Hope and glory

As we look back on July, and forward to August, there is much to think about.

We’ve been enjoying the drama of Tokyo 2020 (in 2021!) from cold and wet Cape Town, as July has brought us a rather strange mutation of the usual Olympic Games, with no spectators, lots of branded face masks, and some conspicuous gaps in the ranks of the competitors as COVID prowls the Olympic Village. See a list of some Jewish athletes to watch.

This year Mandela Day coincided with Tisha B’Av, and it felt as though we came closer than ever to disaster, as years of pent-up rage, despair and neglect finally burst its banks in Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng. At the same time we also witnessed heartening displays of unity and good-will, buoying our sinking spirits with yet another silver lining. Read about Mensch’s collaboration with the Board of Deputies, and Craig Nudelman’s encouraging perspective.

July also brought us the long-awaited day of reckoning for Jacob Zuma, the legal workings of which are dissected by Anton Katz, with his usual mix of surgical precision and charm.

Rabbi Emma writes about the importance of taking care of our mental health. She refers to Parashat B’haalotcha, where we find Moses struggling to lead a rather ungrateful tribe of freed slaves through an inhospitable desert, almost succumbing to despair. The solution? Ask for help, find support. You can’t do it alone. A message about caring for our own mental health, and a lesson in leadership.

On the subject of mental health, a quick turn back to the world of sports where opinion is divided over the withdrawal by Simone Biles from some Olympic gymnastics events in which she was expected to win personal and national glory; and Naomi Osaka’s similar decision at two recent tennis Grand Slam tournaments. I for one strongly approve. While tenacity has its place, and has indeed been abundantly demonstrated by these two brilliant and accomplished young women, it is so important to recognise when things have gone too far, to listen to one’s own mind and body, and to have the courage to take action. I admire their very bold decisions to withdraw from their respective commitments.

Speaking of strong women, we also look ahead to August, with pages 12 and 13 focusing specifically on Women’s Month. The Board of Deputies shares messages from some inspiring women in their ranks, Mensch showcases the work of Mama Flo — a group of four young women tackling the terrible problem of period poverty, and the Union of Jewish Women address gender-based violence both within and beyond our community.

We also look forward to September, and only the second time since March last year that we will be producing a print edition of the Chronicle! Our Pesach issue was welcomed by the community, and we hope Rosh Hashana’s proves as popular.

After a year and a half of COVID-induced social disconnection, we invite you to reconnect with the community and be seen, by making use of our Rosh Hashana greetings page, and also by sending in your simcha snaps from the past year.

See you next month… in print.

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We welcome your news, opinions and stories. If you have anything to share with the community, please email editor@ctjc.co.za.

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

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