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Jun 14

SAUPJ 80th Anniversary Conference a great success

The South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ)’s 80th Anniversary Conference came to an end late Sunday afternoon. Most of overseas guests have flown home, apart from a few lucky enough to be visiting South Africa’s game parks and other tourist destinations.
Most of those who attended will agree that the event (which began on Thursday afternoon) was an unqualified success. Most of all, it gave participants an understanding that, in the SA Jewish context Progressive Judaism may look like a small minority within a minority. In the global Jewish context, however, we are an integral part of the largest Jewish religious denomination, with an umbrella body (the World Union for Progressive Judaism, or WUPJ) representing 1.8 million Jews in 1,200 communities and 45 countries. We should never lose sight of that.
Dignitaries attending included both the President and Chairman of the WUPJ (Rabbi Stephen Fuchs and Mike Grabiner respectively), the CE of Liberal Judaism in the UK (Rabbi Danny Rich) and representatives of 4 of the WUPJ’s 7 regions. We were also once again privileged to have Anat Hoffman, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center present and completely unfettered.
For Beit Emanuel too, the event was a success, and many delegates and visitors were reminded of how much the shul (and its campus and facilities) has to offer its members and the Progressive Jewish community as a whole. All events on both Friday and Sunday took place at Beit Emanuel. Our staff (especially the facilities staff) worked incredibly hard and, along with the catering team run by Judy Hodes and Marlene Jacobson, ensured that all delegates were well looked after.
The only disappointment was the relatively low participation (as delegates or observers) by Beit Emanuel’s members. Please let us know how we can make it possible for more members to take part in such events in future.
RUSSELL COHEN, CHAIRMAN