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Jul 28

A deal is reached on Kol Isha and ban on singing women to end

The SAUPJ’s outreach arm SACRED has announced that a settlement has been reached in the case concerning the exclusion of women from singing at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Cape Town – without the matter going to court.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies has agreed to end its ban on women singing and has committed that future ceremonies will be restructured so as to include women singing.

SACRED joined in a court action that was initiated by Gilad Stern, a Modern Orthodox Jew based in Cape Town.

Rabbi Julia Margolis, chairperson of SACRED’s board, said: “We are glad to know that all future SA Jewish Board of Deputies ceremonies and events will be infused with respect for the equal treatment of all on grounds of sex and gender and that no members of the community will be treated as second class Jews. SACRED became involved in this issue as it is deeply committed to the values of our Constitution and ensuring the elimination of unfair discrimination within the Jewish community of South Africa”.

Whilst the immediate agreement has been reached only with the Board of Deputies in the Western Cape, SACRED expects all chapters of the Board of Deputies across South Africa to include women singing in their Holocaust memorial ceremonies.

James Lomberg, Executive Director of SACRED, says that: ‘It is our hope that young people, women and others who were alienated from the Holocaust Memorial due to the recent ban will once again feel able to participate in a manner which reflects their values and the lessons of the Shoah’.

SACRED would also like to extend its gratitude to our co-applicants and to all of those who have so generously given of their time, money and support in this struggle. We invite those who have supported this campaign to become more actively involved in SACRED so that we continue to struggle for a country and community in which equality, dignity and freedom are realized.