SA Organisations

Cape Town colloquium: Bringing community on board

  • Katz
On Monday, along with our National President Mary Kluk and National Director Wendy Kahn, I attended a Cape Jewish community meeting convened to discuss the question of whether or not to include women solo singers at Yom Hashoah ceremonies.
by JEFF KATZ | Jun 22, 2016

Representatives of a broad range of Jewish communal organisations, including the Orthodox and Progressive communities, women’s groups and the youth, participated. All interested parties were given the opportunity to engage, present their views and suggest possible solutions.

The discussion, controlled by the chairman, Bobby Godsell, was robust, with a diversity of viewpoints expressed and emphasis placed on the importance of the community itself coming up with creative and constructive ways forward.

Several practical suggestions were raised and debated, and will be incorporated in the report on the meeting that Mr Godsell is drafting for the Cape Council.

While we do not yet have a final answer as to how to resolve this dilemma, the colloquium was certainly a constructive step forward. The very process of community consultation, involving frank and respectful debate between the various constituencies, was itself positive. We are confident that ultimately, the kind of good sense and goodwill that underpinned the discussions in Cape Town, will lead to a positive outcome and that our community will emerge the stronger for it.


Learning from the past


As reported elsewhere in this issue of Jewish Report, the Board was involved in a number of very moving commemorative events last week, in Soweto on Youth Day and in Boipatong the following morning.

Our participation in these events, in which the victims of the 1976 Soweto Uprising (one of the first of whom, Dr Melville Edelstein, was a distinguished member of our own community) and the 1992 Boipatong Massacre were remembered, forms part of our broader mandate of leading South African Jewry in identifying with our country’s national culture and heritage.

Earlier this year, we partnered with the Greek community in sending a delegation to Sharpeville to participate in the Human Rights Day memorial ceremony there. In 2015, among other initiatives, the Board hosted an evening to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter and partnered with Chabad SA in ensuring an enthusiastic Jewish presence at the Heritage Day carnival in Pretoria.

Apart from the tremendous goodwill that it generates among our fellow citizens, our participation in events of this nature strengthens our own feelings of connection and “buy-in” to the society of which we are part, and creates avenues through which we can find ways to continue contributing and building bridges in our country. 

Coming up next, the Board will be holding a panel discussion with senior representatives of the various political parties contesting this year’s municipal elections. For further details of this event, watch this space.   



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