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The Jewish Report Editorial

Living on the southern tip

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I am so grateful we live on the southern tip of Africa. In the last few months, there have been a number of horrific terror attacks around the world. In the last week alone, there have been attacks in London and Melbourne. In Europe and the US, there is clearly a rise in terror and, with that, anti-Semitism.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Jun 08, 2017

In some places, individual Jews are even choosing to hide their Jewish identity.

This is not the case in South Africa, where Jews are very open about their religion. A prime example of this was evident during the Comrades Marathon on Sunday. 

Comrades prayer 

Here, runners stop (or keep running) while putting on tefillin, saying morning prayers, say tehillin, having something kosher to nibble on or drink some juice before continuing on their way. And those who need to say Kaddish, are assured of a minyan to enable them to do this mitzvah and still participate. 

Think back a number of decades, particularly in Poland, Russia, Germany and other European countries, Jews - no matter how religious - did not openly display their religious rituals out of fear for their lives. Even in some places in South Africa, Jews were not that welcome and didn’t “flaunt” their religion and rituals.

But here and now, it seems Jews stop in the middle of wherever, to do whatever needs to be done in the name of their religion. I find that wonderful! It makes me believe that, despite what is happening with the leadership of this country, we are able to stand up and be proud.

How many other countries have their chief rabbi in the forefront of the battle to unseat the president? We can be proud! 

Terror attacks 

Looking abroad at these horrific attacks, they all seem quite random and definitely not well prepared. Yes, Islamic State (ISIS) had claimed responsibility, but the organisation as such doesn’t seem to have been involved in either.

In ISIS’s claim, they said the attack “was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State in response to the call for targeting the subjects of the coalition states”. What makes someone a “soldier” of the Islamic State? Being sympathetic to their cause?

In London, seven people were killed and 40 were wounded. The “soldiers’ weapons” were a rented van and knives. This represents ISIS’s new global terrorism. Their soldiers don’t appear to require training, any real co-operation or discussion with the ISIS leadership - they certainly don’t seem to need any state-of-the-art weapons.

This type of terrorism is almost more concerning than flying planes into buildings, because all it takes is for a crazy person or three, to carry out an attack. It is almost impossible for security authorities to keep track of such small-scale attacks - but the damage they can do is endless. 

RIP Hugo 

Last week we told you of the saddest tragedy to befall our community in years - the story of Hugo Paluch who was fatally injured when a goalpost fell on him at school. Yeshiva College and religious leadership rallied around the family and the community did all they could to help his family deal with this freak life-altering accident.

When we were rushed to complete our newspaper last Tuesday before Shavuot came in, we were not sure if Hugo was going to survive until the newspaper hit the streets on Friday. We chose to believe he was going to survive and get well.

On Monday night this week, this precious boy passed away.

You may ask why we haven’t got an article about this in this week’s newspaper. We believe we had a duty to write about this tragedy last week, as hard as it was, because we were all reeling from the shock. 

But this week, the SA Jewish Report will not get in the way of the family’s privacy. We wish the Paluch family and all their friends a long life. 

Rest in peace Hugo, your legacy of chesed and mitzvah will live on…

 

 

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