Giving back through communal connection

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

How do you give back? Do you volunteer and stand security outside shul on Shabbos? Do you hand out food parcels to those in need?

Maybe you get your hands dirty and you plant vegetable gardens in poor communities? Or perhaps you donate money to worthy causes. Kol hakavod to you if you in some way, give back to your community — and when I say your community, I do mean the Western Cape community.

Whilst the Jewish community has been lauded for the way we work together and look after our own, we are by no means unique. There are many communities around the Western Cape that are also united in their cause to bring hope and prosperity to those around them. The Cape SAJBD is active in connecting and collaborating with these communities and various faith-based organisations, to help those in need and unite our communities.

On Sunday 6 February, I attended an Interfaith function along with the Chairperson of the Board’s Associate Relations subcommittee, Dawn Nathan-Jones, in the small community of Kalksteenfontein which is situated between Bonteheuwel and Bishop Lavis. I have fond memories of playing many a club cricket match in this area — in fact, one of my best moments was an innings victory against Bonteheuwel, certainly a proud day in my short spell as captain of the Northerns Goodwood Cricket Club 4th team.

My visit this time was different. Representing the Jewish community, the Cape SAJBD together with the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, the Muslim Judicial Council, Cape Flats Interfaith Declaration, Cape Town Unitarians, the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and other faith-based organisations, came together to say a prayer for the City of Cape Town.

The programme directors, Imam Salieg Isaacs and Rev Nima Taylor welcomed the 40 guests in attendance along with members of the Kalksteenfontein community. Members of various faith-based organisations shared their prayers of community, peace, hope and prosperity through either song, prayer or words of wisdom. I was honoured to offer a prayer on behalf of our community. We offered a prayer for a crisis-free year, overcoming COVID-19, assistance to those battling homelessness, poverty and unemployment and asking that those in charge have the foresight and courage to strengthen and unite our communities. I ended off by reciting a prayer which we say each day, “He who makes peace in High places, may he bring peace for us all and let us say Amen. Oseh shalom bimromav. Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu. V’al kol Yisrael V’imru AMEN.”

A truly special moment was when 20 senior citizens and 35 young children from Kalksteenfontein were treated to a hot meal and a cold drink. Each of the faith-based organisation representatives handed out a meal to the young and old. The smiles on their faces and the gratitude in their eyes emphasised just how important this kind of initiative is. On that day, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Bahai and others joined together to bring peace and unity to the community of Kalksteenfontein.

In 2022, the Cape SAJBD is committed to working with non-Jewish communities to assist those in need and strengthen the bonds of community. We are one family in the Western Cape and what affects one citizen will affect us all. Let’s work together for a united, equal and prosperous Western Cape.

So again, I ask — how are you giving back? If you would like to know more about upcoming Cape SAJBD projects then please contact us

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

• Published in the PDF edition of the March 2022 issue – Click here to get it.

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