July 18, 2012 marked the 18th anniversary of the worst post-war anti-Semitic atrocity, the bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires. Nearly 100 people were killed in this terrorist attack, subsequently revealed to have been planned and carried out by Iranian operatives.
It was on that same day that a deadly terrorist attack was carried out against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, and again it seems likely that Iran, quite possibly through its Lebanon-based surrogate Hezbollah, was behind it. Moreover, the attack was not an isolated incident.
Iran and Hezbollah are believed to have been responsible for orchestrating similar plots, some successful, against Jewish and/or Israeli targets in 24 countries over the past two years.
The Burgas tragedy once again shows that no matter where in the world they are, Jews can never relax their vigilance. In the South African context, this would very much involve our community fully supporting and co-operating with the CSO. Both in securing our communal installations and in gathering information that might prove vital in preventing possible attacks, the CSO strives to fulfil its mandate to protect Jewish life. For this crucial work, it needs the full support of all of us.
Limmud: Celebrating the depth and diversity of our heritage
During the first two weeks of August, Limmud will be holding its now eagerly awaited annual programme, starting in Gauteng on the weekend of August 3 – 5, moving on to Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, for the public holiday on the 9th and concluding in Cape Town on the following weekend.
Since its establishment in this country six years ago, Limmud has more than lived up to its mandate “to allow each Jew to take one step further on their Jewish journey”, creating a diverse and inclusive forum through which its participants can “experience the full gamut of Jewish opinion and belief ”.
For a substantial section of our community, it has come to fulfil an important role in maintaining and enriching their connection to their Jewish heritage. Limmud caters for the broadest range of interests. Indeed, the only real regret one has is in being unable to attend every event that one would like to, given that these often will occur simultaneously.
Once again, participants in this year’s programmes will include many members of the SAJBD, both its professional staff and lay leadership. In addition to the many renowned international speakers, including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Professor Barry Rubin, it will showcase the truly extraordinary depth of talent – intellectual, creative, organisational or other – that exists within our own community.
We are all very much looking forward to being part of it all, and hope that as many of you as possible will join us for the occasion.
This Above Board Column first appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 27 July 2012