What can you do to help?

By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

It seems as though everyone went on holiday towards the end of December and that, for the first time in a long time, there was relative peace and quiet in the Cape. Perhaps my idea of quiet and your idea of quiet may differ, however, I spent less time on my mobile and more time enjoying the break. Nevertheless, I did come crashing back down to earth during the first week of January and, since then, it has been all systems go. 

The International Court of Justice case has come and gone and we now await a decision (by the time you read this, we may have a decision). Protests have started up again, social media is once more on fire, and we have continued writing letters and articles either condemning actions against our community or providing information on specific topics. 

I was asked recently by a member of our community, “But what can we do to help?”

It is a very good question and one that does not have a simple answer. Over the past few months, I have met with many concerned members of the community who have offered their support, skills and experience – desperately wanting to offer the Board any and all assistance in fighting the anti-Israel narrative and combating antisemtisim wherever it rears its ugly head. The offers are greatly appreciated and it is incredible to see how united we are as a community and the concern for one another’s safety. 

Whilst the Board may be the voice of the community and is engaging with a host of key stakeholders both Jewish and non-Jewish alike, the reality is that many people are providing assistance in a variety of ways. People share relevant local and international articles, give various legal interpretations on specific topics, provide PR and marketing ideas, suggest important contacts to meet with – and more. Whilst all these are extremely important, one of the most valuable contributions coming from our community are those who support us on social media, liking articles, sharing relevant and safe information and, most importantly, trusting that the Board is representing the community and doing everything possible to safeguard and protect our way of life. 

Over the past few months, I have received countless messages and phone calls thanking the Board for all the work that we do. As I wrote in a previous article last year, words matter, and the power emanating from the voices within our community inspire me to give 120% each and every day and inspire our entire Council to work around the clock.

Now that may not be the strategic answer some were hoping for, however, for many of you, it should provide enough comfort knowing that we are on top of things. I certainly do not know everything and, as the Board, we do not always have the correct answer which is why our door is always open. We invite members of our community to get in contact to ask as many questions as possible. 

What I do know is that it is a long and challenging road ahead and the only way we will get through this is by being a united community, supporting one another, sharing experience and knowledge and always communicating. When it comes to information sharing, there is no reason for anyone to be in the dark – unless of course it’s load shedding and you don’t have an inverter! 

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

• Published in the February 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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