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SA Organisations

Confronting racism, discrimination everyone’s problem

  • JeffKatz
As South African Jewish citizens, we have an obligation to combine our own specific concerns as a community with active participation in addressing problems facing our country as a whole. One particularly pressing area involves dealing with the continuing threat of racism and other forms of prejudice in our society.
by JEFF KATZ | Feb 03, 2016

The Board is an active, visible presence in the various initiatives that have been launched to confront this scourge. In addition to being the correct moral and ethical thing to do, our participation allows us to maintain and enhance valuable partnerships with other human rights activists which lends additional credibility to our efforts to combat anti-Semitism.

This week, National Director Wendy Kahn took part in two important public events aimed at addressing racism and bigotry in our society. On Monday, she attended a convention towards a Front for Nation Building, Social Cohesion and Reconciliation, and the following day attended a press briefing held by the newly formed Anti-Racism Network of South Africa to announce the upcoming launch of Anti-Racism week (March 14 - 21).

The former event, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Arts and Culture, was organised in response to the recent spate of racist incidents highlighting that some South Africans still today remain bitterly divided along racial lines.

As was correctly pointed out, the current situation urgently requires people to focus on what unites, rather than what divides us and that the concepts of equality and inclusivity have to become ingrained within all of us if we are to succeed in meeting the challenges facing us as a nation.

The Board also continues to be actively involved in the work of the Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG). Alana Baranov, vice-president of the Council for KwaZulu-Natal Jewry, is a member of its steering committee.

Last week, she was responsible for co-ordinating a series of interviews with, among others, various organisations representing the Somali, Nigerian, Ethiopian and Rwanda refugee communities for the HCWG Research Unit in order to collect testimony from victims of hate crimes and discrimination.

 

Positivity and energy from Avi Mayer

 

Avi Mayer’s whirlwind visit to South Africa, during which he addressed various communal groups, gave workshops and met with a range of lay and professional leaders, concluded this week. We are extremely grateful to him for all his efforts, and for the undiminished enthusiasm and ready helpfulness that he displayed at all times.

Everyone who engaged with Avi, in addition to benefiting from his insights (particularly regarding using the social media) and knowledge of developments in Israel and the Jewish world in general, was uplifted by his enthusiasm and sheer positivity that he brings to everything he does.

Avi in so many ways reflects the dynamic, “can-do” positivity of Israel, which is seeing it accomplish so much despite the many formidable challenges that confront it. It was a real honour and pleasure for the Board to have hosted Avi and we already look forward to his next visit here.

 

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

 

 

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