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Voices

SAJBD conference debates critical issues

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SHAUN ZAGNOEV

The main part of the conference will take the form of a panel debate, moderated by acclaimed journalist and author Mandy Wiener, focusing on critical issues such as the economy, education, social upliftment, and human rights. We have put together a distinguished panel of acknowledged experts in their fields comprising business leaders Dr Reuel Khoza (also renowned as an author, academic, and thought leader) and Robbie Brozin; Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib; Judge David Unterhalter; and SAJBD president and World Jewish Congress executive member Mary Kluk.

National conference is also an occasion to honour the members of our community judged to have made a particularly noteworthy contribution to our society, whether that be South Africa as a whole or the Jewish community specifically. This time round, the Rabbi Cyril and Ann Harris Human Rights Award, which recognises those who have advanced the cause of democracy and social justice, will be presented in memory of Johnny Clegg, an iconic figure whose path-blazing music did so much to bring South Africans together during the tumultuous final years of apartheid, and who sadly passed away earlier this year shortly after the decision made by the board to honour him.

The Eric Samson Mendel Kaplan Communal Service Award was introduced at the board’s centenary conference in 2003 and named after two of the community’s foremost philanthropists. The practice has been to present it both to a lay leader and a Jewish communal professional. This year, there will be three recipients: Marlene Bethlehem and Cape Town’s Merle Reuben, who between them have rendered more than a century of outstanding service in a lay capacity to the community, and Shirley Resnick, a long-serving member of the professional staff of the Johannesburg Chevrah Kadisha, who truly epitomises the ethos of selfless caring and compassion that has always distinguished that wonderful institution.

In addition to the above awards, it has been decided to pay tribute to the many outstanding lawyers who have devoted their time and professional skills to the SAJBD throughout its history. Specific reference will be made to four towering figures who passed away in the course of the present century, namely Ivan Levy and Harry Schwarz from Johannesburg, and Mervyn Smith and Solly Kessler from Cape Town.

We look forward to welcoming you to this prestigious occasion, which is as much a celebration of what our community is all about as it is about reporting back to our constituency. As seating is limited and bookings are filling up fast, those interested in attending should log on to www.sajbd.org/events as soon as they can to book their places.

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

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