Jewish Life July 2019

Keeping an Eye on Things

Reflections and stories from my experience as an election observer.

Elections are a special time.  They bring with them optimism, excitement, and new horizons.  In our country they symbolise hard fought for and cherished free talking to fellow South Africans whom we would normally never meet, while waiting in a queue to vote.  We laugh together, moan and commiserate about the long wait, but also reminisce about the magical 1994 election.  It is a great leveller.

Above Board 27.7.19

At the time of writing, together with our National Vice-President Zev Krengel, I am in Israel, where we have participated in a number of high-level meetings aimed at providing updates on recent political developments in South Africa, sharing information pertaining to our own community and getting perspectives on the current political situation in Israel. This will form the basis of my next column. 

Above Board 11.7.19

Nahum Goldmann Fellow Programme nurtures Jewish leadership

The recently concluded Nahum Goldmann Fellowship Programme (NGFP), which this year was held in Israel, once again brought together a broad range of up-and-coming young Jewish leaders from around the world for an intensive period of Jewish learning, discussion and sharing of experiences and perspectives. As always, participants found it to be an extremely enriching and inspiring experience, particularly in the opportunities it provided for engaging with Jews from completely different backgrounds.

RACISM: DO THE DUCK TEST

Zev Krengel writes in the Sunday Independent.  His piece is a response to Zane Dangor who questioned whether Jewish leadership were using criticism of Israel to silence debate.  In this article Krengel applies the “Duck test” as an indication of antisemitism.

Yanir Grindler writes for the Daily Maverick "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex enough without the shouting."

Equating Zionism with racism is far too easy a way out of proper debate around the roots of the conflict in the Middle East, and Israel Apartheid Week serves to exacerbate rather than defuse the tensions. The time has come for rational debate in an attempt to find common ground between the two opposing sides, rather than slogan-shouting.

The Great Debate #MakeUsCount

Join in this year’s Great Debate and engage with leaders from five political parties as they discuss issues pertinent to the community.  Make your voice heard by sending your questions to yanir@sajbd.org or tweet your questions using #MakeUsCount. 

ANC TODAY Human Rights Day column

This year, Human Rights Day coincides with the Jewish festival of Purim. While the two events appear to have little in common, in actuality, there are numerous interesting parallels between them. The Purim narrative, based on events recorded in the Book of Esther, abounds with human rights themes.