Changing of Guard for KZN Jewry
Last week, along with many fellow Durbanites, I participated in the 81st Annual General Meeting of the Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry at the Durban Jewish Centre. Congratulations to newly elected President Linda Nathan and Vice Presidents Ronnie Herr and Clive Bernstein, as well as to Honorary Life President John Moshal and the other members of the new Executive Committee for 2012/ 2013. I have had the privilege of working closely with all of them over many years, and can whole-heartedly attest to the wisdom, dedication and experience they bring to these important leadership roles. The evening also paid tribute to the outgoing President David Simpson for his many accomplishments during his term of office. David continues to serve as a National Vice-Chairman of the Board as well as on the CKNJ.
Guest speaker for the occasion was Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance. She spoke about her childhood as a pupil of the Carmel College Jewish Day School in Durban, and pointed to the importance of education in changing the lives of our children. In this regard, she called for the CKNJ to continue to play a strategic role in nurturing and building a spirit of reconciliation and upliftment in South Africa.
Visit of Denis MacShane
As reported two weeks ago, the renowned UK MP and human rights activist Denis MacShane will shortly be visiting South Africa under the auspices of the SAJBD. In addition to being keynote speaker at the Board’s Gauteng Council conference on 2 September, he will also be addressing the Cape Town Jewish community, and meeting with a range of other leaders and opinion makers. Dr MacShane has emerged as one of the most vociferous and dedicated campaigners against antisemitism, not just within his own House of Commons., but on the international stage. He is one of the founders of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism, comprising mainly non-Jewish parliamentarians from across the globe. It is heartening to see emerging non-Jewish leaders of this calibre who understand and share our concerns about rising antisemitism levels. We look forward to engaging with Dr MacShane and benefiting from the many insights he is able to share with us.
Kimberley Synagogue – 110 Years
Next week, I hope to be joining Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, along with present and past members of the Kimberley Jewish community, in celebrating the 110th anniversary of the historic Kimberley synagogue. An exciting weekend of activities, from 9-12 August, has been organised by the African Jewish Congress in conjunction with the SAJBD’s Country Communities Department and the Kimberley Hebrew Congregation. In addition to the commemorative events and services in the shul itself, there will be guided tours to various historical sites, both relating to the Jewish community and the greater history of the area. Jewish roots in Kimberley go right back to the founding of the town itself. While the Jewish presence there is now very small, its members are justly proud of the community’s heritage and it will be a privilege to join them in celebrating it.
This Above Board column first appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 3 August 2012