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Lifestyle/Community

KwaZulu-Natal Jewry raring to go

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LAUREN SHAPIRO
DURBAN

Communal leaders lit yahrzeit candles in honour of the 43 fallen soldiers (at the time) of the Israeli Defence Forces, as well as the innocent civilians of Israel and Gaza who have tragically perished during the latest conflict.

South African Jewish Board of Deputies Chairman Mary Kluk, National Director Wendy Kahn, and Head of Communications Charisse Zeifert, addressed the audience, discussing the difficulties facing the Jewish community both nationally and on the streets of Durban, where a pro-Palestinian protest march just days earlier, had attracted thousands, including Mayor James Nxumalo.

The CKNJ – the regional office of the SAJBD – plays a vital role in KwaZulu-Natal. In her President’s Report, outgoing president, Linda Nathan, recapped the work of the CKNJ, whose mission is to safeguard, unite and represent the Jewish community in the province.

The CKNJ is responsible for projects such as the annual Yom Hashoah ceremony, bursaries for tertiary education, and the LivingKZN outreach programme. During Nathan’s two-year term of office and through the generosity of the JAKAMaR Trust, 110 wheelchairs and 300 reconditioned computers were distributed to deserving schools and institutions across the province.

“My term of office has been challenging, yet fulfilling and rewarding. I felt an immense sense of pride each time I represented this community. I hope I have achieved my goal which was to bring the CKNJ closer to the community.”

Continuing this goal is incoming president, Ronnie Herr. Of her successor, Nathan says: “He is forward-thinking, goal-driven, and absolutely dedicated to this community and I wish him and his incoming council a successful term of office.”

Herr will be assisted by a team consisting of Vice Presidents Jeremy Droyman and Alana Baranov; Honorary Treasurer Gary Baranov; Chairman of the Financial Management Committee David Simpson (current vice-president SAJBD); Past Presidents Mary Kluk (current chairman SAJBD); and Sidney Lazarus and Honorary President John Moshal.

Jeremy Droyman will also chair the United Communal Fund (UCF), while Alana Baranov will function as public relations and media officer. Prof Antony Arkin, chairman of the  KwaZulu-Natal Zionist Council, serves ex-officio on the executive.

Elected members chair various portfolios. Susan Abro is legal adviser, Clive Bernstein assists the UCF, John Patlansky takes over responsibility for the Durban Jewish Centre, and David Unterslak heads a new informal education portfolio, the aim of which is to combine local Jewish educational resources onto a central database and to share these among the Jewish educational facilities in Durban.

Herr recognises the challenges facing him. One is finance, with several of the 17 affiliate organisations relying on the CKNJ for support.

The second is unifying the community. “We need everybody to stand up and do something – to be a part of the community, not apart from it”’ he said.

He added: “My roadmap for the next two years, with the help of my executive committee, is to stretch our limited resources and manpower and to try to make a meaningful contribution for the betterment of this community.”

* For more information on the CKNJ and its projects, visit www.cknj.co.za

 

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