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The Jewish Report Editorial

Laughter is the best medicine

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Temperatures rose across our readership this last week - some with laughter and others with ire - at our Purim shpiel, “Government to expropriate Yeshiva College, Sandringham Gardens”.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Mar 16, 2017

I fielded some calls from some of the irate people, who were first mad that the ANC would consider taking our prized Sandringham Gardens and Yeshiva property. Once they found out they had missed the joke, for some, it was even less amusing.

“This is not something to joke about - it could happen!” said one caller.

“We have enough problems as Jews, we shouldn’t be frightening people like this,” said another.

It was even suggested that we could have caused heart attacks in the old age home. Apologies! No harm was meant. It was all in the name of good clean fun and - in truth, we really did put so many obvious clues in the copy. Also, I do believe that we all - myself included - need to step out of our, sometimes, tough lives and laugh.

Laughter is such great medicine.

I had a giggle when our two full-page ads were thought to be our Purim shpiel, or part thereof. In the one, Jewish Capetonians called for social housing in Sea Point and other prime sites in Cape Town. See our story on page two this week to see this is totally true.

Clearly these Jews really do care about the less fortunate and are happy to include them in their suburbs. 

I was proud to read in the ad: “We support the dismantling of spatial apartheid in the city of Cape Town so that working-class people and their families can afford to live in and around the city centre. This will mean a united, diverse, safe, prosperous and welcoming city.”

I chuckled at the fact that readers thought that Jewish people wouldn’t really do this. To the contrary, clearly!

Then, the second advert that people thought could have been a shpiel, was the massive increase in subsidies for youth trips to Israel. As a mother, I too did a doubletake at the huge subsidies that the Israel Centre and the Jewish Agency are now offering for youngsters to get a real taste of Israel.

What a fantastic win for Jewish youth! Having spent a few precious years in Israel, I know how valuable this is. Also, when I spent those years there, it was a whole lot more affordable. In this week’s issue we dig into what this really means. See page 13.

There was one irate comment over this issue that really hit home to me. This was: “If you put one fake news story in - no matter the reason - how can we believe anything else you publish?”

And at a time where fake news has almost become a trend, this matters to me as I am so averse to actual fake news.

You need to know that I won’t commit to never running a Purim shpiel again because - just like every media tries to catch out its various audiences on the first of April - it is a fun tradition in Jewish media.

I will, however, promise you that other than that one “shpiel” every year, every story will be done with absolute honesty and integrity.

Here’s to a peaceful weekend and a dignified Human Rights Day. 

Peta Krost Maunder
Editor

1 Comment

  1. 1 Michael Ratner 17 Mar
    I think I've got a better sense of humour than most. However that article was totally out of line especially for us emigrants living outside of South Africa.
    The sad things was that the article was actually feasible. A Jewish community that are doing everything in their power to be invisible, a government splattered with everything ant6i semitic, forgive me for thinking it was real.
    And by the way here in Australia it became a vociferous topic of conversation.
    Also understand that most of the world understands the relevance of April Fools Day and even being proudly Jewish to the extent I lived in Israel for 5 years, too many people or concerned readers actually new gave a Purim thought to the article.
    BAD TASTE and don't try and squirm out of it.

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