The Progressive Beit Din: A panel of Rabbis
In South African Progressive Synagogues are autonomous and independent. They work together on matters of common interest and in these areas the congregations are represented by an organization to which each congregation is affiliated: the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ).
There is also a body representing Progressive Rabbis, the South African Association of Progressive Rabbis (SAAPR).
The SAUPJ and the SAAPR organize a beit din whenever congregations require this service.
A beit din is a panel of Rabbis, sometimes assisted by knowledgeable individuals nominated by the Jewish community. A Progressive beit din has authority to make binding decisions in matters pertaining to Jewish status, marriage, divorce, adoption and conversion. From time to time a beit din (or the SAAPR) will offer guidance on questions arising from Jewish life and may also act to arbitrate in disputes, for example concerning employees of synagogues or any matter in which the parties voluntarily request a beit din to rule.
The majority of the work of the Progressive batei din (plural of beit din) concerns issues of Jewish status or conversions. All enquiries regarding the areas of work covered by a Progressive beit din should, in the first instance, be referred to a Progressive Rabbi at one of our synagogues.