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The backdrop to the movement’s emergence was the Emancipation, the process begun in late 18th century to grant European Jews equal rights and eliminate the legal barriers that had impeded their social and economic progress for centuries. This Shabbat morning trip to the synagogue is often their only opportunity to get out and socialize. That school, which still bears his name, is also a South African heritage site. He has been doing it for years, and according to Forman will continue doing it “as long as there is one Jew who wants to come through that door.”, The congregation no longer has a rabbi, but it does have a lay leader who regularly conducts Shabbat morning services. For a list of Haaretz newsletters, click here. A Progressive congregation was soon formed and the first service was held at the Freemasons’ Hall. Demographics Census Information The Census 2001 provided the most recent national statistics for religious denominations. Many of those awaiting her welcome — she refers to them affectionately as “my motley crew” — are poor and feeble. Reform Judaism, a religious movement that has modified or abandoned many traditional Jewish beliefs, laws, and practices in an effort to adapt Judaism to the changed social, political, and … (There is no active Conservative movement in South Africa.) Reform Judaism in SA The first ‘hint’ of Progressive (Liberal) Judaism in South Africa came when She’s able to pull in some revenues by renting out a section of the building that once housed a heder to a nursery school and one of the halls to a church. Will Israel Let Him? This insight followed through to all Rabbi Weiler’s pioneering activities and the committee’s visionary ideals, and as a result, Temple Israel flourished and the Progressive movement grew exponentially. Michael Jerome at Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Position of the Reform Movement Both the URJ and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) have taken stands against human rights abuses and war atrocities in Africa. “Many people don’t think twice about walking around here during the day, but are scared to be out at night,” explains Forman. Weiler and his family moved to Israel in 1957, where he became active in the Reform movement. Haaretz.com provides extensive and in-depth coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including defense, diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the peace process, Israeli politics, Jerusalem affairs, international relations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli business world and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora. Your comment was successfully submitted and will be published in All these are denied fundamental human rights … ), Tracey Korsen, who lives nearby, has been attending services at Temple Israel for three years. Progressive Jewish rabbis and lay leaders were in the … In December 2020 the South African Jewish Museum will open an exhibition on the history and role of Progressive (or Reform) Jews in South Africa. When the results were announced, it turned out her side had just barely prevailed, earning a one-vote majority. The Census 2011 form did not include any questions about religion due to low priority. Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to … One of three Reform congregations in Johannesburg (which is South Africa’s largest Jewish center), Temple Israel holds services every Friday night and Saturday morning, as well as on all the Jewish holidays. Reform Judaism was born at the time of the French Revolution, a time when European Jews were recognized for the first time as citizens of the countries in which they lived. This was completely revolutionary. Indexes English-language articles, book reviews, and feature stories in more than 160 journals such as Jewish Affairs. South Africa did not experience a significant wave of Jewish migration from Germany, where Reform Judaism and the Haskalah … The upkeep of Temple Israel and its heritage center is expensive, and Forman says one of her biggest challenges is financing it. Covers … “One of the things we’re looking at is what we might do here to help refugees,” says Forman. How do you keep Shabbat if you’re running after elephants? The 2016 Community Survey, and intercensal survey carried out by Statistics South Africa… By contrast, on Friday nights, hardly a handful turn up. Stay informed! Kurtstag, for our long standing friendship as well as their encouragement and ongoing support for this … To mark its 80th anniversary three years ago, the Temple Israel Heritage Centre — which serves as the repository of the archives of the Reform movement in South Africa — was opened in the same building, with an A-list of Jewish and non-Jewish dignitaries present at the gala affair. The first ‘hint’ of Progressive (Liberal) Judaism in South Africa came when Professor Abraham Zvi Idelsohn visited his family in Johannesburg in September 1929 for his parents’ Golden Wedding anniversary. And so she resolved to fight the move, lobbying members of the local Reform community ahead of a planned referendum. He conducted services in private homes during 1930, and later arranged public lectures, gave talks on the radio and wrote articles on Progressive Judaism in the Jewish and daily press. We've got more newsletters we think you'll find interesting. Her voice might not be what it was, and she may no longer have any singers to lead, but she is here every single Saturday morning and takes her job darned seriously. By the late nineties, “Classical Reform” had been largely abandoned across the world, and Progressive and Conservative Judaism … They are the last remaining white residents of Hillbrow, once a center of Jewish life in Joburg. Judaism -- South Africa dc.subject.lcsh Proselytes and proselyting, Jewish -- Converts from Christianity dc.title Conversion to Judaism in South Africa en dc.type Thesis dc.description.department Religious … “For me, it’s especially important to take care of the people who come because they have nowhere else to go.”. But now that I have more time on my hands, I just love coming. Newspaper cuttings and other material sourced from Temple Israel’s archives. Subscribe today. Subscribe to the newsletters to get the latest news and updates. The number of black people who have converted to Judaism in South Africa since the end of apartheid, or who are in the process of doing so, is estimated at several hundred. “Good Shabbos, darling,” Forman greets each and every one of them, making sure to offer her cheek for a kiss. As always, he’s here with his partner Serona Reitzik, who lived in Hillbrow until seven years ago. Ghettos were being … Women of Reform Judaism 633 Third Avenue New York, NY 10017-6778 WRJ Footer Contact Contact Us 212.650.4050 info@wrj.org WRJ Footer Social Follow Us E-Newsletter Sign up for … And if you manage to entice the children… the parents will always follow. A Scion of Zionist Aristocracy Wants to Quit the Jewish People. As South Africa commemorated National Women’s Day on Sunday, August 9, tribute goes to the more than 20 000 women who on that day in 1956 marched against legislation that required Africa… Visit the SA Department of Health's website (COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal) for COVID-19 updates. In addition to her position at Temple Israel, she also sits on the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and is honorary vice president of the South African Zionist Federation. According to The Star on 28 December 1933, the Liberal Jewish movement in South Africa… has purchased a site for the erection of a Liberal Jewish Synagogue in Johannesburg, the first in South Africa. Since you don’t ask a single and never-married woman like Forman to disclose her age, let’s just say that most of her high-school classmates are probably well into retirement by now. This adaptation of Katie Osrin’s roast chicken, a family favorite, includes potatoes, apples, and ginger. She was South Africa’s top model by her late teens and, despite the many years that have passed, still hasn’t lost the ability to turn heads with her stunning outfits and long wavy tresses. Once he was ordained, Rabbi Weiler came to Johannesburg. But Reeva Forman wouldn’t even consider it. Most arrive alone because they have no family. Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: HoneyPress by SpiceThemes, Leaders of the Progressive Jewish Community, Women of Progressive Judaism – South Africa, Arzenu, the progressive wing of world Zionism, About the World Union for Progressive Judaism. A teeny thing with a big powerful voice, Angela knows every single word of the prayer service by heart and jumps up eagerly when she is summoned to help cover the Torah scroll after the weekly portion reading. Twenty-five years ago, not long after she had taken over as chairwoman of Temple Israel in Hillbrow, the former top model-turned-prominent businesswoman learned that the Reform movement was planning to put the building on the market. Sign in Marion Bubly and Angela Moses at Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. 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Take a deep dive into 'the BDS heartland', with Haaretz's special project on South Africa's Jewish community:■ Jews are leaving South Africa once again — but don’t blame BDS ■ On the road with Africa’s only traveling rabbi ■ These South African Jews hate the occupation as much as they hate BDS ■ From Auschwitz to Rwanda: Drawing new lessons from the Holocaust in South Africa■ This South African synagogue caters to Jews of all colors ■ The Jews working to leave their mark on Rainbow Nation■ How do you keep Shabbat if you’re running after elephants? “For me, this was especially meaningful,” says Forman, who ran the project, “because once again we were doing something to promote education in the black community.”. Worshippers, including Reeva Forman, right, at Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, during a Shabbat service in May 2019. “Eager to participate and demonstrate to their neighb… One of its first projects was opening a nursery school on the Temple Israel premises. In 1932, through Abraham Idelsohn and Lily Montagu, he started negotiating with Moses Cyrus Weiler, then a student at Hebrew Union College under the tutelage of Abraham, who was his professor. “The site covers three quarters of an acre, and is situated in Empire Road, corner of Hillside Road, just a few minutes from Clarendon Circle [and] Twist Street tram terminus.”. accordance with site policy. Samuel Moses, another convert from Nigeria, attends services every Friday night and Saturday morning with his 6-year-old daughter, Angela. Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish denomination which emphasizes the evolving nature of the religion, the superiority of its ethical … But she won, and that was the important thing. “That’s because to me, the perfect place for a house of worship is where there are poor members of a particular religion and others who need help and support.”. From Auschwitz to Rwanda: Drawing new lessons from the Holocaust in South Africa, This South African synagogue caters to Jews of all colors, The Jews working to leave their mark on Rainbow Nation, From Auschwitz to Rwanda: Why South Africa has so many Holocaust museums, Coronavirus Live Tracker: How Many Cases and Deaths in Israel and Worldwide, Trump Pardons Israeli Colonel Who Helped Recruit Spy Jonathan Pollard. Progressive Judaism in South Africa has played a major role in the development of the overall Jewish community in the country. Johannesburg, Jewish Reform Synagogue 1933 (Temple Israel), Cape Town, Greenpoint, 1944 (Temple Israel), Johannesburg, North Eastern District Jewish Reform Synagogue 1945 (Temple Shalom), Durban, Progressive Hebrew Congregation 1948 (Temple David), Johannesburg, North Western Districts Jewish Reform Synagogue 1953 (Temple Emanuel), Bulawayo, 1956 (amalgamated with the Orthodox, 1977), 1965 Beth-El Johannesburg, (amalgamated with Emanuel, 1979), 1977 Youth Movement Maginim established nationally. On the High Holy Days, says Forman, the entire membership of the congregation — about 70 people — is typically in attendance. An important communication will be read from the headquarters of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. South African Reform evolved its own forms of religious practice which were more Zionist and more conservative than those in the USA. Rabbi Weiler’s insight and vision were clear from the beginning. “There must never be any vestige of differentiation between a rich man and a poor man,” he said. If you would like to be notified when your comment is published, It is noteworthy that an important clause in the constitution states that the aim of the Jewish Religious Union is to stimulate and inspire an intensive interest in Judaism and to overcome religious apathy and indifference and to establish a branch of the Progressive Jewish Movement (Liberal Judaism) in South Africa. But if they do happen to show up on a Friday evening, they can count on finding 89-year-old Hillbrow resident Bill Hoffman leading the service. Jerry later joined his brother on a trip through Europe, where he visited Progressive synagogues and met a number of prominent Progressive Jewish leaders and Rabbis on the Continent and in England, including the Honourable Lily Montagu, who was president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Why I, a Moroccan Journalist, Endured Death Threats to Interview Bibi in Israel, Decades Before Normalization, Farewell to Haaretz and All Its Readers – but Especially American Jews, Joe Biden Will Enjoy One Advantage No President Ever Had on Israel-Palestine. Also in attendance this morning are about half a dozen black converts, some of them originally from Nigeria. It was August 1933. About Who’s Who Please Donate Israel Recruitment Safeguarding Policies Complaints Whistleblowing RJ@Home Advice and Resources Hub RJ:TV – Online Community from Reform Judaism It was in South Africa… Its communal Passover seder, which typically draws more than 50 participants, is the highlight of the year for many of the congregants. Some of them can barely walk. Forman never met him but says he was “the type of human being I adore — a real humanitarian activist.” In 1945, while visiting the township of Alexandra, located north of Johannesburg, he was struck by the sight of black children running around barefoot in the street while their parents were at work, and resolved to set up a school there. Find citations to articles on the Jewish community in Kenya, South Africa, etc. Normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, 38 Oxford Road, Parktown 2193 (Entrance on 3rd Ave.), The Southern African Union for Progressive Judaism Golden Jubilee magazine, 1981, The United Progressive Jewish Congregation of Johannesburg Golden Jubilee magazine, 1983. “I did try out other places,” she says, “but I ended up choosing this one because of Reeva. The purpose of the meeting is to confirm the constitution which has been carefully prepared by the committee. But there is a choir leader: That role is filled by Ruth Leveson, a frail, elderly woman. She is still involved in the firm, which was once a well-known brand in South Africa. Progressive Jews have led the South African Jewish … Ruth Leveson at Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. please fill in your email address in the form below. Ammi, Winter 1981/82, published by the World Union for Progressive Judaism, with a special focus on South Africa and the first 50 years. He urged his brother, Jerry, to establish a group to initiate Progressive Judaism in Johannesburg, which he did. Shabbat Shalom from Johannesburg. Based in Reform Jewish values, these programs provide … Jerry Idelson, famed as a musician, initiated the Reform Movement in SA at a meeting in 1930. At the end of that year, a site was purchased to build a synagogue. Marion Bubly, the 69-year-old who fills this position, likes to refer to herself as a “rookie rabbi.”, “My parents were married in this shul and I was named in this shul,” she says. A psychology graduate of the city’s University of the Witwatersrand, Forman founded her own cosmetics company, Reeva, back in 1980. On his return, he discovered the provisional committee formed before his trip was inactive and so he formed a new committee, which included Oscar Caplan, Dr Louis Freed and Sigmund Haas, among others. But a Temple Israel Hebrew School was established and children’s services were instituted. Currently on the table are various proposals for using the stately premises for other types of social action projects and outreach work. The hon. In June 1931, the South African Jewish Religious Union for Liberal Judaism was established with Jerry as honorary secretary, and a wide media campaign was launched. (Much to her delight, she will also be asked to recite the kiddush after the service is over and be in charge of handing out pieces of challah and cake to congregation members. The history of the Jews in South Africa mainly began under the British Empire, following a general pattern of increased European settlement in the 19th century. Michael Jerome, who converted more than 20 years ago after migrating from Nigeria, also serves as the custodian of the synagogue and sleeps on the premises. Congregation treasurer Jacob Hurwitz is another of the Saturday morning regulars. She vows that, as long as she is around, this shul will never be shuttered. Tragically, two of his sons were killed fighting in Israel’s wars. Because the main sanctuary, used in the old days, is now far too big for a group this size, the congregants gather in a side room down the corridor. After South Africa held its first democratic election 25 years ago, former Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris — known for his close ties to President Nelson Mandela — helped found Afrika Tikkun, an organization that promotes social outreach and assistance to black communities. Union for Reform Judaism is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. “Before I retired, I didn’t spend as much time here. But with fewer and fewer Jews willing to brave the trip to this inner-city slum, and those too poor to live elsewhere unable to afford the annual dues, putting the building up for sale seemed like the most logical choice. Reform Judaism also stresses equality between the sexes. Once South Africa’s top model, Reeva Forman now leads a model Reform synagogue in the hardscrabble Hillbrow neighborhood — and she has no plans to abandon her community. During his travels, he was impressed by the Progressive services and inspired by Lily Montagu, who later sent him the Liberal Sabbath prayer books to use for services. Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), through its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund, has awarded $268,000 in grants to 13 programs that will strengthen Jewish life and provide the … Picnic for children of the Reform Congregation, held near Johannesburg in 1939. to join the conversation. The impact of retirement reform in South Africa By Opinion Nov 20, 2020 Share this article: Share Tweet Share Share Share Email Share Changes to retirement benefits for provident fund … In 1979, the URJ passed an anti-apartheid resolution which commended those who led the non-violent struggle against apartheid in South Africa… Reeva Forman at Temple Israel in Johannesburg: "The perfect place for a house of worship is where there are poor members of a particular religion and others who need help and support.". Orthodoxy has always been the country’s largest Jewish movement, even if many who identify as Orthodox are not necessarily observant, with Reform Judaism trailing far behind. The congregation does not have a choir these days, either. Forman herself grew up in an Orthodox home and did not embrace Reform Judaism until much later in life. As the Reform Jewish hub of social justice, legislative activity, and broad-based campaign work, the RAC mobilizes a robust, powerful Reform Jewish constituency made up of strong, networked … The first High Holy Days services that year brought in a large number of new members and other interested people. The Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, the only shul in Johannesburg to be granted heritage site status. When it was inaugurated in August 1936, Temple Israel’s first rabbi was Moses Cyrus Weiler, who was born in Latvia and ordained in the United States. The foundation stone of Temple Israel was laid by the then Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Maurice Freeman, on 22 September 1935, and the official opening of the shul took place on 23 August 1936. Please fill out your personal information and select which newsletters you would like to receive from us. Abraham was a professor of Jewish music at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and while he was here, he gave talks on Jewish music as well as the nature, principles and procedures of Progressive Judaism. Women of Progressive Judaism – South Africa (WPJ-SA) (formerly SA Union of Temple Sisterhoods (SAUTS)) “Sisterhood means service” was the motto adopted by the women who became known as the Sisterhood … Jews are leaving South Africa once again — but don’t blame BDS, On the road with Africa’s only traveling rabbi, These South African Jews hate the occupation as much as they hate BDS. By adding a comment, I agree to this site’s Terms of use. “If there is one Jew who needs us, this door will be open,” she says. I should also like to thank the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, C.K. Haaretz.com, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, and analysis from Israel and the Middle East. The Result Was Deadly, Why Syria Isn’t Firing Its S-300 Missiles at Israeli Jets, Israel Seems to Intensify Its Attacks Against Iran in Syria, Satellite Images Show Syrian Research Center Reportedly Targeted in Israeli Strike, How Israel Built a Nuclear Program Right Under the Americans’ Noses. Tracey Korsen at Temple Israel synagogue in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. Reform Judaism shares the universal Jewish emphasis on learning, duty and obligation, rather than creed as the primary expression of a religious … In South Africa today there are some 18.6 million classified as "blacks," 2.5 million classified as "colored" (i.e., children of biracial marriage), and 750,000 Asians. True, the historic Art Deco building was home to South Africa’s first Reform congregation and is a treasured relic of Jewish history here. “During the next three years, progress was slight and it seemed that for once, the Rabbi had been too optimistic – the Temple stood more like a Temple of Hope than a Temple of Achievement. Progressive Judaism has always been relatively smaller in South Africa compared to its American counterpart. The email address you have provided is already registered. Ground Breakers - A History of Progressive Judaism in South Africa Ground Breakers – A History of Progressive Judaism in South Africa will be launched on 13 December, coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of its opening, the South Africa… On a recent Shabbat, about a dozen or so worshippers were in attendance at Temple Israel for the weekly morning service. In view of the importance of the decisions to be taken at this meeting, a full attendance of those interested is anticipated. 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