My open letter to the Professional Leadership, Board of Governors and Trustees of the United Herzlia schools.

Dear Professional Leadership, Board of Governors and Trustees of the United Herzlia schools

I write this letter to you all, wondering what in the coronavirus-plagued-world you were thinking when you announced, via email, the closure of Herzlia Constantia. The Chutzpah! As a former pupil, I feel it is my duty to put my thoughts in writing and share my dismay for the way in which this news has ruined our Shabbat weekend.

Some basic research leads me to believe the parents of the school weren’t even consulted before your e-mail was sent. I am led to believe the teachers had been either informed or consulted but that’s almost irrelevant right now. Like me, and my fellow alumni, Parents found out while preparing their Shabbas meals from an email sent at 3PM — I bet many actually only read it after they were done — if not only after Havdalah. …

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They say, time heals. They say, if you really want to make it through the future you have to move on from the past. But what they don’t say is time can often feel like forever, the past is all you hold onto and the future is incredibly scary after tragedy.

Make no mistake, holding on to tragic loss — or any form of tragedy for that matter — is definitely the biggest mistake you can ever make and while facing the future with one less part of your life seems scary, moving on is totally necessary.

My sister passed away in November, 2011, at the age of 15 — just a month short of her Sweet 16. She had been battling cancer for about a year and quite literally passed on in my arms while she was being treated at an advanced cancer clinic in Seoul, South Korea. Her unexpected death (at that point) completely shattered our family but we had no idea the effects would still be felt eight years on. …

This chapter is still unfinished and may have additional content inserted.

My name is Matthew McPherson. I never knew it at first, I never understood it at all, I still don’t entirely have any recollection of why or what; all I know is that recently, people have stood beside me, holding my hand, saying things like everything’s going to be ok, you’ll soon be back with us, I can’t wait to speak to you again and I love you.

I’ve come a long way according to Dr. Simmons. He’s been visiting me since Jessica, Jerry and Mother left me a few nights ago, after our brief family dinner. What a disaster that was! I haven’t seen them since. Perhaps it was something I said, but the last thing I remember was Jessica, confidently telling Mother they had it all under control. Dr. Simmons told me they’d be back to see me when I woke up but I’ve been awake for days already and every time I’ve asked a question, he ignores me as if I’m not even there. …

I was never really one to get enthusiastic about dinner time when the family was around. In fact, it felt as though we were entombed in some kind of groundhog-day experiment run by a group of indolent and impassive scientists eager to identify the effect of repetitive bickering on one’s intellect. Whether the men in coats would ever conclude anything from their dinner-time studies is anyone’s guess but the experience alone was enough to make you cringe, burrow and never want to return.

Jerome hasn’t been in the same room as us since he walked out for the last time about ten years ago. There’s a reason I can’t call him Dad — I never felt it suited his person. Perhaps we should have found a pseudonym, like Stormtrooper, for all the times he departed in a rage and landed up at the local pub. It’s ironic, though, as he’s agoraphobic so finding him drunk after a night in a pub is rather amusing let alone concerning. …

It’s not often that one gets to write a story. Not at least one that tells the story of someone else and their tragic tale.

When deciding what to do with this I wasn’t sure how the story would go. Would it be a story of someone else, someone who had fought cancer and survived? Would it be a tale of a young person who went from one life threatening disease to another? I see this quite often; just as they’ve been given the all clear on one form of cancer, the doctors tell them they’re developing a second form of the deadly disease. Oh boy.

I was once told about a story of a young man who beat cancer at the tender age of five; well actually he was nine by the time it was all over, but let’s say five because that’s when it started. When that same man was 74 the cancer returned and took his life not too long after. Unfortunately, not many people know what this man went on to achieve during his lifetime; but the point is that he lived through hell when he was young and continued to grow up and live the most normal of normal lives until his late adulthood. …

After just over three years of being at the helm of innovation, I left my role as Chief Operations Officer at Picup at the end of February 2018.

A fancy job description, a fancy title, but in reality, though, titles are simply a mere representation of how you want to be interpreted by others; particularly in a startup. But that’s only one of many lessons you learn when you’re pioneering and innovating — nobody can prepare you for the magnitude of the task in front of you and it’s quite likely no-one has ever done it the way you envision. …

Suicide. It’s a sad tale of tragedy. To many, though, it’s a story of strength and courage from a journey of depression to a life free of pain. The irony is in the fact there is no more life — at least not on this planet.

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Netflix’s new drama series, 13 Reasons Why, explores the life of teenager Hannah Baker and 13 dramatic reasons for taking her life in a bathtub at the family home. What’s incredibly interesting about the show is the two facets of teenage life it explores, namely bullying and suicide.

I’ll attempt not to give too much away as I explore the ultimate premise of the show but since it’s first episode, not only has it become an overnight sensation; it’s also found many critics — either in those who’ve lost loved ones to suicide or those who fear they still may. …

I’ve recently noticed a few “go-getters” starting their own businesses in the fitness environment. Whether it’s training programmes, meal plans, a hot-headed fitness guru or a healthy meal-delivery platform.

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Elan, from SleekGeek, is an inspiration to pretty much anyone looking to lose weight.

Most prominent of these startups, SleekGeek is run by Elan Lohmann and offers it’s participants a fun and safe space to lose weight. …

It started as a love affair when he launched Ajax Cape Town in 1999 with Rob Moore, after Seven Stars and Cape Town Spurs joined forces, but it ended in a nasty divorce when he and Ajax Cape Town parted ways.

Many Cape Town football fans were left seething after John Comitis seemingly got pushed out of the club he started and the love local football fans once associated to Ajax Cape Town seemed to whittle away down memory lane.

Comitis has had no problem sharing his displease with the way Ajax Cape Town has been managed since leaving; in fact in an interview with Kick Off in 2014, Comitis told of his dissatisfaction with the then-new owners. …

I needed a holiday, that’s all I knew. With our company going through a restructure and investment deals taking time to be concluded, taking off a couple weeks seemed like a logical idea — but the question was, where should we go?

My colleague and friend, Michele (Mick) Marrai, suggested we go to Bali. I was all excited but after a little bit of research I decided the beaches in Bali weren’t as brilliant looking as those in Thailand.

With just under two weeks before our proposed departure date, we had to move quickly.

Booking a trip overseas seems like an easy thing to do, right? Wrong! It couldn’t have been more stressful — so if you’re thinking of taking a quick break to Thailand then the next five minutes of reading should put you in good stead for a bloody awesome trip! …


Justin Asher

Traveller, Blogger, Author, Sports Fanatic. Chairman of Rygersdal Football Club, Founder of Incoming SA and The Kimberly Rose Cancer Foundation.

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