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SA Heritage: the Goldene Medina Exhibition in Jerusalem

- by Roy Scher, Telfed's Jerusalem Regional Committee Chairman

After participating in the opening of the Goldene Medina Exhibition held at Beit Protea at the end of 2017, Roy Scher, Chairman of Telfed's Jerusalem Regional Committee began the process of bringing the exhibition to the capital city. Telfed partnered with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in bringing this fascinating taste of SA Jewry to Jerusalem. The exhibition, produced by Gavin Morris - director of the Cape Town based South African Jewish Museum, documents 175 years of the South African Jewish Community.

With 42 fascinating panels that tell the story of the South African community, organisers had difficulty tearing the large crowd away from the exhibition and into the auditorium for the official opening of the Jerusalem-based exhibition.  

The special evening began with MC Dave Bloom, past Chairman of Telfed and convener of the exhibition, welcoming the crowd of well over 100. Dave gave a brief introduction of how the exhibition was created, an initiative of the Cape Town Jewish Museum's Director and staff. The idea was to share this wealth of history of 175 years of Jewish life in South Africa with other communities outside of South Africa. The first chosen destination was, of course, Israel. The audience was privileged to hear a short address from Vice President of Hebrew University, Ambassador Mr. Yossi Gal, a seasoned diplomat for The State of Israel for many years. Yossi spoke of how South African Olim bring with them a high standard of morals and ethics which continue to strengthen Israeli society in all spheres.

Dorron Kline, Telfed CEO, brought a positive message when sharing facts and figures about Aliyah from South Africa.  Dorron also made mention of the group of PRAS students who were present. The podium then became the focal point as three professors of the Senior Academic staff of Hebrew University shared inspiring ideas in their respective fields of work. Prof. Louise Bethlehem was unfortunately unable to attend. However, one of her PhD students delivered her talk, after which Prof. Gideon Shimoni presented a talk sharing ideas of our unique Jewish background. He was followed by Dr. Jonny Mirvis, head of the Melton Center, who inspired us with thoughts of social entrepreneurship, a fast growing field in our modern day world.

Dave then invited the two honorees of the evening Maxine Fassberg (former CEO Intel) and Michael Dick (founder of NDS and c2a Security) to share their thoughts and personal stories of their roots from humble upbringings in South Africa to making Aliyah and then achieving beyond imaginable results in the hi-tech field. The audience was in awe of their humility and the pride with which they spoke about their heritage.

As the first part of the evening came to an end, Roy Scher gave a special thanks to the guest speakers and all those who participated in making the event the great success it was, with special mention of Dave Bloom, convener and initiator of bringing this exhibition to Israel.  Roy then presented each speaker and honoree with a copy of the book "70 years South African Aliyah" as well as a certificate of appreciation from Telfed. South African community events have traditionally included the singing of "Hatikva" – thus, true to our roots the audience then stood together proudly as they sang our national anthem.  

Following refreshments, everyone was reenergized and participants continued on to the library to view and enjoy the Goldene Medina Exhibition. A visitor's book at the entrance gave attendees an opportunity to share their thoughts of the fascinating exhibition.

Click here to read more about our speakers from the Hebrew University. Click to read more about our honored invitees, Maxine Fassberg and Michael Dick.

Click on the links below for The Jerusalem Post's reviews on the event.


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