RABBI JULIA MARGOLIS – ORDINATION
In moving ceremonies in the restored, historic White Stork Synagogue of Wroclaw, Poland, Julia Margolis of Johannesburg received her Smichah from Potsdam-based Abraham Geiger College, the first woman ordained in Poland, at the first ceremony of Ordination in the former home of the German Jewish Theological Seminary and as the first daughter of a woman rabbi.( Her mother, Rabbi Ylena Rubinstein serves the Progressive Community in St. Petersburg.)
Rabbi Margolis was presented to Geiger President Rabbi Walter Jacob by her mother and Bet David’s Rabbi Robert Jacobs who shared in her training in Johannesburg.
The historic event coincided with numerous significant anniversaries including the start of World War II on September 1, 1939, the 140th Yahrzeit of the seminary’s namesake. Abraham Geiger and the 15th anniversary of the Geiger College – Germany’s first Rabbinic training institution after the Shoah.
Wroclaw was known as Breslau until its 1945 return to Polish sovereignty. In an address by German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeyer, the specificity of Germany’s historic responsibility represented in strong government support for the renaissance of Jewish life in central and east central Europe, accompanied remarks by Wroclaw’s Mayor at a Memorial Concert on Monday Evening (1 September) decrying the resurgence of Antisemitism and the unsettled climate created in the Ukraine, at NATO’s edge.
Rabbi Margolis was one of four rabbis Ordained, along with 3 Cantors invested, all trained through the German seminary.
Graduates of the Abraham Geiger College Ordained.Updated 03.09.2014 16.03 by Heide Sobotka, 16:03 – von Heide Sobotka
Seventy-five years after the German military conquest of Poland, the Abraham Geiger College convened its Service of Ordination in the historic White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw, formerly Breslau [Germany]. The College ordained four Rabbis and invested three Cantors.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) underscored the enormous political significance this location by his presence. He came specifically from Berlin to offer his congratulations to the seven candidates: Cantors Sofia Falkovitch, Aviv Weinberg and Alexander Zakharenko, as well as Rabbis Julia Margolis, Nils Ederberg, Jonas Jacquelin and Fabian Sborovsky.
At the time, the Foreign Minister called to mind the religious meaning of the venue, which served as a centre of Higher Jewish Education until the end of the 1930s. It was clearly impossible to misunderstand Steinmeier’s statement against anti-Semitism, which elicited spontaneous applause. It starts from the miracle that 75 years after Germany’s military offensive against Poland, Christians, Jews Poles and Germans celebrate this Ordination together, Steinmeier said.
The Graduates: The seven graduates received greetings from a representative of the Polish Community, the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism [Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander] and of the Ernst Ludwig Erhardt Foundation, Charlotte Knobloch. Good wishes from the Central Organisation of German Jewry were presented by Richard Schramm, Chairman of the Jewish State Community of Thuringen, offered in Polish in thanks to the host community. Each of the speakers mentioned the great significance of the ceremony.
The Abraham Geiger purposely chose this Polish city for the Ordination Service. Rabbi Abraham Geiger, for whom the Rabbinical Seminary is named, served some 20 years in Breslau. After a seven year term in Frankfurt, he became one of the founders of the Berlin Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums [Seminary for the Academic Study of Judaism] where he taught from 1872 until his death in 1874.
The new Rabbis and Cantors come from France, Paraguay, Russia, and Germany. Going forward, only two of the newly ordained will serve in Germany. Alexander Zakharenko will assume Cantorial duties in Erfuhrt, and Nils Ederberg has strong ties to Berlin. The remaining graduates will be scattered in the wind. For example Jonas Jacquelin returns to his hometown Paris, Sofia Falkovitch is called as Cantor to Luxemburg, and Julia Margolis will go to South Africa.
BEIT EMANUEL (1954 – 2014) 60th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Beit Emanuel will be celebrating its 60th anniversary with a gala dinner on 29 November featuring the acclaimed comedian Deep Fried Man (Daniel Friedman). There will also be a special concert featuring popular music, by the Beit Emanuel Choir.
Temple Israel Cape Town’s 70th Anniversary celebrated in ‘Grand’ style.
Sunday 19 October saw over 300 people gathering at the Grand Cafe and Beach near the Waterfront in Cape Town to enjoy this special event as we commemorated 70 years of Progressive Judaism in Cape Town. The beautiful venue and Spring weather ensured that all who attended were able to kick off their shoes, relax and enjoy the wonderful food and drink on offer. With entertainment provided by Gabriel Shai as well as a musical interlude from our newly formed Shira Chadasha choir, a d’var torah from Rabbi Greg and a speech marking the congregation’s achievements by our President Roy Fine, the afternoon was brought to a close by the drawing of the prizes in our raffle drawby Rabbi Malcolm. Mazel tov to all the prize winners and a huge thank you to all who contributed to the success of the day.
Read Shofar magazine in PDF
The annual SAUPJ magazine for the Gauteng congregations, Shofar, is available online. It includes a report from the SAUPJ’s Steve Lurie. To reduce download times, the PDF file has been scaled down to a text-only format.
Click to download. (3.7 megs)