Shaun Zagnoev

Above Board 10.1.20

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.

Less dramatic but likewise vital is to be there when communal organisations or even individual community members require our assistance. Over the past month the Board was much involved in addressing certain problems that had arisen with one of our end-of-year youth camps so as to ensure that its activities could continue as normal, and in the repatriation of the body of a community member who had sadly passed away while overseas. Neither of these issues were at all straight-forward, but working through the relevant official structures with which we have established effective working relationships over the years, we were fortunately able to resolve them. Whatever the matter at hand, our community can feel assured that we will always strive to be there for them 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Class of 2019: Well done and best of luck

Over the decades, Jewish matric candidates have consistently recorded outstanding results, and this time round was no exception. I am pleased to once more be able to congratulate our young learners and wish them all success as they embark on the next exciting phase of their life’s journey. Such successes do not happen without considerable hard work and dedication, not only on the part of the students themselves but from the broader team of educationalists, lay leaders, caring parents and generous benefactors who together ensure the continued vigour and viability of our outstanding Jewish day school system. It is these institutions that have over the decades consistently produced young people who are both Jewishly literate and superbly prepared for the next stage of their careers as independent young adults, whether in going on to further education and training or in carving out their own particular niches in the greater workplace.

When young Jews leave their parents’ homes, maintaining their Jewish affiliations becomes a matter of personal choice. Regardless of what path you have chosen, we urge that you also maintain your connections with the Jewish community, and indeed hope to see you becoming progressively more involved in Jewish communal affairs in years to come. For those who are going on to university, an excellent start would be to sign up with the SA Union of Jewish Students. Like the SAJBD itself, SAUJS provides a broad tent within which all Jewish students can feel they have a place. I encourage you all to get involved, and take full advantage of the wide range of social, educational, religious and outreach activities that it offers.

• Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00-13:00

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