Celebrating, contemplating, and charting the next 12 months!

By Tzvi Brivik, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD

As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish New Year, we have an opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months since the Cape SAJBD election, and constitution of our new Board.

The Board, which has been serving our community for over 110 years, is democratically elected by the Western Cape Jewish community and our affiliates, and guided by the aims and objectives outlined in our Constitution. One such objective is to create and build bridges, and to participate in institutions which affect our Jewish way of life outside of our community — be they religious or otherwise.

Thanks to our lay leaders, who are supported by our professional staff, we have successfully engaged with government, provincial departments, the City of Cape Town, as well as educational institutions and other welfare organisations over the past twelve months. We have held many meetings and sought assistance and co-operation from outside institutions where necessary, to assist members of our community and our affiliates. These relationships improve our ability to serve our community and our effectiveness therein.

Some of our subcommittees are outward-facing, such as our Interfaith and Inter-community subcommittee and our Associate Relations subcommittee. However, many of the pressing issues we grapple with are internal. We may be asked to consider issues of policy for our community, and to regulate relations between communal members and communal organisations. Our Generation Next subcommittee is tasked with seeking out and involving unaffiliated young adults within existing communal structures, with the aim of creating a pool from which future leaders can be drawn. Our Country Communities subcommittee liaises with the numerous Jewish souls living outside of the Cape Town metropolitan area and in small towns dotted across the Western Cape who have played a vital role in the creation, development and growth of our community over the years.

So, although fighting antisemitism is seen to be our core function, it is certainly not our only function.

Over the last twelve months we have combated antisemitism across many spheres, majority carried out on social media, some in educational institutions and others in the daily lives of our community. Our approach of tackling antisemitism head on, inviting dialogue and encouraging mutual understanding, has been successful in most cases. We are also pleased to advise that since the Middle East conflict in May, cases of antisemitism have reduced dramatically. We are fortunate to live in a country with such a strong Constitution. Even so, we encourage our community to always be alert and to report antisemitism. You can call, text or WhatsApp our #ReportHate Hotline, available from 8:00-17:00 weekdays on 079 994 5573, or fill in our #ReportHate tool available here https://bit.ly/3v3LObE.

We recently celebrated Women’s day and I am sure that you would have been as proud and as I was to note the number of women in our community who have contributed so significantly, both inside and outside our community. Community members actively engaged on our social media platforms, meaning the content we provided was both appreciated and well-consumed.

We also held a very informative webinar on hate speech, antisemitism and cyberbullying, titled Navigating Online Hate and Antisemitism, with representatives of Jewish communities in the UK, America and locally. In anticipation of the upcoming local government elections we also held a very successful webinar titled Ready Steady Vote, with guest speakers Jacques Weber and Stuart Diamond who discussed what local government is, how to vote and why this election is important to members of
our community.

Finally, and with much excitement, we welcome Craig Nudelman as our new Programme & Development Manager. Many of you may know Craig for his regular contributions to this publication. We wish him much success!

What remains is for me to wish you Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova!

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

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

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