Opening the tent with Stuart Diamond

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In his book The Dignity of Difference, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes, “Creation has its own dignity as God’s masterpiece, and though we have the mandate to use it, we have none to destroy or despoil it.” 

It is with these words that as we head out of the period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we are presented with a fragile and fractured world in which the festival of Sukkot can teach us so much. 

Sukkot commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and celebrates the way in which God protected them under difficult desert conditions. The sukkah reminds us of the type of fragile dwellings in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. 

This holiday offers Cape Town Jews a reminder of the fragility of the world in which we live. How our actions and words we use can play a role in building homes where all are welcome and accepted. It is a time to show God how we also can protect others in and out of our community by our daily actions. It is a reminder that we need to open our tents both physically and metaphorically so that we start to understand how we can play a positive role in rebuilding and reshaping our nation. 

During the intermediate days of Chol HaMoed the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies will be using the sukkah as an opportunity to welcome in new faces and start positive discussions. May this be a time for our community to start to open their tents just that little bit wider. 

To download a PDF of the Chronicle for October, click here

To read the editor’s column this month, titled ‘Why we need more difficult females’ click here

To read the most read story online in September, click here

To visit the Board of Deputies website, click here

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