By Adrienne Jacobson, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD
Whew, it’s been one hit-the-ground-running, packed to capacity, densely engaging and exhilarating whirlwind of a month since stepping into my role as Chair of the Cape SAJBD — and I’ve felt like every minute has been counted and accounted for with meaning, purpose and action.
I’ve met with many political, diplomatic, faith-based, community, lay and professional leaders, and government officials, to continue to forge relationships — and I’ve been so moved and inspired, not only by the work they’re doing and the genuine interest and investment in collaborative conversations, but also by how well we, as the Cape SAJBD are received in the broader Western Cape leadership space.
My observations and reflections so far are that this leadership space is underpinned by Showing Up, Standing Up and Speaking Up — and this notion has framed my perspective of all the events and functions that have taken place in the last month.
This past month, the launch of our Entrepreneurs Network, with the Cape SAJBD, partnering with Entrepreneurs’ Organisation South Africa (EO South Africa), ORTjet and Over The Rainbow, is a beautiful example of leadership Standing Up together and sharing resources, as we create platforms for entrepreneurial growth across a diverse and disadvantaged spectrum, to foster economic growth and opportunity. We’re also providing support structures, problem-solving networks, strategic alignment guidance and access to experienced entrepreneurs for mentorship. Thank you to Dawn Nathan-Jones and Craig Nudelman for your combined vision and the comprehensive work it took to spearhead this project. And also to Viv Anstey and Justin Asher for Standing Up and pitching in, judging and mentoring. This teamwork validates Michelle Obama’s quote, “Leaders who are truly strong lift each other up; Leaders who are truly powerful bring others together.”
I had the privilege of meeting and engaging with ambassador, professor, historian and author Deborah Lipstadt (see page 7), as we co-hosted her visit together with the United States consulate and the SA Jewish Museum. I also got to engage with Western Cape Government representative, Masizole Mnqasela at a special function hosted by the German Consulate in collaboration with local government. Both these leaders — Lipstadt and Mnqasela — demonstrate the power and courage it takes to Speak Up, in this case against antisemitism. While Deborah Lipstadt said that “People like David Irving do not throw firebombs, they throw the words that cause others to throw firebombs,” Masizole Mnqasela called out the ANC speaker to parliament for antisemitism and hate speech, and demanded accountability and an apology.
It was also a rare privilege for me to witness Professor Karen Milner, Professor Milton Shain, and Deborah Lipstadt participating in a panel conversation together at the Kaplan Centre at UCT, discussing their individual journeys and experiences related to speaking up against antisemitism.
This resonated so deeply for me with our #wordsmatter campaign which aims to call out antisemitism, racism, prejudice, hate speech, exclusion, gender-based violence and inequality, wherever we encounter it.
To speak up against these evils is to stand in the light, and, as we wind down to the end of a challenging year, and head into Channukah, may our leadership and everyone in our community continue to Show Up, Stand Up and Speak Up — with light! And may we merit to experience Miracles, Blessings and Peace in our time.
• Published in the December 2022/January 2023 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.
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