A time for remembrance

  • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev
Speaking at last Sunday’s SA Jewish Ex-Service League’s memorial service at West Park cemetery, Rabbi Ron Hendler emphasised how appropriate it was that this event should always be held between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time when the theme of remembrance looms so large in our thoughts and prayers.
by SHAUN ZAGNOEV | Sep 28, 2017

The service is devoted to remembering those men and women from our community who risked - and in many cases gave their lives - in defence of both South Africa, including in the fight against the scourge of Nazism, and of Israel.

We must never allow ourselves to forget how much we owe to those unsung heroes for the peace and security that we enjoy today. I commend the SA Jewish Ex-Service League for continuing to ensure the holding of this important annual event. 

Taking the theme of remembrance further, we should also call to mind during these days those community members of bygone years who laid the foundations for the outstanding Jewish communal infrastructure that we all benefit from today.

When our pioneering forebears first arrived in this country, such an infrastructure had to be built up literally from scratch, usually starting with a place of worship and thereafter by welfare, educational, Zionistic, cultural and youth organisations, all of which we today take for granted.

At the biennial SAJBD national conference, we take the opportunity of honouring certain individuals that are adjudged to have made an especially outstanding contribution in their particular fields. In doing so, however, we are well aware that only a fraction of those who have made a worthy contribution in the course of their lifetimes can be so recognised.

Ultimately, the most meaningful way in which we can pay tribute to their memories, is to build on what they achieved, for their own and future generations, thereby perpetuating their legacy.

World Jewish Congress gears up for Cape Town conference

Next month, the Board will be honoured to host the annual World Jewish Congress National Community Directors’ Forum in Cape Town. This will be the fourth such gathering of Jewish communal professionals from around the world and the first to be held in South Africa.

The forum provides an excellent opportunity for us to forge mutually beneficial working relationships with our overseas colleagues in addressing such common issues as combating anti-Semitism, promoting inter-religious contacts and encouraging cultural and intellectual exchanges.

That South Africa has been chosen as the venue for this year’s event, represents a vote of confidence by world Jewry in our Jewish community specifically and our country in general. It reminds us that we are a valued, active part of a global Jewish network, and that the challenges we all face can best be met and overcome through our working together. 

This being my last SA Jewish Report column for a while in view of the coming chagim, I take this opportunity of wishing you all a good and meaningful Fast and a very joyous Sukkot with your friends, families and loved ones. 


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



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