At the 2011 National Conference of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe remarked on the resourcefulness, talent and success of South African Jewry in building enduring institutions. He appealed to the Board and the community to strengthen government’s efforts in addressing the challenges of education, skills development and job creation facing South Africa. Responding to this call to action is one of the Board’s major projects for 2012. And we want to hear from you!
Through what we’ve called “Jubuntu“, we have embarked on research to highlight and learn from the most successful endeavours in these fields by Jewish organisations and individuals around the country, and plan to present our findings to government in August 2012. Interviews in Johannesburg have yielded an impressive array of inspiring and innovative initiatives. To name just a few: the Mitzvah School at Bet David, Sandton, has been teaching matric to learners from Alexandra township for 26 years. The Union of Jewish Women has a project at the Alexandra Lutheran Church to teach sewing and baking skills and create businesses. Volunteers in the Chevra Kadisha’s Second Innings project for active seniors teaches literacy and numeracy every week to struggling learners in 12 former Model C schools. The King David Schools Foundation enables Jewish day schools to undertake many meaningful and sustained outreach projects. Ronen Aires’ Student Village helps to advise and guide students at universities.
The range of efforts and depth of commitment by Jewish people to make a difference in South Africa is remarkable and humbling. Many committed Jewish individuals, involved in everything from e-learning to entrepreneurship; employment to empowerment — responded to a public call on the website of the National Board: www.jewishsa.co.za
But for this to be a truly national project, we look forward to hearing about the efforts of ‘Jews who do’ in the areas of education, skills development and job creation in the Western Cape, no matter how big or small. We value your ideas on how we as a society can better tackle these tasks. Please get in touch with Gwynne Robins at the Cape Board, on firstname.lastname@example.org before 31 May 2012
Steven Gruzd is Senior Researcher and Diplomatic Liaison at the SAJBD in Johannesburg. He is coordinating the national team working on Jubuntu. This article first appeared in the May 2012 edition of the Cape Jewish Chronicle, on page 12.