Leading from the front!

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

There are many definitions of leadership, yet one element remains constant — people. As a leader, one must work with people to maximise efficiency and in most instances, try to influence the decision-making process. Human beings are at the heart of both these practices.

The May 2022 edition of the Cape Jewish Chronicle will mark a full year of me writing this column. Therefore, I would like to share some insights into my role as Executive Director of the Cape SAJBD — not focusing on events, initiatives and letters but rather on how I have chosen to engage with people to get the job done.

I love people and I find connecting with them one of the most important aspects, above all others. To truly solve a problem, one must understand the challenges and to do so effectively, one must speak directly to the source. If a person or organisation has an issue, reading emails and speaking to someone over the phone will only get half the job done. Meeting in person will allow you to look into a person’s eyes, read body language and listen for the tone of their voice. This is by far a more efficient and effective way of solving problems.

Over the past year, I have endeavoured, despite COVID-19 restrictions, to meet with as many people as possible to explore opportunities, resolve issues, educate about our community, educate about antisemitism and empower those around me to work as a team towards a common goal.

I have always believed in leading by example which is why I am usually the last to leave (I try to be the first to arrive as well, however sometimes traffic wins that battle) and I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty. As the leader in any organisation, one should have a sound knowledge of all aspects of the business and be able to do any task. By setting this example for my team, I have been able to get the most out of them, and instead of menial tasks being a problem, they are completed without too much fuss. I am thankful to my colleagues for the support and look forward to accomplishing many more successful initiatives in the future.

Over the past year, I have received many phone calls and emails requesting assistance from the Board. These requests have been anything from investigating antisemitic incidents, Yom Tov exams at university, requests for history about the community, individuals experiencing personal issues within the community and more. I have personally made the effort to either meet in person or make the phone call to try to resolve these issues. People want to be heard and want to know that someone is there to support them. This is why I encourage anyone in our community who has a particular issue, to reach out to me. Though there may not always be a solution to a particular problem, it won’t stop me or the Board from trying to help.

Moving forward, I want to meet with as many members of our community as possible with the goal of simply connecting people. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, go to shul, keep kosher, send your children to a Jewish school or simply want to know the latest news from our community — I will be available to listen and assist where possible.

It is important for our community to stay strong and to do this, we do need to stay connected.

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

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

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