Are we there yet?

So it’s November already, and 2021 has all but passed into history. Yet another annus horribilis as far as the Covid pandemic is concerned. But things are looking up.

As I write this, 35.9%* of South Africans have been vaccinated — far from ideal, but even so, there is a discernable sense of things opening up. Whether next year sees a continuation of this trajectory towards the revival of our former lives, or whether the virus strikes yet another blow, is to be seen, but for now it is heartening to see the gradual revival of live events and international travel.

Lately I’ve been doing a lift that involves driving through the centre of Cape Town at about 6pm most weekdays, and am struck by the sight of overflowing bars and restaurants. Clearly, for some the pandemic is over. And yet one still hears of positive diagnoses, quarantined friends and colleagues, and endures the occasional resultant cancelled or rescheduled meeting.

On page 24 (or click here), Robin Meyerowitz describes his horror encounter with the virus, a sobering read for anyone who still believes Covid is simply a harmless flu-like illness. Anton Katz, on page 19 (or click here) takes a literary stance on the current pandemic, invoking Nemesis, a 2010 novel by Philip Roth that deals with the polio epidemic in New York in the mid-1940s. His column sent me straight to the Gitlin Library, where as I expected, a copy of said book was available for borrowing. A beautiful, powerful read that resonates deeply with the times in which we live. And then on page 17 (or click here), Rabbi Emma offers a fascinating theological perspective on the issue of vaccine hesitancy.

The other elephant in the room is the local government elections, which will be happening around the time that this November issue reaches your inbox. On page 7 (or click here), Craig Nudelman writes about the Board of Deputies’ initiative to inform our community, and if you’re reading this before hitting the polling stations, and are not quite decided on where to place your X, take a moment to watch a recording of their live elections debate by clicking here.

In his own column on page 21 (or click here), Craig uses the imminent elections as an entry-point into a fascinating perspective on the approaching holiday of Chanukah, seen through a historical and political lense.

And speaking of Chanukah, next month will be our final issue for the year, covering December, January and Chanukah; and we are excited to be printing once again. See you then.

*Source: South Africa – – Worldwide

• Published in the PDF edition of the November 2021 issue – Click here to get it.

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