Helping SA Jewry to be part of the solution
One particularly noteworthy shift in emphasis was that whereas previously, the work of the board was largely concerned with the internal workings of the Jewish community, there was now a recognition that the organisation also needed to involve itself in the broader process of post-apartheid nation building.
This, among other things, includes bringing to bear wherever possible the kind of skills and resources that our community is able to provide to alleviate the serious socio-economic imbalances in our society. Over the years, a number of such initiatives have been implemented, amongst them our Black-Jewish Entrepreneurs Network (B-JEN), pioneered by our Cape Council, and thereafter successfully replicated in Johannesburg.
South Africa’s pressing economic concerns and how to address them was very much the theme of last week’s Youth Economic Crowdstorming Summit, in which the board partnered with the Wandile Zulu Foundation and ORT-SA (which hosted the event).
The stated purpose of the event was to “expose young professionals to fresh perspectives and ideas to share their economic vision with the rest of the country”. Young thought leaders and entrepreneurs from diverse sectors such as faith-based groups, trade unions, business, and education were invited to table their ideas for developing “a detailed, comprehensive, and executable economic roadmap for identifying key problems in the economy and solutions to overcome them”.
Three of the participants, who constituted the SAJBD delegation for the occasion and presented papers, were members of our community. The board was also responsible for publicity and media coverage, executed through our communications department, headed by Charisse Zeifert. The board’s communications structures have frequently been used to promote the work of the organisations with which we work, including the Hate Crimes Working Group.
The event is an excellent example of how the board mobilises the Jewish community in addressing issues of concern to the greater society. It went off very successfully, and I congratulate all those responsible for putting it all together.
The Shabbos Project, the brainchild of Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, was an immediate hit when first introduced in 2013. It has since gone on to become a global phenomenon, one that has brought countless Jews together in a very special way.
As an unequivocally “made in South Africa” export, it is something our community can justly be proud of. The Shabbos Project encourages community members from across the religious spectrum to come together in keeping Shabbat in all its rich symbolism and meticulous attention to detail that has marked its observance by our people over more than three millennia.
I look forward to celebrating this coming Shabbat with as many of our community members as possible.
- Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.