How invested are you in the community?

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

In previous Chronicle editions, I have focused on the importance of elections, being an active citizen and leadership. 

The Cape SAJBD will host its elections from August-September this year and members of the community are encouraged to get involved. You can either stand for the Board or vote for your preferred candidates who will represent you within the community. Who will step up and take on the challenge? Where do all these future leaders come from? 

Since November 2021, I have been actively participating in a Leadership Development Programme, run by the Eliot Osrin Leadership Institute. EOLI recruits emerging, professional, lay (volunteer) and executive leadership for a pipeline of succession. Cohort three, of which I am part, includes 17 community members, some of whom are involved in communal organisations and others who are not.

It is fantastic to see so many members of our community eager and willing to be more involved in the community. For some, it will be their first foray into communal life. They are using the EOLI programme as a platform to engage in discussion, learn about the community and improve their leadership skills. 

What I have truly enjoyed so far are the discussions. I enjoy listening to what each person has to say. It’s fascinating to see how much or how little someone knows about the community and the role each organisation plays. I have found it to be an excellent opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and learn new ideas. By actively engaging and listening to what my fellow cohorts have to say, I have been able to gather valuable information and put this into practice across various Board initiatives.  We have all expanded our knowledge of the community and now have a better sense of what the challenges and opportunities are.

I would like to encourage my generation to step up and get more involved. Become active citizens! Most of us have families with young children, we are settled in our careers and for the foreseeable future, plan on staying in Cape Town. Surely we want to live in a city and be part of a community which benefits us? If we want to provide the best possible future for our children, we need to take matters into our own hands and not rely on someone else to get the job done. 

I am not saying that everyone should try to become the chairperson or director of a Jewish organisation (maybe give it a few years), but try joining your shul or school committee or volunteering for one of the many Jewish organisations that need people. If you cannot decide on one particular area of the community to work in, then the obvious choice would be the Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

There are many amazing people who have dedicated their lives to the community, working with and for a variety of communal organisations. They have selflessly given their time, money, blood and sweat, educating the youth, building facilities, providing for those who have nothing, inspiring generations, providing spiritual guidance and ultimately creating a proud Western Cape Jewish Community.

We are all invested in our community whether it be via religion, work, education, Israel, finances or Yiddishkeit. We should all be held accountable for what happens in our community and all need to take responsibility for our actions as well as our inactions. Can you really stand by and simply watch? Now is the time to do more, to help others and ultimately, help yourself. #GETINVOLVED #VOTESMATTER

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

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

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