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SAJBD bids sad farewell to Steven Gruzd

ABOVE BOARD - SA Jewish Board of Deputies chair MARY KLUK's weekly paid-for column appeared in the SA Jewish Report on 16 September 2013
by SAJBD chair MARY KLUK | Oct 01, 2013

At the end of this month, we will bid a sad farewell to our Senior Researcher and Political Liaison officer Steven Gruzd, who will be taking up a position at the SA Institute of International Affairs at Wits University. Steve has been with us for just over two years, although his many impressive accomplishments during that time belie this relatively short period of service.

Among many other contributions, he researched and wrote our Jubuntu book on Jewish involvement in social outreach, hosting a well-received “Board Talk” programme on ChaiFM, revitalising and managing our website and representing our community at the Parliamentary hearings into the Protection of State Information Bill.

The Jubuntu project did much to highlight the diverse and innovative ways in which Jewish individuals and organisations are going about assisting disadvantaged members of the wider society.

This is a powerful theme for us to dwell on as we prepare to celebrate Succot, a joyous festival indeed, but one that also brings home to us our essential vulnerability. The succah that we are required to live in for all seven days of the festival, is quintessentially a temporary, make-shift dwelling.

Among many other things, it symbolises the transient nature of our time on this Earth, during which we are ultimately reliant on the Divine protection of our Creator. However, for so many of our fellow South Africans, the succah experience is their daily reality, without the assurance of having a solid, comfortable home to move back into.

In their daily struggle just to acquire the basics of survival, they must build their homes out of whatever materials that come to hand. My call to our community during the coming days is that while observing and drawing strength from this age-old ritual, we also remember those who need our assistance and pledge to do whatever we can to provide it in the New Year that lies ahead. 

1-SAJBD - Steve in Parliament HOMEJust before Yom Kippur, we were gratified to learn that the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa had upheld a complaint of anti-Israel bias on the part of Lotus FM. The Board was instrumental in the drafting of this complaint, and we commend Felicia Levy for presenting it to the BCCSA in her individual capacity.

Pictured right is Steven Gruzd in Parliament. He has represented SA Jewry at the highest levels during his tenure with the SA Jewish Board of deputies.

The encouraging lesson we can take from this experience is that we have in South Africa effective institutions through which our grievances can be aired and appropriately addressed.

Even though not every complaint we bring will be successful, we at least have the assurance that through these bodies, we have a platform through which to make our voices heard and explain our position.

Taken as a whole, the various quasi-government structures that have been set up to give force to the provisions of the Constitution, which include the BCCSA and the SA Human Rights Commission, are showing that they can be relied upon to address the myriad issues brought to them in a conscientious, thorough and scrupulously objective manner.

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