Working for Our Students

If you were to ask our National Director, Wendy Kahn, which aspects of the Board’s work are the most complex, time-consuming and stressful, there is no doubt that resolving problems of university exams set on Shabbat or Yom Tov would rank high on the list. Whether timetable clashes involve many religiously observant Jewish students or even a single individual, the Board will exert itself to the utmost in order to come to an acceptable alternative arrangement with the university concerned. That we have in the vast majority of cases to date been successful in this regard has in large part been due to the absolute dedication with which Wendy has devoted herself to such cases. It can truly be said of her that she feels a personal obligation to help each and every individual and that will not rest until every door has been knocked on and every possible option pursued. For this innumerable Jewish students, and indeed the entire community, owe her a particular debt of gratitude.

A second area in which the Board has become involved is in assisting Jewish medical students wishing to be placed in reasonable proximity to a Jewish community when doing their post-graduation year of community service. Students accept that they will be placed in areas where their skills are most needed, but wherever possible we assist them in obtaining posts not too far removed from one or other centre where there exists an organised Jewish presence. Once again, Wendy has taken this particular task on her shoulders.

As in previous columns, I would like to reiterate the need for students who require our assistance in these or any other such areas to contact the Board as timeously as possible on 011 645 2521/ sajbd@sajbd.org

Recent Articles

Durban Jewish Exhibition

Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances. 

Sara Gon compares the experience of Penny Sparrow with that of Bongani Masuku

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”

The Bongani Masuku Judgement - Implications for South African Law

Determining where the boundary lies between legitimate freedom of expression and prohibited ‘hate speech’ can never be an exact science. During the flurry of debate that took place around the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill earlier this year, this was something that came through especially strongly. Err too much on one side, and victims of genuinely hurtful and insulting verbal abuse are left without a remedy; err too much on the other, and a fundamental pillar of democracy is undermined.