MONICA SOLOMON, who has held various roles within both the SAUPJ and Women of Progressive Judaism SA over the years, was elected chair of the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) at the biennial conference in Cape Town last weekend. She is the first woman to chair the national movement. Ian West, treasurer of Beit Emanuel, was nominated as treasurer of the national body, and Russell Cohen of Beit Emanuel was proposed to handle administration. Both will continue in their current roles at Beit Emanuel.
The Temple Israel Cape Town organisers, led by SAUPJ Western Cape Chair Linda Thorn, were praised for their outstanding organisation of the programme, the services and the catering. The conference resolved a number of differences over policy and operations, and delegates emerged with a strong sense of a united direction for the future. A number of useful ideas for shul events and management emerged, which the Beit Emanuel delegates will take back to our own team.
A resolution was taken supporting the movement’s outreach arm SACRED in the dispute over the ban on women’s voices at secular public gatherings hosted by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies. Although the dispute has been going on for some months, this was the SAUPJ’s first opportunity to take a national position. The resolution was proposed by Beit Emanuel’s Professor David Bilchitz.
A resolution on Israel, brought jointly by Professor Antony Arkin of Temple David (Durban) and Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked of Beit Emanuel, with amendments from David Bilchitz, committed the SAUPJ to the position taken by the World Union’s political arm Arzenu, while expressing objections to continued settlements and calling for renewed commitment to peace negotiations.