We need you!

By Desrae Saacks, Acting Editor Cape Jewish Chronicle

Last month we sent out an appeal for voluntary subscriptions. 

We were thrilled by the strong initial positive response, but still  have a long way to go. 

The Chronicle has been a part of the Cape Town Jewish community for the past 38 years. During all this time we have functioned independently, with no subsidisation from the UJC or any other community body. Your annual subscription is essential to our survival — we would not be able to continue without your support. We thank you for your vote of confidence — those who had already paid, those who responded to our appeal, and those who have yet to respond.

In this month’s issue we have tried, as always, to include voices, faces and stories that reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our Cape Town Jewish community. 

The Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies bids a fond farewell to that pillar of our community, Gwynne Robins. Gwynne is retiring (retiring used here as a verb — most emphatically not an adjective). Read about Gwynne’s remarkable contribution to Cape Town Jewry on page 9 (and here). I hope that the Chronicle will continue to provide a platform for her thoughts and knowledge.

Another retiring stalwart is David Resnick, who is taking a well-earned step back from decades of communal service — most recently as UJC treasurer. Read about his invaluable contribution and dedication to our community on page 15 (and here). 

Angela Miller-Rothbart took advantage of her retirement to pursue her passion for writing. The result is a beautiful and moving novel that is reviewed on page 21 (and here). And on the subject of pursuing one’s passion, I am delighted to share the story of my one-time colleague at the Samson Centre, Linda Kavalsky, who is making her dreams come true. See her story on page 22 (and here). 

Mensch Network introduces us to three of their members who are doing inspiring and life-changing work. Read about the work of Abigail Smith, Rachael Glaser and Simone Honikman who are making a real difference in the lives of many South Africans – see pages 19 (and here) and 20 (and here). 

As I write, we are in the midst of the season of Yoms. Thursday 28 April is Yom Hashoah, when we remember the victims, survivors and heroes of the Holocaust. Wednesday 4 May is Yom Hazikaron, a day when we remember those who died or were injured in wars and acts of terror in Israel. Read Julian Resnick’s column on page 25 (and here), where he shares his Facebook reflections on the recent  wave of terror in Israel, and some of the conversations that his post provoked. 

Yom Haatzmaut follows immediately after Yom Hazikaron, and celebrates  the achievement of Israeli statehood; and then on 29 May, Yom Yerushalayim celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. We are also in the period of sefirat-haomer (the counting of the omer) — a time characterised in rabbinic literature as one of semi-mourning. 

And in this season of remembering, as we watch with horror news of shocking acts of violence against ordinary Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers; and of death and devastation in Kwazulu-Natal in the wake of the recent floods, it is easy to fall into a spiral of despair and helplessness. Rabbi Matitiani reminds us on page 16 to prioritise the living. And Abigail Smith writes on page 19 (and here), “…no matter how hopeless things feel, it does no good when such feelings become an obstacle to making the world a better place. As it says in Pirkei Avot, ‘You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.’”

And so I send you gratitude and hope in this month of May.

Published in the PDF edition of the May 2022 issue – Click here to read it.

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