The Jewish Report Editorial

Giving everyone a fair hearing

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When a Jewish person does well, we klibe such naches and love to bask in their glory. Remember when Joel Stransky kicked that winning drop goal in the World Cup 1995? He became our hero and we were very proud that he was Jewish.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Jul 20, 2017

He may never have seen himself as part of the community, but we loved that one of us was behind South Africa’s World Cup win on our home turf.

I suppose it is only natural that we would enjoy and celebrate the success of members of our tribe. In the same way, we would be proud of a sibling who has excelled. No different!

But when members of the tribe stray or do something perceived as bad or wrong, it also affects us as a community very deeply. We take it very personally. And the community either rallies to support them, believing them to be wronged, or we get angry with them and may well alienate or disassociate ourselves from them.

This can be incredibly painful to the people on the receiving end, whether or not they are guilty. I make the analogy again of the family in that, when times are tough, you need those closest to you.

So, you may or may not be following #Guptagate and the hundreds of thousands of e-mails that are exposing deeds that the Guptas and their cronies certainly would prefer to hide.

The amount of information coming out at a rate of knots is quite astounding. There are a number of top investigative journalists who are piecing together huge revelatory stories from these e-mails. And so far, a few Jewish names have come up.

For most of us, when we hear or read about a Jewish person involved, our ears prick up. It isn’t something we can help - it is what I call our ‘Jew-dar (Jewish radar). Simply said, we take anything Jewish very personally, whether it makes us angry or proud.

My sense is that, whether we like it or not, when you do something, you are representing your family, your company and your community.  Those people will see what you do as a reflection on them.

Earlier this week, I heard a group of people talking at gym about the “Jews of Guptagate” and I realised that it is not just us who recognise names as Jewish, other people do too. That is part of the reason that we react the way we do.

We know that other people see us as Jewish and will lump us all in the same box. , If one Jewish person does something wrong, it has an impact. If three do, then it has more of an impact because of the concern that others will see us as all tarred with the same brush.

We would all like to believe that as ”People of the Book” we live a clean and perfect life. But, in truth, we are but human, and we all make mistakes - some bigger and some smaller.

So, when we see the people involved in #Guptagate, we may feel it is fine to ignore them or even shut them out of the community.  

Now, at no point do I believe that it is acceptable to do wrong. Nor do I believe a person who crosses the criminal line should get away with it. No chance! Commit a crime and you should be punished.

However, I do believe we should give a person a chance to explain themselves and at least be given their day in court where justice can be done.

If your sibling did wrong and crossed a line, would you forgive them and hold their hand when the rest of the world won’t? You probably would.

All I am saying is: On the one hand, when we cross a line, we need to remember we do it in the name of all of us. On the other hand, if someone crosses a line, we should give them the benefit of the doubt and not shut the door to them and throw away the key. 

Everyone deserves to be heard. Everyone deserves a chance to clear their name. Everyone deserves compassion and a fair hearing.

Shabbat Shalom!






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