Time to exhale

By Desrae Saacks, acting editor Cape Jewish Chronicle

I’ve been agonising over what to write in this column.

Partly because I’m not used to the discipline of having to share my thoughts publicly on a monthly basis. (Will I ever be?) Another reason that this month was particularly challenging is because there were two politically charged and fast-moving stories, that were changing minute by minute, almost faster than I could type.

It was difficult to pin anything down this month as the news changed so rapidly. No sooner had I written something than it was overtaken by new developments. But that just reasserts the brief of the Cape Jewish Chronicle — it is a chronicle, an archive of the story of our community. A meeting place, where we find each other and showcase our active and creative community, all the organisations and individuals of which it comprises.

The Cape Jewish Chronicle is not, and has never claimed to be, a newspaper, in the sense of publishing up-to-the-minute breaking news. But this month there was an elephant in the room.

For two weeks it rained missiles in Israel. Yet another round of death, destruction and trauma for all who live there.

As I write this, there is a ceasefire in place. But who knows what the situation will be by the time this is being read? The ceasefire is merely a chance to stop, rest, and exhale! Let’s hope the diplomacy being carried out in the background bears fruit, and that all those who want peace, sanity and dignity, prevail.

Speaking of exhaling, it is tempting to breath out a sigh of relief as we see the vaccine rollout finally take off. But a word of caution from Dr Gary Kantor — make sure you exhale outdoors! Gary fills us in on important information, only recently publicised by the World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control, regarding a previously overlooked way in which the virus spreads. It’s both a fascinating story, and a critical update in the fight against COVID-19. Read it here.

If all this is too stressful, and you feel the need to escape to a tropical island, read this article by Maiyan Karidi who writes with humour and whimsey of her time living in Mauritius.

Or if you prefer a more arid landscape and wide open skies, you’ll find these as Gwynne Robins takes us to the beautiful and oh-so-quiet Namaqualand town of Okiep, and the story of the Jews who settled there, and left their mark on the region. Read it here.

This issue has plenty to occupy you as winter and the third wave approach, keeping us indoors. (but with the windows open please)

Let’s hope that this next wave is the lightest, and the last.

• Published in the PDF edition of the June 2021 issue – Download here.

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