Hashem and I will be making a plan on sending them to Israel to be put in the wall as I feel they are all so special.
I think this event was a brilliant way to spend a Sunday afternoon and it is only up from here. Our kids are becoming greater to work with and with every event that passes by, I grow to love these kids more and more.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Visit from Joburg Shaliach

AdKendyll Jacobson

The weekend of the 7th to the 9th of June proved to be a jam packed weekend of  fun! Yuval Berger, who is a Shaliach with the Israel Centre based in Johannesburg, came down for a visit to Durban and to run fun activities for the kids. Yuval had been down previously with the Zionist Caravan in April and had since wanted to come back to run some Israel based activities for the kids on a more one-on-one basis.
On Friday the 7th, Yuval assisted me with my Talmud Torah lesson at Durban Girls’ College. We ran a mini shook visit and for the girls to have an  Israeli be there certainly added to the atmosphere. At the end of the lesson, every girl was beaming after having  had a great lesson. On Friday night, Yuval and I assisted at the kids’ activity centre for Friday Night Live at the Great Synagogue. This proved to be very successful with many kids participating.
Sunday was a very busy day where we managed to hold three different events. The kids who potentially would like to go on Israel Encounter in January had a breakfast with Yuval at the Circle Café. Here they were able to ask any questions that they had relating to Israel and the programme as well as watch the Encounter 2012 video. This proved to be promising for the future trip. On Sunday afternoon we had Israeli Monopoly for the younger children, with a twist! The twist being that the game was life-size. The kids absolutely loved throwing the giant dice and moving along the board to the different cities in Israel. Finally, later that afternoon at the Young Israel Centre we had a movie screening for the high school kids complete with hot chocolate and cookies. While there was only a small crowd, I think the atmosphere suited the movie well and we all had an enlightening hour.
Yuval’s visit proved to be successful, not necessarily in the number of kids who attended but in the impact that he left with  every child who attended. Durban certainly has a great generation of children and this was reiterated to me by Yuval. I can only hope that we can continue correspondence like this!


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Zionist Caravan in Durban (19 – 22 April)

AdKendyll Jacobson

The Zionist Caravan made the trip to Durban for another great whirlwind visit. The van arrived on Friday the 19th of April, after driving through terrible rain – much to their disappointment as they were looking forward to “Sunny Durban”. The group consisted of Ori Leizer - Betar Shaliach, – Yuval Berger – Netzer Shaliach, - Yaron Shiponi (and his wife Noa and son Daniel) – Habonim Shaliach and Robbie Cohen who works for the Israel Centre.
Their schedule was packed and everybody knew that their trip, while extremely informative and fun, would also be short. The first event which they held was on Saturday night at the Young Israel Centre for children in grade 8 – 12. Here they showed a movie and had a wonderful Israeli meal, everyone sat around the table talking about different aspects of Israel and possible aliyah and study options in Israel. The following morning, after a late night, everyone headed to the YIC again but this time for an activity with the grade 0 – 7 children. The kids were treated to great Israeli sweets and snacks but with a twist. Blindfolded, the children had to trust the Israelis, open wide, bite down and guess which treat they were given – everyone hoping they wouldn’t get the pickle! A great morning was had by all who attended.
Before the Caravan’s evening event they went up to Valley of 1000 Hills and Phezulu to see the traditional Zulu village there. On Sunday evening there was an event for the whole community at the DJC where the Caravan put out a wonderful selection of Israeli food and screened a movie - Israel Inside - followed by an open discussion. Finally to finish off their road trip, on Monday morning the Israeli’s visited Umhlanga Jewish Day School where they played fun food games and entertained the children during their break time.
The 6 of them were hosted amongst our community and a special thank you goes out to those who opened their homes for the weekend. Our community was extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to have a taste of Israel brought to us. We can only hope that the Caravan will come again next year and we look forward to any future Israeli endeavours.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Yom Yerushalayim

AdGrant Maserow

Yom Yerushalayim took place on the evening of 7 May at the Durban Jewish Centre.  There was a great turn out with a crowd of approximately 70 people.
Yom Yerushalayim is the celebration of the liberation of Jerusalem, in the Six Day War in 1967.  Jerusalem was reunited after 19 years and the Jews were able to access the Kotel.  Rabbi Pinhas Zekry, our guest speaker,   spoke about the urgency and anticipation of the reuniting of Jerusalem with Jews and with Israel, at the outbreak of the Six Day War.  He recounted the experiences of Rabbi Goren, the chief Rabbi of the IDF, of finding and accessing the Kotel and saying tehillim because it was too early in the day for mincha, yet the auspicious moment was too great to go without  praise to Hashem.
Rabbi Zekry commented that today we take our visits to Jerusalem for granted;  we land at Ben Gurion airport, drive to Jerusalem and walk to the Kotel, without a thought of the struggle of the soldiers and Jewish leaders of the day to bring us to this moment.  Yom Yerushalayim is a day of praise to Hashem for the blessing of having a reunited Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
A short extract from the movie Follow Me: The Story of the Six Day War, was screened, showing the recapture of Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967.  The evening concluded with a prayer for Jerusalem  invoked by Rabbi Zekry.
Thereafter, the guests were treated to wine and coffee and Selma’s  delicious humus and felafel.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Yom Ha’atzmaut

Grant Maserow

From tears to cheers.  Following Yom Hazikaron, Yom Ha’atzmaut was celebrated with fun, food and entertainment.  It was good to be “back home” at the Durban Jewish Centre.  KNZC Chairman, Antony Arkin, addressed the crowd reminding us of the continued struggles for  our freedom in the Land of Israel.  He read Israeli President Shimon Peres’s message to Jews around the world, which mentioned the great achievements  Israel has accomplished in her short, 65 years and  that there is still much to do for Tikkun Olam, to make the world a better place.  Antony also reminded us that as this year sees the 19th  Maccabiah Games in Israel in July, this was a loose theme for the night. The volunteers for the evening dressed in sports attire and sports décor was seen in the hall.
The youth had a fun-filled evening with Busy Ballers keeping them active and sand art keeping them amused.  Much thanks goes to the people that made this evening a success: Kendyll, Orli and Liam for entertaining the children, Itai Mizrachi, for the fantastic music, CSO for always keeping us safe, Dean and Kalvin for helping out with the popcorn, Ralph Bronzin, for the beautiful photos we see gracing these pages and all the members of the various committees who prepared and served the delicious food on the night. We thank the Women Synagogue Guild, WIZO, UJW, Sisterhood of Temple David, Hebrew Order of David who partnered the KNZC in organizing this community function.   All of their input came together to make this night a great success.  Without the generosity of The Victor Daitz Foundation, Jakamar Trust, Beare Foundation and the Lazarus Family Trust this evening would not have been possible.
 Thank you, also, to Troy and his staff for all their hard work making sure that the function ran smoothly and that we were comfortably accommodated.Ad


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Yom Hazikaron

AdGrant Maserow

The Yom Hazikaron took place at the Durban Jewish Centre on 14 April, where we  commemorated the sacrifices and loss of life that have taken place in defence of the State of Israel and its people.  Mr Greg Bass our guest speaker spoke movingly about the death of his two friends, both South Africans, Neil Freed and Dudi  Silbowitz. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War in which they both lost their lives. Neil’s brother, Aubrey, was present to light a candle in his memory.  Candles were also lit for Dudi Silbowitz, soldiers who have fallen in service to Israel, South Africans who died as soldiers of Israel and victims of terror. Most of the youth who attended this year’s Encounter programme spoke of soldiers who had died defending Israel and read their poems. It was a very meaningful and moving ceremony and inspiring to see a larger community turn-out than previous years.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council Biennial General Meeting

AdGrant Maserow

The Biennial General Meeting of the KNZC took place on
11 March 2013.  A new committee was chosen, with some fresh faces and we saw a couple of people leave significant posts. Firstly, the outgoing Chairman, Greg Bass served in his position for 10 years and it is with gratitude that we thank him for all the years of hard work and dedication and the contribution he made to the KNZC.  In addition, we also saw Rochelle Puterman vacate her post as Treasurer. We  thank Rochelle for her tireless work and dedication for all the years served as Treasurer.  We are happy to say that we still have them both serve on the KNZC committee.
Our incoming Chairman is the very capable and well-qualified Prof. Antony Arkin, who has served on this committee in excess of 30 years, is a past Chairman and is also involved in various other national and international Zionist and Religious bodies; we welcome Lewis Kaplan as vice-Chairman. We wish Antony, Lewis and the new committee  success for future years.
The evening was marked with recognition and thanks to four very significant pillars of the Durban Jewish Community and JNF tree certificates were awarded to The Victor Daitz Foundation, the Aaron Beare Foundation, the JAKAMaR Trust and the Lazarus Family Trust who are unfailing in their support of the KNZC.  
Those attending the BGM were privileged to hear the SA Zionist Federation’s National Chairman, Avrom Krengel. He spoke of the struggles that we, as a community, have had in the past year, having to deal with the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign, the attacks of Dep.Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim and the attempts to isolate Israel by Minister Rob Davies, amongst others.
Avrom thanked Antony Arkin and Sue Edmunds for their immeasurable impact and work that they do for the SAZF, on a daily basis and commended the Durban community and the SA community for the work done to combat BDS.
The community and the KNZC were especially fortunate that the visit of Miri Eisen coincided with the BGM.  Miri is a retired Colonel of the IDF, ex-Deputy Head of the Combat Intelligence Corps, was an assistant to Director of Military Intelligence and Intel Officer in the combat units and research departments. She was also appointed Israeli government spokesman during the second Lebanon War.
Miri spoke about recent events in Israel and said from the outside, Israel’s elections appeared to be about the Middle East conflict, but within Israel the elections were about the economy and social issues. Israel’s asset is its people and the mobilisation of people. Israel is not just about the conflict, it is a country within a certain region of the world.
Miri said that we need to take back the meaning of Zionism so that it is not interpreted in a negative way as it in the world today.
All in all the BGM turned out to be a most successful event.  Our work to protect the interests of Israel in the diaspora continue, so that the world can see the positive, hugely impactful contributions that Israel has made globally and Israel and Jews world-wide can continue the task of tikkun olam and striving for peace and prosperity for all.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Purim Superhero Fun Day, Sunday 17 February

AdKendyll Jacobson

For my first event, to have 16 children was amazing! Having it at the Young Israel Centre was so successful, not only was it an easy place to set up and run things from but the children also responded positively saying they remembered going there and they were happy to be back.

The children had two stations of activities to do. They created their own Superhero identity, complete with masks and ID badges. Whilst doing this art and craft we discussed who the superhero in the story of Purim was – Esther and Mordechai.  I was pleasantly surprised by their creativity and not only were masks made but capes were added and all new personas were created.  The second station was superhero training camp where they did a fun obstacle course. This was to ‘train’ them in a fun way and to get them moving!  - The children were so busy running around and making things that they barely ate the snacks provided for them!

I felt that the day was successful and I now have a good feeling about events this year involving the youth.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

Young Adult Zionist Conference

Kendyll Jacobson

I was fortunate enough to travel to Johannesburg to attend the Young Adults Zionist Seminar hosted by the Israel Centre, SAZF, World Zionist Organisation, The Jewish Agency for Israel and the IUA UCF. The seminar was held on the 3rd of March at the Fire and Ice Hotel in Melrose Arch. It was attended by young adults aged between 18 and 35. There were representatives from Netzer, Habonim, Bnei Akiva and Beitar as well as Slichim and young adults involved with Zionism.

The day was packed full of interesting topics and discussions which were presented by amazing guest speakers. Ben Dror Yemini – a well-known Israeli journalist who is also the most translated writer – delivered a talk about the Israel-Apartheid comparison. Ben Dror’s talk was highly informative and answered many questions which we as youths face on an almost daily basis.  We then heard from Ryan Sauer – the creator of searchoc.co.za and a self-confessed nerd – who helped explain the effect of social media on Israel. The presentation not only showed us just how the Israel is viewed negatively globally but also the positive ways in which the internet has helped support Israel.  Ben Swartz – a spokesperson for the SAZF – addressed the issue of confronting anti-Israel propaganda in South Africa. This talk reiterated the importance of standing our ground, standing together and standing with Israel. Finally there was a panel discussion between Monessa Shapiro and Ben Dror Yemini. Monessa staged a speech from an Anti-Zionism perspective; every word in her article was found online from anti-Zionism websites and anti-Israel articles. Not only did this speech shock everyone but also caused a huge stir which led to an informative response from Ben Dror as well as a helpful Q&A from the audience.

All in all the seminar was informative and helpful to the young adults who have to deal with questions and accusations about Israel, Zionism and Judaism on a daily basis and left us all a whole lot more informed than we were beforehand.


Newly appointed youth worker for Durban

Kendyll Jacobson

AdHello all! Now that I have finally started my year I feel it is the perfect time to introduce myself to everyone. While some of you may know me, I would just like to formally introduce myself and tell you who I am.

My name is Kendyll Jacobson and I am the newly appointed youth worker for Durban. This means I will be organising many fun events for all the children within the community. These events will not only be fun but also educational, giving your kids an entertaining means of learning.

I have grown up in this community and now that I have been given the opportunity to, I feel I can finally give back as much as I have been given.

I matriculated last year from Eden College Durban and will be taking a gap year this year – however, it is rather a working year. I have always had a passion for working with children and want to further my studies in Drama Teaching. I will be working closely with the youth movements and their respective leaders, to bring all the children together. Not only am I hoping to have a successful year but I can only hope that the children will take something away from what I have to offer.

Should anyone like to get in contact with me, my email is kendyll.j@hotmail.com - please feel free to contact me at any stage!

I hope to see all of you and your wonderful children at functions!


South African Zionist Federation

– Israel Advocacy Seminar

Grant Maserow

On Sunday, 3 February, the South African Zionist Federation hosted an Israel Advocacy Seminar. Suzanne Edmunds, JNF chairman (KZN) was invited to be a panelist for the Panel Discussion portion of the programme. The keynote guest speaker of the event was Amir Sagie, director of the Civil Society Affairs Department of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition there was a wide array of high quality speakers (Jewish and Christian) speaking out in support of Israel and combatting anti-Zionism and Antisemitism.

It was inspirational and encouraging to see 150 – 200 people, from approximately 60 organisations, over the course of the day, attend this vital event.

Our national chairman, Avrom Krengel, highlighted that because Israel has not been beaten militarily, the new strategy of “anti-Zionism” is to label Israel as an apartheid state and to cripple it the same way the world crippled South Africa.

Building on that, Chief Rabbi Goldstein said that it is not enough to say that Israel is not an apartheid state. It should be coupled with Israel’s vision: peace.Not only should the negative aspect be addressed, but it should be supported with a positive one. In Shmot (Exodus) Moses said to Joshua “Choose for us great leaders” (people of integrity and courage) and Rabbi Goldstein commended all the participants as being such people in their support of Israel.

The overall sentiment was that Israel and her supporters should become people of power, not just of influence. Africa has a lot to learn from Israel and should build partnerships, in all spheres, with Israel. People that should take interest in Israel’s successes are politicians and business, religious and tribal leaders. Right now, the people driving the BDS campaign are more obsessed with punishing Israel than helping the Palestinians. It is Israel that needs to control the narrative, to dispel the misbelief that the core issue in the Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We need to show that Israel is the only  democracy in the Middle East, in a land that the Jewish nation has returned to, not illegally settled. Israel’s goal is peace and to live freely and with recognition, as a Jewish state.

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KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

New Year Messages From Grag Bass (Chairman)

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As we reflect on another year Israel is no closer to that elusive peace that we so long for. The recent attack on Israelis citizens in Bulgaria, vividly illustrates the vulnerability of our homeland and its population. Sporadic terrorist attacks from Gaza continue, the future of the peace agreement with Egypt remains uncertain as does the effects of political turmoil in Syria. Yet is against this uncertain background that we can reflect on much good emanating from Israel. Despite the political turmoil, the standard of living in Israel is increasing. The economy is strong and there has been a 6% increase in tourism in 2012. Advances in medical technology are leading the world. For example, currently scientists are working on, and close to solving, minimally invasive methods for repairing the mitral heart valve. Mitral valve conditions affect millions of people worldwide. Israeli archaeologists have recently struck, literally, gold. Over 100 gold pieces of gold weighing around 400 grams were found at Appollonia National Park, near Herztliya. They were buried during the 13th Century Crusader battles between Saladin and King Richard of England. These are just a few of her achievements. How many more would there be if only there were peace in the Middle East?

On behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council may I wish you a shannah tovah and well over the fast. May your lives and the lives of the citizens of Israel be blessed with every happiness.


KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council

A NIGHT TO HONOUR JERUSALEM

His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini and Her Royal Highness, Queen of KwaLinduzulu recently attended the event to Honour Jerusalem hosted by TaMaR / Arzenu in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council.

Speaking to nearly 500 people at an evening called a "Night to Honour Jerusalem" His Majesty said that he is proud of the contribution made by leading leaders from the Jewish community to the socio economic development of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a whole and that this contribution is well documented.

"Operation Abraham remains the strongest bond that has bound KZN and Israel together for many years to come. When I announced the revival of circumcision during Umkhosi Wokweshwama in December 2009, I received support from a team of experts in Jerusalem. They offered to collaborate with me and the Department of Health to drive the circumcision campaign" said His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini.

"I wish to reiterate that at no point have I suggested that circumcision is a cure for HIV/Aids;......[nor have I]....suggested that once a man is circumcised he cannot contract HIV. A few months ago, I was informed that more than 20 000 young men in Kwazulu-Natal had been circumcised without any complications; none has died." said His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Guests at this event was a mixture of members of the KZN Jewish community and Christian Zionists. The evening was hosted by a young adult Jewish movement known as TaMaR and the worldwide Reform Zionist Political Party for the Jewish Diaspora known as Arzenu. Other guest speakers who attended this function were MEC Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo who attended on behalf of the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr. Zweli Mkhize and Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein, Israeli Deputy Ambassador to South Africa.

In introducing, His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini, Professor Antony Arkin, Chairman of Arzenu South Africa explained that Arzenu is the largest single party in the World Zionist Organisation ( the Parliament of the Jewish people) where it is affiliated to the Israel Labour Party. " It aims to imbue all reform Jews with a common vision of Jewish peoplehood and to see Jewish engagement centered on Israel as a Jewish democratic state inspired by Progressive values." said Arkin.

"During 1967 a historic event took place here in South Africa; the first transplant of a human heart was performed by Professor Christiaan Barnard; in the same year another operation was taking place in Israel where the heart of Israel when Jerusalem was once again under Jewish sovereignty after almost 1900 years" said Finkelstein.

Mr. Finkelstein acknowledged that South Africans can understand what it feels like to be broken-hearted as the country [during apartheid] was torn and divided. It is magnificent to have your heart and country reunited. " His Majesty’s, predecessor King Shaka united one hundred kingdoms under his rule and made the Zulus into a great nation" said Finkelstein.

MEC Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo was requested by KZN Premier Dr. Zweli Mkhize to deliver a message of appreciation to the Jewish community. MEC Dr. Dhlomo invited the people of KZN province to join the Masisukume Sakhe campaign.

"This project from government is taken from the book of Nehemiah, in particular Chapters 17 and 18.” Even though the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down you can't sit around and complain about it, you [must] get up and rebuild the same walls." said MEC Dr. Dhlomo.

He referred to former Progressive Federal party ( now the DA) stalwart and apartheid detractor Helen Suzman and her contribution to fighting apartheid and building the broken walls up. He said there is now an opportunity to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and that Masisukume Sakhe means in Zulu " Let's get up and work together and create a better nation."

MEC Dr Dhlomo called on Mary Kluk, National Chairman of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies to partner with him in building a museum in Pholela in honour of Emily and Sidney Kark who pioneered health care in South Africa. " They built a Health Centre in the 1950s. The[ Apartheid government eventually pushed them out of Pholela and they moved to Jerusalem." said Dr. Dhlomo.

MEC Dr Dhlomo said that the pioneer of this project is Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who was the first democratic Minister of Health who was also born abd immunized at the Pholela clinic. South African Board of Jewish Deputies , National Chairman, Mrs.Mary Kluk said that she was following up the request and has already written to MEC Dr S Dhlomo offices.

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KWAZULU NATAL ZIONIST COUNCIL

Yom Ha’aztmaut 2012 – the spirit of Israel in Durban

AdA little bit of Israel on the east coast of Africa. This year’s Yom Ha’aztmaut celebrations in Durban, held at Eden College on Wednesday night April 26th, brought the community out in force to celebrate Israeli Independence Day and the Durban Jewish community’s connection to the Jewish State.

A lively, fun and relaxed atmosphere provided the perfect backdrop to stalls brimming with delicious Israeli delicacies assembled beneath impressive blue and white festive décor. On a raised stage in front of the market-style seating a fantastic live band entertained the crowd with the melodies of everyone’s favourite Israeli tunes, as an outstanding audio-visual presentation of historic images of the State of Israel ran on a projector screen throughout the evening. As if the food, music and drink were not enough, the children were treated to a night of games and competitions, with the Yom Ha’aztmaut drawing competition being widely supported and boasting exciting prizes such as iPads and iPods up for grabs.

Grant Maserow, the Director of the KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council, said of the night, “It was a successful, enjoyable function. I have received great, positive feedback from everyone that I have spoken to”.

Other communal leaders shared similar sentiments about this year’s Yom Ha’aztmaut celebrations. “Yom Ha’atzmaut is a very special day in the Jewish calendar so it is no wonder that the annual KNZC function is so well supported. All Jews in the diaspora should be mindful of and appreciate the important role that the State of Israel plays in their Jewish lives” said David Simpson, President of the Council of KwaZulu Natal Jewry

For the Durban Shaliach, Maayan Oz, the day brought mixed emotions. “Yom Ha’atzmaut is the hardest time for a shlicha to be away, this day is very weird and you keep feel like something is missing. But the love and support I saw on the night taught me that physical distance does not reflect how close you are to Israel, and I felt almost like home thanks to the Durban community”.

Greg Bass, Chairman of the KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council, summed up the evening best. “Once more the Durban community turned out in numbers to identify with Israel on her Independence Day. At this time we are one with Israel, our homeland. Israel remains the centre of Jewish existence. We reflect on her significant past, bask in the glory of her achievements and look forward to a better future, one filled with peace that will enhance the centrality of Israel as our spiritual homeland in a vibrant Middle East”.

Well done to Grant Maserow and his team for putting together a fantastic evening which brought a bit of the spirit of Israel to our doorstep!