By Tzvi Brivik, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD
Our Cape Conference, ‘A Kaleidoscope of Views’, was held at the end of October, and it was a resounding success.
The professional team made up of Daniel Bloch, Tyla Dallas, Gwynne Robins and Craig Nudelman hosted a stellar lineup of individuals who demonstrated exactly what we want to hear during these ‘dark’ (thanks to Eskom) times. Instead of the doom and gloom we usually hear, we heard our keynote speaker, Simon Freemantle, as well as our panel, consisting of Howard Sackstein as moderator, Jos Horwitz, Lauren Joffe and Jaryd Raizon, give us a positive outlook on the future of South Africa as well as on our Jewish community.
The conference was one day before the local government elections — an election which showed voter apathy with only 45% of the registered population voting. It also demonstrated that South Africans don’t see their leaders performing as they should in their respective municipalities and metropoles, with 66 hung councils around the country. Perhaps our leaders should take a leaf out of the book of esteemed Labour Party leader in Australia, Gough Whitlam, who became Prime Minister five years after he asked, “Are we here to get elected and get things done? Or are we here to feel good about ourselves? Are we here to improve the quality of life for our citizens with all the compromises and risk that this entails; or are we here to split ideological hairs, denounce traitors and savour the view from the moral high ground?”
The Cape SAJBD rolled out an extensive voter education programme. Not only did we post information on social media showing why and how to vote, but we also gave people the opportunity to see who to vote for. As reported in previous editions of the Cape Jewish Chronicle, the Board, together with eNCA, hosted a Town Hall meeting with candidates and representatives from political parties across the spectrum. This shows our commitment to our country and improving the lives for all its citizens.
Tikkun Olam (healing the world) is a key tenet in our Jewish religion, and one which the Board takes on with fervour in our Social Justice subcommittee. With this in mind, we look to Channukah — the Festival of Lights — to show how we have a commitment to be an ohr la goyim, a light unto the nations. We are always conscious of the difficulties underprivileged communities face in South Africa. This includes those from other African countries, like our partners from Burundi, Congo, and Rwanda. Our recent drive for blankets and other important Covid-19 protection gear, (eg hand sanitisers) was a success with more than 100 blankets being donated to our partners. This is just one of the many projects which shines some light, not just on the commitment of the Jewish community to assist those in need, but also on our resolve to work in intercommunity and interfaith projects in the Cape.
With the year coming to an end, we know that many of us will be going away, whether to Plett, Hermanus, or other more secluded areas for those who prefer solitude during the December break. We implore the community to continue to stick to Covid-19 protocols — sanitise, social distance and wear masks in public spaces. It is also imperative that everyone who is able to, get vaccinated! It is the only way in which we can return to some semblance of normalcy in 2022.
Enjoy your break, Chag Chanukah Sameach, and see you in 2022!
• Published in the PDF edition of the December 2021/January 2022 issue – Click here to get it.
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