From their kitchens to yours

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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Festive Foods

Festive Foods

Why We Eat Them and What They Represent By Ilan Preskovsky For Jews, food is an intrinsic and inextricable part of our culture and our religion. It is with food that we celebrate major life-cycle events, from birth to death, and all our festivals are marked by large meals and certain, usually symbolic dishes unique to each. Even Yom Kippur, our most holy of holy days, is marked by food: though in this case, the lack of it. Culturally, too, even if most “Jewish food” is borrowed cuisine from whichever…

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Taking a timeout

Taking a timeout

Financial Lessons to Learn From COVID-19 By Ilan Preskovsky At the time of this writing, registration has just opened for those 60 years of age and over to receive their COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, and we’ve miraculously avoided a third wave despite the Pesach and Easter holidays being a hotbed for large gatherings. A post-COVID world looks brighter and more tangible than ever. Indeed, despite people still wearing masks and social distancing, it looks for all the world like things are almost back to the way they were….

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The Impossible Dream

The Impossible Dream

Balancing a Jewish South African Budget By Ilan Preskovsky These tough, pandemic days may be particularly hard on the economy, but for so many Jewish South Africans, it seldom seems like there are anything but economic hard times. This, regardless of the fact that relative to most other South Africans, a large percentage of Jews are middle class, and relative to so-called “developed” countries, the cost of living here is fairly affordable. There are, however, unique financial challenges to being both Jewish and South African – and all the more…

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Wake up

Wake up

They did it so that we could do it Rabbi Dovid Samuels There is a widespread custom to stay awake learning Torah the whole night of Shavuos. Although this is not such a big feat in the northern hemisphere, it certainly tests us down here in the Southern hemisphere. The commentators[1] explain that this custom is based on a very peculiar event that took place on the eve of us receiving the Torah. The verse says: “Moshe took the people out to meet Hashem.”[2] Where were we, and why did…

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18 going on 70

18 going on 70

The story behind Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah and the day that forever changed the world By: Robert Sussman We say it every year at the Pesach seder; in fact, it’s one of the most well-known lines from the Haggadah: Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah said, “I am like a seventy-year-old man…” But what does it mean? Why did he say it and what was his point that he was “like” a seventy-year-old man? He needed an afternoon nap? He was suffering from aches and pains? And why would he think his…

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A Truly Wealthy Man

A Truly Wealthy Man

A Tribute to Eric Samson By Ilan Preskovsky During the more than two-hour-long tribute video to Eric Samson that was hosted by Chief Rabbi Goldstein to mark the end of Samson’s shloshim (the thirty-day mourning period), Phillip Krawitz of the United Jewish Campaign summed up just why there was such a lengthy tribute to Eric Samson in the first place. In what is probably an apocryphal tale, Krawitz tells of how a certain king approached the patriarch of the famous Jewish banking family, the Rothschilds, and asked him, “So, tell…

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A final year like no other

A final year like no other

Making matric work over miles (and Zoom) By Chandrea Serebro Yeshiva College Boys, Matan Kaplan What was your biggest challenge writing matric during COVID-19? Every human being on this planet has had challenges and missed opportunities due to Corona. The biggest hardship for me was that it fell during my final year at school. With syllabi to finish and ideas for school projects and innovations to be launched, everything was brought to a screeching and dramatic halt in March.  My school adjusted and pivoted with incredible flexibility and fluidity and,…

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Boomerang

Boomerang

Whatever we do…comes back to us By: Robert Sussman Regarding the sotah[1], a married woman who behaved in a way that gave rise to a suspicion of her having committed adultery, the gemara teaches a fundamental lesson: “B’middah sh’adam modeid, bah modi’deen lo – With the measure that a man measures, with it, he is measured.”[2] In other words, we are judged according to how we judge – and we are rewarded, or in the case of the sotah, punished – for the way that we behave. But more than…

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Fashioned in the Furnace

Fashioned in the Furnace

The vaccine of our great suffering By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels The night of the seder is designed to instil in us, and all of those participating at the seder, belief and faithfulness to the truth that Hashem is completely in control of every aspect of our lives, both on a national and individual basis. Even the matzah is referred to as the bread of emunah – faithfulness. As with every mitzvah, the more we prepare ourselves beforehand, the more effect it will have on us when we fulfil it. But,…

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Simply Irreplaceable

Simply Irreplaceable

Remembering Rabbi Desmond Maizels By Ilan Preskovsky Rabbi Desmond Maizels, ztz”l, passed away suddenly on 15 January 2021 and it’s hard to overstate just how much of a void he has left behind in the South African Jewish community, but most especially in the Cape Town community that he served for decades. To say nothing, of course, about the gigantic loss felt by his family and friends and, really, anyone who knew this universally beloved giant of South African Jewry. Rabbi Maizels was born in Port Elizabeth in 1949 and,…

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Cherish the moment

Cherish the moment

Brief encounters of the present kind By Maria Beider A few weeks ago, my dear uncle, the patriarch of our family, succumbed to our contemporary, common enemy, Covid. While he is one of many thousands to have lost his life to this horrific virus, I was personally heartbroken – not just for myself, but for my mother and her siblings, who could not see him face-to-face for months, and for my aunt, his wife, who was also suffering from the virus at home and was unable to say goodbye to…

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A (not so) ordinary hero

A (not so) ordinary hero

Giving someone the gift of life By Chandrea Serebro The tried and tested marketing Rule of Seven says you will have to leave no less than seven impressions for people to even notice you. In the same way, Matnat Chaim, the organisation in Israel that facilitates altruistic kidney donations, wormed its way into Shaul Behr’s consciousness until he found himself being prepped for theatre to donate a kidney. But it wasn’t exactly an ‘impulse buy’. Even though all he kept hearing was how safe and relatively pain-free kidney donation is,…

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Brothers at heart

Brothers at heart

We may argue, we may have our differences, but when push comes to shove, we come through for each other By Chandrea Serebro Picture it. Somewhere in Israel. 2020. The time is Corona. A second lockdown seems imminent, and everybody is feeling the strain. Social distancing is the name of the game. Socialising a thing of the past. Shuls are out of sight, but not out of mind. People are resilient, and even within the constraints of the lockdown there are outdoor minyanim popping up everywhere – in the middle…

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Defiantly Prosperous

Defiantly Prosperous

Why Jewish Life on University Campuses Continues to Thrive By Ilan Preskovsky It’s no secret that the past few years have not always been easy on Jewish students on university campuses, both in South Africa and abroad. Organisations like BDS (the boycott, divestment, and sanction movement against Israel), and its newly-minted South African variety, Africa for Palestine (A4P), have made universities a central target for their campaign to de-legitimise Israel and any Jewish claims on the land. For all that BDS and its associates insist that they’re a non-violent movement…

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Should I Stay or Should I Go

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Studying abroad vs staying at home By Ilan Preskovsky Of the two great questions that all South African students must ask themselves as they contemplate their future after high school, “what’s next?” is undoubtedly the more daunting, but “where next?” has become a question of increasing urgency and relevance. A tertiary education or straight to work? A more specialised, technical college or a major university? By correspondence or attendance? But perhaps most crucially, at home or abroad? Many Jewish students, of course, will be able to push this off by…

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There is nothing else

There is nothing else

Cutting through the confusion with a genuine, clear Torah perspective By: Robert Sussman We live in a time of tremendous confusion, where it can be exceedingly difficult for us to make sense of everything going on around us. The world has radically changed almost overnight. As a result, entire industries have disappeared and, along with them, thousands of jobs and careers. The economy lies in shambles. The future is uncertain. We blame our leaders. We blame our doctors. We blame our rabbis. We even blame each other. Or, we say…

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Behind the mask

Behind the mask

The Hand of Hashem, revealed By: Rabbi Dovid Samuels Perhaps the most moving and important moment in the Book of Esther is when Mordechai convinces Esther to appear before King Achashveirosh to beseech him on behalf of the Jewish people. It started when Esther sent Hasach to inform Mordechai that Haman had managed to have his ‘final solution’ passed by the king. Upon hearing this, Mordechai sent Hasach back to Esther with the command that she go to the king and plead for the lives of her people. Esther refused,…

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