New beginnings

By Desrae Saacks, Editor Cape Jewish Chronicle

In January 2001 I joined the staff of the Cape Jewish Chronicle. 

I was responsible for design and layout, under the editorship of Irma Chait. Anita Shenker handled advertising and Tessa Epstein was Irma’s PA. Over the years we became like family, there for each others’ milestone moments, and totally in sync in producing the printed Chronicle on schedule each month. Little did I know that 22 years later I’d still be here, sadly the only one of the four of us. 

After Irma retired, the three of us embraced Tali Feinberg (Barnett at the time), saw her through her wedding and pregnancy (and editorship) and then stayed in contact as she left us to embark on her parenting journey. 

Lindy Diamond was next to fill the position. We got to know her and her family, and then waved them goodbye as they embarked on their new life in London. 

It was then, two years ago, that I accepted a six-month contract as acting editor. These last two years have been an amazing adventure. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about our community. Time has flown, and now it is time for me to do the same. As of 1 April, I will be stepping down as editor. This then is my last Des Says.

Those who are familiar with this column will know that it is the last space I tackle each month. And that there’s usually a struggle involved,  admittedly the ‘serves-me-right’ consequence of procrastination, and more forgiveably writer’s block (I’m not alone in this see Daniel Bloch’s column on page 6 and here). There is also some method in the madness of leaving it until last. I like to have an overview of the (almost) finished product to reflect on and refer to. 

This month, there are a number of stories that draw on the lessons of Pesach, in interesting and inspiring ways. I’ve particularly noticed a theme of new beginnings (but then maybe that’s projection). 

Craig Nudelman has written about his imminent step into the unknown, (see page 42 or here) and cleverly invoked the Pesach story. 

On page 8 (or here), the Board hosts a welcome event for recent ‘semigrants’. Not quite the physical distance facing the Nudelman family, but as I know from personal experience, a bigger adjustment than one might imagine. 

On page 10 (or here), the SAZF announces a new director and 11 new ManCom members (here), bringing new energy to this pivotal community organisation. 

On page 14 (or here), WIZO compares the journey of the women whom they support in their Neve WIZO houses, with the Pesach story of emancipation from slavery to freedom.

Rabbi Emma reminds us that embracing the new does not mean disrespecting/discarding the past, rather that we are part of a continuum that occupies the past, the future, and most importantly the present.  

This month’s Mensch thought-leader Ephraim Moss draws a brilliant parallel between global warming, unhealthy patterns of consumption and the science and symbolism of chometz. Read more on page 36 (or here). 

These are just some of the great reads you’ll find on these pages. I’m grateful to our advertisers and contributors for their support, for adhering (sort-of) to our crazy deadlines printing, postal delivery, strikes and public holidays all take up time and providing us with excellent, informative and thought-provoking content. 

I also want to thank the Chronicle team, Lisa Shapiro and Lynette Roodt, and our chairman Lester Hoffman, for their invaluable support over these past years.  I look forward to watching the CJC grow from strength to strength. 

From all of us we wish you a Chag Pesach Sameach!

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

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