A welcoming and open community

Welcome to Beit Emanuel, a diverse, warm and welcoming progressive Jewish congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2024.

A diverse community

We celebrate the unique diversity of our congregation: Ashkenazi and Sephardi, white and black, African and Asian, gays, Jews by Choice, liberals and conservatives, South Africans, Americans and Israelis … all drawn together by a common spiritual quest.

Come and visit us!

If you are visiting Johannesburg, you are most welcome to attend our services, and take part in the delicious communal Shabbat dinners we serve afterwards. If you are Orthodox or if you are secular, if you are just thinking about Progressive Judaism, you and your children are welcome.

Please check in first

Please note that as with synagogues around the world, certain security precautions are in place. Visitors should please confirm by emailing office@beitemanuel.co.za or by filling in our online guest form.


Friday night services

We hold Friday evening services in our main synagogue every week from 18h00 until about 19h15. The services are accompanied by a music ensemble led by Jessica Sherman who composes and arranges most of the music. Jessica (alto and guitar), is joined by Leigh Nudelman (soprano), Dillon Davie (guitar) and Keith Witelson (percussion) as the core members of the ensemble. After the service, there is generally a full Shabbat supper, occasionally sponsored by a member of the congregation, to which all, visitors included, are invited.

Saturday morning services

Saturday morning services are more informal, and are often held out in our garden, weather permitting. Community participation, passion and enthusiasm are encouraged. These services begin at 9.30am and end at about 11.00am.

Saturday talks and study

After a break for a community Kiddush, we occasionally have a discussion session called JTalk, led by either a community member or an outsider with specialist knowledge. This hour-long session, usually on a Jewish topic, has become popular enough to attract people from outside the congregation.

A Talmud study group, which draws knowledgeable enthusiasts and beginners, members and outsiders, meets in our Gillis Boardroom most Saturdays at 12h00.

South African Union for Progressive Judaism

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Facilities for Hire

Beit Emanuel has an extensive campus of buildings. Some of these may be hired for meetings or for social or educational events. Janks Hall Our largest facility is the main functions hall behind the synagogue. This extensive space includes a stage and two bar/food serving areas. The main hall can seat up to 200 people …

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Bar and Bat Mitzvah

The bar or batmitzvah is a child’s first public act of personal commitment to Judaism, an opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of the basic elements of the religion, such as knowledge of the central prayers of the service, the meaning of the liturgy, and the ability to read  and understand a Torah portion. It is …

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