Op-eds

    • Peta low

    Stepping off the treadmill for Shabbos

    Nov 21, 2019 Go comment!
    In the run-up to the Shabbos Project last week, I heard numerous people say it was passé and had had its time. Some even said the chief rabbi, who created the Shabbos Project seven years ago, needs to come up with a new innovation.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)

    Pretoria Council turns ‘three-score-and-ten’

    Nov 21, 2019 Go comment!
    The recent South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) national conference marked the fiftieth such biennial gathering of Jewish community leadership since the establishment of a united, nationally-based board in 1912. At its annual general meeting on Sunday, the SAJBD Pretoria Council likewise celebrated a significant milestone: its 70th anniversary as a distinct regional council of the board. Prior to that, Pretoria had been considered part of the greater Johannesburg region.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    Criticism is one thing, insult is another

    Nov 21, 2019 Go comment!
    I gave a talk to the Claremont community in Cape Town over Shabbat on how to embrace criticism. As someone who is no stranger to being on the receiving end, I’m often forced to deliberate whether or not to take the message on board.
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    • Geoff

    Words can be poisonous weapons

    Nov 21, 2019 Go comment!
    What is a “location”? To most people, it’s a place. But in South Africa, it was once an area inhabited by mainly desperately poor black people. When many South Africans used that word, it suggested a dirty, unsafe area, where poor people cooked pap outdoors.
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    • WIZOColumnNewPhoto

    Visitors praise Neve WIZO

    Nov 21, 2019 Go comment!
    The Johannesburg treasurer of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), Maxine Laffer, last month spent time in Israel visiting Neve WIZO, one of WIZO South Africa’s projects. She was accompanied by Steven Swart, the South African member of parliament for the African Christian Democratic Party, his wife Louise, and their daughter, Siobhan.
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    • EdenPlein

    We cannot forget Yitzhak Rabin

    Nov 14, 2019 1 Comment
    Yitzhak Rabin was an Israeli military hero and political leader, who served two terms as prime minister. He was assassinated while in office on 4 November 1995 in Tel Aviv.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)

    Half full or half empty? Conference considers state of our nation

    Nov 14, 2019 Go comment!
    Telling people to “face reality” generally means saying they should recognise where there are problems instead of burying their heads in the sand. In a different context, though, it can mean precisely the opposite, namely that we should beware of becoming so fixated on the negatives that we fail to take into account where things are going right. Reality, after all, is by definition all-encompassing – it refers just as much to strengths as it does to weaknesses.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    ‘Dancing at Two Chuppahs’

    Nov 14, 2019 Go comment!
    My late grandmother, who understood me well, was fond of telling me that I can’t “dance at two chuppas”. In essence, what she was trying desperately to tell me was that as much as I might want to be, I could not be in two places at once, and that it would best if I focused on one thing at a time. Millennials use the term “FOMO”, which is the fear of missing out, and for me it is pretty much the same thing. It explains why I find it difficult to switch off at night, knowing that the world is carrying on and I might be missing something, and why I leap frantically out of bed at 4am, eager to find out what I might have missed.
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    • Geoff

    Our lethal penchant to fiddle needs a rethink

    Nov 14, 2019 Go comment!
    The threat to human life from climate change renders archaic the disputes about religion, power and territory over which we traditionally fight. A strange “benefit” of the climate crisis is that now nobody can deny humanity is one: either we work together to solve it, or we die together.
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    • sara gon

    Pay attention to BDS’s marketing drives to the church

    Nov 07, 2019 Go comment!
    The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) has joined the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.
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    • simon apfel

    Remembering 1995

    Nov 07, 2019 Go comment!
    I remember the 1995 Rugby World Cup final like it was nine years ago. Matt Damon lifting the Webb Ellis Cup while Morgan Freeman smiled on benevolently, and a crowd of computer-generated extras going wild, uniting a nation, and signalling the beginning of Clint Eastwood’s inevitable decline.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)

    Super Springboks show the way forward

    Nov 07, 2019 Go comment!
    One didn’t have to be a rugby fan to be thrilled by the Springboks’ memorable victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. In purely sporting terms, winning rugby’s premier crown for the third time was itself a great achievement, but there was a great deal more to it than that. What we and the world at large saw was an epic display of pride, passion, commitment and, above all, unstinting teamwork on the part of 15 South Africans totally focused on achieving their common goal. And, who could not be deeply moved by how the Springbok emblem, once the reviled symbol of exclusive white supremacy, has become so powerful a uniting force? It’s a timely reminder of how far our country has progressed since those bleak times, even if much work still needs to be done to recapture the spirit of national unity and optimism that characterised the years immediately following the democratic transition.
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    • Geoff

    Are the phoenixes rising?

    Nov 07, 2019 Go comment!
    Can we yet be bold enough to celebrate South Africa? Amidst our thirst for good news after the depressing news of the past decade, green shoots are visible. Not yet on the economic front, which remains dire, as finance minister Tito Mboweni outlined in his mid-term budget, but elsewhere, vigour is gingerly starting to show itself.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    United by rugby

    Nov 07, 2019 Go comment!
    Ever since the security guard at our complex drew his weapon and pointed it at Fred, we haven’t been friends. It’s not to say that he was completely without justification, and not to say that there haven’t been times that I too could have acted aggressively towards him. But I was bothered by the incident nevertheless, primarily because being a Yorkshire Terrier, Fred had no idea what a weapon was. Which meant that it wasn’t a smart thing to do.
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    • JTAPittsburghRabbi1

    In a world of anger, it’s time to calm down

    Oct 31, 2019 Go comment!
    (JTA) I have been the rabbi of the New Light Congregation in Pittsburgh for nine years. This year, at Kol Nidre services on Yom Kippur, I preached calm.
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    • AdamSchlosberg1

    Proud to be LGBT and Jewish

    Oct 31, 2019 1 Comment
    The biggest city in the rainbow nation was a sea of rainbow flags last weekend for the Joburg Pride parade in Sandton, Gauteng, on 26 October.
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    • AboveBoardShaunZagnoev (3)

    SAJBD conference debates critical issues

    Oct 31, 2019 1 Comment
    Preparations for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies’ (SAJBD’s) biennial national conference, to take place at the Houghton Hotel on 10 November, have entered their final stretch. As suggested by the title of this year’s event, “Unpacking Reality”, the aim is to explore honestly and rigorously various questions relating to the situation in which our country finds itself.
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    • Howard Feldman 2018

    Shabbat and the Rugby World Cup Final

    Oct 31, 2019 Go comment!
    I don’t remember which “breakthrough” agreement it was. But it was important. The Israelis and the Palestinians were finally about to reach an agreement on the White House lawns, and peace was about to come to the Middle East. At last. The only problem was that it was all to be announced on Friday afternoon in Washington, which meant that Shabbat would have already started in Israel (which is where we were that weekend).
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    • Geoff

    Has DA crisis burst white bubble?

    Oct 31, 2019 Go comment!
    As the Democratic Alliance threatens to implode, the sense of security it has given the small white population of South Africans, many Jews among them, gets shakier. In spite of its flaws, its existence represented a political home in a confusing context where they struggle to find another. This isn’t ideological in terms of helping to build a great country to tackle the misery of the masses, but mainly about a personal standard of living and security.
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    • Steven Gruzd

    Trump impeachment proceedings stoke anti-Semitism

    Oct 10, 2019 Go comment!
    United States President Donald Trump faces impeachment over pressing a foreign leader to dig up dirt on Trump’s main political opponent. The involvement of prominent Jewish Democrats in these congressional proceedings is stoking anti-Semitic rhetoric by Trump and his supporters as they fight back.
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