UJC Top Donors and Community Campaign launch — Two successful events in one week

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Martine Vogelman, Leora Hessen, Simone Seeff and Andi Hendler

The United Jewish Campaign (UJC) launched its 2018 community fundraising campaign with two very special events on 26th and 27th February.

Passionate philanthropists — both new and longstanding — filled the Lookout and Herzlia High School Hall to re-energise and commit their support to ensuring the well-being of our precious community.

Both events featured Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch. Hillel is a lawyer, writer and activist based in Geneva. He has been described by the Tribune de Genève as a human rights activist who is “feared and dreaded” by the world’s dictatorships.

Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper named him one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Jewish People in the World”; the Algemeiner newspaper also listed him on its list of the “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.” A gifted orator, Hillel entertained guests by describing the critical work that UN Watch does in terms of monitoring the United Nations — specifically the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to ensure that its mandate of strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world is fulfilled. With particular focus on the anti-Israel bias, and by highlighting injustices in the UN’s own processes, UN Watch stands as a beacon of light and reason in an arena dominated by dictatorships, double standards and hypocrisy. With first hand experience interacting with the many dictatorships voted on to UNHRC, Hillel shared fascinating stories of his 14 year journey battling to ensure UNHRC’s own mandate is always at the forefront of negotiations and decision-making.

Both events featured the launch of the #FollowTheSeed community education campaign. By teaching the community about the community, #FollowTheSeed endeavours to ensure that all Jewish Capetonians understand how the Jewish community is funded, what services are available and where to get these services from our 35 beneficiary organisations. The premier screening of 2018 #FollowTheSeed video was a highlight on both nights, as was the testimony of Lilla Fleischmann who spoke on behalf of her ‘generation’. She outlined the hopes, dreams and commitment her generation has to ensuring the community thrives for their own future. She pleaded with donors throughout our community to ensure that our institutions are maintained for her and her generation — until they are able to take up this responsibility themselves.

It’s easy to take our community for granted. Sometimes we may forget about the role the community plays in each of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Some of our lives are touched and impacted on a daily basis; some of us only think about community in times of need. Whatever your relationship is to this complex and wonderful thing we call ‘the Jewish Community of Cape Town’, know this: without each and every one of us, we would not have a vibrant and thriving community at the Southern-most tip of Africa. It’s up to us to continue to build the kind of community we want to be part of, for our children, our grandchildren and generations to come. We owe it to each other.

At the UJC, we are grateful to our community of donors who keep our beneficiaries thriving and able to offer incredible services to those in our community who need it the most. We look forward to an incredible 2018 where we will hopefully get to connect with each and everyone of you. Make sure you #FollowTheSeed throughout the year — the campaign will be featured in the Jewish Chronicle each month as well as social media and organisations’ websites.

Join us on the journey!

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