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Shabbos Project to wow the world next week

The Shabbos Project, now a wordwide event, takes place around the country on October 24 and 25. But activities begin on Wednesday October 22 in Cape Town. Kol Hakavod to Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein for this initiative which he launched so successfully in SA last year. So well supported was the 2013 event, that numerous communities around the world have joined in this year. Read about the events and how to sign up to join become part of the Shabbos Project 2014.

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ANT KATZ

SA Jewish Report will continue to publish all other linked events, such as the WIZO Candle-lighting Project and events from around the world, as we are able to obtain the information. 

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The information on hand reflects the following events which SAJR has divided into cities for easy reference:

Johannesburg:

  • Thursday October 23: The Great Johannesburg Challah Bake from 18:30 to 20:30 which will be held at The War Memorial. To register and for more information go to www.challah.co.za  or call (011) 880-0099. The entertainment will be provided by imported artists, The Moshav Band and Alex Clare.

Hannah Arendt - HOMEAlexander George “Alex” Clare (PICTURED RIGHT) is a British singer-songwriter. Clare adopted his current stage name, Alex Clare, in 2010, replacing Alexander G Muertos, a pseudonym he first used while still at school. His debut album, The Lateness of the Hour, was released in 2011. His biggest hit came from the album “Too Close” and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart and number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Single at the 2013 BRIT Awards.

  • Saturday October 25: Havdallah Concert at 19:30 at the Yeshiva College Campus, again with entertainment from The Moshav Band and Alex Clare.

Moshav, formerly known as Moshav Band, is an Israeli-American Jewish rock band originating from Moshav Mevo Modi’im. Founded in 1995 by Yehuda Solomon and Duvid Swirsky, the group moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and has released seven studio albums. They are often regarded as one of the first groups to combine Jewish music with a rock sound, as elements of alternative rock, folk, funk, and reggae appear in their songs.

Cape Town

  • Wednesday October 22: The Great Cape Town Challah Bake – 19:00 to 22:00 at The Company Gardens. To register and for more information: [email protected]  or call 083-566-0426. The entertainment will be by The Moshav Band and Alex Clare.
  • Saturday October 25: Havdallah Concert at 20:30 at The Company Gardens – with entertainment provided by Choni G.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Samuel Shalom

    Oct 15, 2014 at 1:37 am

    What will be \”the morning after the day before\” ?

    That is the $64,000 question so to speak if one thinks about it!

    To what does this really refer?

    No question about it that something truly extraordinary has happened with the way the Shabbos Project has caught on worldwide. Best wishes to everyone concerned for its greatest success.

    But coming back to the big question, the Shabbos Project begs the REALLY big questions that come in its wake!

    How does the whole notion behind the Shabbos Project (to make people more observant of Judaism, a noble goal) mesh with TODAY’s reality that in many places around the world, the MAJORITY of people who regard themselves as \”Jews\” are either married to gentiles given the skyrocketing intermarriage rate, or are the children of non-Jewish mothers (father Jewish and mother gentile and never converted), or are converts of Reform and non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism who \”think\” they are \”Jews\” but according to Orthodox Jewish Law (the Halachah) they are still 100% gentiles.

    This is the reality that faces us:

    \”Interfaith marriage in Judaism (Wikipedia): A 2013 survey conducted in the United States by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project found that intermarriage rate to be 58% among all Jews and 71% among non-Orthodox Jews.\” [Reference:] Poll Shows Major Shift in Identity of U.S. Jews The New York Times, October 1, 2013: \”The first major survey of American Jews in more than 10 years finds a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish — resulting in rapid assimilation that is sweeping through every branch of Judaism except the Orthodox. The intermarriage rate, a bellwether statistic, has reached a high of 58 percent for all Jews, and 71 percent for non-Orthodox Jews — a huge change from before 1970 when only 17 percent of Jews married outside the faith. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year…The survey uses a wide definition of who is a Jew, a much-debated topic. The researchers included the 22 percent of Jews who describe themselves as having ‘no religion,’ but who identify as Jewish because they have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish, and feel Jewish by culture or ethnicity. However, the percentage of ‘Jews of no religion’ has grown with each successive generation, peaking with the millennials (those born after 1980), of whom 32 percent say they have no religion…Reform Judaism remains the largest American Jewish movement, at 35 percent. Conservative Jews are 18 percent, Orthodox 10 percent, and groups such as Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal make up 6 percent combined. Thirty percent of Jews do not identify with any denomination. In a surprising finding, 34 percent said you could still be Jewish if you believe that Jesus was the Messiah…Jews from the former Soviet Union and their offspring make up about 10 percent of the American Jewish population…Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist of American Jewry at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York, and a paid consultant on the poll, said the report foretold ‘a sharply declining non-Orthodox population in the second half of the 21st century, and a rising fraction of Jews who are Orthodox.’ The survey also portends ‘growing polarization’ between religious and nonreligious Jews, said Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, senior director of research and analysis at the Jewish Federations of North America…\”)

    The above sources are brief descriptions of the situation of Jewry in North America and certainly worldwide since if anything it is worse in the UK, Europe, South America, and even Australia and New Zealand, all places with significant Jewish populations.

    South African Jewry is unique because in spite of its slipping from Halachic observance of Judaism, such as keeping Shabbat properly, yet nevertheless South African Jews have remained loyal to the concept of attending Orthodox shulls where men and women sit separately, employing only duly ordained Orthodox rabbis, subscribing to the standards laid down by the Orthodox Beth Din in all matters, and just considering themselves \”Orthodox\” — but once they land up in places like the USA and Canada and even Israel they find out very quickly that they are not regarded as truly Orthodox since they do not observe Shabbat according to Halachah and do not send their children to Orthodox yeshivot etc.

    The point being that while the Shabbos Project and other similar initiatives to enhance a more Orthodox mode of Judaism works within South Africa for South African Jews given their unique heritage and milieu, it does not automatically translate the same way in far-off America, Israel and elsewhere where the local Jews are VERY assimilated, intermarried, have irrevocably abandoned their faith altogether by even becoming Christians.

    So the question is, once the Shabbos Project \”hits\” this \”reality\” in the way that an \”irresistible force (i.e. Shabbos Project) hits an immovable object (assimilation & intermarriage\” aka \”when the paw-paw hits the fan\” — the big question is, what will happen and are the people in charge aware of what they are up against outside of South Africa? And note, even with overseas rabbis involved, those rabbis do NOT deal with such questions because they service strictly Orthodox or Charedi populations most of the time.

    Logically speaking there may come a \”project\” that will have to face how to deal with masses of intermarried Jews and how to inform people who are not Halachically Jewish that things like he Shabbos Project are not meant for them and that they should please step back. This may sound \”messianic\” but there have been efforts from very Orthodox outreach sources in this direction that have come seriously asunder and crashed on the rocks due to this very question because the rabbis do not have one approach to CONVERSION and even more troubling PROSELYTIZATION to gentiles, a hugely DIVISIVE issue, unlike something as universally marketable as proper Shabbat observance for Jews who wish to do so!

    Have the Chief Rabbi and his planners and rabbinic partners all over the world thought this through to its end game and final conclusion or are they just riding on the wave of \”ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise\”?

    What happens a few \”projects\” down the line or even what happens now during an actual Shabbos Project someplace when the gentiles married to Jews or those who consider themselves to be \”Jews\” etc discover or are informed, as they invariably will be, that they are NOT truly Jewish in the sense of Jewish Law-Halachah?

    This is a serious question for all those involved to seriously come to terms with and be prepared to face as the time comes closer. In South Africa there is the acceptance of the local one and only Orthodox Beth Din, something that does not exist in most places, except in Israel and perhaps in the UK.

    To be forewarned is to be forearmed! or as the boy scouts succinctly put it \”be prepared\”! And as always, life is stranger than fiction!’

  2. Basil Katzenellenbogen

    Oct 20, 2014 at 11:20 am

    ‘Well done Rabbi Goldstein,

    Now can you please tell us what the outcome of your Mr Brozin chicken price research was?

    I have asked previously and emailed the Beth Din but have not had a reply.’

  3. Mordechai

    Oct 21, 2014 at 1:13 am

    ‘A great project – Next important project by South Africa’s religious and lay leadership MUST be to remove the openly and proud [Removed, see below  -ED] and Israel hater Desmond Tutu from his position as Patron of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation. It defies belief that this man can still be a Patron of a foundation dedicated to the slaughter of six million Jews
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    Hello Mordechai. Thank you for your comment, which are always welcome. While we offer an open forum to the community on this website, we do moderate all comments and try to ensure that users don’t get themselves, or us, into trouble.
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    Users can check out our COMMENT GUIDELINES and all of our other LEGALS such as our privacy policy, etc., by following these links.

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    In this case, your reference to the Arch’s attitude towards Israel is common knowledge and a Google search of “tutu anti-Israel” brings up over 150,000 sources – many quoting his own words. So we allowed that. A similar search of what we have omitted shows almost 200,000. These, however, are mainly subjective comments (although many of the authoritative like THIS ONE IN JPOST) they remain opinions.

    \n

    Should you wish to make a case for your statement and provide your full name, however, we would certainly consider publishing it.   – [email protected]
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  4. Mordechai

    Oct 22, 2014 at 5:26 am

    ‘Thank you for posting my comments. I furthermore call on the Trustees of the Holocaust & Genecide Foundation (who I believe are all or the majority are all Jewish) to resign as Trustees if Desmond Tutu remains a Patron. Tutu’s views on Israel have of late reached a level which are vile, incorrect and can’t be tolerated. I also call on Chief Rabbi Goldstein to also resign as a Patron of the Foundation of Tutu remains a Patron. RUV9K ‘

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Young and old on record-breaking aliyah flight

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Families, yeshiva bochurs (students), lone soldiers, and a nonagenarian will be among the 87 new arrivals at Ben Gurion in Israel this week in the largest group of South African olim on one flight since 1994.

“I feel incredibly proud to be a part of this record-breaking aliyah flight. It’s comforting to make aliyah surrounded by so many South African olim who have different expectations and aspirations, but who all share the dream of beginning a new life in Israel,” Eliana Lewus told the SA Jewish Report ahead of the flight on Tuesday, 27 July.

When Jared Glass was three years old, he almost drowned. Thirty-six years later, he will be among this group of new olim. “I feel like I’m being dragged out of the deep and taken to safety again,” says Glass from Johannesburg.

Aliyah is also for the young-at-heart, as Dr Hymie Ehrlich proves. At 91, he’s ready for more adventure (he celebrated his 90th birthday by hang-gliding in his home city of Cape Town). He will join his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law were among the last to land in Israel in January 2021, when the Israeli government closed the airport due to COVID-19.

Speaking to the SA Jewish Report, Ehrlich says, “Everything in life is a step, and this is another step onwards.” He’s sad to be leaving a “beautiful community. I wish everyone b’hatzlacha [good luck] and lehitraot [until we meet again]. See you in Israel!”

His son-in-law, Philip Stodel, says that when planning his own aliyah, “we asked him whether he would consider coming with us, but he was happy to stay. But following the onset of COVID-19, Hymie, who was still active as a medical doctor, was advised to stop working. He also found himself alone at his Shabbat table every week. He started his aliyah process in October 2020. At 91, Hymie’s mind is sharp, but he lacks technical skills. I’ve always been his ‘IT support system’, so I continued to do this remotely [to help him make aliyah].

“One of his biggest tasks was clearing his apartment of just about everything. We know this was very emotional at times. I feel like I’ve done aliyah twice, and I can honestly say that it was far easier the first time! As I sit here on a Friday afternoon, approaching what will be Hymie’s last Shabbat in South Africa, my immediate concern is for the last-minute pressure that I know await us. I will heave a huge sigh of relief once he is on the plane, and a bigger sigh when we see him on Wednesday!”

“The significance of Israel, aliyah, and a home for the Jewish people remains as relevant today as ever,” says recently-appointed Telfed (South African Zionist Federation in Israel) Chairperson Robby Hilkowitz.

“Telfed plays a vital role in facilitating the absorption of new olim,” says Telfed Chief Executive Dorron Kline. “Our role is to help new olim prepare for life in Israel. Our services centre on this and include guidance in dealing with the first bureaucratic steps; employment counselling; an in-house social worker; rental apartments in Tel Aviv/Ra’anana [depending on availability] at below-market rates; and a volunteer-based scholarship programme. Our regional volunteers welcome new olim to their communities, and are an important source of information for those considering aliyah as they decide where to settle.”

Hilkowitz says all new olim are required to go into quarantine. “For the first time, we will invite new olim to join our daily virtual Tea at Ten with Telfed, which details the important steps for the early stages of their aliyah journey. These webinars don’t just provide practical guidance, they make sure our new arrivals feel connected. We see the positive influence that a strong, connected community plays in a successful absorption. Our ultimate objective is for olim to integrate fully, to contribute to the country, but not forget their roots because being a part of a connected and dynamic community is empowering.”

They will also provide virtual activities for children and welcome packs. And, olim are invited to participate in a virtual musical Kabbalat Shabbat.

Liat Amar Arran, the director of Israel Centre South Africa, says many of the olim are making aliyah ahead of the new school year in Israel. “Like all flights during the pandemic, there have been challenges. For example, we needed to get agreement from Israel that there is enough space in its quarantine hotels to accommodate them. There has been a lot of work in the past two weeks, and our team has worked around the clock. Olim have to fill in many forms just before they leave.” Even with all of this extra administration related to COVID-19, she’s excited that the flight is able to go ahead.

Meanwhile, Lewus, who is 20 years old, is making aliyah from Johannesburg by herself. “I will be doing a year of national service in Israel [as an alternative to the army] before starting to study,” she says.

While it may seem like this group of olim are fleeing the current civil unrest, making aliyah takes time, and they started the process some time ago. “My aliyah process was gradual. I began the process about nine months ago,” Lewus says.

She is motivated by “pull factor” rather than “push factor”. “When I was in Israel on the Ohrsom gap year, I fell in love with the people, landscape, and feeling of unity. I knew I wanted to go back,” says Lewus. “I wanted to be a part of it, to be able to contribute.

“The recent unrest hasn’t influenced my feelings about aliyah,” she says. “I’m under no illusion that the perfect country exists. However, I do hope for a better future for South Africa. I feel so grateful and privileged to have been brought up as a South African Jew. Our community, culture, and upbringing are unique, and have paved the way for me to embark on my journey. I feel supported by family and friends in my decision to make aliyah, and my biggest hope is that they will be able to visit me soon.”

Tammy Wainer is 34, and making aliyah from Johannesburg with family. “The aliyah department has worked really hard to get everyone on this flight,” she says. “As much as I love South Africa and the comfortable life it offers, as a strong Zionist, my soul has always been drawn to Israel and the better life it can offer me socially and economically.”

Sandra (Sandi) Shapiro says “growing up in a very Zionistic home” is one reason she’s making aliyah. “My late father, Jack Shapiro, was the director of the Selwyn Segal home for 35 years. Although he never made aliyah, it was always his dream,” she says.

Their family is slowly starting to make that dream come true. “My son made aliyah in February, and had the privilege of being part of a historic flight with 300 Ethiopian Jews,” Shapiro says.

She’s motivated by push and pull factors. “I have been to Israel many times, and it has always been a lifelong dream to make it my ‘forever home’. After a horrible experience in October last year, I decided that the timing was right, and started my aliyah process. There were quite a few challenges with our government services, and it took a few months to get all my documentation together. The war in Israel also delayed the process – frustrating but understandable.

“If one is deciding to make aliyah, my advice is to have lots of patience and trust the process,” she says. “Eventually, at the end of June this year, I got approval. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks – I was finally going home. I’m filled with pride and so humbled to be a part of another historic flight. Being a part of such a large group is breathtaking. It’s absolutely amazing that so many of us are returning home.”

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Humanity’s best rises after violent unrest

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The KwaZulu-Natal Jewish community has begun emerging from the shock of last week’s chaos, remaining vigilant and expressing gratitude for assistance provided by the wider community. Moreover, they are paying it forward wherever they can to others in need.

Those working in relief operations in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng describe a spirit of ubuntu (humanity towards others) among ordinary South Africans that has sparked practical, powerful change.

”We not only helped ourselves, we helped others, and they in turn helped us. Regardless of religion or ethnicity, there was aid,” said Hayley Lieberthal, the media spokesperson for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) KwaZulu-Natal Council.

The Jewish community in the coastal city was hardest hit by last week’s violence and looting, in which businesses were destroyed, food and fuel supplies were disrupted, and communities felt under threat. Now, they say they are humbled by the chain of support that has encircled them.

Lieberthal said the community continued to “adopt an attitude of constant vigilance”, noting that threatening “fake news” still circulated and patrols in residential areas continued throughout the night.

Government security efforts simply haven’t been sufficient, she said. “In spite of the announcements from the government, the SANDF [South African National Defence Force] isn’t here to protect residential areas or citizens, it’s here to protect national key points. The national and metro police are under-resourced and outnumbered.” As such, while “the community certainly appreciates the efforts of the SAPS [South African Police Service] and Metro Police, the community has taken care of itself”.

Lieberthal said the community was still trying to come to terms with the reality of what had hit it. “It’s very difficult for those who weren’t directly impacted by this crisis to understand what it was like to be in the thick of it. Children and adults alike were terrified. We hope that this nightmare is over. It’s now time to pick up the pieces and try and start again.”

The national leadership of the SAJBD, as well as a number of other communal organisations, corporations, non-profits, small businesses, and private individuals has been fundamental to ensuring the delivery of essential items to the community through protected convoys.

“To date, we have received medication, non-perishable items such as flour, tinned foods, oil, pasta, toiletries and personal hygiene items including adult nappies, sanitary towels, formula, meal replacements, medication, and kosher meat – all of which has been delivered or handed out,” said Lieberthal.

Reverend Gilad Friedman of the Umhlanga Jewish Centre described the individual heroism that underpinned collective efforts. There were those who organised private flights to deliver goods; and a local doctor and a pharmacist, who opening up his pharmacy “mid riot”, worked together to help provide chronic medication. Volunteers brought bakkies and vans to take goods to distribution centres at shuls, and some acted as personal shoppers, moving from store to store to try and get the products needed by the elderly. Some are manning the phones, trying to make contact with every community member on record to check up on their welfare.

More than just providing for basic needs, there is also a sense of spiritual unity, according to Friedman. “Last week, people didn’t know if they were going to have food for Shabbat, and one of the rabbinical families at the shul got flour from all the people that they could find, and made challot for all the families.”

Last Thursday, the centre established a helpline with the tagline, “Do you need help, or do you want to help?”

“Since the message went out until today, I’ve had to charge my phone four times a day,” said Friedman. “There is just an endless stream [of calls], and credit goes to the people on the ground making a difference.”

Rabbi Shlomo Wainer of Chabad in Umhlanga echoes Friedman’s appreciation of support. Along with other Jewish community organisations, he is now helping to co-ordinate assistance to impoverished areas in Inanda and Phoenix, having been in long-term contact with a bishop and pastor in those vicinities.

“We have launched what we called ‘Operation Beyond Relief’ because I don’t believe that relationships are only for now because of the difficulties. This is for the continued relationship of goodness and kindness at all times.”

Wendy Kahn, the national director of the SAJBD, said it was involved in this project as well as numerous other operations to provide food aid across affected areas. “The past weeks have been devastating for our country, and the SAJBD, in addition to assisting and supporting our Jewish community in KwaZulu-Natal, has prioritised the alleviation of hunger that the past unrest has unleashed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.”

In collaboration with other foundations in Gauteng, “in the past week, we have supported the distribution of hundreds of food parcels to areas in distress”. These include Eldorado Park, Orange Farm, Kliptown, Vanderbijlpark, as well as Alexandra, and more help is being planned for the East Rand.

On the ground, the Board took part in clean-up operations in Daveyton. “Although it was heart wrenching to see the destruction, it was also incredibly uplifting to be part of the solution. We were so moved by the community in Daveyton, that we intend to return with other ways of supporting the community,” said Kahn.

The SAJBD is also working with The Angel Network in KwaZulu-Natal as it organises truck and air deliveries of essential goods. Glynne Wolman, the founder of The Angel Network, said that within four days, they had managed to collect more than R500 000 in funding, and had already dispatched trucks loaded with 1 800 food parcels, 200kg of nutritionally fortified e’Pap, 14 000kg of mielie meal, and one ton of soya meal to help those left in the direst conditions after the unrest.

“We have seen the worst of people, and now we have the chance to see people at their best. More than anything [in the aftermath], it has been ubuntu in its truest form,” said Wolman.

Jewish humanitarian group Cadena’s director of international alliances, Miriam Kajomovitz, echoed Wolman’s observations. The organisation has been helping in Gauteng in various capacities, be it clean-up operations, organising psychological support, and now planning small-business relief for those whose livelihoods were destroyed: “We are all working together. Everyone is giving of their expertise and what they can for the good of all.

“Crisis is always an opportunity for change,” Kajomovitz observed.

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Days of wreckage and reckoning

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As South Africans face the largest outbreak of unrest and violence in the post-apartheid era, the community of KwaZulu-Natal reels from safety concerns, lost businesses, and looming food and fuel shortages.

In Gauteng, while central community areas haven’t been directly affected, the province remains on tenterhooks as it looks at the longer-term effects on the country as a whole.

“It’s like a war zone. I haven’t slept for two days,” said Michael Ditz, shortly before he began another patrol in his Durban North neighbourhood this week.

Ditz, the co-owner of retail chain Jam Clothing, said that last week, they owned 115 stores with a national footprint. This week, “we are now down to 99, we have lost 16 stores. Some have been burnt to the ground, others just had their goods looted.”

“We still have to assess the full damage, but the tragic irony is the long-term job losses – it will take years to rebuild.”

Ditz said it was too early to process fully the shock of the past few days. “I just feel gutted,” he said.

He said they also faced personal danger. “Our families and our houses are under threat. We are literally guarding our own neighbourhood.”

Yet, he said, unity had been forged in this regard. “We have been working with the Muslim community.” A similar collective effort is also happening in Jewish community member Darren Katzer’s neighbourhood in central Musgrave.

“With the Muslim community, it has been unbelievable. We are working closely together, just protecting each other and doing whatever we can.”

Especially as food shortages become a real possibility, “our neighbourhood block is literally having meals with all of us together, so that we can pool our food, because we don’t know if we are going to run out. That’s the reality.”

The looting has decimated businesses, shops, and factories in the area, and the violence is “on their doorstep”. The equivalent of their proximity to the unrest would be something like the looting of Norwood or Sandton in Johannesburg.

Shops are now shut in the vicinity, and where one might be found open, mass queues are forming. Janyce Bear, who along with her husband, Rod, are shop owners in a mall that was looted in Glenwood, said people were trying to source items like baby formula.

She said her family had looters strolling in their neighbourhood, “coming up our road with their trolleys filled with stolen goods. You feel like you are in another world.”

Both she and her husband were recovering at home from COVID-19 when their mall was attacked, and while they are grateful their store was spared, they are devasted for the other tenants.

It’s a sentiment that Jenny Kahn, who owns a store with her husband in the same mall, shares. She described their fellow tenants as “family”, who have even helped with donations to the Union of Jewish Women outreach activities in which she is involved.

“By the grace of G-d and my prayers to Hashem, for some unknown reason, our shop was spared,” she said. The sole reason they can think of for the sparing of their shop is that while they are a jewellery store, they also sell “fancy goods”. These include menorahs, which were on prominent display in their window.

“The majority of the people that buy the menorahs are Christian church goers.” Perhaps, she muses, this acted as some kind of deterrent.

Hayley Lieberthal, the media spokesperson for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) KwaZulu-Natal Council, said that while they were “aware that there has been loss of business and livelihoods within the community”, exact numbers couldn’t be given at this time.

“At present, there are extremely long queues for petrol and food. Supermarkets that are able to open are limiting the items being bought. The SAJBD KwaZulu-Natal and Community Security Organisation (CSO) are hard at work to resolve these two matters.”

“Although tension is running high here, we have an incredible community that has always come together and once again, this is no exception,” Lieberthal said.

The Johannesburg CSO’s director of operations, Jevon Greenblatt, said that while the picture in that province was different to that on the ground in KwaZulu-Natal, people should be careful while also curbing panic and hysteria. Inaccurate posts on social media, for example, could lead to police and security companies being called out unnecessarily, preventing them from attending scenes where they are truly needed.

“Remain cautious and close to home,” he urged.

Amidst the turmoil and horror of the past week, stories also began to emerge of communities fighting back against looters. Property developer Steven Herring, under whose company Tembisa’s Birch Acres was built, witnessed this when his mall was threatened and people from the neighbourhood stood up to the looters.

“It’s amazing to see. When we’re on the edge, it’s unique that people are standing up, stepping up, and showing support. It’s heartwarming to see that at the end of the day, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Yet, he said, this kind of community support was forged right from the start. “When we built the mall 10 years ago, we were hands on with the community every step of the way. On the property, not only is there the mall, there’s a taxi rank, a vicinity for hawkers, a centre-managers office, a car wash, and even shops that are especially allocated to elevate people from being hawkers to shop owners. It’s an all-inclusive process that has been going on for a very long time, and we keep those relationships going.”

On the flipside, Jewish community member Reuben (whose name has been changed), who was involved in security operations on the frontline in Johannesburg, witnessed some truly dark moments.

“We went to a store in Jeppe that had been looted, and where the owners had asked for help to access their store – a small corner spaza shop. As the owners were driving up, you could already see in their faces that their lives were shattered. They started to cry. They were shaking and as they walked into the store, there was nothing. They just broke down.

“I have seen enough carnage and damage, [but I was moved by this]. That was the worst part, you saw the real cost of the violence wasn’t destruction of roads, it was lives.”

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