Kindness, Collaboration and Coalition

By Adrienne Jacobson  

How is your month of Elul going? I always find this auspicious month of introspection, and personal stock taking, of cheshbon ha nefesh the most challenging yet exciting. A time of heightened awareness, deeper connection, repairing through giving. Lessons learned are not always easy as hidden truth reveals itself, yet growth is abundant.  

This is always reflected in the activities of our community as we gear up for the High Holidays. There have been many communal  functions,  talks, speakers, learning events and conferences recently. 

Our Cape SAJBD session at Limmud, Around the Boardroom Table and Beyond, was an immersive experience in understanding our work. Leading a community can be challenging, and navigating the political waters is tricky. We must balance our strategies of advocacy, lobbying and coalition-building while keeping in mind community impact and tensions. 

I had the honour to represent the SAJBD at the National Dialogue on coalition governments hosted by Deputy President Paul Mashatile. 

Every political party made representations on how they would best see a coalition government working. These topics were identified as critical areas for a coalition government to thrive:

1 ) Professionalisation of the public service and how this improves democracy 

2 ) Transforming and supporting Municipalities 

3) Identifying the culture necessary and the political and social compact 

4) The proposed regulation of coalition governments – immediate, medium- and long-term 

I was given the honour of delivering a message from our community to all the parties and their leadership. These are the words of David Sacks.  

Today, many of those who have been entrusted with speaking for and leading the people of South Africa are gathered to explore and consider how, through mutual trust and co-operation, and in full-hearted unity of purpose, they can build and bring healing and prosperity to our nation . 

May the spirit in which these proceedings are conducted be that of reflection and respect, of together finding solutions, of firmly adhering to principles, yet able to make compromises where required for the greater well-being.

May today not be a time of anger and recriminations, but of reaching out, listening and seeking understanding.

May we all, the people of South Africa, be infused with the wisdom and steadfast courage, ethical vision, and inspiration to make the values of justice, charity and compassion a living reality in our country.

Elul always teaches me that everything connects to something else and is a lesson. The irony is that during the coalition talks there were taxi strikes in the Western Cape, and our community saw public commentary over social media statements.

This November is a major milestone for the SAJBD, marking 120 years of service to the SA Jewish community. We look forward to celebrating this at a special gala dinner with a range of our stakeholders. Former US Congressman and CEO of the American Jewish Committee, Ted Deutsch, will be our keynote speaker.

In this spirit I wish all a mitzvah-filled Elul full of growth and elevation, of seeing clearly the possibilities laid out in each moment and choosing only the path of blessing. 

May celebrate our high holidays in good health with our loved ones. 

Wishing everyone a Shana tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu and a Gmar chatimah tovah. May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. 

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

• Published in the September 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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