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Op-eds

All systems go for the biennial conference

  • Jeff
Preparations are being finalised for the Board’s 49th biennial national conference, taking place in the Sandton Shul hall this Sunday at 15:00. To book your place, e-mail sajbd@sajbd.org or call Roseanne on (011) 645-2521.
by JEFF KATZ | Aug 18, 2017

We are delighted and honoured that former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has agreed to be our keynote speaker for the occasion. Advocate Madonsela has become a household name in South Africa through the courage, persistence and professional rigour she has displayed in defending the Constitution (in whose original drafting she was involved) and exposing corruption at the highest levels.

The topic on which she will be speaking is entitled, “Reimagining South African Democracy”, and no doubt will focus on what has gone wrong in our country and what needs to be done to get things back on course. 

For the core section of the conference, following my report-back, each of our national professional staff members will speak briefly about what it is that they do and some of the highpoints of what has been achieved in their particular areas since the last conference.

While the Board’s elected lay leaders are the ones who determine matters of policy, it is its professional teams, in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria, who are at the coal face of what the Board does.

Sunday’s conference will provide participants with an opportunity of hearing first-hand what it is to be in the engine room of the Jewish community’s representative spokesbody and civil rights lobby.

It will further give our community a better idea of the diversity of the work in which the Board is involved, which in addition to upholding Jewish civil rights and fighting anti-Semitism, encompasses a range of activities including outreach and upliftment initiatives, media and public relations, cultural, educational and academic projects, information services and country community-related services.

As reported on last week, the conference will also include the presentation of special awards to members of our community who have excelled in particular fields.

The Rabbi Cyril and Ann Harris Human Rights Award, which honours those who have contributed to democracy and social justice in South Africa, will be presented to the founders and heads of the Mitzvah School, Leslie Rosenberg and Molly Smith.

John Moshal and Shirley Beagle will respectively receive the lay and professional Eric Samson Mendel Kaplan Communal Service Awards.

This being my last SA Jewish Report column before I step down as national chairman, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my colleagues at the SAJBD. I further congratulate the incoming leadership and wish them success for their term of office. 

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

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