| January 12, 1931 (Tevet 23, 5691)
Cape Town, South Africa - עורך דין
Address: ABRAHAMS & GROSS INC. Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancer 1st Floor, 56 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, 8001 South Africa
Employer: Abrahams and Gross Inc.
Phone: ++ 27-021-422 1323 (ext 239)
Fax: ++ 27-021-422 1406
Email address: Johns@abgross.co.za
Note: JOHN SIMON is a Consultant and Notary Public who rejoined the firm in 2005. He has been practicing since 1953, and specialises in Commercial Law, Intellectual Property Law, Estate Planning and Trusts. John has been published in the South African Law Journal (1982) and is chairperson of the Commercial, Company and Tax Law Committee of the Cape Law Society.
Address: 19 Milton Manor Milton Rd Cape Town, Cape Peninsula , Western Cape South Africa
Phone: + 27 021 4330293
| August 2, 2015 (Av 17, 5775) (Age 84 years)
JOHN SIMON is a Consultant and Notary Public who rejoined the firm in 2005. He has been practicing since 1953, and specialises in Commercial Law, Intellectual Property Law, Estate Planning and Trusts. John has been published in the South African Law Journal (1982) and is chairperson of the Commercial, Company and Tax Law Committee of the Cape Law Society.
Eulogy by MICHAEL BAGRAIM, Cape Town, 4 August 2015 EULOGY TO THE LATE JOHN SIMON _______________________________________________________________ A great tree has fallen. It is testament to the man that we have messages and representation from the leadership of the entire Jewish community and beyond. John was a man who influenced many lives in many institutions. In the legal field, academic life and beyond (including the welfare of the community) John was to be found. John Simon worked tirelessly for the betterment of everyone that he came into contact with. Firstly, John was a family man devoted to his wife, children and their families. The passing of his beloved wife, best friend and lifetime partner recently left him devastated and with very little strength to continue his battles. The Simon children Mark, Jeremy and Trevor, their spouses and their families are grieving the loss of the Simon patriarch and we as a community stand with them as one. John’s descendents will tell you that they’ve had to share him with a society which gained so richly from Johns involvement. His law career spanned well beyond 50 years to his academic life including a trusteeship of the Kaplan Centre. John was a giant in everything he touched. I was so very humbled and honoured to be nominated by John to be a trustee at the Kaplan Centre when he retired. It is impossible to fill those big shoes but many of us have the benefit of standing on the shoulders of a giant allowing us to go further with his endeavours. When one needed wisdom or just simple guidance he was our “go to man”. His involvement as the Chairman of the Cape Board of Deputies, Executive Member of the Zionist Federation, a trusted advisor to United Herzlia Schools speaks volumes for him. John, a lover of churchchillian phrase, was able to bring calm to every fraught situation and was able to guide numerous institutions on their path to their desired outcomes. John Simon the academic who was widely read would lecture on many topics and discipline. His involvement with the Jacob Gitlin Library was well known to all of us. John Simon acted as a mentor, guide and confidant to many of us. His passing will leave a void for hundreds of individuals and to our community. Johns knowledge of Jewish scripture and law is renowned and he could always be relied upon to solve issues which had led to much debate. He was a raconteur and a great listener to engage in conversation. A man with impeccable manners, sartorial elegance and the epitome of “well met”. Messages have come in from the Cape Law Society, fellow professionals and Community Leadership who have all expressed their sorrow and the fact that they are going to miss John’s input. I for one, worked with the Attorney John Simon on many cases and every Client could be rest assured that not only would he fight their case with enormous vigour and conviction but he would give them solid direction in most cases leading to a resounding victory. The legal community were all aware of the fact that when you received a letter from John Simon it had to be taken seriously. When I served on a committee and John was called upon to help us his reaction would be immediate, full hearted and again and again incredibly insightful. The various endeavours undertaken by John were never trumpeted but were just as effective. I for instance serve on the Muizenberg Hebrew Congregation Committee where John guided us on legal matters for many years. Equally unknown was John’s ability to become firm and fast friends with his clients who swore by his advice and direction. It is common knowledge amongst his clients that when John was watching your back you were safe. A letter sent to Jeremy this morning from Justice Patric Gamble stated as follows: Dear Jeremy, I was saddened to see in today’s paper that your Father passed away over the weekend. He was one of the pillars of the Cape Legal Community that so many of us respected and looked up to. I remember in one of our post divorce skirmishes battling against a Senior Counsel and John. It was a tough fight and they tactfully and strategically pushed us to a point where the Senior Counsel was eventually able to say somewhat dramatically, “now let’s talk, before the blood really starts flowing”. He was of course acting on the instructions of a tough litigator. Such was Johns presence that some of us affectionately gave him the nickname of “the Admiral” in deference to the way in which he swept into Court the fleet in tow – his handpicked Captains behind him. I wish you and your brothers long life, fond regards, Patric Gamble, Judge of the Western Cape High Court. Furthermore the Law Society too sent condolences as follows: “Dear Jeremy, just a short note to post my personal condolences and those of the Commercial and Tax Law committee of the Cape Law Society. Your Dad was both a mentor to me personally and the example of true leadership on the committee. His wise words and humorous demeanour will be sorely missed. Please will you pass on our thoughts to your family. Kind regards, PJ Veldhuizen.” Likewise much correspondence came in describing John Simon as a fine lawyer and a mensch. Others said he was a giant of a man and there won’t be another like him. Opposition lawyers described John Simon as a phenomenal individual and that the Cape Town Jewish Community would be much poorer without him. Rael Gootkin said as a friend, “both your Dad and Mom’s contribution to the Community was immense and they were both true mensches. They always made their home open and I remember enjoying playing table tennis at your home when we were much younger”. Other attorneys from abroad described him as a very knowledgeable and personal man who was always keen to debate and discuss issues. Jewish Law known as the Torah meaning teaching or instruction is both in the written and oral form, there is a Jewish tradition that this law must be debated, interpreted and applied from generation to generation. One of the great scholars of our Jewish Law, John Simon, is now no longer with us. He leaves us with his learning and hopefully most of us can try and follow his attributes. John was an example to all of us to follow Jewish laws wisdom, insight and righteousness. The family can feel proud that their Father and Grandfather has left his mark on many of us has guided many institutions and he certainly wears the crown of a good name. MICHAEL BAGRAIM 4 August 2015 11 Rocklands Avenue Highlands Estate Cape Town 8001 Phone: 021 461 2827 Cell: 082 557 7933 Email: email@example.com
Cape Jewish Chronicle Life and Law Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 Lawyer John Simon was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law Society at the end of 2010; and celebrated his 80th birthday in January. With no plans to retire, John shares his thoughts on South Africa, the community, and secrets to success. “It’s great to have whatever work I’ve done recognised by my peers,” says John. However, he notes that the way to a fulfilling career is to “never stop learning — and learn things that aren’t in the law books!” John has been practising law in Cape Town since 1953, particularly in commercial and corporate law, intellectual property and estate planning. He has also lectured at UCT and held a number of leadership positions in the field. At the same time, John has always been extremely involved in the Cape Town Jewish community, and has been Chairman of the SAJBD, the IUA and the Jacob Gitlin Library. He has since devoted himself to academic Jewish Studies, obtaining an M.A. in Jewish Civilization from UCT. He is currently a member of the Kaplan Centre Management Committee and on the Editorial Board of “Jewish Affairs”. “One can measure the value of this centre by trying to picture what it would be like if we didn’t have it — the amount of scholarship and publications we would have lost,” says John of the Kaplan Centre. “It really is a very important academic resource, and has made the South African Jewish community stand high in the field of Jewish Studies.” Looking back at how both the community and South Africa have changed, John strongly believes that “ma lo ya-aseh seichel, ya’aseh zman — what common sense doesn’t do, time does.” However, on changes in South African law, he explains that we haven’t quite completely moved to a system when legal practice and the administration of justice are going smoothly. “There is a tendency in South Africa that when something is perceived to be in need of correction, the pendulum goes too far the other way. A good example is labour law. Before it was wrong as there was no such thing as retrenchment. We set about correcting it but it went too far, so as to seriously handicap productivity. The same has happened with divorce and company law… but it will come right.” South Africa and success On the state of the country, John notes that “there is a saying that historians have, that ‘revolution always devours its own children’.” We are seeing this today, when a new generation wants to forget about the past and grab the offerings of the present. John fears the bloodshed that was avoided in 1990 may still be coming, “but it won’t be black on white, but rather the haves and the have-nots… we’ve already seen it in Hout Bay and Khayelitsha. If you’ve got nothing and you see these fat cats who have made millions upon millions, how long can you expect the cauldron not to explode?” However, despite all this, he remains optimistic about South Africa. “The whole legal system has changed, and we have a Constitution and a Constitutional Court. I think there are enough people in the ANC — Mr Malema excluded — who are well-educated and responsible.” In terms of challenges facing the Jewish community, John thinks that “we need to keep our heads on the Middle East issue. All of us are having agonising moments, but we need to remain loyal to our basic heritage.” He also feels that it is vital to limit confrontation between different sectors of the community: “It is wrong to find rabbis who will sit on a platform with an imam, but not with a reform rabbi. Cape Town has always led in the more tolerant approach.” Reviewing a fruitful career from the age of 80, John offers his perspective on successful living: “If you look forward to getting to work in the morning, and if you look forward to getting home in the evening — that’s success!” John has been married to Shirley for 55 years, and quips that the secret to a successful marriage is to choose the right wife!” They have three sons, who are all living in South Africa, and five grandchildren. “We are very blessed,” he says.