This month we are proud to showcase four new Mensch members

MARIA STACEY is a clinical psychologist, inspired by the spirit of Tikkun Olam. She has always worked for justice, inclusion and equity, especially addressing the deep inequalities in our society. Maria works professionally as a consultant specialising in public health, human rights and social justice. She is also involved in supporting the only old age home in Khayelitsha, Ithemba Community Old Age Home

Millions of South African elderly people survive precariously on a government pension of just R1890 per month. Most live with their extended families, but many families face serious financial stress, and elderly family members are often neglected or abused as they become physically or mentally frail and old age homes are few and far between.

Ithemba Community Old Age Home was founded by Nomsa Gxotiwe, who started taking into her home vulnerable, frail, and ill old people whose families could not support them. Maria works to support the home, and through networking helps them to survive and hopefully thrive.


EPHRAIM MOSS is a technologist and entrepre-neur, with a passion for our natural environment and climate mitigation via smart technology. This has led to the creation of ReSpek Nature, a digital platform that connects consumers with land restoration projects in semi-arid ecosystems. ReSpek Nature is creating innovative solutions for carbon mitigation and restoring degraded landscapes.

Using technology to measure the efficacy of their work, ReSpek Nature is making a positive impact on the environment, creating dignified jobs in rural communities, and connecting consumers with restoration efforts.

ReSpek Nature provides a trusted platform that allows any consumer to offset their carbon emissions with one click.


ALAN HOFFMAN is co-chairperson of the Kensington Educentre, one of the longest running projects of the Union of Jewish Women (UJW), where he is involved in the everyday running of the centre. Alan joined the UJW as a volunteer 10 years ago and now runs The Flower Group making gifts for Rosh Hashanah. 

The Kensington Educare Centre was established in 1942 and celebrated their 80th anniversary in 2022. This centre is dedicated to helping and improving the lives of children living in the Kensington and Factreton communities. Kensington Educare creates a safe space for children aged 3 – 6, has dedicated staff members who provide an educational learning environment that includes nutritious meals, extra-curricular activities and aftercare throughout the school year.

The UJW of South Africa is committed to investing in all the people of South Africa, and will continue in its endeavours to create a better quality of life for all.


VANESSA ARELISKY has been involved in volunteer work since she was at school, and has been a member of Rotary and of the UJW where she chaired a group for many years and sat on the Executive. Today, Vanessa is the new Project Co-ordinator at UJW Cape Town.

Founded in 1931 with the objective of serving both the Jewish and broader communities, the UJWSA provided welfare projects to diverse communities during the depression years and later during apartheid and beyond.

The organisation offered skills training, funded educational programmes, established crèches and nursery schools and empowered disadvantaged sections of society to find employment and to become self-sufficient. Many projects are self-sustaining and are still operational today.

The UJW has active branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria – all serving the Jewish community through UJW’s Jewish Community Fund, as well as raising funds and goods to assist other communities in need.

Mensch www.mensch.org.za, contact: gina@mensch.org.za

• Published in the March 2023 Digital Edition – Click here to start reading.

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