On Thursday 25 April, Telfed held a cocktail reception at Shivtei Yisrael Shul Hall in Ra’anana to welcome the new South African Ambassador to Israel, Mr Sisa Ngombane and his wife Thathanyana.
The ambassador was treated to a tour of the shul by Telfed’s director, Sid Shapiro. He was fascinated to hear about the South African roots of the synagogue and how the Parow Jewish community of the Cape helped to complete and furnish the shul, with the original furniture transported from the Parow Shul to the Shivtei Yisrael Shul.
45 Telfed volunteers were invited to meet the new ambassador over traditional kichel, herring, whiskey and a light supper. Telfed Chairman Dave Bloom covered 4000 years of Jewish history in four minutes and stressed the Jewish connection to the land of Israel, while recognising the need to negotiate with our neighbours.
Ambassador Ngobane responded with his personal family history dating back to the Xhosa move from the Drakensburg to Zulu lands in the days of Shaka. “Rival groups need to learn to live together in one land,” he said.
Telfed Vice-Chairman, Maish Isaacson closed the evening with a request for close cooperation between Telfed and the South African Embassy. Nodding in agreement, Mr Ngobane bade farewell to the Telfed volunteers while he and his wife lingered in the shul hall to chat and enjoy a newly discovered taste: South African-style kichel and herring!