Look before you leap!

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

I am sure you have heard the saying “Look before you leap”. This can have multiple meanings depending on the situation in which you find yourself. However, the definition can be simply put as this: you shouldn’t act without first considering the possible consequences or dangers. 

I would add to this by stating, one shouldn’t make rash decisions without reviewing all the information beforehand. How many of us have come to a conclusion or made a decision without the full facts? Do you stop, pause and take a deep breath; or do you simply jump into the fire? 

In any leadership role, as with mine as Executive Director of the Cape SAJBD, one is continuously faced with challenges, and in many instances a quick decision is required. More often than not, people who are rushed into quick decisions without taking the time to assess all the facts will make a bad or wrong choice. I seem to possess the ability to remain calm under pressure. I don’t get flustered and I don’t run around like a headless chicken. This has been remarked by friends, family members, former work colleagues and my current team. This bodes well in my line of work where there are different challenges each day and a level head is needed before making a decision.

Many people will act in an emotional manner, bringing forth anger and frustration in the decision they take. If they don’t receive an immediate response from someone to an issue of concern to them, then they seek to take matters into their own hands. When dealing with issues affecting our community, one needs to assess all the facts, investigate every possible angle, understand what the consequences and/or risks could be, consult with colleagues and then finally decide on the way forward. 

Over the past several months, I have received a variety of challenges as well as opportunities which will affect or benefit our community. Most of the time, these have all been deemed ‘urgent’ and ‘important’. At the Board of Deputies, we are aware of what is happening not just within our community, but also around the world. We continue to engage with other global Jewish organisations and communities. While we may not make public statements or send out a plethora of emails, we are fully invested in the problem and will continuously work to find the best solution. Many issues which are laid before us are extremely complex and take time to resolve. Nothing is ever black and white, and there are always different ways to look at and understand the issues at hand. Hence the importance of dialogue as opposed to emails. Our door is always open — we are here for our community.

I have made it my personal policy to always be available to talk to people and to hear all sides of the story. Coming into an organisation with over 100 years of history, there are always stories and rumours of what happened in the past. While it is important to acknowledge and remember the previous methods of conduct, we live in the modern world. What worked twenty years ago may not necessarily work today. Heck, what worked three years ago will most likely also have changed! It is important to keep up with our ever-evolving community.

Human beings need to be heard and need to feel understood. Taking the time to listen to people is important, and this is something I take very seriously. I welcome anyone in the community to contact me with ideas or challenges; and I will gladly listen and see how I can help.

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

• Published in the March 2023 Digital Edition – Click here to start reading.

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