Positioning Statement

The SAJBD is the umbrella representative spokesbody and civil rights lobby of the SA Jewish community. It promotes the safety and welfare of South African Jewry, including combating antisemitism in all its forms, and builds bridges of friendship and understanding between Jews and the broader South African population.   

Wendy Kahn

Finding Common Ground

I have been an ardent admirer of Rachelle  Fraenkel since I first got to know this remarkable woman through the eyes of the media. Together with world Jewry, I prayed for the safe return of Eyal, Naphtali, and Gilad, and grieved when we learned the heart-breaking news that they had been murdered. I watched in awe as she and the other five parents who, caught up in the most horrific situation with which a parent can be faced, exhibited nothing but strength, dignity, and yirat shamayim.

Wendy Kahn

Speaking Before the Parliment of the People

In 2012, a bill was introduced in the parliament of South Africa calling for the labelling of certain Israeli goods as ‘Products of the Occupied Palestinian Territories’. Our community was outraged and raised the issue in many different forums: political,legal, and through street protests.

Jeff Katz

The Changing Reality of Terror

At the time of writing this, concerns about the threat of global terrorism are at an all time high in light of the many attacks that have been carried out over the past few months. Hardly a day goes by now without hearing of at least one attack somewhere in the world, whether in war-torn Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, or in France, Belgium, Germany, and other European countries, in the United States or in Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia or other parts of our own continent.

Wendy Kahn

Etched in our Collective Memory

June the 16th stands out in our psyche and hearts as an historical milestone. It was a day that changed our country and each one of its citizens forever. Just as Americans remember where they were when JFK was assassinated, or when the planes hit the World Trade Centre, so do South Africans remember vividly the day that the horrific brutality of the Apartheid force came down on protesting schoolchildren. The image of the dying Hector Pieterson, one of the most iconic photographs of our generation, was etched in our minds forever.

David Saks

Marking the Birth of SA's Jewish Community

At the time of writing, Shavuot is just a  few days away. On Motzai Shabbos, thousands of community members will be coming together in shuls and batei midrashim throughout the country for the traditional Tikkun Leil learning programme. It all provides a dramatic contrast to the first Jewish communal prayer service in South Africa, held on Erev Yom Kippur, 1841, in the home of Cape Town businessman Benjamin Norden.

Wendy Kahn

Putting A Face On Suffering

Earlier this year, I was privileged to spend Human Rights Day in Sharpeville. On the square where the horrific massacre took place 56 years ago, I stood next to a woman by the name of Maria Morake, who was a witness to the atrocity. Maria recounted to me her personal story of what happened on that day, 21 March 1960.

Wendy Kahn

Remembering Those We Lost In Argentina

On July 18 1994, a suicide bomber drove a car filled with hundreds of kilograms of explosives into the Jewish community’s AMIA building in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds were injured. The AMIA bombing (proceeded in 1991 with the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires where 29 civilians died) became one of the precursors of the wave of global terror that has swept the world and escalated in decades since then. Last month, I participated in a World Jewish Congress Conference in Buenos Aires as a member of the SAJBD delegation. One of the reasons Argentina was selected for this meeting was that the dates would coincide with the anniversary of the Israeli Embassy bombing on the 17 March 1992.

Zev Krengel

Appreciating What We Have

The following is adapted from an address by Zev Krengel, National Vice-President of the SAJBD, at this year’s Miracle Drive launch.

Wendy Kahn

Pulling off the Plaster

The year 1994 was a euphoric time for all South Africans. We celebrated the values of democracy and human rights and we spoke of Madiba magic, the rainbow nation, and of course Ubuntu. Life was good. We had avoided civil war and bloodshed and, in the main, crossed the bridge unscathed into the New South Africa.

Wendy Kahn

Stop the Hate

While 2016 was still in its infancy and we were surfacing from the holiday euphoria, we got the news that has shaken our precious democracy; that racism was well and thriving in our country. Penny Sparrow broke the bubble with her ‘monkey’ comments, followed closely by Steven Hart, Velaphi Khumalo, and Nicole de Klerk. Sadly, I suspect that by the time this is published there will be many more.

Wendy Kahn

A Night To Remember

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies' phones have not stopped ringing, and glowing messages have been sent on email, social media and, of course, while queuing at the shops, over Shabbat tables and in our internal and external meetings.

Jewish Affairs - Chanukah 2016

The Chanukah 2016 issue of Jewish Affairs has now been posted on the SAJBD’s Website and Facebook. The printed version will be mailed to subscribers shortly.


Jewish Affairs - Chanukah 2016

The Chanukah 2016 issue of Jewish Affairs has now been posted on the SAJBD’s Website and Facebook. The printed version will be mailed to subscribers shortly.


The SAJBD in the Media

The Board featured prominently in the media last week, with our statement condemning the racially-motivated ‘coffin’ assault in Mpumalanga receiving wide coverage.

Global Jewish Partnerships

As stressed in previous columns, the Board maintains close links with international Jewish communities and organisations. This week, our National Director Wendy Kahn took part in a conference and workshop for Jewish professional communal executives in Dublin.

Working for Our Students

If you were to ask our National Director, Wendy Kahn, which aspects of the Board’s work are the most complex, time-consuming and stressful, there is no doubt that resolving problems of university exams set on Shabbat or Yom Tov would rank high on the list.

Welcome to our new Cape Director

Last month, the SAJBD – Cape Council appointed Joshua Hovsha as its new executive director. Joshua has very much hit the ground running, and we have already had the opportunity of working with him on issues of national concern.

Cyberhate

The work of the Board last week was dominated by the visit of Jonathan Vick, Assistant Director: Cyberhate Response at the Anti-Defamation League of Bnai B’rith (ADL). Our purpose in having Jonathan come out was two-fold.

Antisemitic graffiti in Solomon Mahlangu House

The antisemitic graffiti (‘Kill a Jew’ and ‘F*** the Jews’) that appeared in Solomon Mahlangu House yesterday is indicative of the ugly racism that has unfortunately surfaced during the student protest. 

Tensions on Campuses

Race has unfortunately emerged as a rallying issue in this campaign, again causing polarisation and division on our campuses and in our society.

Hate Crime Bill Welcomed In SA

South Africans from different walks of life have applauded the decision by Minister Malusi Gigaba and the department of Home Affairs to prohibit Pastor Steven Anderson and 17 of his associates from visiting this country.

SA Jewish Community Mourns the loss of Shimon Peres

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the IUA / UCF, together with the Israeli people and the broader international community, joins in mourning the passing of Shimon Peres.

Rabbi Rosen speaks at Beyachad

A capacity crowd at Beyachad last night was enthralled by Rabbi David Rosen’s account of the extraordinary revolution in Jewish-Catholic relations that has taken place over the past fifty years. 

The SAJBD notes the arrest of four terror suspects by Hawks

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies notes that the Hawks have arrested four terror suspects on charges of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism Act.  We further note that that included in the alleged targets were Jewish installations.  Terrorism is a global challenge that affects many countries, including our own.  We appreciate efforts by our authorities to monitor and prevent incidents of terrorism, and we will be monitoring the current situation.

The SAJBD condemns the heinous attacks in Istanbul

Following the horrendous terrorist attacks at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, the SAJBD today sent condolences to Turkish Ambassador Esener expressing our heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with all the people of Turkey at this difficult time. 

Marlene Bethlehem elected as President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture

The SAJBD congratulates Marlene Bethlehem, its Past President, on her election as President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture held in Mexico on June 27th, South African Marlene Bethlehem communal stalwart, spanning over fifty years of service, was unanimously elected as President of this prestigious organisation.