UIA worldwide luminary passes away

November 20, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Mendel Kaplan, a larger than life figure known and respected throughout the Jewish world, has passed away in his native South Africa.

Mendel Kaplan

Mendel Kaplan

He received world-wide acclaim for his efforts to drive Jewish emigration from Russia to Israel following the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Kaplan was Chairman of the Jewish Agency between 1987 and 1995 and made several trips to Australia. UIA luminary and Life President Joseph Brender told J-Wire: “I have met many community leaders from all over the world but there were not many people like this man. He was unique.”

An Israeli citizen, Kaplan served as honorary president of Keren Hayesond from 1995 until his death.

The current UIA Federal President Bruce Fink did not meet Kaplan.

Life President Stanley Roth said:  We learnt the tragic news just before Shabbat. Bruce in his two years at the helm as President did not have the privilege of dealing with, or hearing or seeing Mendel Kaplan z”l in action, and therefore, on behalf of UIA NSW,  pass on our condolences, and feelings of shock and loss, to Jill and the whole extended Kaplan family. Our World Chairman Avi Pazner accurately described Mendel as a “giant in the Jewish world” – his passion for and commitment to Israel, his robust character, and his influence over the international UIA scene, were all truly legendary. KH will not be the same without him.

Mendel Kaplan died at the age of 73 and is survived by his wife Jill Lazar Kaplan, four children and his grandchildren.


One Response to “UIA worldwide luminary passes away”
  1. Vernon Katz says:

    We cannot afford to lose such a gem

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