Telfed in action

By Richard Shavei-Tzion 

Aviva, who grew up in Randfontein South Africa, and Keith Segal from North Carolina have been living on Kibbutz Kfar Aza for the past forty years, drawn there by its beauty and tranquil way of life. Gentle people, their harrowing abduction on the morning of October 7th defies the worst fears of any human being.  

Like all in this small country, the South African community of Olim has endured a heavy price in this conflict, including fallen and injured soldiers, evacuees and kidnapped family members. 

On the one hand, as a nation, we are experiencing unprecedented pain, loss and suffering on many levels. On the other hand, one of the remarkable phenomena which has occurred following the inhumane massacre perpetrated by Hamas on our South Western border has been the stepping up of individuals and NGOs in response to the massive trauma. 

Of course individuals and institutions would not have consciously prepared themselves to respond to the horrifying events that unfolded on Simchat Torah. Yet the experience that Telfed, the organisation providing services and assistance to South African and Australian Olim, has accumulated over the past 75 years, in times of peace and prosperity as well as during crisis and war, has positioned it to spring into action with a combination of prodigious energy and typical efficiency. Working around the clock, Telfed employees and volunteers have confronted the profound crisis, providing emergency assistance to the general population,  as well as to South Africans and Australians who have experienced loss, pain and suffering as a community and as individuals. 

Within days, Telfed established an emergency task force operating on a number of levels. “Stronger Together” is the slogan and the strategy. A fund has been created, soliciting donations which have been distributed with speed and optimum effectiveness. Together with the procurement of food and clothing for soldiers, medical supplies and providing housing and basic needs for evacuees who left their homes with barely the clothes on their backs, they are also working to benefit those who are suffering from the knock-on results of the war. These efforts include granting financial assistance for people whose income base has collapsed in the economic aftermath. And they are providing emotional counselling and support for English-speakers traumatised by the events that, except for Holocaust survivors, none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. 

From toys and toiletries, trauma counselling and large financial grants, to defying danger and obstacles in order to deliver a birthday cake to a South African soldier in the South, Telfed, as always, has risen to the challenge. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Shavei-Tzion grew up in Cape Town and lives in Jerusalem with his wife Cheryl. He directs choirs, is a Ba’al Tefilah, exhibited photographer, published poet and makes legacy movies. His articles appear in the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel and other publications. 

Telfed Email:

• Published in the December 2023/January 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle and on this website – kindly contact Lynette Roodt on 021 464 6736 or email For more information and advertising rate card click here.

• Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2023. For payment info click here.

• Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Cape Jewish Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here