One of the world’s great ‘friendraisers’

More News

One of the world’s great ‘friendraisers’

Published on: July 13th, 2021

I first met Herby Rosenberg more than 25 years ago at the inception of the formation of MA Afrika Tikkun. I had heard about the man’s legal prowess, his sharp wit, and his all engaging style. I became aware very quickly of the magic of the man.

And I witnessed a trait working with him over 15 years which has helped to define one of the key principles that I have tried to live my life by: the kindness of always looking for something positive, no matter the chaos of any situation.

Herby brought a humane approach to the “business” of dealing with people in need. He was always a leader, always thinking about big picture issues while still paying attention to individuals and their own unique needs and requirements. Herby made time for people, he made you feel that you genuinely mattered in his life irrespective of your standing or status.

Herby epitomised the gentleman. He was at all times gentle, courteous, and impeccably dressed. Equally, his mannerism was impeccable. And this had a material impact on the name and reputation of Afrika Tikkun and the various organisations he was involved in.

His love for South Africa and its people was matched by his strongly Zionist feelings and commitments. He saw the importance of his role within the South African Jewish community as contributing towards building support for Israel. He also saw his passion for initiatives such as the South African Friends of Ben Gurion University underpinning his ability to spread himself across numerous boards. In his later years, Herby became an important ambassador while fulfilling the role of executive deputy chairperson of Afrika Tikkun.

Herby had an ability to engage in multiple projects simultaneously. He could move between the South African Institute of Directors’ meetings to the board of governors of the South African Zionist Federation without missing a step. He had a broad-based intellect that offered advice but always from a highly moralistic perspective.

He was the consummate board member, and had a unique ability to relate to the executives of various entities that he was involved with. His “entertainment expense” account was something that caused a great deal of mirth within Tikkun. You see, one could see just how many times Herby would entertain key stakeholders with tea and cake, something indicative of the social being that defined Herby. People from all walks of life simply loved him, and for good reason.

In every meeting spent with Herby, he would initiate the meeting with some positive compliment for someone in the room. This habit of his ensured that our meetings would invariably start positively and with an element of human touch.

Herby was rare to anger and quick to find praise. His love and his respect for his wife, Sandra, and his deep regard and love for his sons, Clifford and Stanley, were evident in a way in which he often spoke of them.

While Herby might no longer be with us, his spirit will always be a part of the DNA that defines our organisation.

  • Marc Lubner is group chief executive of Afrika Tikkun.