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The Jewish Report Editorial

Finding the silver lining

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This appears to be a week of positivity or rather a time when a few of us “opinionistas” in this newspaper are telling the rest of us that there is reason to see the silver lining around the dark cloud.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Aug 22, 2019

Like Howard Feldman, being at Limmud briefly brought out a sense of joy in all that we are and do.

Everything I do in my work is about the community, but there are few occasions where I get to interact like I did on Sunday. It was wonderful, least of all to get a sense of what people feel about the SA Jewish Report and South Africa in general.

In spite of how heavy people are supposedly feeling, it wasn’t visible at Limmud. I witnessed people from all backgrounds and diverse perspectives chatting, laughing, debating, and just apparently having a great time. It was wonderful to behold.

It’s difficult to imagine that they went home and got deep and dirty in the doldrums. However, there is this belief all around us that people are miserable because of our political, social, and economic environment. I can definitely understand why.

And, although I do my best to be positive, I do sometimes have to stop and remind myself what I have to be positive about – lots!

However, it was chatting to Discovery Chief Executive Adrian Gore this week that left me feeling that we can do this. We can overcome all the negativity that surrounds us, although it certainly won’t be easy.

People look to Gore for positivity, and some petulant pessimists even point fingers at him, saying he is naively positive when there is nothing to be positive about.

But he isn’t that at all. He sees things for what they are. Instead of foreseeing doom and gloom, he goes out to find answers to the questions, and solutions to the problems.

Instead of sitting back and complaining or sticking our heads in the sand like all good ostriches, we can do something to fix what we have no matter how broken it may be. We can do something, no matter how small our contribution is. It’s something

Gore insists it’s all about attitude. If your perspective is that South Africa is a scrapheap and the Jewish community is just roadkill on the path to the future, that is what it will be, at least in your eyes.

He says if we have “open vision”, we can see the way forward. We can create the future we want. We can set the goals, and go for gold. Close our mind, and we will create nothing.

The truth is that anybody who believes they need to pack up and leave to find their utopia on foreign shores takes their tsorres (troubles) and negative outlook with them. Running away from problems is really only taking problems with you.

As Gore says, a negative mindset remains a negative mindset, while a positive one opens up opportunities. I believe if you are a complainer, you will always find something to complain about. Such is life!

I recall many years ago when I was a young reporter on the Sunday Times, I wrote a tragic story about a teenager who was brutally beaten and murdered in the basement garage of a building in Sydney. One of the salient points I took from this horrific story was that her family had left South Africa because they were worried about crime. And then their daughter died the most horrific death at the hand of a criminal in Australia.

I’m most definitely not saying anything like this will befall those who emigrate, G-d forbid! I’m simply agreeing with Gore that we take our outlook and our problems with us wherever we go, and there is no perfect utopia. It’s best to start loving and working with what we have than coveting what others’ have.

Interestingly, Gore has reason to be concerned right now, what with the National Health Insurance hovering over us as a nation, and Discovery as a private health-insurance company. (See story on page 8.) However, I admire his ability to see this extremely worrying prospect as a challenge to provide solutions for South Africans.

Even now, I can still wax lyrical about South Africa’s achievements, while being able to see what needs to be fixed.

I would love to be able to always view challenges positively. I don’t always manage to do so. I do get bogged down in the country’s problems. However, I am also able to see what our community does to help alleviate these problems.

I see just how much work our people do to alleviate joblessness and assist people who are in dire straits outside of our community. Those same people aren’t seeing doom and gloom. They are seeing how they can help change people’s lives.

So, while I would love for us all to be able to see the silver lining, I salute all those who give of their time and money to help make this country better.

Kol Hakavod!

Shabbat Shalom!

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