Phina Hoberman named again for world board

Phina Hoberman has been nominated to serve on the board of directors of the international organisation, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), for a third term.Hoberman has represented the South African Union of Temple Sisterhoods (SAUTS) on the board since 2003 when the sisterhoods of SAUTS nominated her to serve as their official representative.

“I was subsequently elected on November 8, 2003 as a member on the Women of Reform Judaism Board of Directors at the 44th WRJ Biennial Assembly, which took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota,” Hoberman said.

“Members of the WRJ board are usually elected for a four-year period only. It therefore came as a complete surprise when I received a letter earlier this year informing me that the Committee on Nominations had recommended that my term be extended for a further two-year period (2007-2009). I feel very honoured,” she said.

The vote for the board members will take place during the 46th WRJ Assembly, which is due to take place in December in San Diego, California.

According to SAUTS national president, Monica Solomon, Phina has represented the SAUTS with distinction, at great expense to herself, and has kept us informed of everything that is being done by the WRJ.

“She has been a wonderful ambassador, not only for the sisterhoods in this country, but for Progressive Judaism in South Africa,” said Solomon.

In a letter to Hoberman, Linda Canon of the WRJ said: “I want you to know we are delighted to have you as a board member even if you are unable to attend all the meetings. Mazeltov. I look forward to continuing to work with you.”

“Kol hakavod, Phina, from all the Sisterhood members in South Africa. We are so proud of you!” said Solomon.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Progressive Judaism in North America. Established in 1913, WRJ now represents more than 75 000 women in over 500 women’s groups in North America and around the world.

With a mission to ensure the future of Progressive Judaism, WRJ works to educate and train future sisterhood and congregational leadership about membership, fundraising, leadership skills, advocacy for social justice, and innovative and spiritual programming.

About Phina Hoberman

Phina Hoberman has been a member of the Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation (Temple Israel) since 1964. She joined the Green Point Sisterhood Committee in 1974 and has served as chairperson of this sisterhood and president of the Cape Town sisterhoods on numerous occasions since then.

Hoberman was elected national president of the Southern African Union of Temple Sisterhoods (SAUTS) in 1983 and held in this position for two years. She represented the SAUTS at international conferences in the United States and in Israel during her term of office.

In 1999, Hoberman served a term as a member of Temple Israel’s executive committee and acted as Temple Israel’s representative on the Western Province Zionist Council for several years.

The SAUTS honoured Hoberman in July 2000 when the organisation bestowed upon her honorary life vice presidency in recognition of many years of devoted service to the SAUTS, and in December 2001, the sisterhoods of Cape Town presented her with the same honour for “exemplary leadership and many years of devoted, loyal and faithful service to the sisterhood and the congregation.”

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A year later, Hoberman received the distinction of becoming the first woman ever to be appointed
as a trustee of the Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation.

In February 2004, she was selected by WRJ for the honour of co-chairing World Jewry in the WRJ Department on Religious Action, and in May 2006, she was elected to serve as a member of the WRJ Department of Programming and Advocacy.

Hoberman’s dedication to the SAUTS is noteworthy, and her commitment to the Cape Town sisterhoods continues.

Over the years, Hoberman has also made a variety of Judaica items for Temple Israel in Cape Town and other Jewish organisations. In January 1998, she donated to Temple Israel five Torah covers that she had made.

Hoberman was married to the late David Hoberman for 53 years. She has two daughters, two sons, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.