Meet the organisations keeping our community safe, keeping us connected and keeping us hopeful.
Representing SA Jewry
Dedicated and passionate, the SAJBD team works tirelessly to ensure that your civil rights as a Jewish South African are protected and secured. It does so through continual engagement with government, political parties, civil society, media and other faith groups, bringing to wider notice the needs and concerns of SA Jewry. Whenever required, it takes appropriate action to enforce Jewish rights and freedoms. Where incidents of anti-Semitism occur, the SAJBD responds swiftly, assisted by its legal advisers. It has a record of consistent success in prosecuting cases of anti-Semitism, through the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), in the Equality Court and in other judicial forums. In every case where blatant anti-Zionism has resulted in anti-Semitism, the SAJBD has exposed it for what it is and taken action where necessary. The SAJBD further ensures that students are not disadvantaged by their religious practices during their school or university studies, as well as upholding other Jewish rites, such as swift Jewish burial and in the work environment. The SAJBD team make it their mission to provide a strong and balanced voice in the South African mainstream media, both proactively and reactively. It is committed to ensuring that SA Jewry can express their South African Jewish identity with pride.
The South African Zionist Federation has connected hundreds of South Africans to Israel through its various programmes and affiliate organisations. As the representative body of the South African Jewish community and its connection to Israel, it aims to protect our rights to be proud supporters of Israel. This year, it has hosted major community events Yom Ha’azmaut and Yom Hazikaron, and of the Diller Leadership programme, the Zionist youth movements and the Project TEN outreach centre in KZN, ensuring that young Jewish South Africans stay connected with Israel and to a global network of Zionist youth. Its media and marketing teams have had a busy year promoting and defending “brand Israel”, monitoring, responding to and informing major media platforms on Israel-related news. The flagship project, South African Friends of Israel (SAFI), has grown from a handful of supporters to a broad-based grassroots movement that transcends religious, cultural, political and racial barriers. SAFI has expanded over the past five years and the SAZF has successfully connected thousands of “friends” who are now supporting and advocating for Israel alongside the Jewish community. The SAZF will continue to create meaningful ways for our community to express their love for and support of Israel.
Protecting our community
Over the past year, the Community Security Organisation has responded to and dealt with over 200 active incidents and instances of suspicious activity in and around its facilities, and has reacted to over 160 medical calls through its medical division, Ezra. The CSO has trained over 90 volunteers in 2018 in the fields of search and recovery, and chessed shel emmet, through its partnership with ZAKA International. It was integrally involved in the search and location of 20 missing people over the course of the year. The CSO ensures that all Shabbatons, chaggim and large/high-profile communal functions are successfully protected throughout the year. Its 24-hour emergency control room continues to provide a critical point of contact and information for our community throughout the year. To date, the CSO has fielded over 15 000 calls for 2018. It has also implemented age-appropriate self-defence and security awareness courses at schools, aimed at giving our children the knowledge and skills to look after themselves and those around them. The CSO empowers and teaches members of our community to be informed and to look after themselves. No one will look after a child better than his or her parents, and similarly, no one will look after a community better than its members
The South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) provides a dynamic vehicle through which Jewish university students can proudly explore and express their Jewish identity. It enhances the Jewish experience on campus with regular events and programmes celebrating all facets of Jewish life. This year saw record sign-ups, and since then members have participated in the many campaigns that SAUJS has run, among them tikkun olam projects, Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, the ‘Dialogue not Division’ campaign that provided a forthright and effective counter to the hateful ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ initiative, and a range of social and educational events. The SAUJS Leadership Development Programme (LDP) is SAUJS’s advanced political and leadership training trip. It is devoted to developing leadership skills among the SAUJS Council, as well as achieving a better understanding of Israeli society and the ongoing conflict in the region. This year, SAUJS sent a 10-person delegation to the World Union of Jewish Students congress, where they joined with Jewish student leaders from 35 countries to share ideas, collaborate on projects and understand pressing issues facing world Jewry. SAUJS does its utmost to ensure your children are safe, happy and looked after on campus at all times, fostering an environment in which their higher education goes hand in hand with building on and proudly affirming their Jewish heritage.