A platform for possibilities

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Grassroots group growing in Cape Town

Rapidly accelerating changes abound in the 21st century, all affecting our community. It is how we choose to tackle these that will determine who we are and how we survive.

Our new democracy comes with a progressive constitution and bill of rights; and we are still defining the new boundaries in this somewhat unfamiliar territory. However, one thing is clear: with these rights comes responsibility — not only to us as citizens of our country, but also as participants of our community.

The Cape Town Jewish community has always been viewed as enviable. Well-established communal structures; strong and sharp leaders; awareness of Jewish values; collective generosity and an indomitable spirit to achieve have contributed to effective functioning in all its realms. Nevertheless, in this fast-changing world, constant realignment is essential.

A variety of voices

Alumni of the Nahum Goldmann Foundation initiated the concept of bringing diverse members of our community together, facilitating discussions to conceive of a vision for our community in 2025. In our adolescent democracy, differing value systems often give rise to hot-headed shouting matches and violence.

Similarly in our community, we have become polarised around issues; leading to animosity and fragmentation. Remaining mindful of this, ‘face to face’ sessions allow people to verbalise concerns, respect one another’s opinions and, while remaining aware of differences, to look beyond them to focus on our collective aspirations. All too often our grievances become our mantras, and we spend more time moaning about matters instead of taking action. In these sessions, we explore possibilities for change and commit to positive transformation.

Inspiring by our heritage, we begin with a text-based discussion, led by a volunteer. Thereafter we embark on a facilitated conversation; where we are permitted to express emotion; where deliberation is encouraged and where we are pushed beyond our comfort zones. We listen to and respect one another, emerging fortified, inspired and impassioned, and most importantly, still connected. We invite all young invested Jews to join us at our gatherings and encourage others to set up their own forums for open dialogue. Collectively we can strengthen, enhance and grow our community, which is full of immense potential.

For more info, please contact Natalie Barnett:nataliebarnett@iafrica.com