Message from the Gauteng Executive Director, Naomi Hadar.
We are pleased to report that 2013 and 2014 were eventful and successful years albeit fraught with challenges.
The South African Jewish community has a long, proud and meaningful history of support for Israel and for the well-being of the local Jewish community. Despite our small numbers, the community is continuing to show its support of Zionism and for the security of our community.
The Jewish community has experienced difficult times in recent years; however the IUA-UCF campaign has successfully met its obligations to its local beneficiaries as well as sending funds to support projects in Israel. Our results at the end of this annual report speak for themselves.
In 2013 and again in 2014, our Young Adult Division (YAD) hosted successful golf days at Killarney Country Club. YAD also hosted comedy evenings. These have become much anticipated events in the communal calendar. In November 2014, a group of participants of the YAD Leadership group visited Israel and we met with decision-makers and people of the highest calibre in Israel including Knesset members and military personnel. It was a very well received visit and enjoyed by all the participants.
Our Leadership course continues with the objectives of forming a group of young Jewish people displaying qualities of leadership, who have the potential to become our future leaders and to arm them with the knowledge required to develop their full potential.
Our annual Mission to Israel left for Tel-Aviv on 2 May 2013, chaired by Gary and Elana Kaplan and led by myself. The trip was highly successful and continues to build bonds between our community and Israel. We are planning a Mission for 2015 that will include Israel and Poland.
In May 2013 a delegation including Zev Krengel, President of the SAJBD and I met with a number of important decision makers and ministers in Israel to forge closer bonds and understanding between our local Jewish community and Israel. Some of those we met with were Tzippi Livni, Rav Shai Piron, Naphtali Bennett, Ze’ev Elkin et al.
Again in 2014 delegation, led by Zev Krengel and myself, including Vice Chairman/Treasurer of SAZF, Greg Kinross, and Re’ut Executive, Fran Blumenthal, had meetings with high level politicians and decision makers. We met with Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister, Tzippi Livni, Minister of Justice and next Israeli President, Ruby Rivlin, Mickey Levy, deputy Finance Minister, Yuli Edelstein, speaker of the Knesset, Tzachi Hanegbi, deputy Foreign Minister, Bougie Herzog, head of the opposition, Dr Yonatan Schachter, senior advisor Prime Minister’s Office, and Prof Irwin Cotler et al.
Together with Avrom Krengel and Johnny Copelyn, I attended the Keren Hayesod and President’s Conference in Jerusalem in June 2013. It was an inspiring conference and in addition to the conference we had the opportunity to meet personally with ministers and members of the Knesset.
Our annual Chain of Generations Gala Dinner took place on the 6 August 2013 and was attended by some 250 guests. Eric and Sheila Samson and family were presented with the Lifetime Achievement Chain of Generations Award, the most prestigious award given to a donor. Our key-note speaker at the event was MK Isaac (Bougie) Herzog.
The launch of our Women’s committee Re’Ut took place in August 2013 and we have established a dynamic and dedicated group of women. They will be running events and fund-raisers and in March 2014 were instrumental in assisting us host our inaugural Art Exhibition and auction at the Peacemakers Museum in Sandton. This was an outstanding and successful event.
Also in March 2014, we hosted our gala dinner at Acorn Lane and our key-note speakers were MK Tzagi Hanegbi who is currently Deputy Foreign minister in Israel and inspirational and motivational speaker Miriam Peretz who lost two sons defending the State of Israel.
In August 2014 we took a solidarity Mission to Israel. Our group was the first and only group to come to Israel during the war and to show solidarity with the people of Israel. It was a moving and gruelling experience and was highly appreciated by all the people we met and visited.
In November 2014, Avrom Krengel and I went to London for a dinner to promote awareness of our campaign and to explain the challenges facing our community. It was hosted and organised by Natie and Frances Kirsh. The dinner was attended and supported by South African expats. We were warmly received and the response to Avrom’s address was heart-warming and remarkable. Our visit was a phenomenal success.
During 2014 a new Board of Trustees was established and we would like to thank the co-chairmen Professor Michael Katz and Judge Meyer Joffe as well as our board members Johnny Coplyn, Cecil Wulfsohn and Lawrie Brozin.
A number of successful mail shots were sent out during the course of the year, including mail shots from the Legacy Division, YAD, an emergency war appeal and our annual Yom Kippur Appeal. The response from the community has as always has been heart-warming and encouraging.
It is with deep appreciation that we recognise the community for their unswerving support and generosity to Israel and the security of our local community. My grateful thanks goes once again to our devoted and dedicated committee, co-chaired by Gerald Leissner and Avrom Krengel and supported by Leor Atie (treasurer), Gary Kaplan, Cecil Wulfsohn and Ivan Saltzman, who continue to guide and lead us. Our loyal and committed staff that go beyond the call of duty deserve acknowledgement for all their efforts.
It is my wish that we go from strength to strength and continue supporting our vital and worthy beneficiaries. New and exciting initiatives have been planned for 2015 and we trust that with the backing of our community we will be successful.
Gauteng Executive Director