In the early 1940s, at a time when it was virtually impossible for a South African of color to secure a professional apprenticeship, the Jewish law firm Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman gave a young black man a job as a clerk.
Jewish organizations have expressed condolences over the passing of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and anti-apartheid activist, saying that the world will miss a leader whose dedication to human rights resonated with Jewish values.
The year was 1994; South Africa was hanging on a thread. The first free general election was about to take place on April 27.
Anti-apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandela — a hero to many Los Angeles Jews with ties to that country — died Dec. 5. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was 95.
Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy, as an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world.
South Africa and the world showered tributes on Nelson Mandela on Thursday as the anti-apartheid leader turned 95 in hospital and his doctors reported he was "steadily improving" from a six-week lung infection.
Fresh off President Obama’s South Africa, and as the world still holds its breath for Nelson Mandela, Roger Cohen offers this take on the attitudes of South Africa’s Jews during apartheid:
South Africa’s chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, conveyed the Jewish community’s prayers and support to the daughter of ailing former President Nelson Mandela.
This letter was conveyed last week by South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein:
Members of South Africa’s Jewish community have joined the rest of the country in praying for Nelson Mandela following his admission to hospital for the third time this year.
The one fact that continues to astonish me about Nelson Mandela is this: He studied Afrikaans in prison.
Nat Bregman, whom anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela described as his "first white friend," died in Johannesburg.
Shawn Slovo remembers how her Jewish parents, African National Congress activists, left home in the middle of the night to attend secret meetings. All the while, she said, she resented "having to share my parents with a cause much greater than myself."
Not long after he took over as national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham Foxman was asked to fly to Geneva and head off an international crisis. It set the tone for what's come since.