Colloquium in Cape Town – Bringing the community on board

On Monday, along with our National President Mary Kluk and National Director Wendy Kahn, I attended a Cape Jewish community meeting convened to discuss the question of whether or not to include women solo singers at Yom Hashoah ceremonies. Representatives of a broad range of Jewish communal organisations, including the Orthodox and Progressive communities, women’s groups and the youth, participated. All interested parties were given the  opportunity to engage, present their views and suggest possible solutions. The discussion, controlled by the chairman Bobby Godsell was robust, with a diversity of viewpoints expressed, and emphasis placed on the importance of the community itself coming up with creative and constructive ways forward. Several practical suggestions were raised and debated, and will be incorporated in the report on the meeting that Mr Godsell is drafting for the Cape Council.

While we do not yet have a final answer as to how to resolve this dilemma, the colloquium was certainly a constructive step forward. The very process of community consultation, involving frank and respectful debate between the various constituencies, was itself positive. We are confident that ultimately, the kind of good sense and good will that underpinned the discussions in Cape Town will lead to a positive outcome and that our community will emerge the stronger for it. 

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