The end of January saw me jumping on a plane to Washington DC for my second Cohort 5 gathering of the Schusterman Leadership Programme. This time we focused on the topic ‘Leading Others’.
I set off, with a head full of thoughts and suitcase full of warm clothes, not knowing that it would be my ‘veldskoene’ that would be my inspiration. It would be a small stitched South African flag on the back of this pair of shoes that would move and motivate me to push myself to my limits over the five days of training.
We all face the daily pressures that see us running from one space to the next, confusing our priorities. How often do we switch off the tech and focus on our own presence? Why is understanding our Jewish Identity and the role it can play in our small community so important?
For me, that flag represented a core facet of my identity and my role and responsibility as the only South African on the fellowship. At the Cape Board, we do a lot of work focused on fighting for the rights of Jews, in a loud, articulate voice that unpacks justice.
That flag reminded me how we must work to ensure that all Jews in our community can carry their personal flags and have a place at the table. What I most love about our community is that we are made up of many different coloured and textured threads, that when intertwined, create a glorious and beautiful tapestry.
Our 2020 strategy and vision, titled ‘Standing Up, Opting In’, will see our lay and professional teams creating as many opportunities for communal members to strengthen their Jewish identity as we can. It will allow all community members to have a stake in fighting for the issues of justice we face in our daily lives.
Let us make 2020 a year where we don’t talk but act, don’t say but show, and don’t promise but prove the contributions we can make, while proudly carrying our own flags in our community and South Africa.