A year of community for SAUJS

Cassandra Mayekiso, Director, SAUJS Western Cape

by Cassandra Mayekiso, Director, SAUJS Western Cape

This year can be categorised as the year of community amongst Western Cape Jewish students.

It started with internal planning and strategy sessions amongst the committee with assistance from the Cape SAJBD. Due to the strong foundation that was created in the previous year, SAUJS had the opportunity not only to maximise on student sign-ups through University Orientation and the Opening Party (which was the largest event that SAUJS has run in the past five years) but also to engage with each student in the community. Being able to provide that level of connection has been incredibly meaningful and rewarding.

We were able to run three Purim events. These included the joint Hamantaschen Bake-off with Chabad on Campus, the megillah reading with Ohrsom Student and the Hamantaschen Handout at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Not breaking from our obligation to address South African issues, we then held a #FightBackSA workshop at UCT which was very highly requested and well attended. Going into the COVID-19 pandemic, we relied on our social media platforms to connect with each of the students, to share credible information, host a very necessary mental health talk, a yoga event and a Bachelor evening which was not only entertaining but also brought all the branches of SAUJS together.

We bid farewell to our outgoing committee without too many tears as many of the students have been re-elected and aim to take Jewish student life to new heights. Together, they possess a strong vision and plan on how to best represent the interests of Jewish leadership in this country. This month, we will conduct our annual strategy session for the coming year in which we will ensure that we prepare for upcoming events, campaigns, trips and partnerships.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Deena Katzen, SAUJS Western Cape Chairperson. She is in her fifth year in serving the South African Union of Jewish Students. She previously served as a member of the WITS and UCT committees, National Zionist Officer and National Chairperson. She is currently completing her BCom Accounting degree at UCT.

The Committee that Deena will be working with includes a few familiar faces. Kevin Pogrund, Vice Chairperson in his fourth year of Mechatronics, Catherine Heron, Post Grad LLB, Justin Myerson studying Business and Computer Science, finishing with Honours next year and Grant Norrie who is completing his degree in Electrical Engineering, all at UCT.

This is a promising group of students who have proven to be dedicated to bettering Jewish life on- and off-campus and continue to put the needs of the community before their own.

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