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
Looking at the Jewish Community Survey of South Africa, Deena Katzen reflects on the shifts in thinking amongst young Jewish South Africans and suggests that the Jewish community might be out of touch with how the youth think about and engage with the world around them.
IN the five years since I’ve been involved in Jewish student organizations, I have been asked countless times, “What does it mean to be a young Jewish person in South Africa today?” I have always found this difficult to answer because of the diverse nature of the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of Jewish youth today. However, despite this complexity, this question is a fundamental and foundational one, and one which is all too often glossed over by communal organizations.
The way in which young South African Jews think about and experience the world around them has shifted significantly over recent years. The Jewish Community Survey of South Africa (JCCSA), released in 2020, offers some interesting insights into these developments and shifts amongst young Jews.
"It is clear that as young people we need to continue to build a better future for ourselves, and inspire the push towards a more open, safe and accepting society and community. The question is whether we will continue to do this from within South Africa?"