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Ronny Golding was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1936.

Later in life his mother told him that he was born in the house where they lived at the time, and not in a hospital – this by the choice of his parents which was apparently common at that time.

His first seven years of schooling were in Johannesburg. At his barmitzvah in the Oxford Synagogue the sermon was delivered by a substitute rabbi, who spoke of the role of tradition in the MCC (The Marlybone Cricket Club as the English called themselves). It was not an eventful childhood: plenty of sports (cricket, football, rugby and tennis), bioscope (as the South Africans called the cinema), family and black servants always around.

When he was 14 years old, Ronny was sent to a boarding school for one year. It was a very proper Christian boarding school with only a limited number of Jewish boys allowed. Church attendance was compulsory and he particularly enjoyed the hymns. Only once did he encounter an anti-Semite.

The Goldings moved to Durban where Ronny found new friends and began to discover his Jewish roots. Four years later he graduated from the University of Natal in Durban with a degree in Economics. Whilst at university Ronny became active in the Student Jewish Association, was soon elected chairman and joined the national executive of the National Association of

Student Jewish and Zionist Associations. They offered him a one-year study course in Israel at the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad. "That was the year that changed my life – Israel was my destiny", says Ronny.

Ronny had committed himself to two years of work among Jewish students, time which he used to complete a second degree in English Literature from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

In 1960 Ronny arrived in Israel and was offered a job at Africa Israel (then Palestine) Investments – a leading real estate company. He spent the next 30 years there, reaching the position of Head of the Marketing Division. Subsequently he managed two smaller real estate companies.

Together with friends, over twenty years ago (circa 1998) Ronny created four book clubs, on a volunteer basis which are still in existence.

Today Ronny enjoys his retirement without a dull moment, with two sons and two lovely granddaughters.

golding@zahav.net.i

A sketch of Ronny Golding drawn 60 years ago by Jock Leyden, whose cartoons appeared in the Natal Daily News for more than 60 years

It started more than twenty years ago. Nick and I had a regu...

By Ronny Golding David was two years younger than me. He fol...