The South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) has reached agreement with the Jewish Board of Deputies on the basic format of the Yom Hashoa commemoration service to be held in Gauteng. The same model as the Cape has been agreed on and the community will have the option of participating in either or both parts of the ceremony.
Monica Solomon, SAUPJ National Chairman, said: “We are thrilled that agreement has been reached by the Gauteng Board of the SAJBD which will enable women to participate in the commemoration services. We look forward to participating with the SAJBD in the organisation of a meaningful Yom Hashoa ceremony.”
“This represents recognition of the rights of women in South Africa’s Jewish community as a whole. It is totally in line with the egalitarian nature of Progressive Judaism and serves to uphold our wonderful South African Constitution that guarantees equality to all members of society.”
The agreement has been welcomed by the South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED), the social action arm of the progressive movement, which was a party to the Equality Court action earlier in the year to compel the SAJBD to drop its ban on women singing.
SACRED Chair Rabbi Julia Margolis said: “This agreement fills me with optimism about the future of the South African Jewish community. SACRED hopes that all future SA Jewish Board of Deputies ceremonies and events will be infused with respect for the equal treatment of all – regardless of sex and gender.”
James Lomberg, Executive Director of SACRED, said: ‘It is our hope that people who were alienated from the Holocaust Memorial due to the 11 year ban will once again feel able to participate in a manner which reflects their values and the lessons of the Shoah. We have also affirmed that our Jewish communal structures must infuse all their actions with the key constitutional value of equality.”