What will your sweet new year look like?

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

Last year this time, I wrote about how thankful I was that my family was healthy and Covid free. 

I considered the silver lining lockdown had given us with the major benefit being the amount of quality time spent with my family.

Fast forward 12 months and aside from a runny nose here and there, for the most part my family is still healthy, and we are hopefully entering into a post-Covid world. Many holidays were cancelled last year due to Covid, so we had to make up for lost time. I was fortunate enough to spend lots of quality time with friends and family in some of the most beautiful parts of the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal. 

As we enter the High Holy Days, we will once again wish everyone a ‘Sweet New Year’ and ‘may you be inscribed in the book of life’. What will a sweet new year look like for you? I am setting myself a few reasonable and attainable goals both personally and professionally. By putting these in writing for the entire community to see, I’ll have to follow through with them!

My goals will revolve around the theme of health and travel. My personal goal for the new year will focus on my physical well-being — I do need to get fit and into shape. It reminds me of a joke where a wife says to her husband, “you need to get in shape”. The husband replies, “I am round and that’s a shape.” 

Whilst walking the dog is fun and I do break a sweat, my wife keeps telling me that I need to get my heart rate up which is why I plan on running again. I won’t be entering the Comrades! As I said, this goal needs to be realistic. I have also started playing tennis again and I am looking forward to running around the five-a-side soccer pitch soon. I should be in shape in no time — hopefully less round than my current status. However, two nights of Rosh Hashanah does throw a spanner in the works as I cannot resist the food served. I mean who really can turn down a second helping of tzimmes? I guess I will have to run an extra kilometre or two to make up for overeating. 

My professional goal is to connect with as many people both locally and abroad as possible. For the past year I have made connections with Jewish communities in Europe, United States, Australia, and of course around South Africa. Whilst I have travelled to almost every Jewish community in the Western Cape, the international connections have all been via Zoom. Therefore, I am truly excited to be travelling abroad in November to attend an international in-person conference. 

This will allow me to engage with other Jewish communities face-to-face, to learn what is happening there and understand how they are fighting antisemitism, and to share our experiences from the Cape. Whilst establishing connections is important, the ultimate goal is to collaborate on initiatives and ensure that our local community benefits from the Board’s work.

We should all have goals that we aspire to. Perhaps start by going to shul this Yom Tov and take the kids along? For many it has been too long since they have heard the sound of the shofar. Let’s begin this new year off on a positive note so that we can all have a sweet one! 

Wishing you and your families a Shanah Tovah Um’tukah.

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

• Published in the September 2022 Rosh Hashanah Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

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