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Cape of unease

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In the first six months of this year, there were a number of concerning incidents of antisemitic threats and intimidation against the Jewish community and its institutions, particularly in Cape Town. At the time of writing, we’re preparing for a high-level meeting with the national commissioner of police and his team to discuss these issues. I hope to report more fully on what was discussed and the outcomes in next week’s issue of the paper.

The Cape Board has already engaged with a number of relevant figures in government, policing, and state security to raise its concerns, including with Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and the mayoral committee member (MMC) for safety and security. I was able to join our Cape colleagues for the meeting with the mayor and members of the mayoral committee. It was an important opportunity for us to brief them on what has being happening, and the understandable unease this has raised in our community. We trust that the City of Cape Town and the South African Police Service have taken these concerns on board, and are dealing with the matter with due seriousness.

Jubuntu 2023

When addressing the Board’s 2011 national conference, then Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe emphasised the contribution that Jews could make in the vital area of social upliftment. This inspired the Board’s “Jubuntu” project, whose two-fold purpose was first to document the diverse and innovative ways in which the community was then assisting disadvantaged members of the wider society, and second to identify ways in which the lessons provided by these projects might be adopted on a broader basis. Projects by organisations and individuals were included in the survey, which did much to highlight Jewish-headed efforts countrywide to empower disadvantaged communities through skills development and entrepreneurship training. The results were published in a book titled Jubuntu, a copy of which was formally presented to Motlanthe.

Since then, many further Jewish-led upliftment initiatives have been launched, with the various branches of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies itself having made social outreach an ongoing part of its core work. Consequently, we have decided that the time has come to bring out a second, updated edition of Jubuntu. As before, this will document the various projects being run as well as providing an up-to-date resource and directory for Jewish organisations and individuals wanting to involve themselves in such work. To achieve this, we’re naturally reliant on members of our community getting in touch with us and supplying the relevant information, as well as suitable illustrative material. I urge everyone who is involved in or might know of such initiatives to contact our offices on

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

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