“Mir zaynen do!”(We are here!) The defiant concluding words of the Partisan Song constitute a ringing declaration by the Jewish people that despite the unspeakable crimes of those seeking their destruction, Am Yisrael Chai - the Nation of Israel still lives. They remind us that when remembering those whose lives were so cruelly and unjustly extinguished, we are also testifying that for all the harm they were able to inflict on us, our enemies failed in their aim of eradicating the Jewish people altogether.
The SAJBD: Always open for business
While the Board’s work naturally slows down over the December break, it never stops altogether. There are always new issues that arise that cannot be put off but have to be dealt with there and then. These can range from renewed upsurges of violence in the Middle East, incidents of antisemitism and even natural disasters. Following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, for example, we became extensively involved in assisting members of our community along with other South Africans caught up in the tragedy.
The Jewish community's political behaviour during the apartheid years has long been the subject of vociferous debate. 25 years after South Africa's transition to democracy, Jewish Affairs editor David Saks revisits the issue.
Inspired by the South African Jewish community
Over the past few weeks, a new movement has emerged on social media: #ImStaying – with almost 800 000 members at this point. The Facebook Page provides daily inspiring and uplifting stories of fellow South Africans who have experienced the special and positive aspects of life in our country. I have my own #IMStaying story which I am choosing to share on this platform.
SAJBD KZN Council President Jeremy Droyman and Council member Mike Caminsky met with the editor of the Sunday Tribune, Mr Sandile Mdadane, this morning to discuss the misleading street poster and newspaper headline that appeared in that paper earlier this week. The front-page read, “Rabbi lures youth to lair”. Mr Droyman shared that Mr Mdadane was extremely warm and receptive. He apologised for the error and will formally do so in print in the upcoming edition. He also offered to publish the SAJBD KZN Council letter of concern expressing the need for sensitivity when dealing with different religions. Please see letter below. Mr Droyman commented that he looked forward to further positive engagements with the Sunday Tribune.
End of the line for UCT Israel boycott
Last week the door was finally closed on long-running efforts by anti-Israel pressure groups to get the University of Cape Town to impose a boycott against its Israeli counterparts. In March this year, the UCT Senate went so far as to pass a resolution to boycott Israeli universities deemed to be ‘enabling’ Israeli rights violations
Last week the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced the results of a survey it had conducted on attitudes toward Jews in 18 countries, including South Africa. The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has analysed the report, considering its finding against its own research data, as well as that of other organisations such as the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies is saddened by the passing earlier today of Sir Donald Gordon. For his phenomenal achievements in both the business and philanthropic fields, Donald Gordon was truly a living legend. As a business leader who founded the global insurance giant Liberty International, he was far-sighted, bold and innovative; as a philanthropist, his unstintingly generosity led to the establishment of a range of outstanding institutions and foundations that have benefited countless people and numerous worthy causes the world over
On Sunday night, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) hosted its 50th national conference in Johannesburg. Held every two years, these gatherings are an opportunity for the community to connect to honour members who had done so much either communally or for the greater South Africa – like the late Johnny Clegg, who we honoured this year – but also to take stock of where we are.