From the Wolf’s Mouth – Think of Others

The celebratory dinner for our donors to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of our King David schools was a great success. Rather than providing a mere historical timeline, the evening concentrated on SEVEN core values that have sustained our schools over seven decades, and have, we hope, influenced the lives of the thousands of our alumni all over the world.

One of these values was the importance of g’milut chasadim, a quality that was, and has remained, a fundamental principle of our KD schools. Unlike other exclusive private schools, our schools are founded on the tenet “THINK OF OTHERS”, and are therefore constitutionally community schools, available to all Jewish children, regardless of whether their parents can afford the costs of private education. This practice, characteristic of KD from its very foundation, has recently assumed even greater importance in the present educational scenario in Johannesburg with many government schools in crisis and plummeting academic standards. We are proud that our tradition of thinking of others has ensured that this year over 500 hundred Jewish children have the privilege of a Jewish and general education of excellence in our schools.

For me, however, as Jews we cannot blind ourselves to the issues confronting the wider society in which we live, and confine ourselves to the needs of our community alone. Of course, I am well aware of the proverb “Poverty begins at home”, but let us remind ourselves that that this is not where it should end. Under the auspices of the King David Schools’ Foundation, we have ensured that our KD schools are involved in some aspect of an outreach project with disadvantaged schools. These partnerships involve academic reinforcement at the high school level, combined student activities and outings, providing equipment and teaching aids, the building of a classroom at Summerwood (formerly Fairmount) Primary School, improving teaching skills, and, most importantly, the opportunity for all the students to transcend the differences in socio-economic, cultural and religious backgrounds. In addition, the Ubuntu Africa Summer Camp is proudly sponsored by the KDSF in partnership with the Diller leadership programme.  For the third consecutive year, fifty under-privileged children have been bussed to KDHS Linksfield to teach them swimming skills to obviate the horrifying statistics of child drownings. These children are also entertained with activities to build self-esteem and a fun-filled Christmas party.

In Pirkei Avot Chapter 2, v.8, our revered sage Hillel remark ???? ???? ,???? ???? “He who increases charity, increases peace”. With this time-enduring, but certainly relevant reminder, would you be interested in making a donation to this aspect of our social responsibility?  I have been fortunate to have received a donation of R500 000, on the condition that we raise a similar amount from other donors, so any donation would be greatly appreciated. Any donations from donors in the USA, Canada and the UK qualify for a tax concession, and I will be happy to provide these details for those who require them.

Best wishes and fond regards.

Elliot Wolf

Dynamic Davidian – Professor Bonita Meyersfeld (KDHSL 1993)

The KDSF is constantly on the lookout for Dynamic Davidians – alumni who have been hugely successful in their chosen careers and whom we can proudly claim as our own. If you are a Dynamic Davidian or know of any, please let us know!

This month, we are thrilled to feature Dynamic Davidian Professor Bonita Meyersfeld, winner of the Europcar Women in Leadership Award at the recent ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards held on 2nd September 2018. Professor Bonita Meyersfeld was recognised for her ground-breaking work in the area of social justice and human rights.

Professor Bonita Meyersfeld (KDHSL 1993)

Bonita Meyersfeld is a human rights lawyer and academic. She is an associate professor at Wits Law School and from 2012 to 2017 she was the director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies. She is an editor and chair of the board of the South African Journal on Human Rights and the founding member and chair of the board of Lawyers against Abuse, a non-profit organisation that provides free legal and psychosocial support services to victims of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, domestic violence, and child abuse.

Bonita obtained her LLB (cum laude) from Wits and her masters and doctorate in law from Yale Law School.  She teaches and publishes in the areas of international law, business and human rights, women’s rights and international criminal law and is the author of the book, Domestic Violence and International Law.

Prior to Wits, Bonita worked in human rights law in the House of Lords and has worked at various non-governmental organisations in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Bonita has presented expert statements in various UN forums and was appointed by the Government of Ecuador as part of a five member expert panel to provide guidance to the Inter-Governmental Working Group on a binding instrument for business and human rights.

Bonita is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor and grew up in apartheid South Africa – circumstances that she believes made it inevitable that she would follow a career in human rights law. Her desire to fight for human rights began as early as her King David Linksfield school days. “I have been doing this work since my days at King David. When Chris Hani was killed, I knew that my life and education must be used to pursue justice in the face of oppression” She has worked actively as an academic, teacher, activist and lawyer in the pursuit of justice and equal rights. “I have always followed a path of my own making. I try to commit myself to speaking truth to power, and to suing personal privilege to achieve justice in the country and continent in which we live”


Are you a Dynamic Davidian?

Seven Stories High – a Night Celebrating 70 Years of King David Schools

On 23rd August, the KDSF hosted our crowned donors to a night celebrating 70 years of King David Schools. The evening showcased the 7 core values that have sustained the schools and shaped thousands of lives over 7 decades – Jewish Values, Zionism, Community, Networks, Relationships, Excellence in Education and Potential for Greatness

Each value was depicted as a narrative in story, music or dance, using current students and alumni, and illustrated the impact that King David has made on the South African Jewish landscape and the world.

Set against the backdrop of political uncertainly the world over, and a volatile South Africa, the first value, that of JEWISH VALUES, narrated by Alan Swerdlow (KDHSL 1971), explored the bravery and optimism exhibited by three visionaries – Rabbi Isaac Goss, and businessmen Solly Yellin and Louis Sacks – who believed that Jewish children belonged in Jewish day schools. They canvassed the Jewish community for 1000 signatures on a petition to open a Jewish school. Despite being met with huge opposition, each signature they received affirmed their belief in Jewish Values and in January 1948, forty Jewish children attended King David primary school.

Headmaster at the time, Ike Harris, passed around a collection tin printed with three words: THINK OF OTHERS. These three words carried 3000 years of Jewish history, three words that encapsulate what a Jewish education is about.

Building the school was the ultimate affirmation of our right to exist as Jews, and our responsibility to transmit the legacy of Sinai to our children. On the world stage, that same message rang out as Ben Gurion declared the state of Israel. Born in the same year, an unbreakable bond was forged between King David Schools and the State of Israel. ZIONISM is the second value on which our schools are built, and was illustrated through stories shared by Shelly Freinkel, Principal King David Senior Primary School Linksfield, and Rabbi Ricky Seeff (KDHSL 1999), Principal King David Primary School Victory Park.  They each reflected on the role that Zionism has played in their experience as Davidians and in their current positions as heads of schools.

This value concluded with the King David Sandton school choir and alumnae Sharon Spiegel Wagner (KDHSL 2001) and Lorri Glajchen Strauss (KDHSVP 2002) singing Shir la shalom

The third value – COMMUNITY – involved KDSF directors, Elliot Wolf and Raelene Tradonsky, speaking about the proud community ethos of King David schools, where no Jewish child is turned away for financial reasons.  With 9.8% of fully paid school fees allocated to children in need, the KDSF is tasked with raising the funds to fill the annual deficit, which this year amounts to R32 million. For this, the KDSF relies on the generosity of donors, who enable us to ensure that while we continue to “think of others”, our schools remain centres of excellence.

Broadening the definition of community and the responsibility that our schools bear for the wider community, narrator Caryn Davidoff Katz (KDHSVP 1997) elaborated on the Outreach Programme of King David Schools and the particularly successful relationship between King David Senior Primary Linksfield and their outreach counterparts, Summerwood Primary. A joint choir from these schools treated the audience to a performance of I Can Be in an emotive demonstration of this value.

The fourth value – NETWORKS – explored the King David networks that have been leveraged across the world. Whether for business success, raising money for good causes, new business opportunities or the best medical advice, King David has given rise to a network of people with a shared history and shared values.

Introduced with the song Hey Brother, sung by Peter Berman (KDHSVP 1994), this value was illustrated through the success story of Alon Apteker, Leor Atie and David Frankel, all incredibly successful businessmen and alumni of the King David High School Linksfield Class of 1988.

They met in Grade 9 at King David Linksfield and found success with their company Internet Solutions that was later sold to Dimension Data. In a witty and entertaining address, they told their story of the trajectory of their lives and how a happy set of circumstances set them on their career paths. In their words, “We are indebted to King David for the incredible networks that we created while we were here, and the superhuman confidence that this instilled in us to go out, unafraid, believing in ourselves and those around us, knowing we could achieve anything we wanted”.  

In what was possibly the most well received value of the night, the fifth value – RELATIONSHIPS – was depicted through an entertaining and emotive video of five King David couples who met their life partners at school.

Spanning the 7 decades, the video was a beautiful representation of how at King David, so many blessed individuals found the love that built their very homes, and how these relationships have resulted in a new generation of Davidians, with many of their children attending King David Schools and exemplifying the slogan Dor le Dor.

A school cannot be sustained for 70 years without EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION at its core.  This, the fifth value of the night was introduced by Rabbi Craig Kacev, Director of the South African Board of Jewish Education. He spoke to the importance of leaving an impact on the world – a true value gained through a King David education, an education that combines Jewish values and tradition with academic prowess, the winning formula for producing menschen who stand out in their various fields.

The final value – POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS – was delivered by the head student leaders 2018 Jason Mervis and Rebecca Matisonn from KD Victory Park, and Hannah Bloch and Benjamin Atie from KD Linksfield.  The four reflected on what it is they have each gained from their years at King David, and how they know where they are going because of what they have learned from their school experience.

They all agreed, “At King David we received an education that was much more than just knowledge, it provided a way of looking at the world with an open mind, with curiosity, care and confidence in our potential”.

The night was a fitting tribute to King David schools and its 7-decade legacy, to the Jewish values that keep Davidians connected to their community, the networks that support them in their careers and their lives, and the friendships that carry them through life’s ups and downs.

It was also a celebration of our generous donors, the true architects and builders of our schools, who enable us to look toward the future, and help us to guarantee the sustainability of our beautiful community school, and the Johannesburg Jewish community.

For those alumni living in USA and UK, join us in New York City on 13th November and in London on 15th November, as we continue the celebrations with our overseas alumni.

Click here to see more photos


Celebrating Courage and Creativity in Art for Women’s Day

On the last Thursday in August – Women’s month in South Africa, the King David Schools’ Foundation was proud to host alumnae Kara Stoler (KDHSVP 2003) and Anthea Pokroy (KDHSVP 2003) at King David Victory Park, bringing them back to where their love for art began. Together with Benon Lutaaya, one of South Africa’s top selling artists, they enthralled the audience with their knowledge and enthusiasm of the South African art world. 

Anthea is an artist and photographer most well-known for her exhibit “I Collect Gingers” – a photographic exploration of red heads. She is also the co-founder and trustee of a non-profit visual artist organisation, Assemblage, which provides support, resources, opportunities and education for emerging Johannesburg-based visual artists. She met Benon Lutaaya, who was a struggling artist from Uganda. Unable to afford proper art supplies when he started out, Benon improvised with recycled paper material gathered from streets to pursue his purpose as an artist.  This is still the medium in which he creates his masterpieces, mixed with paint to explore colour tones. 

Kara, together with her business partner, established DK Fine Art, based on their shared passion for art.  They buy, sell and promote contemporary African art, while helping clients build their own art collections. With an incredible eye for art as a good investment, Kara shared interesting insights into the changing South African art space. Benon and Kara discussed how emerging artists are moving away from being represented by galleries as they want to have autonomy over their own pricing and promotion of their art. 

In the true spirit of the very ethos of the King David Schools’ Foundation, a modest and humble Benon spoke about his latest passion, The Project Space, of which he is the founder and executive chairman.  The Project Space is a cultural institution creating spaces, increasing opportunities and access to networks in a bid to encourage and empower more female African artists to engage full time as artists.

When asked why he specifically wanted to assist female artists, Benon replied without hesitation “All the people who have helped me get to where I am have been women”. He specifically mentioned Anthea and her work at Assemblage, and how she has helped him at a time when he really needed it.

The morning was a fitting tribute to women, King Davidians and the value of Gemilut Chesed – loving-kindness and thinking of others.


King Davidians Shine at ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards

The 19th annual Jewish Achiever Awards hosted by the SA Jewish Report and sponsored by ABSA Bank, were held on 2 September and attended by over 700 people, including nominees, past winners, prominent business people, sponsors, media and members of the Jewish Community.

In light of a “new dawn” for South Africa, with new leadership and new hope, this year’s awards, were aptly themed “The Re-Generation”. The event strives to acknowledge members of the Jewish Community for their contribution, impact and commitment in giving back to South Africa, with many of the nominees and winners in each category being former Davidians:

ABSA Professional Excellence Award

Craig Rod (KDHSL 1988)  


Absa Business Award

Danny Nochumsohn (KDHSL 2007)

Jonathan Penn (KDHSL 2000)

Michael Abel (KDHSVP 1974) – WINNER


Europcar Women in Leadership Award

Claudine Ullman (KDHSVP 2004)

Karen Lieberman (KDHSVP 1985)

Bonita Meyersfeld (KDHSL 1993) – WINNER


The Creative Counsel Entrepreneur Award

Adam Thal (KDHSL 1998)

Andrea Herman (KDHSL 2004)

Arye Kellman (KDHSVP 2007)

Jade Factor (KDHSL 2008)

Mark Samowitz (KDHSVP 1996)

Ryan Sauer (KDHSVP 2003)

In addition to the many King David alumni who were nominated at this year’s ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards, the KDSF is proud to be associated with Stephen Koseff, a trustee of the KDSF and winner of the ABSA Business Icon Award, as well as Lorraine Srage, Principal of King David High School Linksfield and a nominee in the category Europcar Women in Leadership Award.


Koolulam are coming to South Africa!

As part of King David’s 70th birthday celebrations, and to commemorate Israel’s 70th birthday, King David Schools are thrilled to be bringing to South Africa, for the first time ever outside of Israel, the amazing social-musical initiative – KOOLULAM. 

Koolulam will be performing on Sunday 14 October 2018 from 16h00 – 20h00 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Tickets are R125 each and bookings can be made on:

The main goal of Koolulam is to bring together people, across all ages, from all walks of life to do one thing: stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together.  At Koolulam – the audience is the artist and together, they create a musical sensation. 

What makes it unique?  Koolulam is able to teach thousands of people a song with harmonies in under 45 minutes. Then, together they will all sing – producing a powerful, unified musical creation.  The production is videoed and then shared to the masses via Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp, showcasing this unity.

Take a look at our promo video on the link below and we invite you to be a part of something truly spectacular!

This is going to be INCREDIBLE!

Prize Winners – Nokanyana Lodge, Botswana

Mazeltov to Gary Swil (Johannesburg) and David Gabriel (Melbourne) – the two lucky winners of the incredible bush getaways to Nokanyana Lodge in the Okavango Delta!  

Gary will be taking up his prize in November 2018 and David will include his trip as part of a long overdue holiday to South Africa in 2019.

As in previous years, the raffle was an incredible success with all proceeds going to the KDSF, as the prize was donated by a truly generous alumnus.

KDSF auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers audited the draw of the winners and the competition was run with SA National Lottery Board approval.



KDL Class of 1988 Reunion Feedback by Jessica Schwartzman (KDHSL 1988)

On Thursday night 16 August, the KDL Matric Class of 1988 celebrated their 30th reunion, held at the Mini Hall at KD Linksfield Campus.

The Committee, made up of Jessica Schwartzman, Joclyn Katzen, Heidi Kusner, Nicky Nathan and Kim Kerr-Phillips put together a truly unique reunion.

Nicky started a 30th reunion WhatsApp group and it took off very quickly, reuniting classmates all over the world, sparking much lively conversation and bringing back many memories.

As a result of this reunion, 2 other smaller reunions were held, one in Sydney and another in Toronto, spearheaded by Mandy Pillemer, Lana Wainer-Lakofski and Gavin Rubinstein.

The evening of the 16th of August was absolutely fantastic. A short video was shown highlighting some great memories of the year, and remembering classmates who are no longer with us.

Many pictures were taken and shared on the WhatsApp Group, and on the King David Class of 1988 Facebook page. Everyone who attended had a spectacular evening!

The Committee could not have put together the reunion without huge amounts of support from generous donors and the King David Schools’ Foundation. A big thank you to King David High School Linksfield for the use of the venue.



Bushveld Break – A Holiday of a Lifetime! By Stephen Gottlich, Prize Winner

First of all, thank you to the King David Schools’ Foundation for this incredible prize, it turned out to be a trip of a lifetime!! 

Hilary (my wife), Matt Gable and Debbie Krueger left Baltimore Maryland on Friday April 20th and flew via Atlanta to Johannesburg. We spent the first few days visiting both our families and friends, eating our way through the few days we spent in Joburg. It was wonderful to see both our families again and to be spoiled by them and the restaurants we visited.

On Tuesday we flew to Nelspruit and spent the night at a hotel that Hilary and I frequented many times, Casa Do Sol in Hazyview, which brought back many great memories of the time we lived in South Africa and the many trips to Kruger that we used to make.

On Wednesday morning it was off to Sabi Sands and Dulini. After a short drive we arrived in Paradise. The amazing staff at Dulini were waiting for us and the warm welcome they gave us set the tone for the rest of our visit. The suites were pure luxury, having our own plunge pool and view of the bush was exceptional, the furnishings, comfort and small details reflect the quality of this magical place. And then there was the surprise, within an hour of our arrival a huge elephant decided to use my friends plunge pool as a shower, approaching with a few feet of them and casually splashing himself from water taken out of the pool. Where else in the world would that happen?!

We spent the next three days having the time of our lives. The staff at Dulini are amazing, James, the butler, could not do enough for us and was always smiling, Stefan our guide and Colbert our tracker was amazing, making each game drive not just a wonderful experience but also an education of the bush, the wildlife and more. We saw everything we wanted to plus more, the leopards, lions, wild dogs, rhinos and amazing elephants were almost a daily occurrence.

Thank you, thank you to the KDSF for this wonderful experience. The food at Dulini, the hospitality, and the night in the Boma with singing and dancing added to what was an amazing experience. 

Thank you!



Alumni in the News

The KDSF is thrilled to introduce a new feature to our newsletter, which includes snippets of information about our alumni in the recent news.  Please send us any articles on alumni you think would be of interest and will be happy to feature them in the next newsletter:

Nadia Bilchik (KDHSL 1982) was in South Africa during August to host an event celebrating women to raise funds for the SOS Children’s Village

The article “Adults like learning like children, even if they are wearing suits” written by Dan Stillerman (KDHSL 2004), founder of Excel Academy, appeared on CFO South Africa during July 2018. Dan also presented an Excel Crash Course at the Finance Indaba Africa 2018

At the eighth annual kykNET Silwerskerm Film Festival, Matthew Jankes (KDHSVP 2002), took home three awards for his production “Axis Mundi” in the Best Short Film category – 22 Minutes, Best Director and Best Script





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We loving hearing about your simchas and apologise if we have unintentionally left anyone out. If you would like us to include your simcha in the next newsletter, email Shana Sassen on


Adam and Genevieve Solomons on the birth of a son
Alon and Shani (Zuk) Lits on the birth of a son
Anthony Destombes and Jenna Adams on the birth of a daughter
Daniel and Samantha Popper on the birth of a daughter
Danny and Carla (Tanner) Blumberg on the birth of a son
Darren and Beatrix (Leopold) Fresco on the birth of a son
David and Jess (Patlansky) Feinberg on the birth of a son
David and Tali (Levenstein) Lever on the birth of a daughter
Dean Weinbren and Candy (Falkoff) on the birth of a son
Dylan and Keren (Cohen) Wolpe on the birth of a son
Eli and Amanda (Newstead) Kohanchi on the birth of a son
Evan and Claire (Azolay) Unterhalter on the birth of a daughter
Gavin and Nila Milner on the birth of a son
Mark and Belinda (Hellman) Kaplan on the birth of a daughter
Ryan and Lauren (Pack) Monteiro n the birth of a daughter
Sam and Daniela (Wainstein) Sawade on the birth of a son
Shannon and Joanne (Grusd) Brook on the birth of a daughter
Taddy and Annie (Kalk) Blecher on the birth of a daughter
Yossi and Justine (Mann) Montrose on the birth of a son


Aaron Friedland and Micah Stern
Benny Kurman and Ricci Glass
Darren Brett Cohen and Batia Surat
David de Agrella and Lindi Lee Serebro
Dayne Levinrad and Romy Joseph
Dustin Fransman and Cara Pimstein
Gareth Place and Aimee Pozniak
Jess De Jongh and Batsheva Moffson
Natan Essers and Avital Engelberg.
Simon Rubin and Romy Sarembock


Guy and Moran (Ezerzer) Orlik
Jared and Farryn (Schneiderman) Kangisser
Jaret and Gabbi (Lurie) Armstrong
Martin and Tarryn (Chimes) Skudicky