TaMaR: for the young adult

TaMaR was started as an initiative of the international youth movement Netzer Olami, to provide a forum for ex-Netzer participants to remain involved in our movement. Today, TaMaR has become far more than its creators intended.Although TaMaR started as a home for recent ‘graduates’ from Netzer, world-wide it has attracted young adults who were never part of a youth movement, but who want to retain their Jewish involvement.The aim of the South African movement is to provide an understanding of what it means to be a Progressive Jew. While we are aware of our South African Minhag and of the variety of Jewish expression throughout the world, we seek to interrogate the underlying principles and construct our own practices based on relevance as well as ethical and intellectual integrity.

Therefore, TaMaR South Africa is a group of young people who get together in an attempt to answer difficult questions through study sessions on international Progressive practices. A wonderful introduction for our group is the exposure to Talmud and discussion surrounding this.

This past year has had its successes as well as its challenges. On the success front, we are in communication with the US-based Progressive youth movement, Kesher, in order to start up an exchange programme to South Africa.

The group has also received two major donations, one from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Kesher of $200 worth of books to support the beginning of a library. The books are currently kept at Bet David, which has become the preferred meeting place for the group. A second generous donation from TaMaR Israel of $1 000 was given to help support ongoing programming efforts for the Johannesburg group.

In the next year, we would like to visit other communities in South Africa in order to get the young adult programme started there. Our movement’s success relies on continuity planning for our future leaders. We therefore need to target young adults in our community and provide frameworks for TaMar so that we can encourage them to remain involved.

Our group consists of 14 to 20 regular attendees. It is the aim of the group to grow its current numbers and welcome people from the Progressive congregations as well as those currently not attending regular services. The group meets fortnightly on Shabbat for a discussion followed by Havdalah.

We would like to invite anyone interested in joining us for one of our sessions to get in touch with us. We look forward to seeing you there.

To end, I share the words that have kept me inspired and motivated, as told to me by Rabbi Robert Rothman: “Sing a new song to God.” When Rabbi Rothman told me these words, he added that every generation had to compose its own song to God. I believe this was his challenge to me, and for that I thank him. So for everyone reading, I extend the same challenge: Shiru L’Adonai, Shir Chadash.. Source: Shofar 2006

Who to contact:
Julia Rubinstein-Solomon at 071 368 6848 or julia@beitemanuel.co.za