Video interviews

These pages include video interviews with several current and former Telfed staff,  volunteers and other persons of interest who discuss their experiences in the organisation and involvement in Southern African Aliyah, Klitah, services and projects provided by Telfed over the years.  Each clip is about 20-25 minutes long and has a textual summary to help viewers decide which item interests them. Scroll down or click on the names here that interest you.

Sid Shapiro 1, Sid Shapiro 2, Amnon and Sarah Becker, Narda Korakin  Nick AlhadeffHertzel Katz , Shula Rabinow , Leon Charney ,  Beula Goodman , Cheree Hadani , Sharon Bernstein , David Kaplan , Asher Kassel and Narda Korakin , Mark Kedem ,  Michael Seidman , Sol Gelgo , Joe Woolf , Solly Sacks

In the above clip of the Telfed History project – former Director of Telfed Sid Shapiro describes his own personal journey as a Zionist as well as his first visit to Israel in 1963, He provides background to the setting up of what was then called the Israel Committee of the South African Zionist Federation office in Israel, including information on the first committee members and staff. This part of his interview was recorded on 29th January 2017.


In the above clip of the Telfed History Project – Sidney Shapiro describes attending the student leadership course in Israel as a student from South Africa followed by student volunteering during the Six Day War. He goes on to describe his aliyah in 1970, his employment with Telfed, the various offices of Telfed, work conditions, relationship with the SA Zionist Federation in South Africa.and how Telfed was funded in the 1970s.

In this interview Sid Shapiro and Dave Bloom talk to Sarah and Amnon Becker about their many years of service to Telfed starting in 1958 when Amnon was hired by
the late Sam Levin to help in the 10th Anniversary celebrations for Telfed and the State of Israel. Sarah joined later as receptionist and telephonist and was the welcoming voice
to those that called Telfed. Amnon was the organisation’s driver but one of his main roles was to meet both incoming VIPs and visitors as well olim as they came off the plane.  Thousands of Southern African olim passed through his trusty hands and their combine stories in this film help to paint a picture of how Telfed operated from the 1950s to the early 1970s.  We also hear from Amnon about his personal and family background. Sadly – since the interview in July 2017 – Amnon passed away. MHDSRIP.

Narda Korakin began working at Telfed in 1987 and spent most of her years in the organisation working in the aliyah and klita department. In this interview she talks about her memories of those times, the Telfed projects including the enabling of olim to qualify or have their qualifications confirmed prior to aliyah. She also mentions the direct absorption project which Telfed initiated in the late 1980s.

In the above interview Sid Shapiro talks to former Telfed Chairman Nick Alhadeff on his earliest involvement in Zionism, his community activities in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) , his own personal aliyah and connection with Telfed.  Nick talks about the various projects during his chairmanship including immigrant housing, establishment of Trust Funds (like the Goldberg Trust from Odzi Zimbabwe) , the establishment of Beit Protea Retirement Home and the book on Southern African Aliyah amongst many other of his achievements and many years of volunteering for Telfed.

In the above interview Sid Shaprio and Dave Bloom talk to former Telfed Chairman Hertzel Katz about his youth in South Africa, development of Zionistic connection, aliyah to Israel and involvement over many decades with Telfed.  Hertzel was responsible for a number of important initiatives at Telfed including the launching of the Telfed Magazine in 1975, the founding Keren Telfed – the registered non-profit arm of Telfed which received and managed donations and trust funds, the founding of Telfed’s Board of Governors and much more.   Listen to this fascinating interview with Hertzel which covers many details of both the organisation’s history and that of Southern African aliyah.

In this interview former veteran staff member Shula Rabinow talks to Sid Shapiro and Dave Bloom about her many years of service to Telfed and the SA Community.  Shula started as a filing clerk and worked her way up to be head of aliyah and klita at Telfed and became a walking encyclopedia on all the intricacies, rights and obligations for olim. She talks about her fond memories of the Telfed office in Hayarkon St and then moving to the relatively plush offices in Beit Clal on Dizengoff St in the late 1960s.

In the above interview former Telfed Chairman Leon Charney talks about his aliyah in the 1960s and his involvement with Telfed over many years. As an architect he was particularly involved in Telfed’s housing projects but also in various immigrant campaigns (direct aliyah of Russians), later became Vice Chairman and then Chairman (1987-1990). Leon describes the challenges that faced the organisation in the late 1980s and his perspective of Telfed today.

In the above interview former Telfed staff member Beula Goodman relates to her aliyah in 1965 with a Habonim garin (and being welcomed by David Ben Gurion) and later joining as a staff member for Telfed in the mid-1970s managing the Jerusalem office.  Beula continued to serve the SA and British Olim for many years on issues mainly relating to klitah but was involved in supporting students at the Hebrew University and the first olim who went to live on Efrat in Gush Etzion.

In the above interview former Telfed staff member Cheree Hadani talks to Sid Shapiro and Dave Bloom about her aliyah in the late 1970s. After a few years of living in Carmiel she joined Telfed with responsibility for running the Haifa office supporting SA olim in the north of Israel. She describes the very active regional committee and the many activities that were organised. She also talks about her shlichut to S Africa for two years and on her return to work in the Telfed Tel Aviv office in the klitah department.

In the above interview former veteran Telfed staff member Sharon Bernstein talks to Sid Shapiro and Dave Bloom about her various positions at Telfed over the years starting as an assistant in the rental housing department, later as front office secretary and then responsible for the employment department. Sharon was always involved in the administration and production of the Telfed magazine and talks about the many events that she helped organise over the years.  Her interview paints a rich story of the organisation over nearly 30 years.

In this interview former Telfed Chairman and long-time editor of the Telfed Magazine, David Kaplan talks about the many challenges and success stories of the organisation since he became involved as a volunteer in the early 1980s.  One of his achievements was advocating and helping to create the Israel Centre in South Africa to focus on promoting aliyah. David’s prolific writing and knowledge of the community is expressed in the many Telfed magazines which have been published regularly since 1975.  Copies of the magazine have been digitized and can be found on this website and represent a detailed record and history of Telfed and Southern African aliyah over many years.

In the above interview we hear from two former Telfed staffers Asher Kassel and Narda Korakin.  Asher joined Telfed in the late 1970s and was first posted to the Haifa office we he was responsible for olim in all the communities of northern Israel.  He describes what it was like to collect and disseminate information in the pre-internet days and his visits to many remote kibbutzim and towns in the north.  Narda also describes her stint in South Africa as a shlicha and her perspectives on the challenges facing olim at the time. They both dealt with pilot tours which were common for Southern Africans who would visit for a couple of weeks, organised by Telfed, which helped them assess their opportunities and smoothed the process.

Former Deputy Director of Telfed Mark Kedem talks about his career in the organisation which he joined in 1990 after a stint as a student shaliach in the UK on behalf of the Jewish Agency.  Mark speaks about his shlichiut to South Africa on behalf of Telfed. He was involved in projects to encourage medical doctors, dentists and pharmacists. He also relates the emotional story of acting as a electoral monitor in the first full democratic elections in South Africa and the drama around the prospects of another major wave of aliyah. Mark’s specialty remained aliyah and klita at Telfed but he talks about the transition within Telfed to becoming more of a community organisation looking after the needs of the Southern African community in Israel.

The above interview with Michael Seidman together with Sid Shapiro tells the important story of the first major housing project initiated by the South African Zionist Federation in Israel during the early 1950s.  Michael was a young boy of 4 when his parents made aliyah from South Africa with his two sisters and he has remained living the in the same apartment for nearly 70 years.  Three blocks were built in area quite far, in those days, from the city of Tel Aviv and were sold at special rates to men and women who had served in MAHAL during the War of Independence.  It was first called Shikun Mahal and later the street name was changed to Jan Smuts Boulevard after the former general and Prime Minister of South Africa. Later a fourth block was built and sold to other Southern African olim like the Seidmans.  “This video gives a very good idea about the nature and format of this important period in the history of Southern African Aliyah.” said Sid Shapiro.

In the above interview we hear from Sol Gelgo (90) who was born in Palestine and as a young child moved with his parents to South Africa where he spent most of his adult life. At the age of 67, after retiring as an Architect he returned to Israel and lives in Tel Aviv with his wife Elga.   Sol tells the interesting story of Lithuanian Jews who came to Palestine in the 1930s and 40s and for various reasons (mainly economic hardship) moved to South Africa. Many of them were key businessmen or professionals in the South African Jewish Community and contributed  to the economic development of that country but many also returned to Israel for example in the 1947 War of Independence (Machal) and helped build the state. In some cases the children of those emigres returned to Israel. In the interview Sol displays impressive memory of details of names and places which helps us to understand the contribution of Southern Africans to Israel in many fields.

The Telfed History Project is pleased to present the next life story in its series – this time with Joe Woolf (90) who was a Machal volunteer in the 1948 War of Independence and then came back to live in Israel with his wife Zeva and their three children to make their home on Moshav Ilaniya near Afula. Joe was a key contributor and editor of the book South Africa’s 800 which records the story of the contribution by many Southern Africans Machalnikim. Telfed salutes Joe and all his colleagues for their part in the creation of the State of Israel.

Above is an interview with well known S African Solly Sacks by Les Glassman.   Solly tells his personal story but especially on the very many public positions he has held over the years especially in World Mizrahi and previously in Bnei Akiva in South Africa.  His story spans an interesting period of the South African Jewish Community and the evolving of South Africa into post apartheid era. In the early 1990s Solly and his wife Dita made aliyah with their four children and established their lives in Israel where again Solly was heavily involved in public service including two years as Chairman of Telfed. With thanks to Les Glassman for his contribution of this important record.