More than just food

More than just food

Infusing our Yom Tov meals with our hopes for a sweet new year By: Avigail Goldberg With the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) approaching and weeks ahead of entertaining, it’s easy for any host to get caught up in the preparations of elaborate meals. Although it’s very important to make sure no one goes hungry, we must try not to lose sight of the spiritual importance of these days. Based on a Talmudic teaching, there is a widespread custom to include various food types in the Rosh Hashanah meal which…

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A matter of trust

A matter of trust

When it comes to some things, if you have to ask, then you already know the answer By: Robert Sussman Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus, ztz”l, tells (Tiferes Shimshon al HaTorah – Parshas Eikev) of a letter that he once received, in which the letter writer asked him a series of questions related to the topic of bitachon (trust) in Hashem and whether the following actions, among others, would be seen as a defect in a person’s measure of bitachon: 1. Installing a Pladelet door (the brand name of an Israeli-made…

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IN GOD WE TRUST…but which one?

IN GOD WE TRUST…but which one?

The idea of the King is dead. Long live the King By: Robert Sussman So much of our worship is built upon the concept of malchus (kingship). From the very moment that we wake up each day, we refer to Hashem as Melech (King): “Modeh ani lifanecha, Melech chai v’kayam.” And every bracha (blessing) that we make refers to Hashem as “Melech HaOlam” (King of the world). Our daily prayers and our holy books constantly refer to Hashem as Melech and Malkenu (our King). In fact, the highlight of davening…

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A legacy of kindness

A legacy of kindness

An incredible tale of forgiveness and fate. Transforming the cracks in our lives into something more beautiful By Chandrea Serebro Michael Livni was out walking one day. It was a beautiful, sunny day in one of Johannesburg’s most lush and appealing suburbs. The streets were quiet as usual, the trees shading his walk from the afternoon sun. Michael was taking full advantage of the beauty around him, enjoying the weather and the peace of his surroundings while getting in his daily exercise routine at the same time. Just around the…

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Enriching Jewish life

Enriching Jewish life

Reaching out to kids and helping them find their place By Ilan Preskovsky If there is one thing that we, the South African Jewish community, often take for granted, it’s just how rare the relatively easy interactions that we experience between different kinds of Jews – be they secular, Chabad, religious Zionist, whatever – in our small, tightly-knit community really are. This fairly unique aspect of SA Judaism only really becomes noticeable once you venture out of our cosy borders and move into the much larger Jewish worlds of places…

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Positively Charged

Positively Charged

Always look on the bright side of life. In search of what makes life worth living By Ilan Preskovsky Since Sigmund Freud revolutionised the fields of psychology and psychiatry in the late 19th century, the understanding and application of the mental-health sciences has almost exclusively been about curing mental illness and, in general, combating the negative aspects of the human mind: those that are destructive, dysfunctional, and debilitating. As the years passed and Freud’s theories became increasingly known for being massively influential, but inaccurate or, at the very least, incomplete…

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Ten Days – Ten Commandments

Ten Days – Ten Commandments

Maximising the Aseres Y’mei Teshuva By: Dovid Samuels The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are referred to as Aseres Y’mei Teshuva – the Ten Days of Repentance. As the name suggests, these days are a prime opportunity for us to recognise our short fallings, change our ways, and return to Hashem. The halacha states[1], “It is a great sin if someone doesn’t repent and doesn’t increase his Torah learning and performance of mitzvos during these days, more than the rest of the year.” It is also taught[2], “It…

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Days of awe…and of love and mercy

Days of awe…and of love and mercy

Subheader: Don’t let this opportunity slip away By: Robert Sussman The Yamim Noraim, aka the High Holy Days, more precisely translate as the Days of Awe – ‘awe’ as in ‘fear’. And, this fear is with good reason, as Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the Year”, is, in fact, Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment – the day on which is determined what the next year will look like, for good and for better, including whether a person will merit a year of life or, chas v’shalom, otherwise. Everything is…

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From the heart

From the heart

Helping differently-abled children and their families By Ilan Preskovsky Founded in 2009 as a response to the lack of residential and vocational services and appropriate accommodation for Jewish adults and children with disabilities in Chicago, the not-for-profit Libenu Foundation has, in less than a decade, exploded in reach and depth far beyond what anyone might have first expected of it. It all began when Shana Erenberg, a nationally renowned expert in education and disabilities, teamed up with Debra Silverstein, Alderman of the 50th Ward of Chicago (which, for those of…

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Made to order

Made to order

Presenting our first Kosher Gourmet from Cape Town By: Justine Hepple, Bespoke Catering A friend of mine’s Whatsapp status is: “Your Plan B is G-d’s Plan A”. From my grandmother’s themed Shabbos dinners, to watching her bake biscuits during the school holidays, and helping my mother in the kitchen with her functions and dinner parties – I grew up surrounded by food, baking, and art, but I never thought it would define who I’d be as an adult. After school, I studied Interior Design, and then had the amazing opportunity…

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Leading the way in kindness

Leading the way in kindness

Making the world a better place, for everyone By Chandrea Serebro Hugo’s Greenhood – Seeing the unseen ‘#See the unseen’ is the catchphrase of Hugo’s Greenhood, and it’s the perfect fit. Hugo Paluch, who was the brainchild of the project and in whose memory it continues after he passed away at the age of 14 last year, “always noticed the little things”, says his mother Nicole. He had a gift for seeing what most people missed, and it was this gift that helped him to see a gap that hadn’t…

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Virtual survivors

Virtual survivors

Using cutting-edge technology to create new ways to remember the holocaust By Ilan Preskovsky “Never Forget” may well be written “#NeverForget” in these social-media driven days, but we are at risk of losing far more than comprehensible spelling in our attempts to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. As time marches on and we move rapidly towards the seventh decade since the horrors of World War II, the sad but inevitable truth is that there are less and less Holocaust survivors around to tell their tale. Within the next…

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No laughing matter

No laughing matter

How the art of care clowning is changing – and improving – lives By Chandrea Serebro When Dr Amnon Raviv was young, his dad urged him to study. ‘Go study, or you’ll end up clowning,’ his dad would say. So, he ended up clowning, relates Dr Raviv. And this is how he began a pioneering journey that would lead him from the stages of the world to the corridors of the paediatric and geriatric wards of hospitals around Israel, treating the body as well as the soul, which he says…

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A photograph in time

A photograph in time

Almost fifty years of family history distilled By Chandrea Serebro This is the tale of a photograph taken in 1966. It’s seemingly an ordinary photograph, but it is in fact extraordinary. It is the catalyst for bringing a family spanning generations and continents back together over 50 years later, when almost 100 years of memory and moments will again become distilled in a moment in time, captured by newer technology, yet essentially the same. Standing in this photograph, smiling back at you is a family all born from the five…

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The Positive Speech Project

The Positive Speech Project

Making discourse civil again By Ilan Preskovsky In an age of social media, instant-communication, and toxic political discourse, the way we talk to each other has taken on levels of significance and complexity that previous generations could never have so much as imagined. As political correctness and freedom of expression battle it out in our universities and the most evil and pernicious ideologies find new life in the deepest nooks and crannies of the internet, our very day-to-day existence has been upended by telecommunication technologies that have as much power…

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Kosher Gourmet: Gone Fishin’

Kosher Gourmet: Gone Fishin’

Serving up some great ideas for cooking up fish By: Eric Stern Cape Malay fish curry Serves 4 1kg fresh hake fillets cut into bite-sized cubes 200g seasoned flour for dusting 3 large onions 1 cup cooking oil Sauce 1 litre water 150g onions 250g sugar 25g curry powder 15g Robertson’s fish spice Dust the fish cubes generously in flour. Heat up the oil in a large frying pan. The oil should not be very hot. Fry the pieces of fish in the oil on all sides, not for too…

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You do what?!

You do what?!

Unusual and inspiring things people do to earn a living By Chandrea Serebro Hat designer Deep down, we all seek to add a bit of glamour and some added appeal to our look. Keeping updated and in vogue is a necessary, but enjoyable evil, and, very often, all of this can be done with a bit of a tweak here and an accessory there. But, says bespoke hat designer Pam Goldberg, quoting Vogue Magazine, “Nothing in nature or art is so magically transforming as a hat.” Donning an exclusive couture hat…

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Mitzvah kids making it meaningful

Mitzvah kids making it meaningful

Putting money to good use By Chandrea Serebro Danielle Aires Danielle Aires believes one of the most important things to do as a Jewish girl becoming a woman on her Bat Mitzvah is chesed, “to change someone else’s life”. So, for her Bat Mitzvah she collected all recyclable items to give to Hugo’s Greenhood team of recyclers, and because she did a challah bake for her Bat Mitzvah, there was plenty. “I started a campaign, ‘Baking a Difference’, with an ambitious goal of raising enough money to sponsor the challot for…

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It doesn’t grow on trees

It doesn’t grow on trees

Tips from parents and professionals on how to teach children the value of money By Chandrea Serebro “We live in a society which demands instant gratification. Money is not always tangible and felt in our palms; rather it is dispersed for purchases through the push of a button. The social media weapons of marketing make us believe that we want everything we see and we want it now. Our children are millennials – they are techno savvy and grasp information much quicker than any previous generation. Despite what our children can learn…

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Show me the money

Show me the money

Investment tips and advice from the pros By Chandrea Serebro Errol Shear, Institutional Fund Manager, Sasfin Asset Managers Any interesting trends in the money industry? There has been a move by clients to invest offshore and we have seen a steady flow of client money into the Sasfin BCI Global Equity Fund. The other trend has been a flow of money out of the previously popular property sector, with investors scared after year-to-date falls of 62% by Fortress B, 56% fall by Resilient, and 40% decline by NEPI Rockcastle. These…

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Putting things in context

Putting things in context

Connecting the dots between the things we say and where they come from By: Robert Sussman Every time we daven the Shemoneh Esrei (aka the Amidah, or “standing prayer”), we preface it by saying a verse from Tehillim (Psalms)[1]: “Hashem, open my lips and my mouth will declare Your praises.” But, have you ever considered why we say that particular verse each time? Have you ever looked it up to see it in context and why Dovid HaMelech (King David), the author of that chapter of Tehillim and, in fact,…

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Highs and lows

Highs and lows

Soaring to incredible heights and crashing to inconceivable depths. When we stare into the abyss, do we see the ladder stretching up to the sky? By: Robert Sussman Among the many kinnos (dirges or elegies) that we say on Tisha B’av, the day on which we commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout our history, is one that compares and contrasts the miracles and wonders of the going out from Egypt at the time that we were redeemed with the mourning and persecution of the going…

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Editor’s Letter

Editor’s Letter

For the past few months, the community has been davening for Leah bat Toby and then, after a name was added, Chaya Leah bat Toby. What most people probably didn’t realise is that Chaya Leah bat Toby was our very own friend and colleague, Linda Superfain (nee Koz), a”h. A devoted mother, daughter, sister, and friend, who took ill suddenly and recently passed away. Linda leaves behind her beloved husband, Wayne, and their two boys, Steve and Josh; her mother and father, Neville and Thelma (married almost 50 years!); a…

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Reading and the art of mind maintenance

Reading and the art of mind maintenance

Blast off to different worlds without ever leaving the comforts of your bed By Chandrea Serebro Reading is possibly the most underrated skill we learn as human beings, despite being one of the most beloved past times. It boosts the imagination, sparks curiosity, provides escape, and reduces stress. It feeds the brain, elevates the soul, and exercises the mind. It provides hours and worlds of entertainment, to anyone, anywhere, about anything. Countless studies and research has shown the benefits of reading – impacting every area of development and potential. “The…

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A shot in the arm

A shot in the arm

Saving lives and preventing irreparable harm By Chandrea Serebro Modern medicine has come up with ways to counteract many of the most fatal diseases in history, saving lives every day, and it is working day and night to find new ways towards preventing those that it hasn’t managed to quell yet. Among the many great inventions of medicine are included numerous vaccines, many in the last 100 years, that have stopped dangerous and deadly infectious diseases such as polio and measles from wreaking havoc. Countless millions upon millions of lives…

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Confronting a spiritual crisis

Confronting a spiritual crisis

Legacy 613, putting prayer at the forefront of Jewish education By: Ilan Preskovsky Within the world of religious observance, prayer holds a particularly special place. While Torah learning gives us greater understanding of what we’re doing here and observance of the mitzvot elevates and challenges our everyday existence, it is primarily through prayer – through what we call davening or tefillah – that we draw ourselves close to our Creator. At least, that’s the theory. The reality today, sadly, is that prayer, and the resulting spirituality that comes with it,…

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Climb every mountain

Climb every mountain

From bully to boxer and mentor By Chandrea Serebro Self-proclaimed “impossible kid” who went on to become a world champion and to champion the world of disabled kids, Itai Liptz has pretty much done it all and still dreams of doing more. Now as CEO of Mexem, a Financial Services Company that he founded, Itai reflects on having been given a repeated dose of “luck” during a tumultuous journey that he admits was “not too easy on him”. A journey that led him to help kids who don’t have it…

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Breaking new ground

Breaking new ground

Taking Jewish day school education online By Ilan Preskovsky You don’t have to have any children in school (or any children at all, really) to be acutely aware that school fees are one of the biggest expenses and greatest worries of nearly any Jewish parent in this country. The monthly cost of sending even one child, let alone a whole brood of kids, to a Jewish day school is enough to make medical aid expenses look reasonable. And, this is before you start paying for extra lessons, extra-curricular activities, set…

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Re-treading for the miles ahead

Re-treading for the miles ahead

Celebrating the ‘re-tyre-ment’ of a South African legend, Rabbi Z.S. Suchard By Chandrea Serebro Rabbi Tzadok Shmuel Suchard remembers his very first Shabbos at Sandton Shul. Shul was finishing for the night, and the Chairman began switching off the lights. His son, accustomed to the world of the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland where he had been born, asked him: What are we doing here dad? “We are going to teach them my son,” Rabbi Suchard answered. And, after 46 years at the helm, it’s a goal he feels he accomplished…

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Give me a break

Give me a break

Sometimes you have to follow Plan B By: Aron Ziegler Rather amazingly, the verses in the Chumash which instruct us about the festival of Shavuot do not state that it is the festival commemorating the giving of the Torah. Instead, the Torah refers to Shavuot as, alternatively, the “festival of the harvest of the first fruits (Bikurei) of your labour”[1]; “festival of weeks…the first (- Bikurei) wheat harvest”[2]; or “(The holy convocation of) Bikurim” – ‘First fruits’ or “first offerings”[3]. Although there is what to debate[4], nevertheless tradition has us…

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Did you say dairy?

Did you say dairy?

Blintzes and crepes for Shavuos By: Richard Pearce, Owner and Head Chef Totally Kosher Shavuos is a celebration of the giving of the Torah. It is Hashem and His Torah that have preserved and been the motivating force of the Jewish people’s existence throughout the ages. Cultures, diets, languages, and countries of residence all change, yet Torah remains constant because it is founded on unconditional truth, the only kind of truth that can continue to insure the unique existence of the Jewish people despite all odds. The Torah was given…

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Sharing the spotlight

Sharing the spotlight

A broken Shabbos lamp inspires a home-grown source of illumination By Chandrea Serebro Ray Wainman is a 73-year young Jewish South African man born in Vereeniging who has a flair for all things handy. A regular amateur handyman to his family and friends, five years ago, while visiting his sister Sharon Bolel and her husband Rabbi Shem, Ray was handed his sister’s Shabbos lamp to fix. It was “falling apart” in her estimation, and she told her brother that she was on the verge of having to buy another costly…

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Buried treasure!

Buried treasure!

An unexpected discovery opens a window into the history of the Johannesburg Jewish community By Chandrea Serebro What does Johannesburg have in common with the Qumran Caves? If it were a bad pub joke, I’m sure I would have been booed off the stage by now, but you’d be surprised, and, I’m sure, eager to discover that we actually do indeed share something amazing with this group of eleven caves in the West Bank, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Like all good stories, it starts…

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We will do, and we will understand

We will do, and we will understand

  Using the apple tree as a source of strength By: Dovid Samuels At the greatest moment of our history, when we received the holy Torah at Mount Sinai, we made an important declaration to Hashem: Na’aseh v’nishma – We will do and we will hear (understand). This means that we, collectively, made a commitment to fulfil the mitzvos of the Torah, in their entirety, before even fully understanding what each mitzvah means, or whether we were even able to do it. Our Sages teach us that upon making this…

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Forever changed

Forever changed

Facing challenges head on and choosing to make a difference in other people’s lives By Chandrea Serebro “With a busy career as a casting agent in the television and film industry, there was little time to ever slow down. But, the day of my late stage breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, everything came to a screeching halt.” Addi Lang found herself “living every woman’s nightmare”: “life in cancerland – a rollercoaster experience; feelings of shock, denial, fear, guilt, and depression.” But Addi was determined to change the course of her journey,…

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Promoting a society of inclusion

Promoting a society of inclusion

Seeing children as children – not labels – despite their enormous challenges By Ilan Preskovsky Based on the ideals of “inclusion, community, fun”, Shutaf is an Israeli organisation, based in Jerusalem, which is perhaps best known for bringing the American institution of summer camps to Israeli children and teenagers – both for children with and without special needs, but catering specifically to children with physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities. As its co-founder and co-director, Beth Steinberg, is quick to stress, this isn’t a “special needs” camp where children are seen…

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The Divine Decrees of the King

The Divine Decrees of the King

By: Robert Sussman Our Sages teach a fundamental concept: the beginning of a thing includes within it everything that will come afterwards, while the end of a thing serves to reinforce the beginning. In other words, the beginning of something serves as a preface, like a general discourse on a matter, with all of the details to follow thereafter, and the end of that thing serves to emphasise and support what was contained in the beginning. With this idea in mind, let’s take a closer look at the first and…

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Charity multiplied

Charity multiplied

Creating a wildly successful marketing and fundraising solution for non-profits By Ilan Preskosvky Over the past few years, I have profiled some truly remarkable charitable/chesed organisations from across the globe, but they are no doubt just a smattering of the hundreds of similarly incredible Jewish organisations out there whose sole purpose is to improve the lives of others – those of both their fellow Jews and the wider human race. What is often at the centre of their biggest challenges, quite predictably though, is raising the kinds of funds needed…

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To Israel, with love

To Israel, with love

Harnessing the world-wide power of social media to spread and share good news, while fighting the many lies being spread By Chandrea Serebro You know how much you love Israel? Imagine you could do something to show her…without even leaving your house. That is just what the developers of the Act.IL app had in mind; an online platform that is creating a community to promote a positive influence on the international public opinion towards the State of Israel via social media platforms, explains Yaron Fishelson, Head of Product and Community for Act.IL,…

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Answering the call

Answering the call

Celebrating 50 years since they volunteered to help during the ‘67 Six Day War By Chandrea Serebro “When word got out that Israel, surrounded on three fronts, was under attack, we headed directly to the SA Zionist Federation to volunteer in whatever way we could,” says Larry Osrin. At 19 years old, Larry was on one of the first planes of South Africans arriving in Israel as volunteers to help out during the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and her neighbours Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. “We arrived on day…

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Lost…and found

Lost…and found

Following the signs home By: Rabbi Dr David Fox On a trip to Jerusalem in the mid-1980s, I joined a celebration held by relatives in a small hotel. It was a little off the beaten path and when Friday afternoon neared a dusky close, I decided that I would find my way to the Kotel for Shabbos services. In those days, most of the city was safe for strolling pedestrians and I had always loved the walk of contrasts through the “Arab Shuk” as I passed through an old-world atmosphere…

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Partnership2Gether

Partnership2Gether

Twins that are one of a kind By Chandrea Serebro If you think of Am Yisrael as a nation of people living around the world, then it wouldn’t surprise you to know that we have a twin in Israel. And while we look nothing like her, we are busy reconnecting with her. This twin is Beit Shemesh and the surrounding area Mateh Yehuda, a rural oasis between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that we are privileged to call our family thanks to the Israel Centre’s P2G programme – Partnership 2Gether. The…

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Same, but different

Same, but different

Letting pictures tell the story By Chandrea Serebro Instagram – it’s instant success, instant exposure, like many social media platforms. But, here, its language is in pictures, and it is this visual communication that is quickly making it the fastest growing social network. With over 200 million monthly active users and over 30 billion shared photos, that’s some pull in this world where connections are made online and perceptions formed through photos. Keeping on the pulse, The SA-Israel Visual Diversity Dialogue, an initiative of the South African Friends of Israel…

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Soldiering on

Soldiering on

Some support for those going it alone in the defence of Israel By Ilan Preskovsky It’s hard to think of a more Israeli concept than that of the lone soldier: someone who comes from another country to serve their Homeland in the Israeli Defence Force and, as such, do not have any immediate family living in the country. These visiting volunteers or new immigrants have to deal with all that naturalised Israeli soldiers have to face in the military – not least of which being the immense psychological and emotional…

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Kosher Gourmet – Not your average Pesach

Kosher Gourmet – Not your average Pesach

Text by Jade Singer, recipes by Sharon Newfield Pesach in the Newfield household is no ordinary one! The buzz of people is constant (because it’s a meal you can get nowhere else), and the food…well the food can only be described as mind-altering; it’s hard to believe that any of it is pesadik. Whether it’s all Sharon’s homemade jams and chutneys , pesadik rolls, her meat dishes that are just beyond Juicy and delicious, or her scrumptious dessert filled with love from her Bobba’s recipes, one has to admit that…

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Israel at 70

Israel at 70

So much to celebrate! By: Bev Goldman The dramatic but so-longed-for birth of the State of Israel in 1948 heralded renewed life and new hope for millions of people: the chalutzim who had begun building Israel, draining the swamps, and preparing the land for agriculture beginning in the late 19th century; the almost 900 000 Jewish refugees who were forced to flee the persecution they suffered at the hands of Arab leaders in Arab countries in which they had previously lived relatively peacefully for hundreds of years; survivors of the…

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Plagued with troubles

Plagued with troubles

Some deeper insights into the many afflictions that Hashem visited upon the Egyptians By: Aron Ziegler The modern Pesach Haggadah is chiefly a text that guides us in the performance of our obligation to relate the story of our being redeemed from having been slaves in Egypt. The title ‘Haggadah’, ‘The telling over’, is drawn from the large ‘Magid’, ‘Narration’, section which, in turn, stems from the Torah verse, “And you shall narrate (v’higadeta) to your child on that day (Pesach eve) saying ‘for this reason did Hashem do (all…

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School’s out

School’s out

But the shteiging continues By Chandrea Serebro Most diligent students worry when they leave their place of learning, whether it be a school, a university, a Beis Midrash, or a Yeshiva, for a holiday or a break that they will lose out. They worry that they will lose not only their flow in whatever it is they were engaged with, but even that they might lose some of the knowledge already gained – or at the very least the groove of their studies and the ease and comfort developed over…

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Pharaoh and pajamas

Pharaoh and pajamas

Memories of Pesach with Uncle Baruch By: Rabbi Dr David Fox He was not really our uncle, but my parents had befriended them. He and his wife were survivors of Auschwitz and had lost everything during the war. They had also lost their only son. Part of a large group of survivors who made it to America after the war, they had been trained to raise chickens in order to have employment, and were then relocated across the country. One part of the group settled on the East Coast and…

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Raise your glass

Raise your glass

Celebrating salvation…or servitude? By: Dovid Samuels One of the mitzvos that we are commanded to fulfil on the Seder night is to drink four cups of wine. Even the poorest among us, who rely on charity for their food, should be given enough to buy no less than four cups, for the mitzvah. Many reasons are given by our Sages[1] as to why we need specifically four cups. One reason, and perhaps the most well-known, is that there were four terms referring to our rescue from Egypt: hotzaysi (took me…

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Digging deeper

Digging deeper

In search of lessons that we can learn from the mitzvah of eating matzah and the prohibition of having chometz on Pesach By: Robert Sussman Mix flour from any one of the five grains – wheat, oats, spelt, rye, or barley – together with cool water, and leave that mixture unattended, and, within minutes, that mixture, which will form a basic dough, will become chometz (leavened). Chometz is the result of a natural process that takes place over a certain period of time. For bread to qualify as matzah (unleavened…

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What your Purim Mishloach Manot say about you.

What your Purim Mishloach Manot say about you.

Sponsored Content Mishloach manot are no longer just thoughtful expressions of a religious obligation, they are fun exchanges, a vehicle with which to express your personality and creativity. Themes have become so prevalent that they are almost the norm. You can make them chocolate themed, citrus themed, themed after a movie, song, or animal, or any theme that takes your fancy. No matter what you choose to do the primary custom to provide more than one type of food is still followed. And how better than to add in a…

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Wheels of love

Wheels of love

Actively solving problems for disabled and sick children   By Ilan Preskovsky ALYN Hospital has been treating and caring for children with disabilities and serious sicknesses in Israel for over eighty years now. From its earliest days as an orphanage/hospital for children suffering with polio, to the expansive paediatric hospital and rehabilitation centre that it is now, it has operated as an independent entity without government subsidies. As such, though it does have much of its expenses paid for by the local Israeli health funds to which every Israeli belongs,…

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A new land with new challenges

A new land with new challenges

Losing our way…and finding it again   By: Aron Ziegler After the First Temple was destroyed, we found ourselves exiled by the Babylonians. Once settled in their land and posing no threat to their kingdom, we were able to enjoy a period of ease and calm from persecution, and able to live, once again, as Jews. We were citizens in their land and could build relatively comfortable lives there. The Babylonians, however, were a barbaric, primitive people who thought nothing of cruelly butchering our people and had no sensitivity towards…

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Meme mentality

Meme mentality

Giving thanks for an illness suffered   By Chandrea Serebro Gratitude and appreciation. How many memes do we receive on a daily basis preaching just this? If I had a meme generator, I’d picture Desiree Levin and it would say: If I can feel it, so can you. Desiree puts all her feelings of positivity and appreciation down to something her father always said: “One needs to have hindsight to have foresight.” With hindsight, Desiree learned that what might have been a crushing blow to her life turned out to…

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A practical guide to coming of age

A practical guide to coming of age

By: Batsheva Lea Mazal tov! Your son is now becoming a Bar Mitzvah or your daughter a Bat Mitzvah! Until I did my own, I had no idea how much was involved and how stressful it would be. At times, I even felt myself unable to breathe from the stress. I know people who have even become physically sick from the preparations. Part of the stress comes from not knowing what is involved and what is expected. Your child will come of age with or without massive fanfare. A boy…

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Planning a function?

Planning a function?

Advice from people who’ve done it before… By Chandrea Serebro “What I could have done without…” Efrat Wald I should have invested the money‬ instead. Shelley Berman The insanely loud music. I don’t understand why it has to be so absolutely deafening.‬ Adrienne Bogatie Faribels!‬ Lara Baskin A three-course meal – at least I know my husband Justin would say that! Audrey Nowitz All of the above! I have seen elderly people who are only too happy to be out at a simcha, all done up, and leave as soon…

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All you need is love

All you need is love

Hope is part of the human disposition. You have to live in the firm belief that love comes to all, whether fast or slow…   By Chandrea Serebro Waiting for love We often read stories about people, near or far away yet in another world, but never do we think it will happen to us. This is the story of Rachel and Greg Levy*, who not only had to wait for love, but also finally found the ultimate love in their baby boy. Rachel had been dating someone seriously for…

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The celebration that never ends

The celebration that never ends

What sets Purim apart from all the other holidays? By: Robert Sussman For literally thousands of years, we have recounted each year at the Pesach seder the incredible open miracles that Hashem did for us when He took us out from Egypt. In fact, one of the paragraphs that comprises the Shema even serves to recall the exodus from Egypt more frequently for us than just annually – twice daily. Even the very first mitzvah of the Ten Commandments does not simply declare that Hashem is our G-d, but quite…

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The morning star

The morning star

A light in the darkness   By Dovid Samuels What is the most important part of the megillah? Would it be the final judgement on Haman, when he and his sons were hanged on the gallows? Perhaps when Queen Esther went in to see King Achashverosh and pleaded for the lives of the Jewish people? Maybe it was before then, when the king chose her from everyone else in the world to be his new wife after killing Vashti? The question is an unfair one, as every single part of…

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Back to school

Back to school

Giving kids the energy that they need By: Lauren Boolkin Life for me is a bit of an enigma, and definitely a case of trial and error. As for parenting…just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, along comes another curve ball. Having said that, I do think I’ve mastered the art of feeding teenage boys. What I’ve learned over the years is that it is imperative to have a constant supply of satisfying, healthy, and sometimes not so healthy, snacks on hand to get them through exams….

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Appreciating the roads we travel

Appreciating the roads we travel

The downside of wanting it all…and wanting it NOW By: Larry Hirschowitz One can often see a twinkle in their eyes when speaking to the more mature members of our community about the good old days. Despite the incredible challenges of those early years in Jewish South Africa, there is a sense that life was calmer and more serene. In current times, conversations around dinner tables frequently centre on the stresses of modern-day life; economics, politics, family squabbles, etc. Despite having more material possessions today than ever before, it appears…

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Learning about chesed

Learning about chesed

  Some lessons last a lifetime   By Chandrea Serebro School gives you so much to think about and too much to do, but Jewish learners still manage to dedicate themselves to chesed projects aimed at bettering the lives of others. Here are just a few innovative student projects that are proudly Jewish. King David Victory Park If you saw the King David Victory Park students after exiting their final exam with massive smiles on their faces, you would be forgiven for thinking that their pure and unadulterated joy was…

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Kids with a knack

Kids with a knack

More than a measure of talent to go around   By Chandrea Serebro Songs making a statement At fifteen, Shmuli Brill is no stranger to singing for a crowd. He loves music, and the ears of his listeners love him. “Music is my best friend,” he says, an old friend he loves spending time with. Shmuli is somewhat understated. He says he “enjoys singing”; it is his passion. One Friday night a few months before his bar mitzvah, Shmuli was offered to sing Yigdal at the end of the Friday…

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It can be done

It can be done

Uniting in learning for a common goal   By Chandrea Serebro The Talmud says that the study of Torah is equivalent to all of the other mitzvos because it leads to them all. This sentiment inspired Rabbi Dov Connack, Executive Director of Shaarei Torah Schools, to set out, together with the boys and the fathers of his community and beyond, on a mammoth goal: to learn together the six tractates of the Mishna (known as Shas Mishnayos) in their entirety in a single day. Rabbi Connack recalls, “Rosh Hashanah was…

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Back to the future

Back to the future

Matrics share their plans for conquering the world By: Chandrea Serebro Gila Odes, Hirsch Lyons Girls One year plan…. Choosing what to do the first year post high school is possibly one of the toughest decisions to make, as this is the first time we are the ones defining our schedules and, in a sense, defining what’s important to us…what we value. At the same time, after being in the set structure of school, we all crave the ability to do something that is our own. I have chosen to split…

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Making grocery shopping more affordable

Making grocery shopping more affordable

  Inside the new JLife online store   By Ilan Preskovsky It seems that no matter how our currency is doing on any given day or what effect an inane comment or idiotic action of a given politician has on our economy, South Africans have, for years, been facing a relentless rise in the cost of living. Every visit to your favourite retailer seems to come with a bump in price on even the most basic necessities. Indeed, it’s strange, but luxury items seem to be less affected by haywire…

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Lots of latkes

Lots of latkes

An amazing assortment of potato pancakes, plus a new take on the classic doughnut to make this Chanukah something special   By: Richard Pearce, Owner and Head Chef, Totally Kosher Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, potato latkes (Yiddish) are as Jewish as bagels, and just as versatile. Traditionally served on Chanukah, latkes (aka potato pancakes) originated in Eastern Europe and now grace the tables of Jewish homes around the world. With the addition of a few simple ingredients, we give latkes a modern twist! For…

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Remnants of Greece

Remnants of Greece

Much of what we know as Western culture comes from that ancient empire that long ago tried to destroy us. The battle against the Greek army is long over, but the battle against the Greeks’ lingering cultural influence rages on until today.   By: Robert Sussman Our Sages teach[1] that the mitzvah of Chanukah is “Ner ish u’beiso – one candle (for) a man and his house”. Although we are accustomed to lighting more than one candle each night of Chanukah, the basic mitzvah of Chanukah is to light a…

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Behind the scenes with some of the people who make camp happen

Behind the scenes with some of the people who make camp happen

  By Chandrea Serebro Rochi Zimbler Rosh Machaneh, Camp Kesher As Vice Rosh and then Rosh of Camp Kesher, Rochi Zimbler is pretty much in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly on camp and that everyone else is doing his job. No small task when you consider that if anyone slips up or if anything doesn’t go according to plan, it’s you who has to face the music of the camp goers and the rest of the staff, and even the parents! And if you still don’t think that…

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Shining a light in the darkness

Shining a light in the darkness

  The battle between the physical and the spiritual   By: Aron Ziegler Unlike Purim, which occurred while there was still some remnant of prophecy remaining with the Jewish people, the events of the miracles of Chanukah could not be immortalised in our Holy Scriptures as our prophetic abilities were no more. In order to remind us of the extraordinary miracles that Hashem did for us in those days, the Rabbis chose to build upon the seemingly insignificant miracle of “the small jar of oil lasting longer than expected” and…

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Climb every mountain

Climb every mountain

  Bitten by the travel bug   By Chandrea Serebro Most often you don’t even feel it when the bug bites. You didn’t know it was coming, you never even knew it was there, and you only realise you’ve been bitten when you’re already somewhere you had never dreamed you would ever be. Lance Abramson realised how fully he had been bitten on a Shabbos walk one day, after a nice kosher lunch, revelling in G-ds world and enjoying just being. On mount Kilimanjaro, that is, the highest mountain in…

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Get your motor running…head out on the highway

Get your motor running…head out on the highway

Planning a road trip this holiday? Start thinking about how you can stay safe now. Here are a few tips from the experts to help you get ready for the big day.   By Chandrea Serebro Ilan Sommer, Auto Electrician, Martin’s Auto Electrical – 011 837 8428 A few years ago, I came across an article about a family who’d packed up their car and set off for a wonderful holiday and some good family bonding time. Shortly into the trip, one of the younger members of the family, who was…

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Sometimes we need to fight

Sometimes we need to fight

Waging an impossible battle: to fuse physicality with spirituality   By: Dovid Samuels On Chanukah, we celebrate a miraculous victory in our battle against the Greek Empire. The question is, why did we, as a people, decide to stand up against our tormentors and wage war with them, when so many other times in Jewish history, Purim being one of them, we made a national decision to avoid fighting and instead engage in more spiritual activities like communal fasting and prayer? What is the appropriate Jewish response towards our enemies:…

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Chesed Around the World – One GIFT at a time

Chesed Around the World –  One GIFT at a time

  By Ilan Preskovsky There are few acts in Judaism more fundamental and more important than the act of giving, and few qualities of character more fundamental and important than being someone who gives. The most obvious manifestation of this is the giving of tzedakah, charity, to those less fortunate than ourselves. But giving comes in many forms and takes on many different guises. Yes, there’s giving money, but there’s also giving someone employment; giving of your time as a volunteer; and even giving just enough of yourself to brighten…

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Living with pain

Living with pain

  Those suffering from a chronic illness know it’s the bane of their life and something that few people who aren’t experiencing this for themselves can truly understand. But there is hope, and ways to create light in the tunnel with positivity, support, and a change in perspective.   By Chandrea Serebro Lori Osrin Lori Osrin is 32 years old and is grateful to be here, well enough, to tell her story today. Years ago, she was told by a doctor that she must prepare for complete blindness and practice…

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Breaking the stigma

Breaking the stigma

Creating a sisterhood to help those suffering from post-natal depression   By Chandrea Serebro You’re alone. You’re in the room, your newest, sweetest addition to the family is gurgling at you, you’re surrounded by friends, family, and well-wishers, and yet, you have no one. The household routine buzzes around you like the muffled sound of a far-off dancehall. Your mind is racing, crazy thoughts, out of control. Like a train, derailed, little help as you watch the coach that is your thoughts twist this way and that. Nervous, edgy, anxious…and…

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Not for all the money in the world

Not for all the money in the world

Some things just can’t be bought   By Chandrea Serebro We Jews don’t know what sacrifice is these days…at least not since the Second Temple was destroyed anyways. Modern living has made Shabbos the heart and soul of Jewish life, so central to Jewish life that it takes precedence over everything, but Jewish life itself; so easy that we never really have to lack for much or feel like we are giving up too much either. With our Shabbos lamps, our Shabbos alarm clocks, our Shabbos lifts, our Shabbos belts,…

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Spending Shabbos in the hospital

Spending Shabbos in the hospital

Lifting the spirits of patients and their families   By Ilan Preskovsky As any even remotely shomer Shabbos Jew knows, Friday is a flurry of activity, a continuous rush to get ready for, ironically enough, our weekly day of rest. It’s incredible; it’s always a rush, and, even if you have to make use of those extra 18 minutes before sunset to finish your last-minute preparations, it almost always works out in the end. Best of all, it seems to make little difference whether it’s winter or the height of…

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Faith Accompli – When some things have to be believed to be seen

Faith Accompli – When some things have to be believed to be seen

  By Rabbi Dr David Fox Following my lecture, the woman approached me. An Orthodox nurse and midwife, she had attended my neuroscience course during a sabbatical from Israel. She asked if she might have a discussion about something puzzling her as a religious health professional. I immediately consented, always eager to explore the interface between health, science, and spirituality. She was a skilled paediatric nurse at a large Israeli hospital in a large charedi community. She specialised in neonatal intensive care, and was usually present during complicated deliveries. What…

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Making magical memories

Making magical memories

Seeing twenty terminally ill kids enjoy life to the fullest on the Hope Tour is like watching life, unfiltered. And it’s catching.   By Chandrea Serebro The sound of Benny Friedman’s Toda!, the title track off his hit album, reverberates around Waverly. It’s around ten in the morning and looking around you’ll see a bunch of guys dancing and singing with the tune at a decadent breakfast hosted by a gracious member of the South African community who has gone all out, as is done here in South Africa, for…

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Weapon of mass destruction

Weapon of mass destruction

It’s not just the pen that’s mightier than the sword   By: Robert Sussman The Torah tells us that, after the Jewish people left Egypt, Balak, the King of the nation of Moav, saw how powerful we had become, crushing other nations, and he was afraid of us. One of the great rules of battle is to “know your enemy”, and Balak was desperate to find a strategy to defeat us. And, as is even the case with the present-day military victories of the Jewish people, Balak and the Moabite…

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Chesed Around the World – LINKed together

Chesed Around the World – LINKed together

  Catering to the needs of children and teenagers who are faced with the devastating loss of a parent   By Ilan Preskovsky Like so many great ideas, LINKS – an organisation dedicated to helping Jewish children and teenagers who lost one or both parents – came from the most humble of beginnings. Sarah Rivkah Kohn was nine years old when her mother passed away and, as an only child, she always sought out other children who were in a similar situation – children who could understand what she was…

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Kosher Gourmet – Passionate cooking

Kosher Gourmet – Passionate cooking

  Some scrumptious ideas for Yom Tov Text by Jade Singer, recipes by Sharon Newfield Sharon Newfield, mother of two wonderful boys, works for Hatzolah and is an avid chef in the kitchen. Despite not being employed as a chef, her meals are always wholesome, delicious, and made with her passion for cooking. Whether it’s a supper during the week, a pop-by cup of tea, or a meal on Shabbos and Yom Tov, all of her guests are excited to be part of her table. Sharon’s love and warmth cannot…

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Finding light in the darkness

Finding light in the darkness

The incredible story of Der Blinde Chazzan, Cantor Abe Immerman By: Moira Schneider Being blind virtually from birth and orphaned from the age of five was no bar to Cantor Abe Immerman’s lifetime of service to the Jewish community. Known as “Der Blinde Chazzan”, he had memorised the entire Torah off by heart, including, quite incredibly, the trop (its musical cantillation), as well as all the synagogue services by the time he was in his mid-twenties and went on to lead many congregations around the country. And now broadcast journalist…

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The world that was

The world that was

The memories of Yeoville of yesteryear are ingrained in the psyche of many South African Jews today. No faribles please – we remember just the tip of this much-loved South African shtetl’s iceberg.   By Chandrea Serebro Yeoville. What started out advertised as a “sanitarium for the rich” where the air was clearer because it was upper-middle class aspirations high on the ridge overlooking the dirt of the smoky mining town of Johannesburg, the city of gold, soon became a hive of multi-culturalism with a distinctly Jewish flavour. While the…

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Hugo’s Heroes

Hugo’s Heroes

An invaluable community service to make our schools safer   By Ilan Preskovsky There’s probably no one in our Jewish community unfamiliar with Hugo Paluch; no one who wasn’t touched by how this fourteen-year-old boy tragically died from injuries sustained by a freak accident at school or how the community pulled together as one to daven for Hugo and to provide emotional and physical support for his family. It wasn’t just the Johannesburg Jewish community either, as his story has truly gone global – incredibly, so widespread is his impact…

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Sweets for my sweets, sugar for my honey

Sweets for my sweets, sugar for my honey

Honey is a key feature of the Rosh HaShanah table – but ever wondered where it comes from and why it’s kosher?   By Chandrea Serebro One of the enduring features of the Rosh Hashanah table, and one that the kids and even most adults love the most, is the honey pot. It’s a sweet year we are after, and all the better that we get to indulge in this most wonderful of natural sweetness that is honey to symbolise that. It’s not for no reason that the land of…

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There’s no such thing as a bad Jew

There’s no such thing as a bad Jew

  We’re all works in progress   By: Robert Sussman There’s a famous Midrash[1] on the verse[2] that contains the Torah commandment to take the arba minim (the four species) – aka the esrog (citron), the lulav (date palm branch), the hadassim (myrtle branches), and the aravos (willow branches) on the first day of Sukkos. The Midrash ascribes several allusions to the arba minim, but I’d like to focus on one of them in particular:   The esrog (citron) which has a taste and a fragrance – this is an…

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Making the case for Yom Kippur

Making the case for Yom Kippur

Waking up late and finding ourselves in the midst of the Ten Days of Repentance   By: Robert Sussman When we think about many things in Judaism, we unfortunately tend to associate non-Jewish ideas with them. What do people normally do in the non-Jewish world when New Year’s rolls around? Yeah, besides drink a lot, they make resolutions – they make New Year’s resolutions. “This year, I’m going to join a gym!” “This year, I’m going on a diet!” “This year, I’m going to more shiurim!” But the Jewish new…

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The “head” of the year

The “head” of the year

  Believing in the gift of absolute limitless   By: Dovid Samuels Rosh Hashanah literally means the head of the year. All of the characteristics of Hashem in the way He conducts Himself with this world correspond to the limbs of our body. It is perhaps for this very reason that we have the limbs that we have in our bodies, to have some sort of physical way of relating to otherwise illusive spiritual concepts. It is no mere coincidence that Rosh Hashanah is called the “head” of the year….

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Empowering and promoting real choice

Empowering and promoting real choice

  Saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn Jewish children   By Ilan Preskovsky Like virtually every other civilised country in the world, the debate about abortion has been raging on in Israel ever since it was legalised in the country in 1977, but for the Efrat Organisation, rather than trying to tackle the question politically as yet another group of “pro-life” activists, they have instead taken the approach of giving mothers who are considering terminating their pregnancy due to financial problems or other outside pressures a wider…

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In the presence of greatness

In the presence of greatness

What I learned about leadership from my father-in-law, Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein   By: Leonard Carr In 1985, just before Rosh Hashana, I made what turned out to be the best decision of my life. I attended a shiur of Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein, ztzl, to whom this Project Shalom series is dedicated. Shalom was the central theme and guiding principle of his life. During that shiur, which I have and continue to revisit, I decided that Rabbi Goldfein would be my Rebbe and that I would follow him for…

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The show must go on

The show must go on

The Jewish women of Joburg prove that they’ve got talent   By Chandrea Serebro No longer the playtime antics of girls dressing up, women’s theatre is becoming more and more popular in the Jewish world as religious women explore their talents for all things related to theatre, including singing, dancing, acting, and production, which would otherwise be out of bounds. It’s popular in Israel, America, and England, and it’s catching on here as well with Linda Zulberg’s production entitled ‘The Fortunate Two’ set to come to stage in early September…

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For Heaven’s sake

For Heaven’s sake

The volunteers of ZAKA SA, handling the work that few can do   By Chandrea Serebro It is truly humbling to meet people who do what they do with the purest of intentions and for the sheer virtue of it. Leshem shamayim (for the sake of heaven) is altruism at its best and it’s the only way to describe the good work that ZAKA does internationally. ZAKA is an international rescue and recovery organisation based out of Jerusalem in Israel, with branches all over the world, including a South African…

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Brave new world

Brave new world

Remembering Cape Town’s pioneer Rabbi   By Juan-Paul (Paysach) Burke South African Jewry is a relatively young community whose religious and communal infrastructure was built up by several pioneering individuals, be they rabbis, reverends, or laymen. In Johannesburg, there were the likes of Rabbi Joseph Herman Hertz, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Landau, and Rabbi Moishe Friedman. In Cape Town, there was Rev Joel Rabinowitz, Rev Alfred Philipp Bender, Adv Morris Alexander, and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Mirvish, to name but a few. To all of these and more, we owe our acknowledgement…

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Leader to us, parent to them

Leader to us, parent to them

  Some of the children of the man known as “Mr Community”, Gerald Leissner – who rose to success as MD of Anglo-American Property Services before moving onto ApexHi, and held numerous communal leadership positions, among them: chairman of Beyachad, national chairman and president of the Board of Deputies, and chairman of Yeshiva College and the Yeshiva College Hebrew Congregation – share with us their memories of growing up in his home   By Wendy Leissner-Machanik I have vivid memories of my father, a”h, always being there throughout my life….

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On the road to somewhere

On the road to somewhere

By Ilan Preskovsky There is a particularly pernicious problem facing Israel today that is perhaps rather less well known than the more newsworthy challenges that the average Israeli has to deal with: that of at-risk Israeli youth. According to the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, a social research company in Israel, a staggering 20% of Israelis under the age of eighteen are considered to be “at-risk” of having their long-term prospects compromised by everything from learning difficulties to their socio-economic backgrounds – with Charedi (Ultra-Orthodox), Ethiopian, and immigrant children being particularly affected. A…

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Milky and parev delights

Milky and parev delights

Some new ideas to try out for the Nine Days By: Lauren Goldfein The first time I was faced with cooking was when I got married and, through the years, I’ve come to really enjoy it. Frequently having guests for Shabbos offers me the opportunity to try out different ideas and experiment in the kitchen. My family’s preference for exotic tastes, combined with their not liking to have the same meal two weeks in a row, has also encouraged me to regularly expand my repertoire. I delight in taking long…

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Profiting from doing good

Profiting from doing good

Making the world a better place through the business of social enterprise   By Chandrea Serebro We love the idea of social enterprise, and the fact that businessmen and women are using their expertise for good. The Jewish social entrepreneurs out there are doing astounding things toward creating positive social change in all areas, and it was delightful to find an organisation dedicated not only to identifying businesses out there working in this space, but to growing them, developing them, and offering them support.   Mensch Mensch aims to mobilise…

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