By Solly Kaplinski

On 15 March 2018, 12 Herzlia alumni and their spouses who are living in Israel joined by Mannie Druker from Vancouver, gathered together at the home of Paula (Pincus) and Issy Miodownik in Jaffa to celebrate their 70th birthdays.

The Herzlia class of ’65 can lay claim to a remarkable and perhaps unique statistic: 18 out of 37 matric graduates have made Aliya. Bernard (Lerer) suggested a confluence of four factors for this: the ethos of the school was truly a Zionist one both in the formal and informal curriculum; secondly, most of us were products of the Zionist Youth Movement; thirdly, the 6 Days War two years after our Matric graduation when Israel was facing an existential crisis, laid the groundwork for us to become lifelong Zionists,

and finally, South Africa’s political situation and climate had become untenable.

Our spirited birthday celebration was an opportunity to dig deep into nostalgia, to call back the past and especially humorous experiences – and to salute and pay tribute to a great school which has had and continues to have a long lasting impact on our lives and our life decisions. Celebrating our 70th birthdays during Israel’s 70th year is also a time for great joy and pleasure and also a double simcha as we celebrate Israel’s remarkable accomplishments. To be in Israel at this time – despite all the challenges we face, and to play a small part in helping to build and contribute to our country each in our own way, is a zechut and the fulfilment of the Zionist dream.

The ‘65 Matric graduates are planning to get together again in Israel during 2020 to celebrate our 55th Matric graduation anniversary. We anticipate that our classmates from the four corners of the globe will join us in Jerusalem. The countdown has already begun.