By Tzvi Brivik, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD
This month we celebrate Women’s Month. Internationally, Women’s Month dates back to 1911 and later to a subsequent conference held at the Sarah Lawrence College which was chaired by historian, Gerda Lerner.
Gerda was an academic and founding member of an organisation teaching women’s history, and was also involved with the neo-Nazi resistance. It was only in 1987, after petitioning Congress in the USA, that Women’s Day was officially recognised and changed into a Women’s Month. It became an opportunity to promote equality among the sexes.
In South Africa, Women’s Month traces its roots, and is a tribute, to the 20 000 women who marched to the union buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of pass laws to women.
This month, we celebrate the life and achievements of Jewish women who have been very influential in the history of our country and in the development of our own organisational structures. We celebrate the work of the many women who have formed part of our organisations, be it as communal or religious leaders or through their involvement in Jewish and non-Jewish welfare organisations, and with the Zionist movements both locally and abroad. We have much to be proud of, and will be highlighting some of these remarkable women on our Facebook and Instagram pages this month. We also continue to fight against gender-based violence, by supporting initiatives aimed at education, and through our involvement with the Hate Crimes Working Group which aims to effect meaningful amendments to the law to provide victims of gender-based violence greater support.
In addition, this month we are preparing for the local government elections, which are scheduled for 27 October 2021. We aim to educate and inform our community as much as we possibly can. Through our Associate Relations subcommittee, we have rolled out a #VotesMatter social media campaign which includes online polls, that allows the community to get involved in the election process whilst also providing education on local government. We will also be hosting two major events around elections. The first will be a panel discussion on 19 August at 6pm, with guest speakers Jacques Weber and Stuart Diamond, who both have extensive knowledge and expertise in local government. We will be debating the pros and cons of the elections and emphasising its importance to our community by touching on key issues, such as antisemitism, hate speech, issues of service delivery and minority rights. This discussion, as well as our #VotesMatter campaign leading up to the elections, can be followed on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
The second exciting event will be a Townhall discussion between various candidates in the elections, and is planned for October. As representatives of the Jewish community, we have met with leaders of the various political parties over the last few weeks to find out what their five-year plan would be for the City and the province, what goals each has set for themselves, and importantly how each of them sees their relationship with our own community going forward. We have been met openly with positive engagement, and are certain we will be able to have a strong continued working relationship with the political parties present in our province, and the party who is eventually voted into power.
We hope that you take advantage of the events and information we are making available during the month of August, and that you engage with us through social media! We look forward to seeing and hearing from you.
• Published in the PDF edition of the September 2021 issue – Download here.
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