A welcoming and open community
Welcome to Beit Emanuel, a diverse, warm and welcoming progressive Jewish congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrating its sixty fifth anniversary in 2019. Our rabbi is the charming, Israeli-born Sa’ar Shaked. See his profile page here.
A diverse community
We celebrate the unique diversity of our congregation: Ashkenazi and Sephardi, white and black, African and Asian, gays, Jews by Choice, liberals and conservatives, South Africans, Americans and Israelis … all drawn together by a common spiritual quest.
Come and visit us!
If you are visiting Johannesburg, you are most welcome to attend our services, and take part in the delicious communal Shabbat dinners we serve afterwards. If you are Orthodox or if you are secular, if you are just thinking about Progressive Judaism, you and your children are welcome.
Please check in first
Friday night services
We hold Friday evening services in our main synagogue every week from 6.00pm until about 7.15pm. The services are accompanied by a full four-part choir led by choirmaster Avi Kanar on keyboard. Many of the tunes are his own compositions. After the service, there is generally a full Shabbat supper, sponsored by a member of the congregation, to which all, visitors included, are invited.
Saturday morning services
Saturday morning services are more informal, and are often held out in our garden, weather permitting. Community participation, passion and enthusiasm are encouraged. These services begin at 9.30am and end at about 11.00am.
Saturday talks and study
After a break for a community Kiddush, there is a discussion session called JTalk, led by either a community member or an outsider with specialist knowledge. This hour-long session, usually on a Jewish topic, has become popular enough to attract people from outside the congregation.
Following the JTalk each Saturday, is the Talmud study group, which draws knowledgeable enthusiasts and beginners, members and outsiders.