SA Organisations

Good sense prevails in ‘kol isha’ dispute

  • Jeff
Last week, the SAJBD Cape Council reached an agreement with those parties who had instituted legal proceedings against it based on the absence of women solo singers at Yom Hashoah ceremonies.
by JEFF KATZ | Aug 02, 2016

As per the agreement, future Cape Town ceremonies will be divided into two parts, with an initial cultural-educational component including women singing, being followed by the traditional Yom Hashoah format.

Through this agreement, Yom Hashoah will be observed in Cape Town without any sector of the community feeling offended or excluded. Following the agreement, the litigants have withdrawn their court application.

In welcoming the settlement, our National President Mary Kluk commented that she was “proud of the fact that while the SA Jewish community is diverse and heterogeneous, we are still able to frankly discuss and debate issues that are emotive and potentially disruptive to our community within. 

“Our community is close-knit and unique, and it should never be in the hands of courts to decide our internal conflicts.”

I fully endorse this view. This was always a matter that should in the first instance have been resolved through dialogue, consultation and compromise between the various stakeholders in the community.

That the courts were brought into it is extremely regrettable, as was the fact that the matter was quite unnecessarily played out in the media. Predictably, our community was not depicted in a positive light, with the emphasis being placed on the dispute itself rather than on the complexities of the situation and the sincere efforts being made to resolve it.    

Throughout the process, the overriding aim of our Cape Council was to maintain Shalom Bayit and work for a solution that was in the best interests of the Cape community as a whole. I commend all those who played their part, in particular Cape Chairman Eric Marx, in seeing this complex, often painful matter through to a satisfactory conclusion.


Gauteng conference


As previously reported, the Board’s Gauteng Council has introduced a special award in recognition of Jewish community members who have made significant contributions to social upliftment in the wider society. Fittingly the award which will be presented biennially at the Gauteng Council conference, is named after the late Bertie Lubner, someone who - through the founding of Afrika Tikkun among many other initiatives - was truly a living legend in this area.

At our last Gauteng Council meeting, it was confirmed that the first recipient of the award would be Reeva Forman. The choice was a popular and unanimous one.

Over many years, Reeva has been at the forefront of transforming Temple Israel in Hillbrow into a centre that in addition to fulfilling its role as a place of worship, acts as a place of outreach to the previously disadvantaged communities throughout the Hillbrow area.

This is in addition to the outstanding work she has done and continues to do as a long-serving member of both the SAJBD and the SA Zionist Federation.

I warmly congratulate Reeva on this well-deserved recognition of everything she has achieved not only for our community but for the wider South African society in general.    


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


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