2011 September

The year has flown, as Rosh Hashanah 5772 is already here! A New Year is a time to return to what is most important to us, our families and our community, and to review our goals, values and ideals. This was the focus of our special Rosh Hashanah edition of 2011, where a range of voices offered perspectives on new beginnings, idealism and returning to what is most important to us.

We may say that idealism is only for the young, but the interviews on our arts page explore the work of people who have remained energised by idealism throughout their lives. We spoke to ex-South African Lindsay Talmud about the book he compiled with Steve Hellman, entitled Ideally Speaking. This exciting collection of interviews contains discussions with South Africans scattered across the globe, who all have the following in common: “The book explores the memories, thoughts and present-day activities of people whose youthful experiences led them to try and make the world a better place.” At Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we review our principles and indeed our lives, these interviews are an inspiration.

In addition, singer-songwriter Robin Levetan tells us about his new album, A Far Country. Many of us may remember Robin as the frontman of band Bright Blue, whose single ‘Weeping’ was an anthem of protest in South Africa in the 1980s. However, “although South Africa is now part of the global community, we have not yet achieved the intimacy and understanding of a unified people. The title refers to the vast physical and emotional landscape in which we exist,” says Robin, explaining the meaning of the album’s name.

Indeed, these are changing times in South Africa and around the world. In such uncertain moments, art and culture can push us to look beyond the politics. One example is Jonathan Shapiro/Zapiro’s exhibition ‘Jiving with Madiba’, currently on display at the South African Jewish Museum. The exhibition honours Madiba’s legacy, and reminds us of what we are working towards in this country. The essence of the exhibition was captured in a speech by Professor Njabulo S Ndebele at the opening event, and the museum has published this landmark speech in this issue of the Chronicle – an apt issue to publish such powerful sentiments. Finally, the cover collage of this Chronicle shows that 5771 was indeed a ‘year to remember!’ where so many individuals, organisations and institutions worked together to achieve the community’s ideals.

The hundreds of events and initiatives are admirable, and we hope that we captured that, and the spirit of the community, in the cover collage. Together, we can make 5772 an even better year! Wishing all our readers in Cape Town, South Africa and around the world a Shana Tova u’Metuka, and well over the Fast. May you all have a sweet, prosperous and fulfilling year ahead!