Good sense prevails in ‘Kol Isha’ dispute

Last week, the SAJBD Cape Council reached an agreement with those parties who had instituted legal proceedings against it based on  the absence  of women solo singers at Yom Hashoah ceremonies. As per the agreement, future Cape Town ceremonies will be divided into two parts, with an initial cultural-educational component including women singing being followed by the traditional Yom Hashoah format. Through this agreement, Yom Hashoah will be  observed in Cape Town  without any sector of the community feeling offended or excluded. Following the agreement, the litigants have withdrawn their court application.

In welcoming the settlement, our National President Mary Kluk commented that she was “proud of the fact that while the SA Jewish community is diverse and heterogeneous, we are still able to frankly discuss and debate issues that are emotive and potentially disruptive to our community within. Our community is close-knit and unique, and it should never be in the hands of Courts to decide our internal conflicts”. I fully endorse this view. This was always a matter that should in the first instance have been resolved through dialogue, consultation and compromise between the various stakeholders in the community. That the courts were brought into it is extremely regrettable, as was the fact that the matter was quite unnecessarily played out in the media. Predictably, our community was not depicted in a positive light, with the emphasis being placed on the dispute itself rather than on the complexities of the situation and the sincere efforts being made to resolve it.    

Throughout the process, the overriding aim of our Cape Council was to maintain Shalom Bayit and work for a solution that was in the best interests of the Cape community as a whole. I commend all those who played their part, in particular Cape Chairman Eric Marx, in seeing this complex, often painful matter through to a satisfactory conclusion.

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