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The rise of global anti-Semitism

  • Kluk Mary HOME
The forthcoming meeting of the executive of the World Jewish Congress, will again focus on confronting the rise of global anti-Semitism. Hardly a week now goes by without at least one serious incident being recorded somewhere in the world, whether it involves assault (or worse), the vandalising of synagogues or cemetery desecration.
by MARY KLUK | Mar 24, 2015

Over the weekend, three young members of our own community were accosted in a Johannesburg shopping mall and both physically and verbally assaulted. It was the first anti-Semitic incident involving violence that has been recorded in South Africa in a long while.

From certain remarks made by the attackers, it also appears that the growing trend - pushed by, among others, the BDS movement - of holding local Jewry responsible for what is happening in the Middle East, was the reason for the assault.

The Board and CSO are working closely with the authorities to get to the bottom of this awful incident and bring those responsible to book. Even though none of the youngsters were seriously hurt, it will have been a traumatic experience to be subjected to so despicable an act of bullying, especially when their being visibly Jewish was clearly the motivation for this.

We will not, and indeed cannot, allow anti-Semitic thugs to make members of our community feel unsafe when displaying their Jewishness in public. By hopefully identifying the perpetrators and ensuring a successful prosecution, we aim to send out a strong message that we will not be intimidated, and that those who wish us harm will not be allowed to get away with their actions.

In addition to following up on the incident through the relevant authorities, we have issued a call to members of the public - both Jewish and non-Jewish - to wear yarmulkes when visiting the same shopping mall this weekend. This will help to reinforce the message that bigotry and hatred, whether based on race, religion or any other such grounds, is unacceptable.


Looking forward celebrating Pesach


In this special Pesach issue, we look ahead to celebrating the forthcoming festival and what it means to us. Innumerable lessons can be drawn from Pesach. It is a time both of remembering and grieving over the harsh experiences of the past while ultimately celebrating how our ancestors were liberated from that travail to begin life anew as a free nation.

It further is a time of Jewish unity, epitomised by how the time-honoured seder ritual continues to bring Jews together, even when they are to a large degree estranged from Judaism.

Around the seder table, bonds of family and friendship are strengthened as participants recount and relive the events of the Exodus. Just as importantly, it is a time when those traditions are imparted to the youth, who one day in their turn will assume the responsibility of passing them on to the next generation.  

One of the seder’s lessons is that the challenge of confronting anti-Semitism is one that confronts us in every generation. Such anti-Semitism takes different forms according to the circumstances of the day, whether based on religious, racial, ideological or - as is the case today - national- political grounds.

What all these forms have in common, however, is that they are motivated by an implacable hatred of the Jewish people and a desire to inflict harm on them. The inspiring message of Pesach is that just as all of these malign efforts ultimately came to nothing so will we witness their ultimate defeat today and in the future.   


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



1 Comment

  1. 1 Choni 24 Mar
    There is only one (Pesach) message to take note of.
    Make this year an exodus to Eretz Yisrael.


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