Judge Richard Goldstone will attend his grandson’s barmitzvah after all, after previously agreeing not to attend the event in South Africa so as not to cause distress or disturbance.
He has agreed to a meeting with the South African Jewish community leaders where they could air their grievances.
Judge Goldstone authored the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, finding both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes. He had agreed not to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah because of possible protests.
The South African Zionist Federation and Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue in Johannesburg had originally reached an agreement with the family that he would not attend.
Jewish groups worldwide protested against the decision, and the family was invited by a San Francisco rabbi to hold the barmitzvah in California.
Following consultation, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) announced that agreement had been reached confirming his attendance at the ceremony. It was confirmed that there would be no protests at the barmitzvah, due to take place in Johannesburg next month.
Previously, the Washington-based Judge Goldstone had decided not to attend the synagogue ceremony “in the interests of my grandson”, due to threatened protests at his presence.
Reacting to the latest development, he told the JC: “My whole family feels joyful that we’ll be able to celebrate the barmitzvah together.”
As part of the agreement, a meeting hosted by the SAZF will take place between the judge and the leadership of the federation and other Jewish communal representatives, where the leaders can discuss their feelings towards the report with Judge Goldstone.
The SAJBD issued a statement which said: “We respectfully request, in light of the agreement reached, that all parties immediately desist all public activities on this matter so that the young man’s barmitzvah celebration can be returned to the privacy and dignity that it deserves.”