Our partners in Africa have been writing to us to share their reflections on Mandela’s legacy. Here are a few: Read More
Tag Archives: South Africa
Last year, as part of an alternative Rosh Hashanah service I attended, we discussed one of the central themes of the holiday—kingship. It was interesting to note how many of us ‘moderns’ struggle with the concept of an external authority who is judging us and then determining our destiny. Many of the participants spoke about the contradiction between the Jewish liturgy, which depicts an external God as the source of authority, and the more contemporary idea that our internal conscience should guide our actions. I, too, shared this discomfort, so I found it interesting that Parashat Vayelech, read between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, offers a more balanced perspective on the various loci of power in the Torah.
With only a few days before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, one Olympic athlete has my full attention: Oscar Pistorius. He’s the first double-amputee runner to compete in track at the Olympics with a chance to win South Africa’s 21st gold medal! Oscar’s achievement is a milestone for inclusion. But this is only one step in a larger effort to ensure that people with disabilities are fully integrated into social, political and communal life.
The United Nations estimates that over 650 million people around the globe are living with disabilities. More than 500 million of these people live in developing countries. Unlike Oscar, most disabled people in marginalized societies do not have a chance to participate in communal events. When they do, their contributions often go unnoticed. People with disabilities are subjected to many forms of discrimination and bigotry including sexual abuse and heightened vulnerability to HIV and AIDS. In most cases, they are seen as people who do not have rights and certainly as people who do not have sexual or reproductive rights. Read More