Passing of Mendel Kaplan z"l - Letter from Natan Sharansky and Richie Pearlstone

November 20, 2009 / 3 Kislev 5770

Dear Friends,

It is with great sorrow that we write to inform you of the passing of Mendel Kaplan z"l on Thursday evening in South Africa.

Mendel was indisputably one of the great Jewish and Zionist leaders of our time. Mendel was a giant among men, an innovative industrialist who used his wealth for the betterment of his fellow Jews, countrymen and the State of Israel.

A true Zionist, Mendel made Aliyah and took great pride in owning a home in Jerusalem's Yemin Moshe neighborhood as well as another home in Caesaria.

In our Jewish Agency family, Mendel was the first and only non-American to serve as Chairman of the Board of Governors for seven years in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, presiding over Operation Exodus. He also served as the Chairman of our Education Committee and was active in the Jewish Agency Executive until his passing.

From 1983 to 1987 Mendel served as Chairman of Keren Hayesod's World Board of Trustees and he served as honorary president of Keren Hayesod from 1995 until his death.

In South Africa Mendel was renowned as the legendary leader of the Jewish Community and served tirelessly as head of the United Communal Fund of South Africa, the South African Israel United Appeal and as Vice President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

Mendel is survived by his loving wife Jill, two daughters, two sons and grandchildren .

May his family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Funeral will be at 2pm in Capetown on Sunday 22nd November

With great respect and in great sadness at our loss,

Natan Sharansky       Richie Pearlstone

Photo Caption: The late Mendel Kaplan welcoming olim from South Africa at a Jewish Agency Ceremony at the Kotel on 22nd April, 2009. (Brian Hendler)

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220;
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780



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20 Nov 2009 / 3 Kislev 5770 0