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					                                               Newsletter No. 14                                                      2008




                                                        The Jews in South Africa.
T       he Kaplan Centre was established
        in 1980 under the terms of a gift to
        the University of Cape Town by
the Kaplan Kushlick Foundation and is
named in honour of the parents of Mendel
                                                                    An Illustrated History

and Robert Kaplan.
   The Centre, the only one of its kind in
South Africa, seeks to stimulate and
promote the whole field of Jewish studies
and research at the University with a
special focus on the South African Jewish
Community. The Centre is multi-
disciplinary in scope and encourages the
participation of scholars in a range of
fields including history, political science,
education, sociology, comparative
literature and the broad spectrum of
Hebrew and Judaic studies.
   The Centre is engaged in both research
and teaching and functions as a co-
ordinating unit in the university. Its
resources are used to invite distinguished
scholars to teach Jewish-content courses
within established University depart-
ments, to initiate and sponsor research
projects, and to strengthen the univer-
sity’s library holding of books, micro-
films and archival sources. These
research materials are made available to
members of the University and to
accredited visitors from the wider
academic community.                            l-r Richard Mendelsohn, Adrienne Folb (photographic researcher) and Milton Shain
   The Centre awards a limited number of
undergraduate and graduate scholarships
as well as a limited number of research
grants.
   The Centre has a publications
programme which brings out monographs
and occasional papers. Lectures symposia
                                               A         fter years of collaboration
                                                         Richard Mendelsohn and
                                                         Milton Shain finally launched
                                               The Jews in South Africa. An Illustrated
                                               History on 13 May. The occasion was
and conferences are arranged under the         the beginning of a series of launches
auspices of the Centre. In some cases          and/or panel discussions dealing with
these are organised with the University’s
Department of Adult Education and Extra
                                               this latest contribution to South African
Mural Studies, thereby serving the wider       Jewish historiography.
community.
                                                                    Continued on page 2


                                GOVERNING BODY
                               Chair: Prof Henning Snyman
                               Director: Prof Milton Shain
Management Committee:
Prof C Firer         Mr J Simon                                   Prof F Horwitz
Mr M Kaplan          Prof C Wanamaker                             Prof S B Burman
Mr R Kaplan          Dr A Reisenberger                            Ms Romi Kaplan
Mr E Osrin           Assoc Prof R Mendelsohn
Continued from page 1

   Spanning the past two centuries, The
Jews in South Africa explores the
fascinating role played by this small but
highly significant community in the
economic, political, social and cultural
life of this country. The richly
illustrated story – the first
comprehensive history to appear in
over 50 years – includes a wide range of
historically important photographs,
many long unseen, and encompasses a
broad swathe of Jewish life, from the
bimah and the boardroom to the
bowling green. Beginning with the first
Jewish immigrants to South Africa, and
depicting the fragility of the early
foundations and the shifting fortunes of
this infant community, the book traces
its development to robust maturity
amidst turbulent social and political
currents. These include the strident
antisemitism of the 1930s, the moral            A number of events were held to            was held at Ivy House in London with
dilemmas of the apartheid era, the           discuss the Jews in South Africa. An          over 120 South African Jewish
subsequent turbulent transition              Illustrated History.                          expatriates.
towards a non-racial democracy, the          ? Launched by the former leader of the      ? Discussed as part of the ‘Living
birth of the New South Africa and the           Democratic Alliance, Tony Leon, at         Newspaper’ series in Cape Town.
fresh challenges and promise that have          Café Riteve in Cape Town.                ? The Cape Town Press Club hosted
followed in its wake up to the present       ? A panel discussion with responses           the authors to discuss the book.
day. Included are such personalities as         from the authors at an event in          ? Panel discussion held at the Open
Barney Barnato, Helen Suzman, Joe               Johannesburg at the Cyril Harris           University in Raanana, Israel. Three
Slovo, Sol Kerzner and Rabbi Cyril              Community Centre.                          hundred mostly South African olim
Harris, as well as many others who           ? Discussion with the authors at the          attended a discussion led by Prof
have made an important mark in their            Cape Town International Book Fair.         Gideon Shimoni and chaired by
fields.                                      ? A special event to discuss the book         Mendel Kaplan.


                                                     Publications
                                (Edited by Saul Issroff) Jewish Migration to South Africa. Passenger Lists from the UK
                                1890 to 1905, Volume 1.


                                                  (Edited by Saul Issroff) Jewish Migration to South Africa. Passenger
                                                  Lists from the UK 1906 to 1930, Volume 2.




                           Joel Pollak, The
                           Kasrils Affair:
                           Jews and Minority
                           Politics in the New
                           South Africa.

                                                   Veronica Belling, Yiddish Theatre       Rabbi Dr Gerald Mazabow, The
                                                   in South Africa: A History from         Quest for Community. A short history
                                                   the late nineteenth century to          of Jewish Communal Institutions in
                                                   1960.                                   South Africa 1841 – 1939.


                                                                2
                                Jews: The Past and the Future
    ADDRESS BY TONY LEON, FORMER LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE, AT THE LAUNCH
                 OF THE JEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA AT THE S A JEWISH MUSEUM


                         Iam sure that
                         Professors
                         Richard
                     Mendelsohn and
                     Milton Shain the
                                                  The authors’ compass is drawn clearly
                                                early in the text. They write:
                                                  This fresh survey – drawing on recent
                                                  scholarship avoids a view that might
                                                  have sketched a triumphant and
                                                                                                  Jews in South Africa constitute “a
                                                                                                  significant minority in terms of
                                                                                                  achievement, not numbers.”At its height,
                                                                                                  South African Jews constituted less than
                                                                                                  5% of the white population and today
                     distinguished                inevitable progression of a community           with a community of perhaps only 80 000
                     authors of this              from humble origins to present success.         souls (a disputed statistic) we rank at the
                     impressive new               Instead it depicts the fragility of its early   very low end of the demographic scale,
                     volume The Jews              foundations, the oscillating fortunes of        less than 0.25% of the total population.
                     in South Africa:             the community as it matures amidst                 This statistic brings to mind a
                     An illustrated               turbulent currents, both domestic and           conversation I had with then Israeli
                     history which I              international, and its latter days’             Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. He
                                                  challenges and responses.
                     am honoured to                                                               enquired after the South African Jewish
launch tonight, will share Winston              As I read these words, and further in the         community and asked me how many
Churchill’s view of the pleasures and           text, I was sharply reminded of the recent        were still in the country. I furnished the
perils of writing and publication. He           evocative and magisterial work on the             above unauthenticated figure, but said
observed:                                       more significant and ultimately far more          that some of my parliamentary
  Writing a book is an adventure. To begin      tragic and decimated Jewish community,            colleagues, particularly on the govern-
  with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it    the German branch, captured by Amos               ment side, assumed it was much larger.
  becomes a mistress, then it becomes a         Elon in The pity of it all: A portrait of the     “Oh”, said Sharon, “that reminds me of
  master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last    German-Jewish epoch 1743-1933. Elon               my time in England when I was on an
  phase is that just as you are about to be     tries to explain about how the golden age         officer’s course at Sandhurst in the late
  reconciled to your servitude, you kill the    of German Jewry gave way to the                   1950s. A British colleague asked me how
  monster, and fling him about to the           unprecedented persecution of the 1930s            many Jews there were in England and I
  public.                                       and the terrible genocide of the                  said ‘about 400 000’. He was very
The book we celebrate tonight is, indeed,       Holocaust. He writes:                             surprised”, the Prime Minister recalled,
a rather handsome beast. The richness             Some claim to have discerned an                 “and told me he thought there were more
and diversity of the photographic and             inexorable pattern in German history            than 4 million.”
manuscript archive which the authors              preordained in Luther’s days to                    In fact, popular misconceptions
have trawled and reproduced is matched            culminate in the Nazi Holocaust.                notwithstanding, today’s Jewish
by, the fluency and impressive economy            According to this theory, German Jews           population is numerically in sharp
of their prose. But, to me, this book’s           were doomed from the outset, their fate as      decline, from a 1971 high of 118 200 to
fundamental and singular achievement is           immutable as a law of nature. Such              its current level, the same figure as
the portrait which it presents of our rather      absolute certainties have eluded me. I          recorded in the 1920s. But this relatively
remarkable community. The picture it              have found only a series of ups and downs       vertiginous descent does not induce in
paints is balanced and appropriate: both          and a succession of unforeseeable
                                                                                                  the authors’ a maudlin pessimism around
affirming and unblushing. It presents the         contingencies, none of which seem to
                                                  have been inevitable. Alongside the
                                                                                                  its future continuance or prosperity.
South African Jewish community in the                                                             Their conclusion:
                                                  Germany of anti-Semitism there was a
round: highlighting its binding                                                                     A dozen years into the new South Africa,
                                                  Germany of enlightened liberalism,
communalism, its gaping fissures, its fine        humane concern, civilized rule of law,            SA Jewry remains cohesive and vibrant.
points, its follies and foibles, its cleaving     good government, social security and              For all the fissures and despite long-term
to tradition and its simultaneous                 thriving social democracy. Even Hitler’s          haemorrhaging through emigration, the
acculturation. In other words, our                rise to power in January 1933 was not the         community continues to thrive.
complexities and contradictions are               result of electoral success (the Nazis’         Whether, of course, the ongoing crime
examined, not airbrushed out. The                 share of the vote had seriously declined        spiral, political mismanagement, the
crowning achievements and lamentable              in the fall of 1932). Rather, Hitler’s          energy crisis and the unknown delights
lapses of South African Jews form a rich          triumph was the product of backstage            awaiting South Africa in the Zuma era
and rewarding paradox of ambivalent               machinations by conservative politicians        will allow an equally optimistic
pulls – where pinnacles of accomplish-            and industrialists who overcame the             conclusion to be penned when this
ment are often followed by precipices of          hesitations of a senile president by            history is revised in, say, 50 years time is
looming disasters and the tragic shadow           convincing him (and themselves) that
                                                                                                  of course often to question.
of the Holocaust.                                 they were “hiring” Hitler to restore order
                                                  and curb the trade unions. Installing              Indeed, the 200 year continuity of the
   Last year was the 200th Anniversary of                                                         Jewish community in South Africa,
the arrival of the first professing Jews in       Hitler as chancellor was not the only
                                                  alternative at the time.                        which this volume so accurately and
South Africa, a ship’s surgeon one                                                                appropriately records, and at times
Sigfried Fraenkel, who stepped ashore in        Of course, despite German Jewry                   celebrates, could either be a durable
August 1807 in Table Bay. Both his entry        (alongside the more numerically                   platform into the future or, more
point and profession have been constant         significant Litvak community) providing           balefully, an historic epoch which is fast
features of our tiny community and its          the founding families of our community,           closing to be remembered as a nostalgic,
outsize contribution to this country in the     there were important and significant              perhaps golden, footnote in the country’s
following 200 years of tumultuous               differences. One of them was population           history. Neither destination nor outcome
triumph.                                        metric. As Mendelsohn and Shain record,           is inevitable or assured. In part this will

                                                                      3
depend on the outlook and security of the     motivated no doubt in part, by the             scorecard mandated the shares they were
middle class white enclave of the total       religious demographics of my respective        to acquire, the percentage of ownership
South African community which for the         municipal wards and parliamentary              their group was to constitute and the like.
long reign of apartheid provided – the        constituencies. However, while ‘the Jews       In other words, their and this
flirtations with fascism in the 1920s and     in South Africa’ notes and records the         community’s prosperity – was certainly
1930s notwithstanding – a durable             disappearance of long-settled Jewish           achieved, in part due to the political
security blanket. As Mendelsohn and           outposts in the platteland or from one-        preferment of whites for most of the 20th
Shain express it:                             time thriving communal centres such as         century. But it was even more dependent
  In the apartheid order Jews, as whites      Oudtshoorn, it also records how, by 1920,      on the entrepreneurship, commercial zeal
  were to have a rightful and respect         each of Durban, Cape Town, Port                and unflagging risk-taking abilities of
  place…and although they shared with         Elizabeth and Johannesburg had                 those significant business pioneers.
  other middle-class English speaking         inaugurated mayors of the Jewish faith.        There was no pre-determined group of
  whites a distaste for Afrikaner             This long line of civic activism has today     economic winners which mandated their
  nationalism and its hegemonic agenda,       all but disappeared. There is, despite their   success.
  Jews, like their gentile peers, readily     disproportionate predominance in                  But this brings me to the second point:
  accommodated themselves to the              previous councils, not a single Jewish         the disproportionate economic and
  apartheid order and its privileges.         city councillor in Cape Town; perhaps          professional success achieved by Jewish
But the blanket of racist yesteryear          one in Durban and maybe three in               South Africans by the 1930’s attracted
became in the new order South Africa,         Johannesburg. When I became a                  considerable negative attention: a 1934
something, as the illustrated history         Johannesburg City Councillor in 1986,          survey revealed that 40% of Jewish
accounts, of an incubus. There was            by contrast, most of the members of the        activity was in commerce, finance and
always a minority radical strain in the       Progressive Federal Party caucus were          insurance (in contrast to 18% of the
community which pointed in an opposite        Jewish and the Centenary Mayor Harold          general population) while by the 1920’s,
direction, deeply uncongenial to the          Rudolph was following in the footsteps         40% of all graduates of the University of
apartheid overlords no less than to the       of perhaps 20 predecessors of the              Witwatersrand were Jewish. The
comfortable prejudices of the community       Hebrew faith. In Parliament today there        unflattering public attention which this
itself. Their socialism and communism         are but three Jewish MPs, including one        outsize Jewish dominance aroused is
                                              whose religion would be highly                 revealed in a very significant article,
owes less, in the authors’ authoritative
                                              contested. After next year’s election,         which this volume reproduces, in Die
retelling, to their Judaism, from which
                                              there might well be none.                      Transvaler, penned by its editor Dr HF
the Sam Kahn’s, Albie Sachs’ and Joe
                                                                                             Verwoerd on 1 October 1937, headlined
Slovo’s were profoundly alienated; but          An appropriate focus of several
                                                                                             “Die Joodse vraagstuk besien vanuit die
its genesis lay rather in “the profoundly     chapters in the book concentrates on the
                                                                                             nasionale standpunt.” Verwoerd gave
disruptive immigration experience of          extraordinary achievement of Jews in the
                                                                                             vent to the fact that ‘Jews were
marginality and alienation.” Although         commercial and industrial history and
                                                                                             effortlessly scaling the economic ladder
there has been some attempt by elements       development of South Africa. Indeed,
                                                                                             where Afrikaners were failing’ and
of the current lay Jewish leadership to       Jewish participation in the capitalist         proposed to use white population
claim back these apostates and graft them     economy, especially in clothing, textiles,     demographics to restrict Jewish
on to the community as a talisman in          retail and finance has been a lodestar         professional and economic participation
future dealings with an all-powerful          which has illuminated the community’s          to the percentage they constituted of the
ANC government, this proved to be             progress since its integration into the        white population. Interestingly this
strategically inept as the Kasrils affair     cities and even before, from the               proposal was never enacted when 11
and the ‘not in our name’ campaign has        discovery of diamonds and gold in 1887.        years later the National Party came to
so recently demonstrated. Indeed, the         There are, perhaps, three key issues           power. It was considered too radical. Yet
contemporary Jewish leadership of South       which arose from those pioneering times,       racial demographics and fixed racial
Africa would have done well to have           when the arc of the Jewish trajectory in       percentage in terms of ownership and
remembered Isaac Duetscher’s classic          business was first illuminated, which          university entrance quotas constitutes the
formulation that most of the Jews             have some relevance to the fierce              core of today’s paraphernalia of
involved in the Rivonia Trial (where,         economic and racial debates today:–            transformation and the centrepiece of
indeed, every white accused was Jewish)         A Lithuanian peddler Sammy Marks             prescriptive Black Economic
and in the SA Communist Party and trade       built an empire and was at the time of the     Empowerment.
union movements were ‘non-Jewish              Anglo-Boer War “the uncrowned king of             The third element of Jewish economic
Jews – their Marxist universalism             the Transvaal”; Lithuanian born Joffee         advancement also enjoys an echo in
leaving little space for ethnic               Marks who founded Premier Milling              today’s SouthAfrica: the authors’ cite the
particularism’.                               could neither read nor write in English;       example of Sammy Marks whose
   Of course the other minority branch of     Morris Mauerberger and textile tycoon          business empire in Kruger’s Transvaal
Jewish political activity, an endorsement     Philip Frame were both immigrants who          was almost entirely dependent on
of the National Party is also appropriately   arrived in South Africa with few               government favour and approval. “He
ventilated in the volume. While the           resources and no advanced education.           wooed and courted the Boer leaders
authors estimate that 70% of the              Yet each was to play a significant role in     assiduously with soft loans and gifts,
community backed the opposition United        this country’s industrialisation and           large and small. Marks paid special
and Progressive and Democratic Parties,       commercialisation. Each, of course,            attention to the President Paul Kruger
30% supported the NP. I can testify to        benefited from the general economic            whose goodwill was essential.” The Jew
this: in my first three election campaigns    opportunities open to whites, but each         as Hofjuden or Schutzuden was an
as a municipal and parliamentary              was what we would today designate as a         ancient provenance. Amos Elon traces its
candidate in Johannesburg, each of my         ‘previously disadvantaged individual’.         origins right back to the conditions under
respective NP opponents were Jewish,          (PDI) Yet no government charter or             which Jews had first been admitted to


                                                                   4
Berlin in 1669. The Prussian King agreed       recent times, started to take a critical         he has a point. The world today has
to accept fifty of the richest Viennese        stance on a broader, less parochial agenda       become “Jewish” – and South Africa
Jews, whom he welcomed for their               of issues. In any event, when I retired          must become “Jewish” as well.
money and their presumed readiness to          from opposition leadership I was                    By that, I mean that South Africa must
finance his wars. To become his                delighted to receive a handsome award            become a mobile, literate, open, tolerant
Schutzjuden (protected Jews), each had         from the Board for furthering democracy;         and flexible society. It must become a
to pay him two thousand thales (roughly        this suggested an admirable open-                society that does not simply replace one
equivalent to ninety thousand dollars          mindedness and the handsome tribute              form of inherited privilege with another,
today), promise not to set up certain          hangs in my dining room at home.                 but with the acquired prestige of merit
industries, and agree “not to establish a        The principle of political choice is           and hard-won success. It must become a
synagogue.”                                    more important today than ever before. In        society that invests its wealth and
  The moral of the ‘court Jew’ was that at     his introduction to “The Jewish                  resources in learning and institutions, not
all times he served the regnant power, for     Century”, Yuri Slezkine writes:                  in vain consumption and overseas bank
profit, but never tried to change it.            The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and          accounts.
Indeed, Sammy Marks, himself, was an             the twentieth century, in particular, is the      South Africa must become a society
accurate weather-vane of fluctuating             Jewish Century. Modernization is about         that, like the great Jewish philosopher
political fortunes as he shifted his support     everyone becoming urban, mobile                Maimonedes, places greater value on the
from Kruger to Milner and to Louis               literate, articulate, intellectually           transfer of skills and tools to the poor,
Botha, ultimately arriving in the first          intricate, physically fastidious, and          rather than the instant transfer of money,
union parliament as a senator and a              occupationally flexible. It is about           in sums great or small.
recipient of state support for establishing      pursuing wealth for the sake of learning,         It must become a society that judges its
SouthAfrica’s first steelworks.                  learning for the sake of wealth, and both      progress as a whole not by the grandeur
  Sammy Marks’ spirit lived on in 20th           wealth and learning for their own sake. It     or scale of its commerce, its industry and
and 21st century South Africa: the SA            is about transforming peasants and             its domestic luxuries, but by the progress
Jewish Board of Deputies is recorded in          princes into merchants and priests,            of the weakest and poorest and most
this volume as fairly narrowly focused on        replacing inherited privilege with             disadvantaged members of the
communal matters, obeisant to state              acquired prestige, and dismantling social      community.
power whether national or African                estates for the benefit of individuals,           South Africa must become a society
national. In many ways this was seen as a        nuclear families, and book-reading
                                                                                                that cherishes the individual, and
                                                 tribes (nations). Modernization, in other
necessary defensive posture. In other                                                           tolerates difference.
                                                 words, is about everyone becoming
ways, it probably negates a feature of the       Jewish.                                           The great strength of the Jewish
distinctive leadership which the                                                                rabbinical tradition is that the scholars of
community sought and found more often          Here, of course, Slezkine runs the risk of       the Talmud recorded every dissenting
in the challenging, at times, brave,           re-affirming essentialist stereotypes and        opinion, even if it was held by a minority
leadership of, for example, Chief Rabbis       conspiracy theories. One of the ideas Karl       of one, in case one day that opinion
Rabinowitz and Harris.                         Marx and Adolf Hitler shared was that the        turned out to be the correct one.
  This volume also records my own              modern age was dominated by Jewish                  Most of all, South Africa must become
sharp disagreement with the Board over         traits, real or imagined, which had to be        a society that does not confuse authority
what I labelled ‘the creeping politics of      eliminated.                                      with right, that does not mistake strength
influence’, where I averted to the danger,        Furthermore, many of the traits               for virtue, that does not believe that
as I saw it, of an uncritical, at times,       Slezkine describes were openly rejected          power equals truth but holds fast to the
sycophantic accommodation with                 by segments of the Jewish community.             tradition, as Elie Wiesel often reminds us,
government could land up with the              Ultra-Orthodox sects, for example,               of speaking truth to power.
perverse consequence of the Board              consistently rejected (and some continue            These “Jewish” values are not in any
representing the views of the government       to reject) modernity – though in                 way foreign to South Africa. Indeed, they
to the community rather than its essential     increasingly modern ways, through                are present in some measure in the
task of representing the community to the      vehicles such as political parties,              indigenous traditions and cultures of our
government. But in my direct experience,       newspapers and internet sites.                   land, and they are explicit and implicit at
the SA Jewish Board of Deputies                   I don’t want to stretch Slezkine’s trope      the very core of our democratic
certainly listened and sometimes in            to farcical extremes. Still, I believe that      constitution.



                                                                                                       Visiting Professor
  The First Annual Helen
  Suzman Lecture (in                                                                                A s s o c i a t e P ro f e s s o r S u s a n
  association with the Helen                                                                        Tananbaum           (Bowdoin College,
  Suzman Foundation)                                                                                Brunswick), an expert in Jewish
  Speakers, Prof. Kader Asmal                                                                       migration and the author of the
  (right) and Colin Eglin (left)                                                                    forthcoming Generations of
  discussing The Rule of Law                                                                        Change: Women, Children and the
  and Constitutionalism with                                                                        Acculturation of Jewish Immigrants
  (centre) moderator, Raenette                                                                      in London, 1880-1939 was visiting
  Taljaard, Director of the                                                                         professor of the Centre and worked
  Helen Suzman Foundation.                                                                          on the Centre’s immigration archival
                                                                                                    material.


                                                                     5
        Yiddish Theatre in South Africa: a History from the
                 Late Nineteenth Century to 1960

V        ery few people today even know
         that Yiddish theatre ever existed
         in South Africa. Therefore
Veronica Belling’s book, Yiddish Theatre
in South Africa: a History from the Late
                                              in South Africa between
                                              1911 and 1981.
                                                Unlike prominent
                                              English Jewish theatre
                                              directors, such as Leonard
Nineteenth century to 1960, that was          Schach and Barney
launched at Café Riteve fills a much          Simon, who are household
needed gap in South African Jewish            names, few today can
historiography.                               remember Sarah Sylvia,
  Originally written as a Masters             whose career as actor,
dissertation in Jewish Civilization,          director and impresario,
supervised by the Director of the Kaplan      spanned the history of
Centre for Jewish Studies and Research,       Yiddish theatre in South
Professor Milton Shain, the book was          Africa, and who was
inspired by Veronica Bellings love of the     instrumental in bringing
Yiddish language. Her two main                out all the well loved Veronica Belling signing books
informants were Bertha Englander,             international Yiddish stars
leading lady of the Dramatic Section of       to South Africa. It was her son, Alfred      peter out. This was reinforced by the fact
the Johannesburg Jewish Workers’ Club         Herbert, whose experience of musical         that Yiddish theatre was being promoted
from the 1930s to the 1950s, who died         theatre was acquired in his mother’s         by a proliferation of small Leftist
only a couple of months before the            Yiddish plays, who gave Miriam Makeba        societies, with a decidedly anti-Zionist
launch, and Max Raysman in Cape Town,         her first break in performing in African     slant, that were becoming more and more
also since deceased. The book is              follies. Cape Town also had its own          alienated from the mainstream of the
dedicated to the author’s mother, Milly       Yiddish star, Chayele Rosenthal –            community. With the Holocaust and the
Penkin, who participated in Yiddish           Wunderkind of the Vilna Ghetto – whose       destruction of European Jewry, all
theatre in Paarl. All the information,        talents were also transferred to the         differences were set aside, and the
however, was corroborated in the Yiddish      English stage.                               societies united under the umbrella of the
weekly newspapers that were published           Veronica emphasized that her book          South African Yiddish Cultural
                                                               was more than the           Federation, leading to a short lived
                                                               history of a theatre, but a
                                                                                           revival with actors, Holocaust survivors,
                                                               reflection of the history
                                                                                           coming to South Africa in search of a
                                                               of Jewish migration to
                                                                                           stage.
                                                               South Africa. Whenever
                                                               there was a groundswell       The crowd of over a hundred who
                                                               of Jewish migration, as     attended the launch included many of the
                                                               in the early years of the   offspring of Yiddish theatre participants,
                                                               twentieth century and       and a few who had actually performed on
                                                               again in the 1920s,         the Yiddish stage. At the end of the
                                                               Yi d d i s h t h e a t r e  speeches the audience was treated to the
                                                               flourished. With the        reading of a sketch by Sholem Aleichem
                                                               Quota Act of 1930, that     in Yiddish and English by Clara and
                                                               put a severe break on       Percy Gersholowitz, as well as to the
                                                               Jewish immigration, by      Yiddish song, Rozhinkes mit Mandlen,
                                                               the 1940s, Yiddish          performed by the doyenne of Yiddish
Clara and Percy Gersholowitz                                   theatre was beginning to    music, Fay Singer.


                             Kaplan Centre events for 2008
Faculty Seminars:                             Dr Tim Cole, (Bristol University), Traces of   Professor Scott Spector, (University of
                                              the Holocaust: Finding stories in unusual      Michigan) From Secret to Scandal:
Emeritus Professor Gideon Shimoni                                                            Homosexual Selves and Public Life in Vienna
                                              places, 7August, Beit Midrash.
(Hebrew University of Jerusalem) Israel and                                                  and Berlin circa 1907, 21 August, Centre for
the Jewish Diaspora: A 60th Anniversary Re-                                                  African Studies.
evaluation, 31 March, Beit Midrash.            This Newsletter is published by               Dr David Hirsh (University of London) Anti-
Stephen J Adler (Judge, President, National    the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and
                                               Research, University of Cape Town.
                                                                                             Zionism: The New Face of anti-Semitism, 19
Labour Court Israel) The Legal Status of                                                     September, Beit Midrash.
Jerusalem and the Holy Sites, 4 April, Beit    Editor: Janine Blumberg
                                               Tel.    (021) 650-3062                        Professor Susan Tananbaum (Bowdoin
Midrash.                                                                                     College, Brunswick) Childcare Dilemmas:
                                               Fax. (021) 650-5151
Prof Mottie Tamarkin (Tel Aviv University),    Email: janine.blumberg@uct.ac.za              Religious Discourse and Services among
‘South Africa and Israel/Palestine:                                                          Jewish and Christian ‘Orphanages’ in
                                               Layout:
Asymmetric conflicts and an asymmetric         Campus Copy & Print                           England in the 19th and early 20th Centuries,
balance of power’, 6August, Beit Midrash.                                                    23 October, Beit Midrash.


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