South African educator to visit Australia

May 22, 2013 by J-Wire
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The former principal of the King David School in Johannesburg will visit Australia later this week.

Elliot Wolf has sent this message detailing his schedule…

Eliot Wolf

Eliot Wolf

As my visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth draws ever closer, my excitement at the prospect of meeting and reconnecting with my former students, as well as those of my twin brother Jeffrey, grows stronger and stronger.  I cannot hide the fact that I am well into my seventies, yet my memories of my wonderful years at King David remain as fresh as ever. Obviously outward appearances for all of us have endured the ravages of passing years, yet for me the image of all my students in their school uniforms, frozen in time, remain as vivid as ever.  Perhaps for the purpose of easy recognition I should possibly consider wearing a red carnation!

After my thirty-four years at King David High School Linksfield, twenty eight of which as headmaster, I joined the King David Schools’ Foundation to assist with fund-raising, a challenge  that has been my focus for the past eleven and a half years.  After nearly forty-six years in Jewish education in Johannesburg, it is obvious that every pore of my being is totally immersed with a passion for its well-being and continuity. I have been privileged to be invited to attend King David reunions all over the world, and, if ever I needed convincing of the merits of the Jewish education provided at the King David schools, it was overwhelmingly provided when I met the thousands of my former students.  How gratifying it has been to reconnect with alumni of King David and to hear their accounts of their gratitude to King David for the foundation it provided for their future careers.  It is difficult for me to describe how proud I am to have played a part in their phenomenal success over a spectrum of careers that is truly amazing.  Furthermore, I am so impressed that our graduates, wherever they may be living, have accepted important roles in their Jewish communities and are  providing an essential service in maintaining Jewish identity throughout the world.

No doubt, many South African ex-patriots will remember a time when middle-class Jewish parents. who could not afford private education, could comfortably send their children to good public schools in their residential area.  Today that option is no longer available to them, as many government schools are sadly in crisis and educational standards have plummeted,  As such, the reality today in Johannesburg is that the King David schools have become the most sought-after option for many Jewish parents, but sadly, despite a thriving but diminished community, more and more children cannot afford the Jewish day school fees.

To meet this scenario, Raelene Tradonsky, my co-director, and I have initiated the Dor le Dor Campaign of the King David Schools’ Foundation with the aim of establishing an endowment fund that will be judiciously invested to generate an income that will ensure a sustainable future and the excellence of the King David Schools, as well as to contribute largely to subsidising those students, whose parents cannot afford the school fees.  We have travelled to the USA, Toronto, Israel and have been so pleased with the generous response we have had from former students.  In fact,  a third of all funds raised has come from  alumni living overseas. Of course, we have also concentrated on our South African parents and  grandparents to assist us in our campaign, and their response has been generous and very pleasing.

We are now looking forward to our visit to Australia, where over ½ of our ex-patriot Davidians now live.  We are aware that despite the loyalty and gratitude of our former students, some will find it difficult to support our campaign with their commitment to local priorities, but we hope that our appeal will resonate with many and that they will partner us in our efforts to ensure that our schools maintain their standards of excellence and the indispensable role they play in the Jewish community of Johannesburg. To this end we are having both reunions as well as fundraising functions

I look forward to meeting many of you again, and know that the past we have in common will prove a springboard for animated reminiscence.

25th May, Class of 1983 Reunion
26th Fundraiser Denise Meyerson 5 – 8pm
27th Reunion at Masada College 7.30 pm
2nd June  Jacqui Felbel 8 pm
9 June 3-5pm

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