PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM IN THE NEWS
New Era Begins: SAUPJ Gathers in Cape Town for Biennial Conference
The SAUPJ(South African Union for Progressive Judaism) biennial conference, which took place at Cape Town’s Temple Israel from June 6-8, 2014, heralded a new era for the community. The gathering marked the end of Steve Lurie’s 10-year tenure as SAUPJ Chair. In his place, the Conference selected Alvin Kushner as SAUPJ’s new Chair. Kushner is a member of Temple Israel and has served in numerous positions, both in the Temple and on the SAUPJ national board.
The WUPJ’s Vice President for International Development Rabbi Joel Oseran noted, “The SAUPJ and the WUPJ have been blessed to have had the caliber of leadership provided by Steve Lurie during his long and distinguished service to Progressive Judaism nationally and internationally. We owe him and Rahle, who has been at his side always, our profound gratitude.”
The Conference program was chock full of sessions aimed at developing Jewish education and strengthening Jewish commitment so as to support democracy, freedom, tolerance and compassion.
The ‘Biblical References to the Importance of Unity in Diversity’ was a Conference highlight, as was the ‘What do we Want from the Future SAUPJ in an Ideal World’ round table group and plenary session.
Rabbi Oseran led sessions on Israel and World Jewry while Director of JHub and former head of the Reform Movement in the UK Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand served as scholar in residence for the Conference and gave sessions on leadership and group dynamics.
Parsha Noah by Rabbi Margolis
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Cape Town Shaliach, Omer Rabin, Rosh Cape Town, Tali Cassidy, and Netzer Mazkira Meghan Finn, at the Netzer Curry & Rice stall at the main Cape Town event
Cape Town Shaliach, Omer Rabin, leads the Netzer procession at the Ratanga Junction celebrations
Dressing up military style at the “Israel@60” sleepover at the Wynberg shul
Just some of the youngsters who attended the “Israel@60” sleepover at the Wynberg shul
|THE Cape Town Jewish community celebrated Israel’s 60th anniversary in a long week of events in which Netzer was proud to play an important role.The week began with moving Yom-Hasho’ah and Yom Hazikaron ceremonies, followed by a huge Yom Haâ€™atzmaut ceremony, together with the entire Jewish community, at the Ratanga Junction Theme Park.
The Netzer team wore their new green shirts, and carried their blue flags. They sold curry & rice at their Netzer stall, marched inside the venue with their flags and with great “ruach”, and even went on stage to perform a memorable dance number.
And that’s not all: less than 24 hours later, the movement held a special “Yom Ha’atzmaut Ceremony” in the Green Point shul for the entire community, followed by an “Israel@60” sleepover at the Wynberg shul.
Check out the photos … we still need to catch our breath! 🙂
Cape Town Shaliach
|THE South African Union for Progressive Judaism and Netzer celebrated Yom Haâ€™atzmaut with the rest of the Johannesburg Jewish community at the Wanderers Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night, 7th May 2008.Both the SAUPJ and Netzer were part of the procession of Jewish organisations and youth movements. Those who joined the procession through the stadium included Steve Lurie, SAUPJ chairperson; Rabbi Robert Jacobs (Bet David, Sandton); Moira Holz and Simon Hochschild (Temple Emanuel, Parktown); Rabbi Ann Folb (Bet Menorah, Pretoria); and Netzer shaliach Michael Szczupak.Rabbi Ann Folb, Moira Holz and (right) Steve Lurie
Rabbis Ann Folb and Robert Jacobs, with Temple Emanuel shamas Simon Hochschild behind
Rabbi Robert Jacobs leads, with Moria Holz and Steve Lurie behind
Netzer Gauteng shaliach Michael Szczupak with a group of Israeli scouts
Netzer shaliach Michael Szczupak (right) with the Netzernik boys
|Israeli and South African flags …
… and the Netzer flag
Netzer shaliach Michael Szczupak carries madrich Jared Durbach aloft
Simon Hochschild and Steve Lurie amid flags
|TWO British youngsters who recently finished high school, have embarked on a round-the-world trip to visit branches of the youth movement Netzer, and aim to join South African Netzer at their December youth camps in Cape Town.
J.J. Silverman and Dan Raanan, youth leaders in Britain’s Reform movement, have embarked on a six-month journey to visit branches of Netzer Olami, the Progressive movement’s international Zionist youth movement, on six continents. Silverman grew up at Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire, while Raanan’s family belongs to Sinai Synagogue in Leeds.
“Whilst trying to decide what to do with our gap year,” they said in the newsletter of Britain’s Movement for Reform Judaism, “we concluded that a year in Israel wasn’t adventurous enough for us. We wanted to stay in touch with the movement at the same time as traveling the world, and what better way than to meet with all the Netzer branches throughout the world?”
As their plans gained momentum, Silverman and Raanan made contact with every branch affiliated with Netzer, and their itinerary grew to include stops in Europe, Israel, South Africa, Australia, South America and the U.S.
“We are looking forward to learning all about the different Reform Jewish customs from around the world,” they wrote, “especially from summer camps in both South Africa and Australia. We hope that our trip will strengthen the connections between us and Reform synagogues around the world, and [that] we inspire the world to come a little closer.”
(Edited extract from an article on the World Union for Progressive Judaism website).
The Progressive Jewish youth movement, Netzer, provides regular events for young people ranging from Grade 1 to post-matric
Get a taste of the fun you can have with Netzer, from our report and photographs of the December camp at Glencairn, near Cape Town.
What happens when the youth are no longer so young? They join TaMaR, the young adults movement
Meet Netzer Gauteng’s new shaliach, Michael Szczupak, previously an instructor in an Israeli youth movement.
|THE World Union for Progressive Judaism has called for emergency funding to help the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which has been hard hit by the current global economic downturn and devalued US dollar, forcing it to make massive staff cutbacks.
Reform synagogues, seminaries and rabbinic organizations in the US and Canada have joined in the campaign on behalf of the Israeli movement. An e-mail sent to more than 70 000 leaders of Reform Jewry in North America said:
“We need your help to save the future of the Reform Movement in Israel. Through no fault of its own, the IMPJ has 2 million fewer shekels than originally budgeted, representing more than 30 percent of its funding. To stay afloat, the IMPJ has had to lay off half its staff and has drastically cut back on its operations.”
The timing of this financial crisis is a blow to the increasingly dynamic growth of Progressive Judaism, the branch with which more Israelis identify than Orthodoxy. Many thousands of Israeli Jews are now enjoying this spiritual alternative – through worship, education and social action – thanks to the efforts of dedicated movement staff and volunteers. Their programs and support are now gravely threatened by the current revenue shortfall.
The goal of the appeal is to raise at least $500,000 to alleviate this emergency and sustain the movement. Contributions are being coordinated in the US at www.urj.org/israel/impj.
(Edited extract from an article on the Union for Reform Judaism website).
The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is Israel’s liberal Jewish religious movement, and a member of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism is the international umbrella organisation of the Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements, serving 1 200 congregations with 1.7 million members in 42 countries.
The central body of the Reform Movement in North America, founded in 1873. It is the largest Jewish movement in North America and represents 1.5 million Jews in more than 900 congregations.