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There’s no place like home



The Jewish spirit is alive. And it’s burning brightly.

Whether you attribute it to fear, resilience, or a rude awakening, the fact is that Jewish identity is stronger today than it has been for a long time.

Of course, we still bicker and argue. This is a tradition as old as the Jewish people themselves. And I can’t imagine that it will stop any time soon.

But there’s undoubtably a renewed bond that has emerged among our people.

There’s an old story of a congregant who stopped coming to shul. After a few weeks, the rabbi went to visit him in his home. It was a cold winter’s night. The congregant was sitting by the fireplace. The rabbi walked over to the fireplace, removed a single coal from the fire and placed it on the side. The coal quickly died out. The rabbi left without saying a word.

The next week, the congregant was back in shul.

Since the horrors of 7 October, many isolated coals have rejoined the fire. The embers buried deep are being reignited. We’re reclaiming our power.

One of the historic blessings of the South African community has been our strong sense of kehilla (community).

But there are still far too many isolated coals in our community, locally and abroad.

At the Gardens Shul in Cape Town, we’re launching a programme called “Gardens Global”. Its aim is to connect the global South African Jewish community and unleash its power.

There are Gardens Global Ambassadors in Tel Aviv, London, New York, Sydney, Dubai, and Amsterdam.

Gardens Global is being launched in London at a special “Friday Night Live” Shabbat service on 17 May.

Please contact us or go to if you know of any South Africans locally and overseas who could benefit from this community initiative.

Collecting the isolated coals is done both at macro and micro level.

It can be as simple as inviting someone beyond your friend circle for a Shabbat meal, choosing to show up to a local community initiative, or – and this can often be challenging – demonstrating compassion and understanding for someone who sees the world, be it politically or religiously, through different lenses to yourself.

In this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, we find the mitzvah: “You shall love your fellow as yourself. I am Hashem.” (Leviticus, 19:18)

There’s a double commandment of love in this verse – to love yourself and to love your fellow.

The Hebrew word for love is “ahavah”. It has the gematria – numerical equivalent – of 13. Double the love – yourself and your fellow – and you get 26, the numerical value of G-d’s name.

Expand your heart, and G-d’s presence will be felt. Reach out to the coals, and the fire will burn brighter.

If there’s anything recent events have reminded us of, it’s the strength we draw from each other.

Wherever you may be reading this, please know you have a place in our community. And as we all know, there’s no place like home.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nyiko

    May 17, 2024 at 4:03 pm

    That is so beautiful, Im a Christian and I am touched on the numerical equivalent, of love ‘doubled’ and to think this message was sent on my birthday, which was Ascension day (The day Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand of The Father) is beautiful, Israel is blessed.

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