The opportunity of a lifetime

The opportunity of a lifetime

  By Chandrea Serebro Masa, the public-service organisation founded by the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Israel together with The Jewish Agency, has a myriad of projects offering South Africans the opportunity to spend some time in Israel. Gap year programmes, study abroad programmes, yeshiva programmes. But Masa also provides the opportunity for a stint at major high tech companies and exciting start-ups, doing real and amazing work. The Israel internship programme (which in SA falls under the Israel Centre’s JHB umbrella) gives budding professionals “hands-on opportunities” to…

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Feast or fast? – Feeding our souls, and uplifting our bodies

Feast or fast? – Feeding our souls, and uplifting our bodies

  By: Dovid Samuels One of the most constant themes at any Jewish celebration is undoubtedly food. On Shabbos, we are obligated to eat three meals, with all sorts of delicacies and delights. On Yom Tov we also eat festive meals, as we would eat the korban Chagiga (the festival offering) in Temple times. Weddings, bris milas, all Jewish events and celebrations are unquestionably accompanied by a generous representation of food. But, unlike every other festival where there is an actual requirement to eat, Chanukah finds itself conspicuously side-lined on…

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You’re not imagining it…the sky really is falling

You’re not imagining it…the sky really is falling

  By: Robert Sussman The results of the recent Affordable Jewish Life survey show that the financial strain being felt among community members is very real and many think that it’s only going to get worse A few months back in our July issue (#97) in a feature story titled “Feeling the Pinch”, we profiled a couple of average, middle-class, Johannesburg Jewish families who have been increasingly taking financial strain over the last few years and introduced the community to a recently formed group[1], , Affordable Jewish Life (AJL), led…

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Travel light

Travel light

By: Chandrea Serebro Whether you’re staying at home or vacationing on a budget, here are some great ideas to make your time off more enjoyable Travel is overrated. Yeah, right. Anyone who believes that is fooling themselves. This year, the costs of travel and leisure are at an all-time high. For many, going away is just not an option. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home lamenting the passing of your once-a-year break. It just might be possible to fool yourself into the best trip yet. And…

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Why do we call it Chanukah?

Why do we call it Chanukah?

  By: Robert Sussman Everyone knows the story of the small Jewish army triumphing over the mighty Greek military machine – and of the single jug of pure olive oil found in the Temple – but where does the name come from?   Differences of opinion are an integral part of being Jewish, after all the Talmud is full of them. And who isn’t familiar with sayings like: “two Jews, three opinions”? Sometimes, however, we don’t realise just how far these differences of opinion go, cutting right to the very…

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Flying high! Deploying an army of ambassadors around the globe

Flying high! Deploying an army of ambassadors around the globe

  By: Robert Sussman If the State of Israel had a social media profile, its profile picture would be a caricature, some sort of hand-drawn image with the features grossly distorted. After all, most people’s view of the country is informed solely by the constant stream of negative media, with most having never set foot there or met one of its citizens. But, what if there was a way for people to spend some time with ordinary Israelis, hearing them tell about their life experiences in Israel, about how they…

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Sensitivity training – Putting ourselves in the shoes of others

Sensitivity training – Putting ourselves in the shoes of others

By: Shmuel Horwitz “Nu…so when is it gonna be your turn?” asks an elderly cousin. “Come on already, time is moving on”, comments your best friend’s grandmother. Sound familiar? Or how about this one: a new mother is talking to her friend in the queue at the grocery store and complains, “I was up until 4 am with my baby. I’m so exhausted. It’s just so difficult sometimes.” Sounds relatively innocent, right? Not when it’s overheard by a woman standing behind them in the queue who has been struggling to…

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Getting connected – A camp that’s more like a family

Getting connected –  A camp that’s more like a family

By Chandrea Serebro Camp Kesher is about connectons. It is kids connecting with themselves, with Hashem, with each other, and with their Jewishness. “Connections are probably one of the most fundamental aspects of our lives. ‘No man is an island’ – children need positive role models who can help guide them in the right path. Friendships are essential for a child’s self-esteem. Knowing that there is a camp that is so accepting of everyone is comforting – I cannot emphasise how much each child looks forward to this camp every…

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Chesed Around the World – Second chances

Chesed Around the World – Second chances

By Ilan Preskovsky “Giving people and clothes a second chance” might sound like a slightly incongruous motto for a charitable organisation, but in the case of Haboydem (“The Attic” in Yiddish), a second-hand, not-for-profit clothing store that employs people dealing with mental illness, it could hardly be more appropriate. Set up to be a largely self-sufficient organisation that uses all of the profits from the sales of the clothes they sell (all of which are donated) to pay for the store’s rent and for the salaries of their employees and…

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Mazel tov! A magazine is born – Behind the scenes of a Jewish South African fixture

Mazel tov! A magazine is born – Behind the scenes of a Jewish South African fixture

By: Eliana Cline It’s hard to remember a time when Jewish Life magazine wasn’t a commonplace item on every Jewish coffee table. But just nine years ago, it didn’t exist, and may never have existed if not for an innocent question. The seeds were sown when Martyn and Liz Samuels were beginning their journey back to Torah Judaism and they found themselves in West Street Shul. They looked around and were surprised that there was not a high-quality, monthly Jewish magazine to be found. “I asked Rabbi Kacev why there wasn’t…

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