communal matters exploring the concerns of the south african jewish community
Contrary to recently released statistics, Ricky Stoch suggests that many young Jewish South Africans have a strong sense of belonging to South Africa and are committed to a future in the country.
THERE is nothing quite like a pandemic in London to remind you how good our lives are in South Africa. I moved to London in 2018 to study and now, while starting my business and getting British citizenship, I commute between South Africa and the UK. When I settle down, I hope to do it in South Africa.
A Facebook post (19/07/2019) encouraging the community to take part in the JCSSA.
According to the 2019 Jewish Community Survey of South Africa (JCSSA) most respondents (74%) had either a strong or quite a strong sense of belonging to South Africa. However, the survey noted that “feelings of belonging are weakest among respondents aged 25 and younger.” In a recent DafkaDotCom article (24/02/2021), Deena Katzen alludes to this pattern when she writes, “I believe that many young Jewish South Africans will opt for the opportunity that offers them the best quality of life. For most this is no longer South Africa.”
Like most surveys, the JCSSA is not entirely representative. I was 25 when the survey took place and I found the results surprising as my social circle has a very strong sense of belonging to South Africa. In fact, of those who have left South Africa many hope to return. When I asked my friends about the survey none of them had completed it. In fact, they weren’t even aware that it had taken place.
exploring the concerns of the south african Jewish community
In this article Benji Shulman argues that a paradigm shift is occurring in how the Jewish community conceives of and engages around 'outreach' and social responsibility. He examines the strengths as well as challenges of the existing models, and proposes that the emergence of a third model, which he terms Darkhei Shalom, can be used to address the current limitations of Jewish philanthropy within the South African context.
Our master taught: For the sake, the poor of the heathens should be supported as we support the poor of Israel, the sick of the heathens should be visited as we visit the sick of Israel, and the dead of the heathens should be buried as we bury the dead of Israel - The Talmud
EARLY one November morning a group of young people is preparing to take part in one of Johannesburg’s major cycle races. They hail from Vosloorus, a township in Gauteng, and train regularly to ensure that they are fit enough to race. They are part of a development programme, and as such their kit and bikes are sponsored. At first glance this might resemble any other youth development initiative for aspiring sportspeople from a disadvantaged area. But it is, in fact, much more than that. The riders are Christian Zionist activists from the Hope of Glory Tabernacle (a local church) and members of the pro-Israel group DEISI (Defend, Embrace, Invest-In and Support Israel).
"Jewry in post-apartheid South Africa have largely organised philanthropy around two different conceptual approaches; what I have termed Hessed and Tikkun Olam... programmes like Ride4Africa-Israel ...suggest the emergence of a third concept ... ."
They are part of the team Ride4Africa-Israel and are riding with members of the Jewish community. They race side-by-side flying both the South African and Israeli flags proudly displaying their affiliation to the passing crowds. The money raised through the race is donated to an initiative that provides water and agriculture technologies from Israel to projects in their own community and others around Johannesburg.