A tradition of friendship
Biz hundert un tsvantsig (may you live until 120), as Jews like to say when wishing each other a long life. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), founded in 1903 “to watch and take action with reference to all matters affecting the welfare of Transvaal and Natal Jews” (the Cape Board was established a year later), is today just a couple of years short of reaching that milestone.
Since one of the things most affecting the welfare of the community is anti-Jewish prejudice, much of the SAJBD’s work during the past (almost) twelve decades has been geared towards confronting that menace. Fortunately, we haven’t had to do so entirely on our own. Over the years, a number of highly-principled and sympathetic individuals from the broader community have joined us in the fight, including such distinguished figures as Olive Schreiner, J C Smuts, and J H Hofmeyr. Happily, that tradition continues to this day, and one of those who has dedicated much effort to defending his Jewish fellow citizens is Clive Motlake Mashishi.
Mashishi became aware of an increase in antisemitism in his community through the punting of texts such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the frequency with which Jews were being blamed for COVID-19. Concerned about the dissemination of such toxic misinformation, he decided to do something about it.
In last week’s column, I wrote about the global #WeRemember campaign that had been run for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Now, under his banner of the Clive Mashishi Foundation, Clive is taking that campaign further. Among other things, he has designed banners, each of which reveals a bit more information about the campaign, which will appear on busy intersections in the Vaal area, including on the Golden Highway near the Vaal River. He hopes that those who see the banners will be curious enough to want to learn more. In addition, he has produced a number of one-minute videos that talk about the Holocaust, its victims, and why it’s so important that #WeRemember. The videos will be distributed among the various pastors with whom Clive works, and will help to disseminate the message to broader communities. We commend and warmly thank Clive for all he is doing for our community.
COVID-19 Q&A series up and running
Last week, the SAJBD launched its COVID-19 Q&A series, with experts responding online to COVID-19-related issues raised by community members. The series kicked off with clinical psychologist Dr Serenne Kaplan addressing mental-health issues and offering coping strategies, and Professor Barry Schoub responding to a variety of questions pertaining to COVID-19 vaccines. To assist us in responding directly to your concerns, I invite you to go to https://www.facebook.com/SAJBD/ or email us on email@example.com.
- Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.