Chair, 2013-2014: Diane Fine
My family has for generations belonged to the Progressive Jewish movement. In the late 1940’s my grandfather and his brother joined Temple Israel in Hillbrow believing that this offered them a home which was more meaningful than traditional orthodoxy had provided. My parents belonged to Temple Israel in Cape Town and this is the Shul where my sisters and I attended Hebrew School, Judaism classes and finally celebrated our Confirmations, which in those days was the programme offered to 14 year old boys and girls. We participated in Temple Youth Activities and attended a few youth camps.
My husband and I have three sons, all adult now, who have found their spiritual home in the Progressive movement and my youngest son still sings in the Shul Choir.
I am a social worker and have worked in the NGO sector for many years. This has taught me the importance of recognising and hearing the diverse range of voices in any community and the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to express these voices. I believe in respect and tolerance and accepting that different people have different ways of doing things. These are the values I am trying to embed in our community. No one person has claim on the right way of doing things or the only ideas of value. We all bring strengths and have value to contribute.
I would like to see the embedding of concepts of tikkun olam, volunteerism and commitment to the broader society not just the narrow confines of our own synagogue. I would like to see us take our rightful place as a congregation which can make a difference in Johannesburg and in South Africa, while at the same time we re-energise and grow our own community.