On a Mensch You Can Rely!

Getting it done, not for the honour By: Rabbi Yossy Goldman “Sadly, too many of those volunteering to serve the community are themselves less than competent.” So, what’s the difference between a shlemiel and a shlemazel? Everyone knows the shlemiel is the inept fool who never fails to spill the soup. And the shlemazel? Why, he’s the born loser who, somehow, always gets the soup spilled on his lap. And then there’s the nudnik who insists on knowing what kind of soup it was, but that’s for a different essay.…

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Bitter Herb

The curse of comparison By: Rabbi Dr David Fox “He sensed that he, as their oldest shared child, had been doomed to be ‘the Contrasted Kid’.” A reserved adult, he surprised me during his therapy session when he finally discovered the roots of his chronic depression. “I never felt special. Since I was young, I sensed that my parents were disappointed in me. They would compare me with other children, and I was never good enough.” This intrigued me, for I knew him to be an accomplished rabbinic scholar and…

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Defending Israel

Who, what, where, and how By: Ilan Preskovsky “When dealing with antisemites, engaging with any more than a couple of choice words is a complete waste of time.” Since the horrific massacre of October 7th and the explosion of antisemitism of October 8th, it’s hard to imagine any Jew with even the slightest connection to their Jewish identity not having spent the past four months feeling, quite literally, under attack. As both our homeland and we as Jews have come under fire from far-left academia, far-right white supremacists, Islamists, relatively…

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Don’t Panic

Kosher Gourmet Pesach made easy…and tasty By: Sharon Lurie PRETZEL CHICKEN AND CHIPS 8 chicken schnitzel  (skinless, deboned breast, butterflied, then cut in half along the dividing seam) 1 cup KLP Italian Salad dressing (I used Tonelli Italian salad dressing) ½ cup KLP mayonnaise 2 eggs 2 cups Hadar* honey pressed KLP pretzels or fine matzah meal Crush the pretzels really well. Not as fine as powder, a little more texture. Combine the salad dressing, eggs, and mayonnaise and pour over chicken breasts, ensuring they are well coated. Marinate for 2 to 3…

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Room for All

Finding space in a world of holiness By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels “Where there is holiness, there is space!” The Yomim Tovim are not, for us, a mere recollection of past events. The times on the Jewish calendar have within them great spiritual potential, and through our observance of the laws and customs of that particular day, we can unlock and download much of this wealth. Our holy books are full of ideas that help us to connect to the spirit of the day, so that the opportunities available to us…

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Justice

Fixing the world, and fixing ourselves By: Bev Goldman “Only those who think out of the box can pull this looming disaster together.” “I will not let anything stand in my way to obtain justice for those most deserving of it.” “The lack of real ideological support from the USA is creating an existential threat to the survival of Israel. The country is facing a catastrophic monsoon both now and in the immediate future, but is there a solution, and if so, what is it?” Very powerful words from a…

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Jewish Unity

The Key to Peace in the Middle East By: Paula Levin “Only one nation is capable of destroying the Jewish People – and that is the Jewish People.” Mark Twain once said that “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme”. And the song that was playing before October 7 was eerily familiar – the chords of discord. Before the destruction of the Second Beit Hamikdash, with Jerusalem besieged, factions within the city were fighting… each other! The city had enough food in storage to withstand years more, but…

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Confluence: Without a leg to stand on

…but yet, uplifted By: Rabbi Dr David Fox “…beyond that is my way of serving G-d by serving those in need.” Having said farewell to her children and leaving them some cash, she made her way to the airport in a cab, unable to drive after breaking three toes from falling during her visit. A heavy boot braced her foot and her leg but made it impossible to operate a vehicle’s accelerator or break pedals. She had called the airline and ordered a wheelchair to take her to the plane…

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Israel In Context: Silence!

Where are the Women’s Voices? By: Bev Goldman “The UN’s disregard and tone deaf response to Hamas’s attack is woefully unsatisfactory and consistent with the UN’s longstanding bias against Israel.” Rape and other forms of sexual violence are prohibited under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in international and non-international armed conflict. Humanitarian law clearly prohibits rape in internal conflicts. Rape committed or tolerated by any party to a non-international conflict is prohibited by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions insofar as it constitutes “violence to life and person”, “cruel treatment”,…

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Kosher Gourmet

For the Purim Palate By: Sharon Lurie …a pinch of Persia FRESH BASIL INFUSED TOMATO SOUP AND KREPLACH Kreplach are traditionally eaten 3 times a year: Yom Kippur, Hoshana Raba, and Purim. After many a frustrating attempt at making kreplach, I now purchase them from my favourite Butcher or Kosher supermarket! I suggest you do the same… it just makes life less stressful! As with the symbolic secret little pockets of meat hidden in the dough representing the unrevealed secrets of Purim, so too there must be a secret to…

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Pause!

…and notice the miracles By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels “She hesitated, she contemplated, she sought advice, she prayed. That is how a righteous person responds. Slowly, carefully. Pause.” Printed with the Vilna Gaon’s commentary on Megillas Esther is a sefer called Yosef Lekach. Written by Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi in the 1500s, he goes through each and every verse in the Megillah and explains how every detail played a part in the great miracle that was the Purim Story. Besides for being a phenomenally enlightening work, it serves as a lesson for…

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Young blood

Israeli youth making a difference By: Paula Levin “Ordinarily, specific government departments would tackle each of these challenges and deploy the necessary resources – but this is no ordinary time.” Who said youth is wasted on the young? Israeli teens and adolescents are stepping up in a big way to make a real difference in a country at war and still reeling from October 7th’s devastating attacks. The need is seemingly endless, with humanitarian challenges on all fronts, but young people are using their idealism, ingenuity, and (much coveted) energy…

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Matric Feature

Final Thoughts Matrics reflect on the past and look to the future By: Ilan Preskovsky “What school has done for me is equip me with skills that I can use when I enter the ‘real’ world, but the rest is up to me to figure out.” King David Victory Park: Erin Wasserman: What are the most important things you learned at school outside of class? My time on the Johannesburg Junior Council showed me the importance of creating connections with people from completely different backgrounds. I realised that it is…

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Smartphones – the new drug

Take back your life By: Paula Levin Pullquotes: “Our brains are wired to be alert to the fastest moving object. Research shows that students’ performance in exams are worse when they have their phones with them – even if they are off and in their bags!” I have a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I need it, I use it, and I depend on it – but it has taken over my life. The Screen Time function shows that last week I clocked an average of 3:44 hours on WhatsApp…

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ISRAEL AT WAR!

Israel in context A battle against evil By: Bev Goldman “They validated their actions to their own children, thus breeding the next generation of pure implacable evil.” “What we know, what Stefan Zweig didn’t know but what we know now, is that the Jewish people have seen off every single one of their enemies for millennia. They have outlived every single one of the enemies who have sought to destroy them, from Pharoah to Hitler. And they will see this enemy off as well. And I say that with absolute certainty.”…

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Israel Conflict quotes

We do not know what the coming year potentially has in store for us, and if we are not worried, that means our emunah is deficient. Every Jew must realise that any calamities in Eretz Yisroel, chas vesholom, will spread to the whole world eventually, and we have to increase our emunah so that we will have the strength to face any eventuality. Rav Moshe Sternbuch (words spoken just after Rosh Hashanah 5784 / 2023 Naturally, the calls for ‘restraint’, ‘de-escalation’ and more poured in from the moment that the…

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 A Sukkot guest list

Sukkot Ushpizin By: Paula Levin “His way is to distribute tzedoka – that is his way of beautifying the sukkah.” The mystical sources tell us that seven supernal guests (Ushpizin) visit us each night of Sukkot. Here’s a thought experiment: if you could invite anyone from the past, present, or even future to share a meal with you in your sukkah, who would you choose? The answer might reveal something about where your heart or interests lie and is a lovely conversation starter you can try at your Yom Tov…

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FADED GENES

Confluence What a shame By: Rabbi Dr David Fox Pullquote: “Was he such a treasure that somehow the Jewish world would be better with him among our ranks?” People used to say that my Rosh Yeshiva could read into a person’s soul. His warm countenance and glowing smile drew people to open up to him. He was modest and drew no attention to himself, modelling empathy in his interest in all others. As my late father would say, “He was the world’s greatest listener.” The insights which he had into…

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JOIN THE FAMILY IN THE SUKKAH

Sukkot JOIN THE FAMILY IN THE SUKKAH AND VANQUISH YOUR DRAGON By: Rabbi Moishe Schnerb “Every Jew who commits any sin creates within himself a formidable opposition, comprised of 70 elements which become our antagonists.” “We take our weapons and praise our Creator that He has given us the intellect to defeat all the evil on this earth.” The greatest secret of our lives is life itself. The one question that we would love to have an answer to, but never will is, for how long are we going to…

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Leave the Judgement to G-d

Seeing the other side By: Paula Levin “It starts with the realisation that certain things are either someone else’s business or G-d’s business. And there’s not one thing we can do about that.” The Jewish New Year starts with the month of Tishrei, symbolised by the Zodiac sign of the scales of justice and the first day of the new year is known as Yom Hadin, Judgement Day for all humanity. On Rosh Hashanah, Hashem weighs our deeds and determines what resources we need for the coming year, based on…

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Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur

 What’s in a name? Forget me not! By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels “Hashem has charged each one of us with a mission, and we are His agents to carry out that mission.” On the very first Rosh Hashanah, man was born. That same day, man was named. When the heavenly angels saw Hashem’s magnificent creation – man – they were motivated to sing songs of praise to him. Hashem saw their error and named man Adam, to remind the angels that although this creation was fashioned in the image of G-d,…

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Kosher Gourmet

 A good sign The first bite is with the eye By: Sharon Lurie It was the ‘taste’ of nostalgia that encouraged me to do a Rosh Hashanah lunch for this edition. For 20 years I always did 2nd day lunch, however, things change, children get married, families grow, thank G-d, and we start sharing Yomtavim, “who’s doing first night, who’s doing 2nd?” …and so it goes. This year I ‘banked’ 2nd day lunch and reclaimed my spot! That way I won’t have to worry about load shedding as cold meats…

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THINGS I LEARNED…While Teaching Everyone Else

Antisemitism: Rising with Reason? By: Rabbi Yossy Goldman “If we think there is a reason for antisemitism, then we will keep seeking the ever-elusive solution.” Today, antisemitism is on the rise. Thank G-d, we in South Africa enjoy perhaps the lowest antisemitism in the world of any organised, active Jewish community. No thanks to the ANC or its government, but the people of South Africa are not at all antisemitic. Of course, there are haters everywhere, and we have our own BDS zealots. But, as a rule, we have certainly…

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Education: Resilience

More than just survival “Social media has created a culture of shame, where everything from wearing the wrong clothes to accidentally daring to use the wrong pronoun can result in a person experiencing the online equivalent of being tarred and feathered in the public square.” By: Ilan Preskovsky Over the past decade or so, renowned cognitive psychologist, linguist, and public intellectual, Steven Pinker, has received a fair amount of attention for daring to suggest that the world is actually getting better, not worse. By virtually every metric of well-being, he…

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Kosher Gourmet: Healthy Body

 …healthy mind By: Sharon Lurie I always find that when food and education are mentioned in the same sentence, my mind immediately starts thinking school lunches, healthy meals, hearty dishes, and a slice of lemon cake, healthy of course, because aren’t lemons enriched with vitamin C?? Still makes it healthy, doesn’t it?? Nutrition education empowers children with knowledge and skills to make healthy food and beverage choices. I hope some of these recipes will educate one to live a healthier lifestyle and help children to create their own exciting school lunches.…

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Education: Generation Rising

From social media to role models, from challenges to opportunities By: Chandrea Serebro Pullquotes: “This trend has also fostered unhealthy academic competition in schools, a lack of consideration for students who are not academically strong, and a disregard for those who prefer other areas of school life.” King David Linksfield Biggest inspiration: My grade 11 year was the year that I recognised that English is more exciting than merely identifying concord errors. I learned the art of poetry and explored the different ways in which writers relay their voices about…

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Confluence: CAMPUS CONUNDRUM

In Theory By: Rabbi Dr David Fox   “He likely fit into that class of philosophers who did not always practice what they preached.”   We were both busy working on our doctorates. I juggled the role of being a rabbi with that of being a graduate student, and he had sought asylum in America as a refugee from a totalitarian country. He had been a professor in one of the universities there but had fled as the new radical regime made intellectual freedom an act of treason. Our career…

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 Education feature: Education and AI

Are our schools future-fit? By: Paula Levin “How can something of less intelligence retain control over something with vastly superior intelligence?” Panel Rob Long – Principal, Yeshiva College High Schools Dean Furman – Futurist and Innovation Expert Craig Adamson – Head of Digital Transformation and Innovation, King David The future used to seem so far away. With the rise of AI, the release of ChatGPT, ‘real estate’ in the Metaverse being snapped up, and my brother Dave Whatsapping us a pic of the robot bartender he just ordered a drink…

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I can’t …or can I?

I can’t …or can I? By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels “The entire world was created for this moment, when a mere mortal, flesh and blood, could create an atmosphere of G-dliness in the lowly physical world.” “Hashem knew that there would come a time where the Jewish people found themselves in a situation where the world was telling us, ‘You can’t!’” There’s a famous fable about a bunch of frogs that fell into a deep pit. With their friends hopping about outside the pit, those inside desperately tried to jump out,…

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With all our hearts

With all our hearts The compelling call of Tehillim in every age By: Paula Levin “What is the power of Tehillim, that it has captured hearts across the world?” Shavuot commemorates the most significant event in human history, the moment G-d Himself told us why He created this world, and how He wants us to live. At Mount Sinai, we received the Torah, which through millennia of exile has been our ‘portable homeland’. And yet, while most Jews have heard about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Pesach, Shavuot is virtually…

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Shavuos Features

SPIRITUAL EYES And All the People Saw the Thunder “The more one looks, the greater the light becomes, and greater is the insight and understanding of that vision.” The Zohar in Parshat Balak relates the following fascinating story: Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Abba, and some of their students spent some time in the house of Rabbi Yosi in Pakiyin. There they witnessed first-hand an incident of Techiyas Hamaisim [Resurrection of the Dead]. They then departed to visit the home of Rabbi Elazar’s father-in-law, but the way was long and the sun…

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SAJBD

Still here? This is a community worth fighting for By: Wendy Kahn “The celebrations this week were not just for 75 years of Israel. They were also celebrations of South African Jewry.” I often get asked by community members why I am still at the SAJBD 20 years later (in my current job for 17 years). I never miss a beat in responding that it is truly a privilege working for this remarkable South African Jewish community. When I attend conferences with my fellow community leaders from around the world,…

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Kosher Gourmet

Milchiks and more …and fleishigs for sure! By: Sharon Lurie Shavuot is in the air, and it’s time to bring out our favourite dairy delights. I’m sure many have already frozen a few bakkies of cream cheese in an attempt to avoid the ‘big cream cheese hunt’ we had in Johannesburg this year for Pesach. As a result, I’ve included a really simple recipe to make your own cream cheese so that we may never fear going without this essential Shavuot ingredient again! But don’t forget that Shavuot is a…

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Mindstorm

“If we learn to use our breath correctly we will develop more inner awareness, we will sleep better, feel better, be able to let go of negative emotions, and feel more in control of our lives.”   Breathe   By: Maria Beider   “Breath is the epicentre of human function.” “Get out of your mind and get into your breath because your breath is the life force.” Did you know that we breathe on average between 20 000 to 26 000 times a day, and most of the time we…

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Food for thought

More Cheesecake Please Behind the milchiks By: Dr. Yardena Bauer “Unconditional love cannot be reduced to a pill.” There is no actual mitzvah to eat cheesecake on Shavuot. This came as a shock to me as well. Out of the Shalosh Regalim that is Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot – Shavuot is one day and with no Torah-prescribed rituals. Both Pesach and Sukkot are 7 days. Pesach has the seder with all the foods and of course the complete changeover of eating without chametz. Sukkot has the Sukkah and moving outside…

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Mindstorm: A journey to gratitude

“It was unbelievable to arrive at this random apartment in the suburbs of the capital of Botswana to find a welcoming note left only a few hours earlier from my eldest child, a fridge filled with kosher food, and kitchen utensils labelled fleishik on the counter!”   Hurdles and the Holy Land By: Maria Beider     Pesach is a time when we express gratitude to Hashem for taking us out of slavery. On seder night, one of the highlights of the evening is when we sing “Dayeinu” to show…

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Things I’ve Learned…while teaching everyone else

It’s a small world “Some things are identical all over. The problems of Jewish ignorance and assimilation are universal. So are the challenges of raising children in an open society.”    Conversations Across Continents By: Rabbi Yossy Goldman   Since becoming Life Rabbi Emeritus of Sydenham Shul, my wife Rochel and I have done a lot of travelling. Over the past 15 months, we have been guest speakers and lecturers in many cities across the USA, Central America, and Israel. And it is absolutely fascinating to see how as we…

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Kosher Gourmet: Making Memories

HaKol BeSeder By: Sharon Lurie Pesach, the creative cooking time of the year for some, possibly the simplest for others, but daunting for most. How often do we hear: “I’m not going meshuga for 8 days of the year”? Well, we still have to prepare for two Sedorim, Chol HaMoed, and Shabbos, and let’s not forget our families’ biggest memories in Jewish culture revolve around our festivals and how we share meals. Somehow, we always focus on our traditional Seder meals, so I thought this Pesach I’m giving you a few…

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Feature: Galilee Dreamers

“The only way forward is by forging stronger bonds between regular Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians through basic, everyday interactions and real conversations about what matters most to them.” A Critical Message of Hope By: Ilan Preskovsky   As the past months have seen the worst outbreak of violence between Jews and Arabs in Israel in years, it becomes all too easy to lose hope entirely that there will ever be any real peace between the two nations that claim the land as their own. Certainly not for those…

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Feature: Boycott

“There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with JK Rowling, Noam Chomsky, and a long list of others.” Celebrities Who Have Resisted BDS By: Ilan Preskovsky Pullquotes: “There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all, along with JK Rowling, Noam Chomsky, and a long list of others.” “I was approached by different groups and political bodies…

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Choshech

“Anxiety is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Finding light in this plague of darkness By: Paula Levin I look around me and everyone I talk to is struggling. And not just with usual day-to-day stress of business or family challenges. With big stuff. There’s the barrage of bad news from Ukraine, Turkey, and Syria – human tragedy on a mass scale. An uptick in terror attacks in Israel, leaving shattered families in its wake. Closer to home, South Africa’s…

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Pesach Feature: Sing!

Composing the song of our lives “A masterpiece is a fusion of crescendos and decrescendos, piano and forte.”   By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels     “Each and every blow they received was necessary to get them to the lofty level that they had now attained. They had achieved context and clarity. They could now sing.” “Hashem wants us to know that He won’t only split the sea for the Jews who were leaving Egypt thousands of years ago; rather He will get us through every single obstacle that comes our…

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What lies beneath

A Half Shekel, A Whole Heart By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels Whereas Chanukah is a festival celebrating open miracles that happened to the Jewish people against our enemies, the Purim miracle was of a completely different nature. Woven into ‘normal’ and explainable events, Hashem’s Hand brought about the salvation of the Jews in a way that, without Megillas Esther, we might have attributed to ‘chance’, or good luck. Starting with Vashti’s execution at the royal banquet, which saw the palace doors opening for Esther; then Bigsan and Teresh’s assassination attempt, which…

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The Drunken Stupor

The Joy of Not Knowing By: Rabbi Moishe Schnerb Indeed the special holiday of Purim is almost upon us. In fact, many of us have already invested quite a lot of time and effort and even expense into thinking about how we are going to experience this year’s Purim. What should we dress up as? Maybe a ninja turtle? Perhaps this is the year to get our Tinker Bell costume out of mothballs? Or maybe it would be really creative to dress up as the broken Machine that is supposed…

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Growing people

Finding your future on an urban farm By: Chandrea Serebro Greg Sacks[1] graduated from school and even managed to study towards a higher degree, but somehow nothing worked out for him. Academically, he didn’t make the grade and the life of a student did not agree with him. In a world where young matriculants largely follow a predictable path after school, Greg found himself lost, alone, bored, and unmotivated, without a vision for his future. As soon as Greg heard from his Life Coach about a farm in the thick…

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Matric

A Perspective From Those Who Recently Finished it By: Ilan Preskovsky For those in the midst of their final year of high school – and for those about to enter it – matric really does feel like the be-all-and-end-all of life. Well, for most people. Frankly, I only really noticed it when my second prelim results were, for most subjects, much too close for comfort. For most matric students though, they are confronted with exams (and portfolio work, if that’s still a thing) that, they are told, will determine not…

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School’s out forever!

We asked the 2022 matrics about their school career By: Chandrea Serebro Megan Gruzd, King David Victory Park My special subject would be: Film-making and digital animation because I am passionate about storytelling. I love expressing myself creatively and aspire to learn how to combine my artistic abilities with high-tech computer skills. Especially with the constant use of social media in today’s environment, impactful content creation is an essential part of the future. What I would change about school: I know this is almost impossible but if I had a…

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The Felt sense – Tapping into the body’s wisdom

By: Maria Beider Have you ever had a hunch or an intuition about something that you just cannot put into words? I recently had an experience like this. I was going about my day feeling slightly agitated and had butterflies in my stomach. I was feeling increasingly unsettled but I could not put my finger on why exactly. Having read a lot about the felt sense recently, I decided I needed to put it into practice. I sat down, closed my eyes, and started to notice what was going on…

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Fry Time!

December Holiday Specials By: Sharon Lurie The summer months in South Africa often include a seaside holiday or a home holiday besides the pool where “braai time, chill time, and fry time” go hand in hand. Why fry time? Because Chanukah normally falls somewhere in the middle (18-26 December) so oil needs to be added into the mix. In this article I’ve included a comforting soup for Shabbos (or any day of the week) for soup lovers, like me! A ‘sarmi’ sure to make you one of the most popular people on Clifton beach! Bangers and mash…

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Food for thought

Freeing yourself from emotional eating By: Chandrea Serebro If the last two years have taught us nothing else, it has shown us that keeping healthy is a number one priority. In any era. But what makes it hard in today’s age is the ubiquitous anxiety that informs much of what we do and feel, getting in the way all too often with even the most common daily routines. Whereas in the olden days (whenever that was), man’s survival was literally about putting food on the table and getting through the…

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On Halacha and Mental Health

A Conversation with Rabbi Yonatan Rosensweig By: Ilan Preskovsky Can a person suffering from severe depression listen to music on Shabbos? Must – or, indeed, can – someone who has been in recovery for years from an eating disorder fast on Yom Kippur? How is someone suffering with depression or a mood disorder supposed to approach the Yamim Nora’im or the three weeks leading up to Tisha b’Av? With the exponential increase in awareness about mental health that has come about over the past few decades, these and other vital…

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Antidote

Healing toxic emotions with the mind, body and soul By: Paula Levin Hello. How are you? How are you really? Is your life filled with music and melodies for every mood, or is there one song stuck on repeat – perhaps with lyrics like ‘why me, why this, why now’? If you struggle with toxic emotions like shame, self-loathing, bitterness, anger, envy, hatred, and despair – fear not, there is hope! Let’s explore the darkness and learn from others how to find the light. But first, are you open to…

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The ambulance

A siren from the past By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels Shmuel, from London, was a successful businessman. But more than that, he was a ‘Daf Yomi Yid’. Come what may, he would do whatever it took to arrive at shul on time for his daf yomi shiur before going out to work. He treated it with great seriousness. The heavenly court asks a person in the next world if he fixed time for learning Torah. This was Shmuel’s fixed time, his ‘kevius’. Many times, he would stay after the shiur, discussing…

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Kosher Gourmet – Something new

By: Sharon Lurie Rosh Hashanah, a time to renew, revitalise, and in my case revamp traditional recipes using the simanim (symbolic foods). Humus and honey in challah?? Who would have thought? And, as for Appletiser cake? We are blessed with rich culinary traditions and with a surge in the kosher product market. We are seeing wonderful new foods each year making it easier to fuse old-world recipes with modern twists to bring something familiar and a little different to the table HUMUS AND HONEY CHALLAH 3 cups warm water 2…

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The sin, and the return

A day in the life of Adam and Eve By: Chandrea Serebro Many a love song has been written about the power of one moment or just one day. Lives changed, worlds created, destinies dashed. The archetypal creation story, with its elements of love, lost and found, betrayal, disappointment, and doom – Adam and Eve, the birth parents of humankind – has all the ingredients needed for a smash hit. And for Adam and Eve, this one day is none other than Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world. Rosh…

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Inviting Guests on Rosh Hashanah

It’s not only about the teiglach By: Rabbi Moishe Schnerb It is the most frenetic of months! Firstly, just to come to terms with the reality that I’m going to have over 50 people at my Yom Tov table on the first night of Rosh Hashanah! What pressure! I better get my meat order in on time, or else… Should I really invite Auntie Gimpel? Last year she made such a scene with Uncle Fester! And how am I going to do the seating? Don’t forget those Teiglach. They must…

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Loving people you don’t even like

How to win friends and be nice to people By: Paula Levin Starting the New Year on a blank slate is such a lovely thought – all our past misdeeds erased by the atonement of Yom Kippur. But did you know there’s a teeny, tiny disclaimer in the fineprint? Hashem is willing to let bygones be bygones – at least, where He is concerned – but He doesn’t speak for our fellow man. Those we have wronged, those who have wronged us – we have to do the hard work…

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Shed a tear…or two

To cry or to cry twice? That is the question By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels It’s quiet in shul. Eerily quiet. We have just recited Psalm 47 seven times. Each time it got louder and more meaningful, more emotional. “Our G-d has ascended with a blast – Hashem, with the sound of the shofar.” Then the ba’al toke’a raises his voice. The man with the responsibility to blow the shofar for the whole congregation calls out: “From the constraints I called to G-d, He answered me with G-dly relief.” The first…

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Owner Managed Businesses

A private company with an individual or a group of people who have a beneficial interest in the issued securities of the business is defined as an owner-managed entity. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to capitalise on any type of business opportunity. That right alone doesn’t necessarily translate to success highlighting the need for an external party to assist you with the growth and development of the organisation. It’s unfortunate that not everyone has the necessary business acumen to turn an idea into a successful operation. As a result, you need…

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WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR

By: Rabbi Moishe Schnerb It may sound like a very strange thing to say, but I am profoundly grateful for all the challenges, difficulties, and moments of despair that I have encountered in my life. I am so grateful for the four and a half years I spent “on dialysis”, sometimes attached to a machine for four consecutive hours, or negotiating at home with a temperamental machine in the wee hours of the morning. I am grateful for all those days where all I could think of, as I tried…

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Healthy body … healthy mind

By: Sharon Lurie There are many ways to educate your children through food. A few simple ones that work so well are: Planting a vegetable garden with your children and ensuring they care for it, packing away the food after shopping, washing and cleaning fruit and vegetables, mixing ingredients in a bowl, kneading dough, teaching them the names of different herbs and spices and how to use them, and allowing them to choose a recipe to create a healthy meal, remembering, of course, food always tastes better when you eat…

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Higher Altitude

Only Heaven knows By: Rabbi Dr David Fox The long flight was crossing the continent and its passengers were sleeping, reading, or doing their best to relax. Somewhere over the midwestern states a scream was heard. Flight attendants rushed to see what had happened. It was a woman clad in the attire of a Moslem wife and she was hunched over. Barely articulate, her English was at best limited and given her apparent pain, her words were garbled and unclear. “If there is a doctor on board please come to…

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A Revolution in Innovation

A Conversation with Dr David Fine By Ilan Preskovsky Dr David Fine recently made local headlines for donating some $3 million (roughly R50 million) to the University of Witwatersrand to establish the Angela and David Fine Chair in Innovation. It’s an astonishing amount of money, of course, (and a truly sobering way to express the current state of our currency), but after spending thirty minutes on a Zoom call with him, I can safely say that the real story here is less about the millions of rands Dr Fine so…

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Looking Back

Isadore Kahanovitz taught us to see more clearly ahead By: Eleanor Katseff In the first of an occasional series of “Educator” profiles, Eleanor Katseff, one of his former pupils, reflects on the influence of Isadore Kahanovitz, whose first yahrzeit is in August this year. The Jewish calendar is a testimony to and validation of the power of history. It recognises the necessity to pass stories on from one generation to the next, and to teach the lessons of the past over and over until they become a clear and vital…

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Beyond the classroom

The power of informal Jewish education By: Paula Levin However bleak SA’s future looks, especially in the dim glow of a dying LED in the thick of the latest round of load shedding, there is nothing in the world to rival our Jewish schools! The sheer amount and quality of opportunities for our children to embrace our Jewish values is truly unrivalled. I set out to explore how our schools and youth movements are tackling the challenge of inspiring a deep connection to Jewish values and a Torah lifestyle and…

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Mythbusters – Ears that see

Did the Jews see thunder at Mount Sinai? By: Rabbi Ari Shishler Can you imagine what it must have been like to receive the Torah at Sinai? Close to three million Jews camped at the foot of the mountain as Moses ascended to collect G-d’s Code for Life. The presentation of the Torah was dramatic. The Torah describes raging fire on the mountainside, thick clouds over the peak, thunder, lightning, and the booming voice of the Al-mighty[1]. Sinai marked the greatest Divine revelation in history. One curious detail in the…

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Coming home

Kiruv in the 21st Century By: Paula Levin If you’re reading this sentence – it’s a miracle. It means you’re Jewish. And you know it. And you have enough connection to your roots to be enriching your knowledge about Jewish life. Maybe your children even attend a Jewish Day school and brought home this magazine. All miraculous. Two thousand years after the Jewish People were exiled from our homeland, dispersed across the globe, persecuted for centuries, and murdered in our millions, the very fact that we exist as Jews at…

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Escape from Kyiv

A dangerous getaway brought ‘designer refugees’ home to Israel By: Chandrea Serebro When you call your rabbi on Shabbat and he answers, I think it’s understandable if you are in shock. When you call him on Shabbat and he answers only to tell you he will pick you up in an hour, I think it’s time to worry. When you call him on Shabbat and he answers, only to tell you he will pick you up in an hour to flee your home, your country, and everything that you know,…

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Matan Torah

Who wants it more? By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels In his famous letter to the Jews of Yemen, guiding them how to remain steadfast and true to authentic Judaism, the Rambam reminds them of the obligation to always remember the event of the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai. He also instructed them to raise their children with the knowledge of this great event, and to relate to all communities its greatness and importance. To somewhat fulfil this charge of the Rambam, and the Torah itself[1], let us study some…

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Muizenberg

The Perennial Holiday Favourite for SA Jews of All Ages By: Ilan Preskovsky Muizenberg Then Like no doubt many a Jewish Joburger, some of my fondest memories growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s took place during summer holidays in a small coastal town just a few minutes’ drive from Cape Town. Muizenberg in December/January was exactly the sort of place in which indelible memories were created. I remember old, Cape-style houses in long, quiet streets surrounded by train tracks on the one side, the “Vlei” on the other, and,…

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Revisiting the past, changing the future

The story of Ella Blumenthal By: Cathy Wilson Having been involved in Holocaust and Genocide education for many years, and after watching the many documentaries and seeing the same black and white photographs, there is a possible risk of becoming slightly desensitised. Before watching “I Am Here”, the film of the story of Ella Blumenthal, I did wonder why there was a need for another documentary – what new information could Jordy Shank as Director and Gabriella Blumberg as Producer possibly add? The answer became abundantly clear through my tear-filled…

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On the Up

Making Aliyah an adventure By: Chandrea Serebro Dean and Shirley Cohen “As a young couple, we’ve always wanted to live in Israel. Both born to Israeli mothers (real sabras), we have always had a strong affiliation to the country. We travelled to Israel and were often reunited with close family and always felt that we truly belonged in Eretz Yisrael. So, the idea of settling one day in Israel wasn’t far-fetched. We went on to start our own family and found it increasingly difficult to contemplate leaving our families behind.…

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Pesach pastimes

A taste of the Seder around the world By Chandrea Serebro From Buenos Aires to Madrid and finding the way home Buenos Aires, known for its glamour and energy, saw its first Jewish community established in the mid-1800s and still today there is a strong Jewish community. Ayana (Natalia) Jazanovich was born and spent her formative years growing up in Buenos Aires. “My parents were children of European parents who left Europe before WW2 and although they grew up knowing they were Jewish and spoke Yiddish, there was no connection…

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Maror and trauma

How to digest trauma without letting it swallow us By: Paula Levin They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade – but what do you do with maror? Lemons are the small stresses and setbacks; the minor inconveniences, the bad luck, bad days, and bad moods that are part of ordinary, daily living. Maror is much more. It’s pain and suffering, loss and tragedy – the traumatic and catastrophic events that go far deeper, are far more bitter, and are much harder to swallow. What do we do…

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Spiritual suffocation

Getting to the heart of the matter By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels Happy new year! No, it’s not Rosh HaShanah; it’s Nisan, and we’re building up to Pesach. So, why the new year’s greetings? Rabbeinu Tam, one of our most famous medieval commentators, teaches us that the world really had two aspects of creation. In Tishrei, Rosh HaShanah marks the creation of the world ‘in thought’, and Nisan marks the creation of the world ‘in action’. Naturally, this concept is a complex one; as is any topic concerning the creation of…

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Ticket to Ride

Valuing the celebration, and celebrating the value There was a story going around about a wealthy man in the United States who was waiting for a train in the Subway. As he was reading his newspaper, he became less and less aware of the painted line on the ground below him, and he ventured too close to the edge. As his toes folded over the edge of the pit, he lost his balance and fell in, hurting himself badly on the hard tracks. “Help! Help!” the man cried. He was…

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Defining a Generation

The Long-term Impact of COVID-19 on Today’s Youth By: Ilan Preskovsky It would be the height of chutzpah for someone like me, someone who is both unmarried and childless, to tell any parent that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the lives of their adolescent or even pre-adolescent kids. So I won’t. I certainly wouldn’t dare to presume to explain to adolescents and children how Covid has affected them. No one needs me to spell out how challenging online school classes are or how disappointing it must…

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Life in the times of 2021…

Lessons from our Matric students and their teachers’ By: Chandrea Serebro Hirsch Lyons Girls High School What Corona taught me about teachers… From singing good morning songs, to wearing a pirate hat whilst exhibiting a puppet show to present the lessons, my high school teachers had to become quite ‘creative’ to keep us students coming back to their lessons each day over the lockdown periods. From my experience of online school, I have seen teachers’ major evolution in their online teaching skills. Firstly, I have been privileged to witness teachers’ transition…

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Summer Salads

By: Sharon Lurie Since I started making and selling salad dressings, my fridge has looked like a science project with every sized glass beaker and test tube available. Once you start making dressings, you don’t stop experimenting. Finally, after the thumbs-up from the ‘Lury Jury’ which now, Baruch Hashem, includes over 40 tasters, “Bobba Shar’s Heimishe dressing” made it onto the shelves and is available at most kosher outlets. Please G-d, next to join our condiments family will be a dark Thai-style dressing. The search for authentic dark ingredients was…

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Growing pains

Helping our teens grow into greatness By: Paula Levin Parenting teenagers is not for the fainthearted. It’s brutal, thankless, confusing, painful, scary, and often heartbreaking. My mother in law tried to warn me when my kids were little – “It’s not all coochi-coo.” Boy was she right! The worst part is that we’re flying blind. I don’t know about you, but I never got a manual, and I literally don’t know what I’m doing. Fortunately, as a writer, I get to research, explore, and investigate the world, and speak to…

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Staying Relevant

Lessons from our Matric students and their teachers’ By: Chandrea Serebro Hirsch Lyons Girls High School What Corona taught me about teachers… From singing good morning songs, to wearing a pirate hat whilst exhibiting a puppet show to present the lessons, my high school teachers had to become quite ‘creative’ to keep us students coming back to their lessons each day over the lockdown periods. From my experience of online school, I have seen teachers’ major evolution in their online teaching skills. Firstly, I have been privileged to witness teachers’ transition…

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Crucible and Cure

How Purim paved the way for the children to return Rabbi Dovid Samuels It once happened, about 500 years ago, that Rav Yosef Karo[1] was learning a particularly difficult part of Torah. He struggled to make sense of a certain commentary and toiled the entire night to try and figure it out. At daybreak, he finally reached a deep and clear understanding, and his hard work had paid off. As he made his way to his shul that morning, he walked past a man sitting and learning that very same…

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A medical miracle

Aaron Lipschitz’s supernatural survival By: Sarahbelle Selig When doctors diagnosed three-year-old Aaron Lipschitz with a rare genetic disorder, a bone marrow transplant became his only chance at survival. The transplant saved his life – but almost took his life in the process. Thanks to a pioneering medical team, a dedicated community, and more than a few miracles, Aaron and his parents have withstood every family’s nightmare – and Aaron continues to defy the odds, every day of his life. The first thing you notice about Aaron Lipschitz is his energy.…

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The Aftermath of COVID-19 on Mental Health

And how religion fits in. By: Ilan Preskovsky As of this writing, COVID-19 has been an unwanted daily presence in our lives for something like twenty months, but if there is one positive side effect to come from all this, it must surely be a renewed emphasis on the importance of mental health. With the pandemic serving as a hotbed for serious mental health crises – affecting everyone from those with existing diagnoses to those who previously would never even have dreamed of stepping foot in a therapist’s office –…

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Blackout

Our spiritual flashlight By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels You took tears of sorrow and turned them into tears of gratitude Finally, our homes will be filled with dancing flames and the veil of darkness will have been completely peeled back A story is told that the great Tzaddik Rabbi Meir of Premishlan was once being hosted for a Shabbos meal at the house of one of his followers. During the meal, Rabbi Meir said to his host, “This challah has the taste of the Garden of Eden! Please, tell me who…

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One light at a time

Why my darkest Chanukah ever shines the brightest Paula Levin Erev Chanukah, December 25th 2005, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. As the Parklane’s first Xmas baby, he was somewhat of a celebrity, and several newspapers came to take pictures of baby Levin for their annual feel-good story. I too was feeling good, ecstatic with my perfect, tiny, 2,8kg baby boy and thrilled with the fact that we got to publicise the miracle of Chanukah as my husband told Die Beeld and the Star’s reporters that we were…

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A year on

A year on By: Ilan Preskovsky It’s hard to believe, but as of 11 Tishrei 5782 (17 September 2021), it will have been one year since Rabbi Avraham Tanzer z”l passed away. It has hardly been the easiest, let alone the most normal of years for any of us, individually, but Rabbi Tanzer’s passing has obviously left a major hole in both the Yeshiva College campus and the wider community as well. No doubt, that’s not going to change any time soon but more even than his absence, it will…

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Left-Wing Antisemitism

Why the woke left has failed the Jews By: Ilan Preskovsky Though it’s undoubtedly true that the most violent, blatant, and vitriolic antisemitic attacks come from those on the far right of the political spectrum, the recent meteoric surge in antisemitism is very much also the responsibility of those on the far left. The difference between the two extremes, though, is that while right-wing extremism – be it a neo-Nazi rally or a militant Islamist terrorist attack – tends to be proud of its undisguised Jew-hatred, left-wing antisemitism is much,…

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Living in “Sukkah”

The message of uncertainty, and liberation from predictability. By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels One of the ideas given as to why we are commanded to dwell in sukkahs after the Yomim Nora’im is that just in case it was decided on Rosh Hashanah that we, chas veshalom, deserved to be sent into galus – exile, our living outside in the sukkah should be a (more pleasant) fulfilment of that harsh decree, and will hopefully exempt us from the “real thing”. The question is an obvious one: how could the experience of…

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En Route

A bus driver’s guide to life By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels It was just after Rosh Hashanah, 2015. At the bus stop in the middle of Bnei Brak stood tens of families with small children waiting for the bus to take them all back home to Yerushalayim. But on the horizon, no bus could be seen. A man in the crowd made a call to the bus company, and they duly promised that they would send a bus to pick them up, and finally send them all home. They had just…

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Rosh Hashanah

 The spiritual root of change By: Paula Levin New Year resolutions are notoriously difficult to stick to. Even we only half believe ourselves when committing to changing something about our lives. Every year, Rosh Hashanah offers us a fresh start and a blank slate, to turn over a new leaf, start a new chapter, and create lasting change – if we harness its power. To help unpack the spiritual science behind the change it offers, we spoke to experts in personal transformation: Ra’anana-based master mindset life coach Andi Saitowitz, and…

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Extracurricular activities

An unintended lesson By: Rabb Dr David Fox As a teacher of Talmud, he fit the stereotype. Poised, intellectual, focused, serious. His lectures in the yeshiva were intense and deep, pushing the young men to concentrate and to absorb his explanations and contemplate his questions. I found it a challenge to get to know him, because he was self-contained, in his own league. He modelled authority, was candid and perceptive, but in our one-on-one interactions, I found him self-assured and not engaging. As a post-high school student, far from home,…

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Saving money doesn’t mean sacrificing taste

By: Adrienne Bogatie To try and keep my grocery bill down, I am always looking for alternatives to meat. In my home, black bean burgers are a big hit and actually taste really close to meat burgers. Working odd hours also means I want food that is quick to make. I chose these recipes because they are so easy and convenient. Even though technically the boerewors kebabs aren’t really a recipe, they are a quick, easy, and different way to serve your boerewors. I love Chinese food, but don’t always…

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In the spotlight

How Social Media is Really Affecting Your Kids By Ilan Preskovsky Considering its humble origins as an interactive platform through which creators could connect with audiences (Myspace) and as a student project that was initially just a collection of basic information of the students at Harvard (Facebook), it’s staggering to see how far social media has come in just fifteen short years. The current social media heavyweights, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (along with video sharing platforms like YouTube and, heaven help us, TikTok), aren’t just ubiquitous in our current cultural…

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One at a time

The little things we do…add up By: Maria Beider As an old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young boy picking up starfish and putting them into the sea. He asked the boy why he was doing this. The boy answered that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are thousands of starfish,” countered the old man. “How can your efforts make any difference?” The young boy looked at the starfish in his hand…

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That hurts!

Tuning into the pain of others and asking for help By: Robert Sussman If we look at the davening that we do each day, we’ll notice something interesting – it’s almost entirely in the plural, in particular the focal point of our davening, where we ask for the many things that we need – shemoneh esrei [lit: eighteen, referring to the number of blessings in that prayer, to which one blessing was later added making for a total of nineteen blessings (while the name eighteen was preserved) and which is…

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Babi Yar

By: Yevgeni Yevtushenko (translated into English by Benjamin Okopnik) No monument stands over Babi Yar. A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone. I am afraid. Today, I am as old As the entire Jewish race itself. I see myself an ancient Israelite. I wander o’er the roads of ancient Egypt And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured And even now, I bear the marks of nails. It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself. The Philistines betrayed me – and now judge. I’m in a cage. Surrounded and…

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Teaching Our Kids to Save

Why the Correct Values are Everything By Ilan Preskovsky This probably isn’t entirely surprising to the average reader of this magazine, but South Africa has one of the worst savings cultures on the planet. That is to say, South Africans, on average, put away far less of their salaries or other monthly income towards their savings than the citizens of most other countries. And this is a reality that existed long before the current (but, hopefully by now, receding) pandemic wreaked havoc on the personal finances of most people worldwide.…

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From their kitchens to yours

Turning a passion for food into something more By Chandrea Serebro Tastes just like pudding Little ready-made puddings for her little pudding. This was what Shevi Lurie went in search of when her second-born daughter was ready to start eating solids, ready to use whatever kosher store-bought options she could to support her in the daunting task of raising an unfussy, healthy eater. “I remember so clearly when my older daughter was at the same stage. Never mind being a new mommy and all the challenges that it brought, starting…

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