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Honouring Paul and May Arieli-Goldschmidt (z'l)

No excursion to Haifa is complete without a walk along the legendary Louis promenade or a trip to Haifa Zoo. Today, we are able to enjoy these attractions thanks to the generosity of Paul & May Goldschmidt, who contributed significantly to numerous projects and institutions throughout Israel including to Telfed – South African Zionist Federation (Israel), Beth Protea, the Technion, and Denya Shul.

Originally from Cape Town, Paul (a Civil Engineer) and May (a Pediatrician) made aliyah to Israel in 1950. Their only child, Ariel (Louis) was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident at the tender age of 18. Committed to honouring his memory, Paul and May decided to perpetuate his memory in all ways possible contributing heavily to the development of Denya neighbourhood (Haifa) where they lived and where a street was named after them in 2016. Telfed’s Volunteerism and Community Development project is also named after the family and a commemoration plaque was erected there in October 2015.

A dedication ceremony in their honour (attended by family and friends of Paul & May, fellow South Africans, Telfed staff and other community members) took place in Denya, in Haifa, in November, where the traffic circle connecting Finland, Antwerp and Shlonski Streets was named in their honour. Following the service, a beautifully catered reception was held at Denya Shul. At the invitation of the Mayor of Haifa, Yona Yahav, the CEO of Telfed, Dorron Kline, was invited to speak on behalf of the South African community in Israel and on behalf of the Goldschmidt family living overseas.

Renee Samson (Paul’s sister), Jeanne Katz & Claire Elman (Paul and May’s nieces) shared their recollections of the special couple:

“Paul’s parents met in Port Elizabeth. His father, Meyer Goldschmidt and his French mother, Germaine Silbermann Goldschmidt, had to delay their wedding due to the First World War when Meyer (a German citizen) was interned as an enemy alien at Fort Napier and Worcester. They wed on 29.6.20 and Paul was born in Cape Town three years later.

Paul and his sister Renee grew up in Rondebosch and went to local schools. Their home was different from most other South African Jews as they were not Lithuanian and did not have much local family. Nevertheless, his parents threw themselves into communal activities, not least when German Jews applied for visas to come to SA.

Paul was very tall and before reaching his 18th birthday, joined up to fight in WWII. He served with the South African army, was seconded to the Royal Signal Corps and served in Cote D’Ivoire in Africa. On his return, he resumed his civil engineering studies at the University of Cape Town, which he thought, would be good preparation for living in Israel, always his dream and intention. He married May Chait in 1951 after she had completed her medical studies. They started married life in California, where Paul studied Concrete Engineering as part of his postgraduate degree.

They finally settled in Haifa, and their only child Louis was born there in 1952. Paul and May were very family conscious and even after Louis was killed in May 1971, they retained close contact with Paul’s parents in South Africa till their deaths in the early 1980s and with May’s family. Louis’ death destroyed any hope of personal continuity and yet their contribution to the lives of many of Haifa’s citizens perpetuates their legacy....”

Telfed CEO Dorron Kline, at the Denya Shul in Haifa

Dorron also elaborated on the Goldschmidt connection to Telfed, sharing how Paul’s father, the late Meyer Hirsch Goldschmidt strongly supported educational initiatives, demonstrated in the pivotal role that he played in the establishment of the Herzlia High School Highlands Campus in 1956.

In 1989, the Meyer Hirsch Goldschmidt (MHG) Trust Fund was set up by Paul and May at Telfed, in order to provide scholarships to students in Israel. Thousands of students have been assisted on their paths to their university degrees from this Fund.

Paul and May were also founding members of the first Telfed Haifa Regional Committee and were active volunteers at Telfed.

In their speeches, both Mayor Yona Yahav and the Rabbi of the Denya Synagogue extoled Paul and May for their dedication to Judaism, the city of Haifa, the Denya community and to the State of Israel.

Paul and May remain a shining example of community activism, leaving behind them a powerful legacy.

*Photos Credit to Anthony Suckerman





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