The real meaning of saving – In the spirit of national savings month

The real meaning of saving – In the spirit of national savings month

BY PIETER KOEKEMOER, CORONATION HEAD OF PERSONAL INVESTMENTS When it comes to the difficult choice be-tween spending on something you really want, or saving the money instead, you may expect that an investment manager would say it’s always best to forego short-term indulgences in favour of investing for the long-term, right? You might be surprised to hear us say, not always! As part of National Savings Month, we are encouraging South Africans to save more by putting money aside every month instead of overspending it on unnecessary things. Our call…

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MEXEM: Making the stock market quick and easy for all

MEXEM: Making the stock market quick and easy for all

For those of us looking to develop a sound financial portfolio, investing one’s money in the stock market is a particularly effective way to reap significant returns on that investment. Whether you’re saving whatever disposable income you have for a large purchase in the future (say, a house, a car or a university education) or have come onto a significant amount of extra cash (through an inheritance, for example), investing in the stock market promises the kind of massive returns that absolutely no other investment strategy can match. Like any…

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Diner delights

Diner delights

Recipes to help warm up your winter By: Jenny Diner Vegetable and Beef Soup 500g shin 500g flank Bring to a boil 4 litres of water. Add the meat and cook slowly for about 30 minutes, skimming the surface until the water is clear. Dice the following vegetables and add to the meat: 4 baby leeks 4 medium turnips 2 large parsnips 3 large carrots 1 large potato Cut up a bunch of soup celery A small bunch of parsley A chunk of pumpkin (optional) Add water to cover the…

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A Japanese tzaddik

A Japanese tzaddik

Sacrificing everything to save a few Jews By Rabbi Yossy Goldman How does it feel to come to the realisation that without a certain individual you would not be alive? I had this singular experience recently in Philadelphia. It was my very emotional meeting with a Japanese gentleman named Nobuki Sugihara. Nobuki is the sole surviving son of Chiune Sugihara, the legendary Japanese diplomat who courageously distributed thousands of Transit Visas to Polish Jews trapped in Lithuania which enabled them to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe at the beginning of World…

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It all adds up

It all adds up

Changing habits and planning ahead can lead to big savings By: Adrienne Bogatie We all have to live within a budget. How big or small that budget is depends on a number of factors: the job we have, our housing costs, the size of our family, whether or not we keep kosher, and the school which our children attend. For a lot of people, it is easier to open up about marital and family conflicts, or going for therapy, than it is to admit, even to close family or friends,…

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Jews and Their Money

Jews and Their Money

The Enduring Legacy of Economic Anti-Semitism By Ilan Preskovsky There is perhaps no greater example of the anti-Semitic stereotype of the money-grubbing Jew in all of literature than the character of Shylock in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Shylock is an exceptionally greedy and merciless Jewish loan shark who lends the play’s Christian protagonist, Antonio, a sizeable amount of money and literally secures the loan against a pound of Antonio’s flesh. When Antonio inevitably defaults on repaying the money, Shylock lives up to his repulsive, almost satanic nature and…

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Spare change – A priceless encounter with an adoring fan

Spare change – A priceless encounter with an adoring fan

By: Rabbi Dr David Fox He was standing in the lobby, having stepped out of the noisy banquet hall where the wealthy donors dined on delicacies and discussed their wealth management. A quiet, modest man, he felt little in common with this crowd, but had attended the banquet as a guest of the evening’s host. A little quiet usually suited him well, so he had taken a break to admire the decor and solitude. Looking around, he saw a well-dressed, portly fellow moving towards him, beaming. Dapper and confident, the…

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Anything is possible

Anything is possible

From jobless to successful entrepreneur By Chandrea Serebro Estie Rand went from fired and jobless to successful entrepreneur, after being told by a successful recruiter that she would never succeed at turning her dream into a real, profitable reality. Nine years ago, working at a multinational profit as a CIO, Estie loved her job. She loved her boss. One day, they hired a middle manager, who came in like a bull in a china shop and created a very toxic environment. He shifted all the work responsibilities and basically told…

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The adventures of the entrepreneurial spirit and what makes it tick

The adventures of the entrepreneurial spirit and what makes it tick

By Chandrea Serebro Makeover When Israeli-born Maya Mallah made Aliya back to Israel 15 years ago, she arrived to the country of her birth only to discover that the reality there was so different to what she had enjoyed in South Africa for so many years, being a housewife who also enjoyed domestic help. She realised that she needed to uplift herself in order to contribute to the household, and took herself off to study beauty for two years, which turned out to be “the best years of my life”….

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On Zeida’s knee

On Zeida’s knee

Stories from a world that was By: Lorraine Winnett Way back in the 1950s, Jewish grandparents had the (understandably) mistaken belief that grand children must eat. Experiences of deprivation and poverty, pogroms, and other atrocities were always present and hauntingly all too real in their minds. Children starved, and I, alone, had the supreme responsibility for eating grilled liver and fried onions, as other children could not bear it! It was irrelevant that I detested this delicacy, as it would definitely bring a glow to my sallow complexion. I was…

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Homework!?

Homework!?

What death and taxes are to life, homework no doubt is to school – at least that’s long been the conventional wisdom begrudgingly but obediently accepted by teachers, parents, and kids for as long as anyone can remember By: Ilan Preskovsky Some of us may have gone out of our way not to actually do our assigned homework – and certainly not to do so at home – but it has always been an accepted reality that with any halfway decent education comes work that must be done outside of…

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Not so elementary

Not so elementary

The case of the weeping hiker By: Rabbi Dr Dovid Fox A few summers ago on a return trip from Israel, my wife and I visited Switzerland. To paraphrase the wise words of many a great rabbinic scholar, we both wanted to see “HaShem’s Alps”. We planned a few weeks of solitary hiking to clear our minds with clean mountain air. Friends of ours frequent Switzerland and advised us of some beautiful valleys and famous peaks. Waiting for that one perfect spot to recite a bracha [blessing] over HaShem’s majestic…

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It’s burger time!

It’s burger time!

All the secrets to making the best burgers around Text and Recipes By: Sharon Lurie What makes a burger “A BURGER”? Is it the patty? The toppings? The condiments? Or the bun? The secret to these unique tasting burgers is a combination of all of the above. Nothing beats a simple home-made burger bun (recipe below), especially when cut open and toasted. Toasting the buns gives it an even better taste, texture, and surface to prevent the sauces from seeping through the bun and making it soggy. All the burgers…

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After hours

After hours

These days, a thirst for knowledge and to have fun while developing the skills needed for the fast paced lives that lie ahead lead kids to choose extra-murals that will develop them for life. We looked at a few… By Chandrea Serebro Coding The way the world is going, one of the best skills you can give your kids is for them to be well versed in technology. And this starts with coding, the fundamentals of the high tech world. Torah Academy offers coding through Kids Coding Academy as an…

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Excellence beyond the classroom

Excellence beyond the classroom

Teachers and students who are taking everything they’ve learned to the next level By Chandrea Serebro Rebbe’s Mussar Stories Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Edelman is a storyteller who uses the power of his voice, with his talent for imparting the Torah’s timeless wisdom through meaningful moshals (parables), to teach children all about growing themselves as people and as Jews. But just to make sure that what he is trying to teach people doesn’t get lost in the pages of history, Rabbi Edelman uses modern technology and the wonderful new ways of…

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Speaking to the heart

Speaking to the heart

A new memorial edition of Tehillim dedicated to the memory of Avigayil Brocha Goodman aims to reach the hearts of all Jews By Chandrea Serebro There is one book that catches Cathy’s eye as she unpacks a shipment of new Jewish books for the Kollel Bookshop where she works. It is small and unassuming; with soft pastel blossoms, tiny leaves and fruits, coming off an intricate vine, the delicate embossed flowers twirling off the front cover. A Tehillim book, so gentle and appealing, it immediately strikes her as something special,…

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MEXEM COMMUNITY SUPPORT: From a strong 2018 to an even greater future

MEXEM COMMUNITY SUPPORT: From a strong 2018 to an even greater future

In just over a year, Mexem has transformed financial market trading in South Africa. Mexem is an introductory broker for Interactive Brokers, the United States’ largest electronic brokerage firm. Mexem has become the new standard, offering extremely low rates and an unprecedented range of markets to choose from. Whilst building its footprint in South Africa, Mexem has ensured that it forges strong ties and contributes to the South African Jewish community. One of the company’s greatest sources of pride is that in its incredibly brief period of existence, it has…

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Less really is more

Less really is more

In an effort to be more health-conscious, here are some recipes that have more natural, less-processed ingredients. They may require more time and effort in the kitchen, but you won’t be disappointed with having your fridge, freezer, or pantry well-stocked with delicious, healthier options on hand By: Avigail Goldberg Breakfast Pancakes Makes 6 2 cups rolled oats 2 overripe bananas 2 eggs 2 tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp baking powder ¼ cup chocolate chips – optional Fresh fruit and honey to serve – optional In a blender, blend the oats…

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Kosher heaven

Kosher heaven

Kosherfest introduces us to what lies ahead for all things kosher By Chandrea Serebro Those of us keeping kosher in South Africa realise how lucky we are, with so much available and so many options out there for so small a community, relatively speaking. We might think that Glenhazel or Sea Point is a kosher fest. That is until you discover Kosherfest – the annual event held in New Jersey for kosher businesses (it is not open to the public). “Kosherfest is the world’s largest and most attended kosher-certified products…

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Just like bobba used to make

Just like bobba used to make

Expressing love through food By: Nikita Singh On Purim, we look forward to delicate hamantaschen triangles filled with sweet mohn and fruity jams. On Rosh Hashanah, we weave big round challahs with a sweet golden glaze. Jewish holidays are always accompanied by the most flavourful and delicious dishes, like slow-cooked tsimmes, big bowls of chicken soup, and platters of smoked salmon. Food is like a cultural calendar in Jewish life. If you’ve got latkes on your plate, you know that it’s Chanukah. If you’re eating hamantaschen, you know that it’s…

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Supersize it

Supersize it

The pros share the planning and organisation that go into catering functions for thousands of guests By Chandrea Serebro If you think that having ten people over for a Friday night is a challenge – getting the soup hot and the meat out in time before it’s burned, and let’s not forget taking the ice cream out of the freezer in advance so it’s thawed enough to serve – imagine catering for a thousand or even more! Now imagine that the said thousand are Jewish and it takes it to…

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A taste of Italy

A taste of Italy

A business built to provide employment for family, but the real winner is the entire Jewish community By Chandrea Serebro Chani Lavine is Italian, and, like all good Italians, she loves a good ice cream. Not just any ice cream, mind you, but authentic gelato straight out of Italy. So when Chani went in the search of a business that she could build for her sons, Dovi and Reuven, to take over one day, it was natural that her first port of call was Italy, where Chani went in pursuit…

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What happens in the kitchen…

What happens in the kitchen…

A commercial kitchen can be a scary, hairy, weary place. We asked a few kosher pros to tell share some of their stories from the trenches By Chandrea Serebro “It was my first Tisha B’Av breaking of the fast working at Michelos. We came in as per usual at around lunchtime to prepare for a busy breaking of the fast. Throughout the afternoon, orders were coming in, but, an hour before the fast ended, our oven decided that it had had enough. A transformer blew and it was no longer…

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Shavuos: Receiving the Torah

Shavuos: Receiving the Torah

More than in our heart and in our soul, it’s in our DNA By: Aron Ziegler When the Jewish people stood at Har Sinai 3 331 years ago, we were asked if we would accept the Torah, and we famously responded “na’aseh v’nishma” – “we will do and we will understand”. In the Talmud, it is recorded that at this juncture Hashem held the mountain of Sinai over us and declared that we had better accept the Torah, or else. The Torah says[1], “And Moshe brought the people forth out…

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KEEPING THE COSTS DOWN: Mexem’s incredible trading fees

KEEPING THE COSTS DOWN: Mexem’s incredible trading fees

Keeping the Costs Down: Mexem’s Incredible Trading Fees Mexem, the introducing broker for Interactive Brokers, has been bringing world-class trading to South African investors for over a year now. Enabling trading in 120 markets and 28 currencies, all at very low fees, Mexem has dramatically transformed the face of investing for South Africans. By bringing Interactive Brokers – the largest US electronic brokerage firm – to South Africa, Mexem says it is able to offer extremely low fees that simply cannot be matched by South African firms who are limited…

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Not kidding around

Not kidding around

The beloved song from the Pesach Seder, Chad Gadya, may sound like it’s just a children’s song, but the meaning behind the imagery is truly profound By: Robert Sussman Written in Aramaic, the song Chad Gadya (Aramaic for “One Kid”) is the final song sung at the Pesach Seder. Its author is unknown. Why Aramaic? Our Sages wanted to conclude the Haggadah in the same language with which it began – “Ha lachma anya…”, “This is the bread of affliction…” – so they established that Chad Gadya be said in…

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Matzah! – Our tortured gastronomical love affair with this square-shaped piece of bread

Matzah! – Our tortured gastronomical love affair with this square-shaped piece of bread

By Chandrea Serebro How we love to hate matzah, and how our stomachs hate to love matzah. Most of us spend half of Pesach complaining about the lousy effect that all the matzah, chrain, and wine have on us. Yet, during the week of Pesach, we all delight at the simple pleasure of a creamy slice of geshmeerte matza. Or two. Or, why not three? Who’s counting? Besides, matzah doesn’t fill us up, so it’s very easy to keep going on and on just like the Energizer bunny. But there…

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A hero to the troopies

A hero to the troopies

Cecil Meltz’ profound love for every Jew meant that no Jewish man in uniform was ever alone By Chandrea Serebro Ask anyone from Bloemfontein and it’s a sure thing that they will recall knowing the legendary Cecil Meltz, who inhabited so many roles while being defined by none. His life story is a gripping tale of love and loss, war, murder, tragedy, friendship, and extending a hand to strangers. It started in Zastron, Free State, in 1920, when Cecil Meltz was born, one of nine siblings. He saw active service…

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We were slaves, strangers in a strange land

We were slaves, strangers in a strange land

Looking for remnants of a world that was By: Rabbi Dr Fox My visit to Morocco, my first to the African continent, was to look for graves. My wife’s father had been born there and had regaled her and me with his memories of life there before and after the war. Ultimately, he had made his way to France, to America, to Israel, and yet has retained clear images of the world which he left behind. Of interest to us was his decision, decades earlier, not to go back. He…

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The oldest fake news around

The oldest fake news around

Showing half the picture and taking all the credit By: Robert Sussman When did we truly become liberated from our Egyptian slavery? In other words, was there a precise point in time – even a precise location that we can point to – when Hashem took us out from Egypt where we were truly emancipated once and for all? In fact, the Torah tells us that there was such a moment where we gained our freedom, including a physical location where it took place: “Speak to the Children of Israel…

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In graphic detail – An Exciting New Approach to a Familiar Old Text

In graphic detail – An Exciting New Approach to a Familiar Old Text

By Ilan Preskovsky One of the hallmarks of any Seder is the challenge of keeping both old and young interested in what’s going on. Whether it’s the familiarity of a ritual we go through once (twice in chutz l’aretz) every year, the potential inaccessibility of a text that was old when the middle ages were young, or the way the main meal feels ever further away the more the Seder goes on, it is, at times, less than easy to engage in something that, by all rights, ought to be…

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In Vino Veritas – Four cups of wine: recognising what makes us different

In Vino Veritas – Four cups of wine: recognising what makes us different

By Dovid Samuels What do Purim, Shabbos, Pesach…and pretty much all Yom Tovs have in common? Besides for the food, there is almost always a bottle of wine present; usually to add to the simcha of the festival, but often mandatory. On Shabbos: for Kiddush on Friday night and Shabbos day, then havdola at the end. Purim, ad d’lo yada… (until you don’t know the difference). At Pesach: four cups throughout the night…and a fifth one poured, but not drunk. Now, there are many reasons given why we have specifically…

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Shock and awe

Shock and awe

Who doesn’t know the Ten Plagues? Hashem, who is All Powerful, could have done anything to the Egyptians that He wanted, so why did He choose those ten afflictions? The Midrash teaches that Hashem brought the plagues middah keneged middah (measure for measure). In other words, each one of the plagues was to punish the Egyptians for something they had done to persecute the Children of Israel. By: Robert Sussman 1. DAM (BLOOD) – WHY? The Egyptians saw that the Children of Israel would immerse in a mikvah when they…

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An eye for detail

An eye for detail

Two paths diverged in the wood…and David Braude wound up taking both of them By Ilan Preskovsky Even after just spending a couple of hours with them in their home, it’s hard to deny that, as Dulcie Braude herself puts it, she and her husband of nearly sixty years, David, “are not your average couple”. Dulcie, along with proving to be an impeccable hostess, is clearly the talker of the two; quickly taking charge and – pre-empting most of my actual questions – unspooling what are, no doubt, just some…

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Buried treasure

Buried treasure

Childhood tales of a famous relative lead to the discovery of just how great the man actually was, along with some newfound cousins By: Juan-Paul (Paysach) Burke To reimagine the past can be a challenge, especially the distant past with a dearth of ready information. So, to stumble across a relative who you never knew you had and to discover more about a rabbi of note that you share as a great-grandfather is a brilliant surprise and a present from above. The Friends of Jewish Dokshitsy[1], comments and stories. 13…

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There’s more to the party than just the balloons

There’s more to the party than just the balloons

Girls celebrating their bat mitzvah year have so much to choose from to help them find meaning from their special day. By Chandrea Serebro Roots “Suddenly, as she becomes bat mitzvah, a girl begins to hear the voice of her soul. The needs, yearnings, and feelings of her spiritual inner self are allowed to emerge. She begins to seek meaning, fulfilment, connection, and inspiration. She meets a side to her personality that she never knew existed – a deeper side.” This is both the goal and the mission statement of…

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Celebrate the good times

Celebrate the good times

You don’t have to look far for a reason to celebrate By Chandrea Serebro Life is short. It’s too short to get lost in the details. It’s too short to get caught up in the daily grind. There are too many things to worry about. Paying the bills. The next deal that is waiting for us to close before someone else gets there first. Getting the kids to school on time. Getting the kids to varsity one day. Living a good, long life in good health. Every day we could…

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The consummate teacher

The consummate teacher

Paying tribute to the man who has steadfastly held a diverse and unique community united for decades By Chandrea Serebro It might sound incongruous for a judge – not just any judge, mind you, but the head of the court – to state repeatedly over a career spanning 40 years that he is not in the business of judging. But hearing Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag – recently retired from the position of Av Beth Din after taking up the position as Dayan in 1976, a giant of a man who at…

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Esther

Esther

Prophetess. Queen. Redeemer…Orphan. By: Robert Sussman What would you be willing to sacrifice to save your family? What about your entire nation? Would you be willing to give up everything that you hold dear and to live in virtual isolation in order to save everyone else? In essence, that’s exactly the choice that Queen Esther faced. One of the most famous – and most dramatic – moments in Megillas Esther comes when Mordechai sends a message to Queen Esther informing her about the evil decree that Haman has just had…

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Mazel Tov!

Mazel Tov!

We say it so often, but what does it really mean? And does saying it actually make any difference – can we really change what’s been written in the stars? By: Robert Sussman No matter the simcha (joyous occasion), be it a wedding, bris, or bar mitzvah, we customarily greet each other by saying, “Mazel Tov!” In fact, it seems that any time we hear good news – a new job, a new car, a new house – we wish the person sharing that good news, “Mazel Tov!” We say…

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More than just a comfortable, safe place to daven

More than just a comfortable, safe place to daven

Standing up to the darkness and the shifting winds of change that threaten to destroy our youth By: Ilan Preskowsky The town of Lakewood, New Jersey is known for being home to one of the United States’ most significant Orthodox Jewish communities; a community centred around nothing less than the world-renowned Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva outside of Israel. Unfortunately, so prestigious a community is hardly exempt from a problem that challenges communities throughout the Jewish world. Literally hundreds of teenagers and young adults from this yeshiva community have…

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Making kids superpowerful

Making kids superpowerful

Teaching our children how to cope with life’s challenges By: Paula Levin Lara Noik and Tova Goldstein are extremely busy professionals, wives, and mothers, but despite all their commitments they are plotting a revolution. “We want to take over the world…starting with Glenhazel,” jokes Goldstein. Both qualified social workers, the two are energised and motivated to do far more than is possible in a day because they have a calling: to address the mental health crisis affecting adolescents. “Schools across the country are seeing an increase in mental illness, addiction,…

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Thou Shalt Innovate

Thou Shalt Innovate

Sharing the inspiration and hopeful story that is Israel By Chandrea Serebro If ever you wanted to hear good news about Israel, skip the small fry and head straight to thought leader and author Avi Jorisch, who took it upon himself to shout it out to the world. It came to him with a bang, quite literally, when both he and the people of Israel spent the summer of 2014 rushing in and out of bomb shelters during the Israel-Gaza conflict Operation Protective Edge. “This experience had a deep impact…

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Israeli innovation – A peek into Israel’s fast and furious, world-changing innovation across all areas.

Israeli innovation – A peek into Israel’s fast and furious, world-changing innovation across all areas.

By Chandrea Serebro Two Israeli start-ups (Nucleix and Medial EarlySign) are making great strides developing blood tests for diagnosing early stage lung cancer. Now, Savicell, a third, is achieving a 91% success rate. Early detection gives the patient a 50-80% recovery chance. At late stage it is only 4%. Israeli start-up Scade Medical has patented a prototype scanner to diagnose early stage melanoma. BlueSky is based on DOSI (differential optical spectro-polarimetric imaging) technology invented by Ofir Aharon, whose mother contracted melanoma. It has already saved seven lives. Israeli start-up Diagnoz.me has a…

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The Lion of Zion

The Lion of Zion

Remembering Ari Fuld, a life that continues to inspire, and the beautiful song written about him by a South African youth By Chandrea Serebro Israel lost its lion last year. World Jewry, including South Africa, mourned on 16 September and everyday thereafter. The day that Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old American-born Israeli, was murdered by a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist, Khalil Jabarin, in Gush Etzion. With his dying breath, after sustaining mortal stab wounds, the Lion drew his weapon, scaled a fence in pursuit of his attacker, and shot the terrorist to…

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Naale Elite Academy

Naale Elite Academy

Making dreams of living and learning in Israel a reality for South African teens By Ilan Preskovsky It may sound like a ludicrous pipe dream, but for South African Jewish teens between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, an opportunity awaits to finish off their high school careers in Israel with the added benefits of a free initial flight to Israel and fully-subsidised tuition, medical aid, room and board, pocket money, and a whole lot more. Naale (a Hebrew acronym meaning “children coming before parents”) is an international programme that,…

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An Englishman in sunny South Africa

An Englishman in sunny South Africa

Dayan Boruch Rapoport retires from the Beth Din after 33 years of devoted service By Chandrea Serebro When Dayan Boruch Rapoport looks back 33 years to the start of his career here in South Africa, he realises – not without a chuckle, characteristic of his dry English sense of humour – that he was not quite as experienced then as he is today, both in religious and legal matters, which a lifetime of learning and growing has kept him on top of, but also when it came to people. As…

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Bringing out every person’s potential

Bringing out every person’s potential

The Chev and Boston City Campus and Business College have teamed up to up-skill members of the Chev’s protected employment By Chandrea Serebro There isn’t a parent who doesn’t spend his life trying as best as he can to set his kids up for success in everything that the child will do, from personal to professional and back again. And the best place to start, everyone will agree, is through education. Indeed, our very own Madiba said it best when he acknowledged that education is power. And it is with…

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Making the Torah sweet for everyone

Making the Torah sweet for everyone

Some new approaches that help students of the Talmud enjoy their studies By Ilan Preskovsky While the Tanach may be the bedrock and “point of departure” for Judaism as both a religion and a culture, it is the Talmud (especially the Babylonian Talmud or Talmud Bavli) that is the best encapsulation of how Jews for the past two-thousand years have related to the Torah and, thus, how we have lived as Jews. The Talmud Bavli was compiled in the sixth century CE (the less-used Jerusalem Talmud or Talmud Yerushalmi was…

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Ready to take on the world

Ready to take on the world

Matrics let us inside their heads, sharing their thoughts on a variety of topics By Chandrea Serebro Name the top 3 game changers in the world today? Jasmyn Lawson; ATTN:; and Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Jasmyn Lawson is a black female programmer who is the former culture editor of Giphy (yes, that Giphy, that provides us with all of the gifs on the internet). Women, especially women of colour, are notorious for being marginalised within the computer world, but Jasmyn is changing the face of our internet by making it…

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Tapping into teens

Tapping into teens

Thoughts and advice from our youth By Chandrea Serebro What do you hope to see in the world in the future? My hope for the future, specifically for our country, is to see greater safety and freedom. Open access to public transport – safe, reliable, and cost-effective. Wouldn’t a bus or train to school be nice? Why are youth important today? Youth are important today because, in a digital world, our youthful optimism, energy, and desire to connect to each other in a real and social way is essential for…

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True kindness: Giving someone what he lacks and cannot attain for himself

True kindness: Giving someone what he lacks and cannot attain for himself

By: Robert Sussman Each time we daven Shemoneh Esrei (aka the Amidah, or standing prayer), we say in the very first bracha that Hashem “recalls the chasdei Avos (the kindnesses of the Patriarchs)”. What kindnesses are we talking about? And to whom? Our Sages teach that Avraham’s defining characteristic was chesed (kindness), Yitzchak’s was din (judgment), and Yaakov’s was emes (truth). While the Torah is replete with episodes of Avraham’s chesed, as well as how Hashem tested him regarding that trait, the chesed of Yitzchak and of Yaakov is less…

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When all else fails

When all else fails

The world in which we live often stands at odds with the timeless values of the Torah and the prevailing atmosphere of violence and utter disregard for human life and property which have come to be the norm everywhere is certainly no exception By: Robert Sussman Following the recent Pittsburgh massacre, Hashem yikom damam (may Hashem avenge their blood), debate raged in the US over whether Jews should begin carrying and training with firearms as a “deterrence” to future such incidents, Hashem yerachem (G-d have mercy). So, it’s worthwhile to…

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An offer he couldn’t refuse

An offer he couldn’t refuse

When the mobster wanted the money owed to him, the gabbai tzedakah could think of only one thing to do By: Shaul Behr On one of my business trips to Delhi, India, a few years ago, I was required to stay over for shabbos, where I was most grateful to be able to take advantage of the hospitality of the local Chabad. There were around 50 guests at shabbos supper, almost exclusively Israeli post-army backpackers. By my reckoning there were maybe two or three other people over the age of…

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Memories of camp

Memories of camp

Life is about the journey, not the destination – especially when you go by train By Chandrea Serebro It is not likely that the youth of today will ever know the feeling of that slow chugging along the desert plains, head out of the window, wind in your hair while you watch the landscape of the Karoo pass you by at what seems like a snail’s pace. Like the changing landscape of the South African plains from Johannesburg to the Cape, so too is the landscape of growing up today…

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Kosher anywhere –

Kosher anywhere –

Say goodbye to canned tuna and savour the best that Africa – and beyond – has to offer By Chandrea Serebro Imagine Kosher catering in the bush. Or, at the beach. We are not talking paper plates and plastic knives and forks, two-minute noodles or tuna. We are talking fresh, kosher food, prepared on the spot daily, the table prepared with real plates and silverware. The food is the best that kosher has to offer, but it is the scenery and the thrill of who, or rather what might join…

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Lighten the load – Giving it all up and going green

Lighten the load – Giving it all up and going green

By Chandrea Serebro There goes Simone Penn, chugging along in her Generation X Toyota Tazz, her greens in cardboard on the seat, drinking out of a glass. Not because it tastes better, mind you. This Spartan lifestyle isn’t a product of her bowing to popular culture or what is trending on twitter. Neither is it a result of a modest upbringing. No, this frugal existence is not built into her being. When Simone was young, her stepfather used to tease her that she had “stuffitis”, the “disease” of accumulating stuff,…

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The two-year plan

The two-year plan

When a couple of years turn into a life… South Africa’s charms have a way of keeping people here longer than they ever intended to stay By Chandrea Serebro   Emanuel and Tali Goldberg Belgian Emanuel Goldberg didn’t choose South Africa, but, he says “it kind of chose me”. And like all good matches, it was a great fit. “I told my mother that I would only be going to South Africa for a month,” says Emanuel, when he got an opportunity to go and learn in a yeshiva in…

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The number 13 – The real motivation for war

The number 13 – The real motivation for war

By: Dovid Samuels What did the Jewish people do after the victory over the Greek army and the entire empire’s downfall? Firstly, celebrate, surely. We know they went into the Beis Hamikdash (the Temple) and found the jar of oil and miraculously used it to light the menorah for eight days. We also know that they proclaimed those days a festival for all generations, on which we are to sing hallel (special praises to Hashem) and thank Hashem for our survival. But there was something else that the rabbis of…

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With deliberate intent

With deliberate intent

Why were the Greeks so determined to defile all of the oil for the menorah? By: Aron Ziegler The Gemara[1] discusses Chanukah: “The sages taught that on the 25th day of Kislev are the eight days of Chanukah… When the Greeks entered the Temple Chamber they defiled all the oil [there]. Once the Chashmonaim overpowered and became victorious over [the Greeks] they checked and found only one jar of oil still sealed with the seal of the Kohen Gadol. There was only enough oil in it to light (the menorah)…

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In the Immediate Aftermath of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre: Addressing the Horror and Tragedy With Students and Children

In the Immediate Aftermath of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre: Addressing the Horror and Tragedy With Students and Children

Our columnist Rabbi Dr Dovid Fox is the Director of Interventions & Community Education Project Chai, The Crisis Intervention, Trauma and Bereavement department of Chai Lifeline. He has put together the following piece to help address the horrific events in Pittsburgh. Please see the attached pdf and feel free to share it. Thank you. May we share b’soros tovos (good tidings) and may Hashem comfort His people.

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Shabbos rest – it’s effortless

Shabbos rest – it’s effortless

Keeping Shabbos is about more than just going through the motions, refraining from doing this and being sure to do that – it’s an entire shift in our outlook. It’s about seeing Hashem and our place in His world in a completely different way, redefining every day of the week in relation to Shabbos, while Shabbos redefines the work that we do each day By: Robert Sussman The first mitzvah that we received after going out from Egypt was the mitzvah of Shabbos. The commandment to keep Shabbos came in…

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Stress – A global crisis

Stress – A global crisis

By: Richard Sutton The World Health Organisation cites stress as the health epidemic of the 21st century. Despite our remote geographic location, South Africa is at the forefront of this global crisis. According to a recent report by Bloomberg[1] that assessed 74 countries by evaluating seven equally weighted variables,[2] South Africa is the second most stressed nation on the planet! But is South Africa really as stressed as the report implies? The answer is a resounding: Yes! The reason lies with the actual root cause of stress in our lives….

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A lesson in terror

A lesson in terror

The ideologies behind today’s “isms” By: Bev Goldman I remember, as a student of Political Science at Wits many years ago, that part of the curriculum included the study of a number of “isms” – those that had become fashionable ideologies for some, destructive ones for others, intellectual exercises for the rest, but whatever one’s leaning, they had to be understood. And remembered. And employed, to make sense of a world which, at that time, may have felt complicated, but was nothing like today’s. We learned about communism (remember the…

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The ‘Punny’ Man

The ‘Punny’ Man

A spoonful of laughter is really the best medicine By Chandrea Serebro I asked the ‘punny’ man, Richard Bayer, about his humour. “Chickens, geese, and ducks.” Then he apologised about the “foul” language. “I will try and think of a sewing pun that will leave you in stitches,” he said. Richard and his wife, Lee-Anne, have been married for almost ten years, and have managed to survive life, dreaded disease, love, parenthood, and marriage by using laughter as the real old clichéd best medicine, but one that really works. “I…

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A real superpower

A real superpower

The profound impact of hope on both spirit and body By Chandrea Serebro “Why do some people find hope despite facing severe illness, while others do not? Can hope actually change the course of a malady, helping patients to prevail?” Sounds like some kind of new spin on the elusive ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ question. The answer, seemingly as elusive as the question itself. Is it religion? Is it spirituality? Is it some kind of new age hack or something or other? It’s funny, though, that…

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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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