Telfed’s successful partnership with the South African Jewish community

Aviva Pelham, photographed with her production manager and musicians, brought Santa’s Story to Israel in March

Collaboration between Telfed and the Cape Town Jewish Community has been growing over the years and in recent months we have enjoyed close cultural cooperation. 

Following the success of the South African Jewish Museum’s Goldene Medina exhibition at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, two recent events took place, both closely aligned with Telfed’s own activities in preserving the Southern African Jewish Community’s story and contribution to the building of the State of Israel.

Nearly five years ago, South Africa’s top opera singer Aviva Pelham spoke about bringing Santa’s Story to Israel. On a visit to Israel over a year ago the decision was made to go ahead and months of detailed preparations paved the way for Aviva and her three musicians to perform in Israel. The ‘show was on’! The audiences were rewarded and enraptured with a high-class performance over four nights at the Airforce Auditorium in Herzliya. “I have wanted to bring Santa’s Story to Israel for many years and I am so pleased at the response,” said Aviva. “My mother’s story of survival and determination against all the odds is almost an allegory of what has happened in the State of Israel since its founding,” she said.

On the eve of Yom Hashoah, Telfed was proud to partner again with the SAJM and Daniel Schwab to launch the exhibition called Letters of Loss and Refuge. Originally curated by the SAJM under its director, Gavin Morris, Telfed re-printed the exhibition for display at the SA-founded Beth Protea retirement home in Herzliya.  Daniel introduced the back-story to his grandfather’s collection of meticulously written letters, postcards and Red Cross messages both written to and received from his family in Germany prior to and during World War II. The letters miraculously survived a fire at the family home in Johannesburg and grandson Daniel has shared these letters with the public through a book called From Things Lost by Professor Shirli Gilbert. “It is an honour to bring this exhibition to Israel and I hope to spread its powerful message to as many people as possible,” said Daniel, who lives with his family in Modiin.

Telfed initiated an online archive to record the story of both the organisation’s history and the tremendous contribution of Southern African’s to the building of the State of Israel ( This is the story of a Zionist-orientated community that has punched far above its weight. Anyone who is interested in researching and contributing material should visit the website.


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