A time of significant consideration

By Tzvi Brivik, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD

We are pleased to welcome Daniel Bloch as the new executive director.

The position carries great weight and responsibility. Daniel is a graduate of Herzlia High school and has served on its governing body, and is also a member of the Marais Road Shul. He has vast experience in the events and media industry. He brings with him a love and understanding of our community. Daniel has joined us from 1 May 2021. He understands that, as is stated in the parashah of this week, “There is no gain without some pain,” in other words, he appreciates the steep learning curve which he is about to embark on and which includes a series of meetings so that he can take the time to get to know our various affiliates and sister organisations. He joins us at a time when the Cape SAJBD has been considering significant matters.

These include the comments that had been made by Dr Lwazi Lushaba in a pre-recorded lecture in the first week of April. Those comments had drawn criticism from various fields, including academia, the University of Cape Town and the DA. We have responded by affirming our commitment to our constitution which is to build a united and democratic South Africa based on mutual respect, understanding, and human dignity. We have also pointed out that these remarks had been made during the week of Yom HaShoah when we observed the Holocaust Remembrance Day by taking pride in our heritage. At the time, we invited Dr Lushaba to engage with us.

In addition to reverting to the use of the law to protect our community, we can engage and educate. We are of the strong view that this approach not only empowers our community, but also the communities and persons around us. We have also repeatedly emphasised our #WordsMatter campaign, in which we have urged representatives of our community and externally to carefully weigh and measure their words to ensure these are not divisive or intended to cause harm. In this week’s parashah, we are told that “More things can go wrong than can go right.” It is a reminder of a lack of equilibrium. To ensure that our community’s rights are protected, we are mandated to right that balance as best we can.

On a different note, there has been some return to normalcy. We are relying heavily on the vaccine roll-out to secure the health of our community. While this is attended to, we urge everybody to continue to keep a safe social distance and wear masks in public. If South Africa is to follow the trends in the northern hemisphere around COVID-19, then there is a third wave expected — and this should be guarded against as much as possible.

We cannot underestimate the cost of the pandemic emotionally, physically and financially to individual members of our community and our communal structures. Incredible work has been done by members of our community and our affiliates, including the burial services through the UOS, Rabbinical counselling and outreach. I would like to mention Jewish Community Services which has done outstanding work providing mental health-care, financial assistance and also administering the Tikvah Fund, the SimchaFund and the food bank — amongst other initiatives.

Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Jodi Goldberg, a member of our professional staff, much success in the future. Jodi will be leaving the Cape SAJBD at the end of April 2021. She has worked in our offices as Projects and Operations Coordinator as well as attending to various administrative duties, since 2013. Behatzlacha!

Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website: www.capesajbd.org, Instagram, and Facebook page.

• Published in the print edition of the May 2021 issue. Download the May 2021 issue PDF here.

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