The Jewish Report Editorial

Stop fighting and start working together

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The last thing any of us would want is for the CSO (Community Security Organisation) to be under threat – or so it would seem.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Aug 15, 2019

The CSO represents our security. It enables us to lead Jewish lives in Jewish environments, be it schools, shuls, events and so on. When we send our kids off to camp or on youth-movement weekends, we feel secure in the knowledge that they will be protected by the tough guys escorting them. When we mingle at Yom Ha’atzmaut or other Jewish events, we do so without a thought of our security because of those same guys who we trust will stop the bullets.

The CSO represents peace of mind, knowing there is a hotshot team of trained security people overseeing volunteers in keeping us safe.

They are our community bodyguards. If you know of a threat to our security, it’s the CSO you contact.

So, when the email from the CSO was sent to the community saying that it was in financial trouble and needed help, I, for one, was taken aback.

Surely, it’s incumbent on our community to ensure that the CSO is safe and sound. If it’s secure, then we are safe. It makes sense.

Some people might question the work it does, and whether we need it, but suffice to say that in my position as editor of this newspaper, I have witnessed the extent of its work. I’m grateful it’s around.

So much of the work it does isn’t visible to the naked eye, so to speak, but it does a fortune to ensure our well-being.

How the organisation became cash-strapped is in our lead story, but I want to look at the context of the situation.

We are a small community with fairly big threats. Sometimes the concerns are bigger than others. We live in a greater Jewish world – not necessarily in South Africa at the moment – where being Jewish makes us a target. On the southern tip of Africa, blee ayin harah we are not overtly physically threatened. But we cannot and dare not take that for granted. So, if you think we shouldn’t focus too much on the CSO, I think you are wrong.

I’m not undermining the work other communal organisations do. I certainly wouldn’t do that. We need to sustain all of them as they are all spokes in the wheel that keeps us going as a community. We choose any one of the spokes over the others at our peril. We need to look after all of them.

This brings me to the financial situation, the bottom line bothering us all. We are living in a country where the economy is at a real low. The pool of people who used to give large donations to our communal organisations is much smaller, as are the donations.

Most of our organisations have had to tighten their belts, as have we all. Such is the situation in the larger community, and the country as a whole.

As Jews, we are in a better situation than many other communities in this country, not least because as Jews, it’s our nature to look after each other.

We make sure to keep afloat our poor, our sick, our security, and the people who protect us against anti-Semitism and ensure our place in the sun.

Those outside our community always marvel at this. They are amazed at how we don’t only think of ourselves – as in our personal and familial security and well-being – we also always look after our community.

Jewish people know that if they fall on hard times, get sick, are under physical threat, or experience other unfortunate eventualities, we will look after them. This is the most beautiful thing about this community, something we should all be proud of.

Having said that, we cannot afford to fight with each other over money. I understand that our communal organisations all need money to stay afloat. However, the backstabbing and nastiness that comes with fighting over money is unacceptable, especially in this small community.

We can’t put one organisation down to make another look more important. We can’t be badmouthing one another to make ourselves look better.

We have to help each other raise funds, even if it’s easier not to. We have to find ways of working together, especially if it’s tough out there. We can’t see other communal organisations as competitors, or worse, enemies. That’s crazy, and so short-sighted.

We have the same goal: to maintain this magnificent community in all its glory! Every organisation has a role to play, and needs to be able to do it to the best of their ability. With the small pool of money, we need to ensure that everyone gets what they need to stay afloat. That’s just the way it is.

We need to work smart as a community. We need to work together as a team of communal organisations for the betterment of all.

No, I’m not about to start singing Kumbaya, I’m just trying to make sense of the situation we find ourselves in.

Let’s stop fighting, and start talking to find honourable solutions. They are out there, we just need to make the effort.

The community is as good as its communal leaders. We have some incredible people at the helm, many of whom do it on a voluntary basis for the betterment of our community. I take my hat off to them because their task is not easy, nor is there any glory in what they do.

But we have a duty to our community to suck up our differences, and work together for the betterment of all our organisations, including the CSO.

Shabbat Shalom!


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