This coming Monday, 9 March, Jewish Joburgers will prepare for the upcoming Purim festival in a unique way by doing their pre-festival shopping at the Chinese Market in Bruma. The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is organising this initiative as a gesture of solidarity with the Chinese community following the upsurge of unjust and irrational sentiment against South Africans of Chinese origin resulting from the Coronavirus epidemic.
SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn said that Purim was intrinsically bound up with the themes of human rights, anti-racism and acceptance of diversity.
“Purim is based on the Book of Esther, which relates how the Jews of ancient Persia were threatened with annihilation by their enemies, but were eventually saved. Its lessons are universal in that they shows the evils of prejudice, whether based on race, religion or other such grounds, and what such prejudice can lead to if left unchecked” she said.
Another important theme of Purim is that one of the most effective ways of combating hatred is by fostering bridges of friendship and understanding between people, regardless of what their backgrounds might be. Kahn explained that one of the practical ways in which this was achieved was through the practice of exchanging gifts with one another.
“Our aim with this pre-Purim shopping visit at the China Mall is to express our support and extend a hand of friendship to our Chinese fellow citizens” Kahn said.