This is a month that marks a number of crucial moments and periods in modern Jewish history. We began by commemorating the Holocaust at a moving Yom Hashoah ceremony, where speakers reflected on the lessons of the Holocaust and the destruction of the Lithuanian and Latvian Jewish communities – 2011 is the 70th anniversary of these events.
At the same time, Yom Hazikaron marked loss of a similar but different kind – remembering those who have fallen protecting the state of Israel. Yom Hazikaron follows the Jewish tradition of even when we are celebrating; we should remember suffering and tragedy. And indeed, it makes celebration all the more meaningful.
Thus, Yom Hazikaron was followed by a spirited Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration. The community came out in droves to the event, which was the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that Israel has achieved, and the Israeli food, music and culture that we love! In these whirlwind of ‘Yoms’, we connect with Jewish identity in the 21st century, which is so entwined with both memory and celebration.
As we look to the future, this issue of the Chronicle also focuses on youth, and how to build the upcoming Jewish generation. 16 June is Youth Day in South Africa, and thus we discuss the potential and power of youth in a variety of contexts. On page 6, SAUJS chairman Josh Benjamin explains why the organisation invited Julius Malema to speak at a Shabbat dinner, and on page 4 Julian Kesler writes about making South African and Jewish identities relevant to today’s South African Jewish youth.
We are already halfway through 2011, but it’s not too late to pay your Chronicle subscription of R250. Please see page 6 for details, and thank you for your continued support! Finally, our Facebook page is growing fast – connect to the community by joining the page!