Beit Emanuel Matters 25/26 January 2019

(Russell Cohen, Executive Director)

For those of you who’ve been asking (okay, nobody actually asked, I just thought I’d tell you anyway), the title of my (mostly) weekly column, Beit Emanuel Matters, is a play on words. It covers Beit Emanuel matters, but it’s also a statement asserting that Beit Emanuel really does matter, not just to its members, but to Progressive Judaism and Judaism as a whole in Johannesburg. Beit Emanuel punches well above its weight in all respects, and is a core component of Johannesburg’s Progressive Jewish infrastructure.

Tu B’Shvat tree planting

On Monday afternoon we planted an olive tree on the somewhat neglected west aspect of the Shul building. The Children from our Benny Stalson Hebrew School were joined by parents and a sprinkling of other congregants and friends for the planting, which was organised by our in-house horticulturalist, Kathryn Peck, assisted by gardener Edgar Banda.

Reception and landline

We are pleased (not to mention relieved) to advise that our landline switchboard number (011 646 6170) is now functional, after being out of action for roughly 7 weeks. The number will usually be answered by our new Receptionist/Admin Assistant, Morgana Segel, who started here on the 21st. Give us a call, or pop around during office hours to meet her. We all like her, and we think you will too.

Housekeeping: Lost and found

A very nice pair of spectacles (+2.5 readers) were left in the Courtyard 2 Friday nights ago. Please claim them from Morgana in Reception. We also found a single spectacle lens on the Bimah last Friday evening. Same drill.

Cinema Emanuel

Please note that the date for our next Cinema Emanuel event has moved out by 1 week to Sunday, 3 February 2019. This is due to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday the 27th. Please see the detailed insert below.

Walk to Shul?

No, walking to shul on Shabbat is not a requirement in Progressive Judaism. If you are thinking along those lines, though, they’ve broken ground on a new residential development across the road from us. Should a member of Beit Emanuel purchase a unit there (units starting at R2.3 Bar), the selling agents, Adrienne Hersch, will donate their commission to the Shul. How’s that for win-win? Details regarding the development on their website,

Introduction to Jewish Mysticism

Rabbi Saar will be presenting “a 12-week journey through the history of the Jewish Mystic tradition” starting on 5 February. Please see the attached flyer for details. Participation is free for BE members and friends, but places are limited and registration with the Shul Office is essential.

Temple Youth Congress

Further down the line, we’ll be holding a decision-making session regarding our youth programmes with Bet David on Saturday, 2 March. Pencil it in if you’re between 14 and 18. Details in the attached flyer.


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