The Chanukah 2017 Issue of Jewish Affairs

We are pleased to inform you that the latest (Chanukah, 2017) of  is now online, and can be found here. The printed version will be posted shortly.

This issue includes an Arts & Culture focus, comprising:

  • An overview by the late Stefan Welz of the significant role played by Jewish philanthropists, collectors, gallery owners and dealers in the development of the visual arts culture and industry in South Africa. Welz was for many years a leading figure in art dealership, highly respected as much for his integrity and dedication as for his expertise. Many of those he refers to in his article were colleagues and friends.
  • Ute ben Yosef and Gwynne Schrire trace the background to a painting, now owned by Cape Town’s Arthur’s Road synagogue, depicting a passionate discussion on the Talmud. They show how variations of this scene were produced over the last two centuries, testifying to the popularity of the theme amongst Jews of North European origin.
  • Cecil Bloom, whose essays on such themes as the history of Zionism and Jewish classical composers have regularly appeared in Jewish Affairs over the decades,  relates how George Gershwyn’s famed jazz opera Porgie and Bess probably would not have been written had he been able to fulfil his original intention of writing an opera on Ansky’s play "The Dybbuk".

Elsewhere in the issue:

  • Chuck Volpe considers the civilizational crisis gripping the West and how Jewish civilization points to ways in which the downward trend might be reversed.     
  • In the second part of his testimony to his experiences during the Holocaust, Don Krausz records his family’s transferral from Westerbork to Ravensbruk and the growing horrors which he experienced and witnessed during this time. The matter-of-fact, restrained manner in which he lays out the story only adds to the power of his testimony.  
  • As a follow-up to his article on the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, David Sher (who has since received his semicha and will henceforth be identified in these pages as Rabbi Sher) records the multiple achievements and contributions of the Wolfson and Wohl families who had been an integral part of that story.
  • Rabbi David Nossel argues that in order to achieve true interfaith harmony, one must celebrate the good that other religions have to offer rather than merely showing ‘toleration’ towards them.
  • Anthony Pamm writes on the virtually unknown role of Indian Jewry in the First World War, which included producing the war’s first Jewish recipient of the Victoria Cross.   
  • Cultural history enthusiast Maurice Skikne, a frequent contributor to these pages, looks back on a Brakpan childhood and the much-valued part a loyal family servant played in his emotional and intellectual development.       

A larger-than-usual new poetry section features contributions by Charlotte Cohen, Pamela Heller-Stern, Denis Herbstein and Abigail Sarah Bagraim. Under ‘Book Reviews’, Ralph Zulman looks at a new edition of Deborah Lipstadt’s account of her successful defence against a charge of libel brought by Holocaust denier David Irving.

As always, your assistance in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding this message and link to those who may be interested would be much appreciated.

On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish everyone a Chanukah Sameach and a safe and restful end-of-year break.

David Saks


Recent Articles


The SAJBD is saddened by the passing of award winning photographer David Goldblatt today.  His work in documenting various aspects of daily life throughout South Africa, made him a house-hold name.  

Flurry of antisemitic incidences against SA Jews. "Enough is enough!"

Over the past 24 hours, a flurry of viciously antisemitic and threatening attacks have been made against South African Jews, both on social media and in direct face-to-face encounters. The incidents, which are being followed up by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), have generated great anxiety and anger in the Jewish community and screenshots of the offending posts have gone viral