Know your Board

Glen Heneck, Vice-Chairperson and Adrienne Jacobson, Vice-Chairperson, Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies

We decided it’s high time we spotlight the individuals who make up the Cape SAJBD!

After all, they are there to represent you and ensure your voice is heard when engaging with leading figures in the political, media and administrative spheres. Each month, two Board members will answer a series of questions that shed light on their reasons for serving on the Board, and their response to key issues relevant to our community. So, keep an eye out, and get to know your Board!

Glen Heneck — Vice-Chairperson

Why did you join the Board?
Prior to joining the Board, in 2013, my only involvement in Jewish community matters had been through Highlands House and (long ago) an anti-Apartheid organisation known as Jews for Justice. I didn’t think about the Board much, assuming that it busied itself with religious matters, get-togethers and fundraising. After learning what it actually does, and that being an all purpose sceptic didn’t disqualify me, I stood for election and, to my surprise, got voted on!

What do you hope to achieve during your term of office?
I’ve enjoyed my eight years on the Board and like to think I’ve made a useful contribution in that time. Same as in previous years, I’ll be trying to hold the sensible middle ground, on all serious issues. There are lots of divisions within the community — doctrinal, political, ethnographic, economic, generational etc — but I am confident that we can all co-exist, and flourish, within a broad Jewish ‘tent’, as long as we default to reciprocal respectfulness. I’m also keen to see and get involved in more successful outreach initiatives to external communities.

What other community organisations are you involved in?
I am chairman of the Trustee Board of Highlands House and I’m a trustee of ORT (which also does wonderful work). I was a former chairman of Highlands House and of The Open City Initiative and was on the committee of Jews for Justice.

What are your passions?
Watching sport, searching for meaning and sleeping (none of which I’m very good at).

What is your vision for the community?
Everyone talks about how amazing the community is, in terms of civic-mindedness and facilities, and I agree. I’m all for the initiatives aimed at consolidating that, to ensure that future generations are similarly fortunate. This while being hyper-mindful of the fact that we are a (mostly) privileged part of a far greater (and less well-placed) whole.

What do you think is unique about our Jewish community?
That’s a good question. I don’t have a good answer. I do though think a lot about the idea of better-than-ness (and originality sin). As in why do we have to be distinguished, why isn’t it enough to just be okay?

Adrienne Jacobson — Vice-Chairperson

Why did you join the Board?
I was at the Maccabi Games Opening Ceremony of 2017 in Jerusalem, when I answered my phone and was asked to stand for election to the Board. Jewish communities from all corners of the globe were celebrating and cheering and I was so swept up in the wave of South African contingent support and pride that I accepted immediately. On further engagement with leadership of some of these communities, I was saddened to hear of some of their challenges around civil liberties, curtailing of religious freedoms and the antisemitism they faced in their countries.

I realised how important the mandate of the Cape SAJBD is in safeguarding the religious and civil rights, status and welfare of our community! And, its role as a spokesbody and lobbyist platform building relationships based on justice equality, dignity and respect speaks to my values and skill-set.

How can one make a difference?
It is our generation’s time now to step up, contribute and be actively engaged in the communal leadership space. We have a responsibility to ensure a sustainable, resilient Western Cape Jewish community, where there is freedom of Jewish self expression and Jewish identity; and which fosters mutual respect for race, religion, gender and identity amongst all South African citizens.

What do you hope to achieve during your term of office?
It has been a privilege for me to be part of the talented, experienced leadership that comprises the executive committee, the example set by the current Chairperson, the past Chairperson and past Vice-Chairperson, and the dynamic representation and formidable skill-set around the Board table. We have diversity of opinion, experience amd expertise which provides for robust debate at times.

It is important to me that we frame discussion and examination of issues in a manner that reflects and considers all perspectives and angles with depth, nuance and sensitivity. Inclusivity, involvement, active participation and engagement of all Board members is an important leadership challenge. We need to stand up against prejudice, discrimination and racism and advocate for an inclusive and just society.

On our internal mandate, we need to step up our work within our community’s affiliate organisations to promote cohesion and active participation. I am passionate that the voices of our young adult leadership are heard and valued, and that there are platforms for engagement, involvement and growth. I hope that my skill-set and leadership are helping to shape the Board into a relevant, contemporary and inclusive organisation.

What do you think is unique about our Jewish community?
Our communal organisations provide services from education to leadership development, welfare, aged and disability, and to social upliftment programmes external to the community. The unique blend of professional and lay leaders contributes to the success of each organisation. We are blessed with inspirational religious leadership across different religious experiences, shuls and learning platforms. We are vibrant, warm, passionate, outspoken, diverse, deeply caring of each other, connected and engaging. We have woven a rich tapestry of Jewish cultural life that we can be proud of.

What is your vision for the community?
At our AGM and Conference, we used the analogy of a kaleidoscope to reflect the multi-faceted shapes, colours and sizes of our community. With each turning they fall into different groupings, each creating a harmonious and beautiful pattern. The lens and cylinder of the kaleidoscope represents the strong moral compass of our Jewish religion, leadership and our community structure and service organisations.

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

• Published in the PDF edition of the December 2021/January 2022 issue – Click here to get it.

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle contact Karyn on 021 464 6700 ext. 104 or email For more information and advertising rate card click here.

Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2022. For payment info click here.

Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here