A casual comment by my father at shul in Johannesburg last Shabbat and the Chinese whispers that followed resulted in a headline this week in the South African Jewish Report: ‘SA doctor celebrates Rosh Hashanah with British Prime Minister’.
This headline alludes to an invitation I received from Prime Minister Theresa May to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Downing Street. What the article failed to mention was that I was one of hundreds of UK Jewish communal leaders invited for a 4:30-6pm reception on Wednesday this week.
While I laughed over the exaggeration and the numerous calls I received asking if I was staying for all three days and whether my family was moving in too, it did make me realise the stark differences between the UK and South African societies which led to this exaggeration and made me appreciate the privileges of living in the UK.
Given our history, we are so fortunate to live in a society where the government recognises the Jewish community and not only protects and celebrates our religion but also religious freedom, diversity and equality in general. Within the social care industry we are constantly bemoaning budget cuts which are putting pressure on our services, and yet, how lucky we are to have a social care system to support our most vulnerable.
So, as we approach Rosh Hashanah, my message is one of huge appreciation of the core values that bind our society, of the wonderful community which surrounds us, and of you – for your support.
And one other message – always be careful what you say in shul. You’ll never know where it might lead! Wishing you k’siva v’chasima tova and a sweet, happy new year.<< Back