Let’s be brave

by Jodi Sher, Vice Chair of the United Jewish Campaign

In 2012 I was fortunate to attend the President’s Conference in Israel. 

The conference was hosted by Shimon Peres z”l who handed out the Award of Distinction to former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger.

When Kissinger went up to receive this special award he said words that have stayed with me since that moment, “My parents would be more proud of this honour than any other distinctions that have come my way. I know this is strange at 89, but Mom and Dad I wish you were here to see this.”

It was a moment of clarity of what I have always known deep in my core. We all have so many different facets to our lives both personally and professionally, but as a Jewish People we are all part of a greater community. It’s a sense of belonging, a sense of pride and there is no greater reward or accolade, than looking after each other. It’s the biggest honour and one, all our parents would be proud of.

But this isn’t something you are born with, it is something that gets passed down from generation to generation. A legacy of responsibility for the well-being of our collective family.

August is Women’s Month and I thought a lot about the dynamic women role models I have in my life and that we have as a Cape Town Jewish Community. Fierce leaders, compassionate caregivers and inspirational heroes, who selflessly devote so much to the good of our community and deserve every ounce of praise. They will lead the way, but it is up to each one of us to play our role in forging the next generation and instilling that sense of pride and belonging.

We are blessed here in Cape Town with a thriving community, but this didn’t just happen. It took dedication from each and every one of us, past and present. And it will need that same commitment into the future. This isn’t only about big gestures but also small moments and little acts of kindness that demonstrate our commitment to each other.

From a young age my mom taught my sister and me the importance of doing things for others. We grew up visiting Glendale at least once a month; and whether it was doing hair for Rosh Hashana, painting murals or just visiting, I knew I had a role to play in our greater community. I am forever grateful for this incredible gift of giving back to others.

As the Vice-Chair of the UJC, I am immensely proud of the funds that are raised to support our community every year and the community members who passionately volunteer their time and skills to uplifting our incredible community, many of whom are women. 

As women we have a special power to inspire others.

As I sit here writing my thoughts from the Kruger National Park, I just witnessed true female power watching a hyena defend her cubs from a pack of wild dogs. 

Let’s all be inspired by her bravery.

Let’s protect the future of our community together.

My wish is that as we celebrate Women’s Month, every woman in our community takes on the responsibility to inspire one more person, to do one more act of kindness and ensure that together we can continue the legacy of a thriving Cape Town Jewish Community. May it go from strength to strength.

Website: www.ujc.org.za. Follow the United Jewish Campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

• Published in the August 2022 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

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