Russell Cohen (Executive Director)
I have a lot to say this week, so please bear with me!
First, we wish all our Members and Friends (both formal and informal) everything of the best for 2019!
The holiday season is well and truly behind us. Jozi is almost back to its usual frenetic pace, and seaside vacations have quickly become a distant memory. By the end of next week, our full programme of Shul activities should be in place.
Our Shabbat evening service will still be in the Slome Auditorium this Friday evening (with the Brocha in the Courtyard and Slome Foyer), but next week we’ll be back in the Shul, along with the Beit Emanuel Choir.
Please be aware that this entire area has been subject to a water outage this week, which hadn’t been resolved as at the time this Bulletin was compiled. The fact that Ockie in the kitchen has been able to provide the usual outstanding Friday night Brocha is nothing short of a minor miracle.
If services haven’t been restored by Friday evening, hand sanitiser and/or wipes will be provided in the bathrooms, but flushing will still be an issue.
Other service outages
Our Internet connectivity has been restored since the previous edition of the Bulletin was published in December. Our landlines are still down, but the technical team from our service provider are currently working on a solution, and that service could be restored by later today. We hope to have migrated away from Telkom and ADSL onto a Fibre infrastructure by the end of this quarter.
Reform congregations around the country
Every year, in the build-up to the summer holidays, we remind our Members that there are Progressive/Reform congregations in all the major centres in SA, and that attending a service at the shul nearest to your holiday destination might be a worthwhile experience (as well as fulfilling the Mitzvah of making up a Minyan). I can now talk to this from personal experience. Jeanette, Hannah and I spent a week in the Southern/Eastern Cape in mid-December, and Hannah and I attended a Shabbat evening service at Temple Israel Port Elizabeth. We were warmly received, spent a pleasant evening in the company of the Temple Israel PE “regulars” and almost managed to make up a Minyan.
Try it sometime! We have congregations in Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town (3 centres), Pretoria and Johannesburg (3 centres, including Beit Emanuel) (working roughly clockwise around the map). Their contact and address details can be found here:
Thanks for your generosity
Our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed so generously towards our Chanukah Appeal, paid their membership subscriptions on time (or early) and/or pledged to contribute to our dedicated Building Fund and community assistance fund (name TBC). You rock! Thanks to your generosity and sense of duty, we have entered 2019 in a far healthier condition financially, and we’re determined to keep things that way.
All donations should have been acknowledged individually in the Bulletin. Please let us know if yours hasn’t been for some reason.
Mazal Tov to the Shakeds
We wish Rabbi Saar, Sharon and family a heart Mazal Tov on the purchase of their new home in Observatory. The apartment they lived in on the Shul’s Campus is now being prepared for occupation by outside tenants.
Religion School relaunch
Our Religion School has been re-branded to honour the memory of Benny Stalson, beloved teacher of several generations of Reform Jews in Johannesburg. (Also my teacher, who did his best to prepare me for my Bar Mitzvah in the early 70s.) The Benny Stalson Religion School lives again!
This year, we will be launching our activities on two special days. Parents, please make the necessary arrangements to join us:
1. Saturday 19/1, from 9:15 onwards in the shul garden: Since this is Shabbat, we will start with the communal service. I’ll be waiting for you for a short chat before the service begins.
2. Monday 21/1, from 16:30 until 18:00: This date marks Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish Festival of the Trees. We will plant an olive tree, study and celebrate.
Cinema Emanuel launched on 16 December 2018. In the words of our Chair, Paul Davis, the worst possible date we could have chosen to launch such an initiative! Despite that, however, the event was well attended, technical glitches were mostly ironed out, and the event was, I think, enjoyed by all who attended. The first event for 2019 will be as follows:
Your next date with Cinema Emanuel…
Sunday 27th Jan, Starting time: 4pm
Price: R50 p/p incl snacks
Exciting Double Feature
4pm: ‘Strictly Kosher’
5pm: ‘Eyes Wide Open’
Beit Emanuel AGM
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Beit Emanuel’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on the evening of Thursday, 21 February 2019. Please pencil it in. Formal notices, etc., will be issued 2-3 weeks before the meeting date. We hope that this year’s meeting will be less fraught than the 2018 meeting. Perhaps we’ve now learned the lesson that it’s not our differences (political or otherwise) that matter so much as how we treat one another despite those differences?
In late 2018 we undertook a review of our Operations structure and workload, as a result of which we will not be filling the vacant post of Synagogue Administrator. Those functions will now be shared between me, Christine McIntosh (our Financial Administrator), and a new junior Receptionist/Admin Assistant post. We hope to have that post filled and operational by Monday 21 January. Further details in next week’s Bulletin.