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Durban - a Jewish community that punches far above its weight

  • CommunityKZNAGM
“Our mandate remains unchanged: to safeguard, unite, represent and follow the value of tikkun olam.” These were the words with which Jeremy Droyman, current president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) KwaZulu-Natal Council, opened the 86th Annual General Meeting on September 4.
by LAUREN SHAPIRO | Sep 14, 2017

Droyman applauded the fact that the levels of anti-Semitic behaviour in South Africa are significantly lower than is the case in other major Diaspora countries but emphasised that the community should remain viguland..

On a physical level, the community has upgraded security at communal installations.

Droyman noted that the past 12 months had brought a rapid decline in the socio-economic climate. “We need to adapt, should we wish to continue to perform our mandate. We need to embrace change.”

The SAJBD KZN Council’s impact, with its 18 affiliate organisations, is not restricted to the Jewish community. After the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal in August, the Council appealed to the community and was able to give a substantial donation of blankets, towels and foodstuffs for those affected by the tragedy.

On her maiden voyage to Durban, the SAJBD’s diplomatic and newly-appointed parliamentary liaison, Chaya Singer, reported: “We are increasing our presence and impact in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

“This holds tremendous benefit for all of us in that we can bring provincial, regional and local concerns of our community - which are matters often ignored in favour of national issues - to the attention of members.”

The keynote speaker was Sipho Nzuza, who took up the post of city manager in May.  “As the city, we truly value your contribution towards ensuring sustainable economic growth in eThekwini.”

He noted that large-scale catalytic projects are poised to create massive economic growth over the next 10 to 20 years, creating thousands of investment and employment opportunities, including in excess of 600 000 permanent jobs.

Honorary Life President John Moshaldescribed how “we as a community have set about destroying prejudice” and appealed to Nzuza to include in his mandate, collaboration with Israel for the good of the greater community, especially with regard to issues such as IT and water desalination.

“The character of the Jews is that they spread their largesse to other parts of the community,” Moshal said. “We may be small in numbers, but these 1 200 souls punch far above their weight.”

For  2017-2018, Droyman and Susan Abro retain their positions as president and vice president respectively. Marc Thom continues as honorary treasurer, and Ronnie Herr keeps his position as chairman of the financial management committee. Elected members are Clive Bernstein, John Goldreich, John Patlansky and Michael Selikow. 

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