Spend the High Holy Days with Beit Emanuel

Visitors from South Africa and abroad are invited by Rabbi Saar Shaked to spend the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at the friendly and welcoming Beit Emanuel Progressive Synagogue in Parktown Johannesburg. Our services are based on the new international machzor, Mishkan Hanefesh, which re-incorporates many of the traditional elements.

Beit Emanuel is conveniently located close to the main M1 motorway and the Oxford Road arterial. We are a five-minute drive from the city centre to the south and the business and hotel hub of Rosebank to the north.

This year, Rosh Hashanah runs from Sunday night 29 September, to the evening of Tuesday, 1 October. Yom Kippur is on Tuesday night 8 October and Wednesday 9 October.

If you wish to attend, please notify us at least two days in advance by emailing your personal details to Morgana Segel at office@beitemanuel.co.za, or complete the form on our Website here: http://www.beitemanuel.co.za/contact-us/forms/.

The fee for attendance on the High Holy Days is R360 per person (R540 per couple/single plus children or R720 per family). Those attending will need copies of the two volume machzor, Mishkan Hanefesh. Those who do not have this machzor, may arrange to buy the two-volume set for R700. Please contact Financial Administrator Christine McIntosh in this regard.

Our service times are:

Rosh Hashana

Sunday 29 September to Tuesday, 1 October 2019
Erev (evening) service: Sunday, 29 September at 6.00pm
Shacharit (morning) service: Monday, 30 September at 9.30am
Tashlich ceremony (Zoo Lake): Monday, 30 September at 12.30pm
Erev (evening, 2nd day) service: Monday, 30 September at 6.00pm
Shacharit (morning, 2nd day) service: Tuesday, 1 October at 9.30am

Shabbat Shuvah

Erev (evening) service: Friday, 4 October at 6.00pm
Shacharit (morning) service: Saturday, 5 October at 9.30am

Yom Kippur

Tuesday 8 October to Wednesday 9 October 2019
Fast commences Tuesday, 8 October at 5.52pm
Kol Nidrei and Evening Service: Tuesday, 8 October at 6.00pm
Shacharit (morning) service: Wednesday, 9 October, 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Mussaf service: Wednesday, 9 October, 12.45 to 1.45pm.
Shiurim or study sessions (different options): Wednesday, 9 October, 2.00pm to 3.30pm.
Minchah (afternoon) service: Wednesday, 9 October, 3.45pm to 4.45pm.
Yizkor service: Wednesday, 9 October, 5.00pm to 5.45pm.
Neilah service Wednesday, 9 October, 5.45pm to 6.45pm.
Fast ends: Wednesday, 9 October, 6.43pm
Havdalah: 6.45pm to 7.00pm.
Apples, honey, tea/coffee and water will be available to break the fast.

L’shanah Tovah! May your year ahead be filled with peace, happiness, and good health.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/09/17/spend-the-high-holy-days-with-beit-emanuel/

Beit Emanuel Matters 29/30 March 2019

(Russell Cohen, Executive Director)

Akierrah Magrath Bat Mitzvah

The highlight of this week’s Shul Calendar will be the Bat Mitzvah of Akierrah Magrath at 09.30 on Saturday Morning. Because of the Battie, the service will be held in the Shul rather than the Boardroom or Garden, and the Brocha will be held in the Janks Hall. Mazal Tov to Akierrah on realising this Jewish life-cycle milestone.

Our week of load-shedding

Almost our entire programme for last week was affected by Eskom and City Power’s load-shedding schedule, including our Purim festivities, Purim Night Market, Friday’s Shabbat evening service, the Broach sponsored in celebration of Clive Chipkin’s 90th birthday, as well as our Shabbat morning line-up. Despite the load-shedding (perhaps even partly because of it) all the events were a stunning success, held by the light provided by our generator, emergency lamps, torches, and of course the ubiquitous smartphone LED torches! Suffice to say that we managed to do justice to all the occasions and events, but it’s no something I would like to contend with every time we have something on! The generator has just been serviced (it was running a little ragged towards the end!), so we’re ready for the next outage, but grateful that this has been a load-shedding-free week (at least so far).

Erev Pesach Communal Seder

Booking is now open for Beit Emanuel’s Communal Seder, which will (predictably) be held on Erev Pesach, Friday 19 April 2019 in the Janks Hall. The menu and pricing have now been finalised. The cost for Adults is R350, Children (7-13) R225 and R120 for those under 7. The Menu and Booking Form are attached.
Please book through Morgana Segel in the Shul Office (from Monday) on 011 646 6170 or office@beitemanuel.co.za. To simplify the administration, please complete and return the Booking Form by email, Fax or hand (don’t post). Please note that bookings will not be confirmed until payment in full is received. Please use the Beneficiary Reference YOUR SURNAME/SEDER. Bookings will close on Friday, 12 April 2019.

Prodding debate

We’re including an extract from Paul Davis’ Chair’s address at our recent AGM, which he titled ‘What I think I think’, along with a response from Michael Fridjhon. Paul believes that this might be a good goad to prod the SA Jewish community into some discussion.
Hopefully we’ll see this piece published in the wider SA or international Jewish community. If so, remember you saw it here first!

Sizwe Hospital School

We received a very nice letter from the Principal of Sizwe Hospital School (Tahera Seedat) to say thank you for the Teddy Bears (Ubuntu Bears) which were donated for their young patients. The thank-you letter forms one of the many attachments to this week’s Bulletin. On that subject, I apologise for the blizzard of attachments this week, but there’s a lot happening out there, and we’d like to reflect some of it here, especially as it impacts on Beit Emanuel.

Night of Solidarity against Hate and Islamophobia

As one would have expected, Rabbi Saar was invited to attend and address the Night of Solidarity against Hate and Islamophobia held by the Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians) in Mayfair on Moday. (The event was held in response to the recent shooting in Christchurch, NZ.) I don’t have a copy of his address to hand (I hope to publish it next week), but I have attached a copy of the letter of gratitude and thanks signed by E I Bham, the Secretary General.

Pink Smoke over the Vatican

This award-winning 2011 documentary on the ordination of Catholic women into the priesthood will be screened in the Slome Auditorium on Saturday, 30 March at 15.00 for 15.30. The screening will be followed by discussion to be led by invited guest Bishop Patricia Fresen. This is not a Beit Emanuel event, so please RSVP to rcwp.sa@gmail.com. A small donation to cover the cost of the venue hire and light refreshments would be much appreciated by the organisers. Please see the attached flyer for further details.

Cinema Emanuel

Please pencil in the afternoon of Sunday, 7 April for the next Cinema Emanuel (JFilm) event in the Slome Auditorium. The movie title, format and cost will be published in next week’s Bulletin.

Please don’t forget to bring along a non-perishable food item for the bin in the Foyer, in support of the United Sisterhood’s important work.

Shabbat Shalom, and see you in Shul.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/03/29/beit-emanuel-matters-29-30-march-2019/

Chairman’s report to March 2019 AGM

Below is a link to the chairman’s report, by Dr Paul Davis, to the 2019 Annual General Meeting.

Beit Emanuel Chairmans Speech 2019 AGM

Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/03/15/chairmans-report-to-march-2019-agm/

Beit Emanuel Matters, 1/2 February 2019

(Russell Cohen, Executive Director)

Plenty of interesting snippets this week, with our focused sub-committees (Subcoms) getting into gear for 2019.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

First, a new date for our AGM. Mancom is proposing several changes to our Constitution. In order to give all those involved enough time to discuss, agree and formally draft the proposed amendments, the AGM has been postponed to Thursday, 14 March 2019. The AGM will be preceded by a very brief Special General Meeting (SGM) to (hopefully) ratify the amendments. If all goes without a hitch, the AGM will then take place in terms of the revised Constitution.

BE Book Club

Based on feedback from the survey undertaken last year, the BE Book Club (JBooks?) will have its first meeting on Wednesday, 20 February at 10h30. The meeting will be held at the Shul, probably in the Jewish Library. Please RSVP to Morgana Segel at the Shul Office and diarise if you’re interested. More information will be provided in next week’s Bulletin.

Putting FUN into FUNdraising

Last year we brought you our annual spring market, this year we have so much more planned…

Coming up next:

  • The Wizz of Quiz Night: dust off your minds and put them to the test on 24 February from 5 until 7. Gather a table of ten of your most favourite smarty-pants and compete to be crowned Beit Emanuel’s Wizz of the Quiz. Pan-faced, deeply smart and incorruptible quiz master, Ian West, will put us through our paces. R120 ticket gives you a place at the table, a light bite to eat, and a small something to drink.
  • Purim Night Market: what better combination than a warm summer evening, the joy of Purim, and opportunity to buy artisanal food. Diarise 20 March for our Purim Night Market.
  • The Raffle of All Raffles: all I can say, is its big! And it’s happening! A raffle that baffles. Save your pennies, coz you are going to want to be part of this. Details to be announced.

Hebrew with Carmit

We have re-launched our Saturday morning Hebrew classes with Carmit.
Aleph is for absolute beginners, and the focus is mainly is mainly on learning to read and meets the needs of those on our Introduction to Judaism (ITJ) Programme (Conversion Class).
Bet is for those who can read and would now like to develop Hebrew conversational skills.
The cost is R100 per lesson. Please contact Carmit (details in the sidebar on Page 3) for further details, or Morgana Segel in the Shul Office to book.

Telephone System

After about a week of smooth running, our telephone system is acting up again. When taking incoming calls, we can hear the calling party, but they can’t hear us! These one-sided calls are affecting all our users, for both incoming and outgoing calls, internal and external. This has been reported to our service provider for resolution.

Shabbat Shalom, see you in Shul


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/02/01/beit-emanuel-matters-1-2-february-2019/

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, http://ahdevelopments.co.za/oxford51/.

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.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/02/01/beit-emanuel-matters-25-26-january-2019/

Beit Emanuel Matters 18/19 January 2019

Russell Cohen (Executive Director)

Memorial service for the late Ronnie Lubner

Before anything else, just a quick reminder that the open memorial service for the late Ronnie Lubner will be held this evening (Thursday, 17 January) at 18h00 at the Houghton Golf Club. Rabbi Greg Alexander from Temple Israel CT will be leading the service, along with Ronnie’s son Gary Lubner. Ronnie and Rhona Lubner were major funders of Temple Emanuel and the Progressive Movement in general in the late 20th Century.

Venues and Activities

This Friday we’re back in the Shul (along with the much-loved Beit Emanuel Choir) for our Shabbat evening services, and the Janks Hall for the Friday evening Brocha. It made a nice change to be in the far more intimate environment of the Slome Auditorium and Courtyard/Slome Foyer over the summer holiday, but it will also be nice to get back to our magnificent Shul building, and to have the Choir leading the worship again.

All our usual activities will resume this week, apart from the ITJ Programme (Conversion Class) which will probably start next Wednesday evening. (The opening was delayed due to the need to interview candidates for the next “intake” on the programme.) The resumption of Religion School classes and JKids Club activities will be covered elsewhere in this Bulletin, as well as our Tu B’Shvat event.

Beit Emanuel AGM

A rolling reminder that the Beit Emanuel Annual General Meeting has been scheduled for the evening of Thursday, 21 February 2019. The formal notice of the meeting will be sent out 2-3 weeks ahead of time.

Receptionist/Admin Assistant

We are pleased to advise that Morgana Segel has been appointed as our new Receptionist/Admin Assistant. Morgana will take up her duties next Monday, the 21st. I have no doubt that everyone in the congregation will join us in giving her a warm Beit Emanuel welcome.
Morgana’s family are long-standing members of the congregation. Her sister Jody is part of our Religion School team, and runs our JKids Club activities with Kathryn Henning on Friday evenings.

Telkom Landlines

Our Telkom services have yet to be restored. Incoming calls to our landline number 011 646 6170 will be routed through to a mobile phone in the Reception Office (currently Christine’s mobile phone), but we will be unable to transfer calls. If you want to speak to someone specific (the Rabbi, Christine or me), then please use the mobile numbers listed in the sidebar of Page 3 of the Bulletin. We anticipate that the issue might only be resolved when our dedicated Bitco Business Fibre has been provisioned. A challenge to Telkom to prove us wrong…

New Tenants

We are pleased to advise that Domestic Bliss is in the process of relocating to the “Basement” on our Campus. The move has been disrupted due to our contractors being unable to complete the refurbishment work on time, and for this we apologise to Judy Hodes and Domestic Bliss.

We will shortly begin refurbishing the vacant Rabbi’s Apartment for the new tenants, volunteers with the Marist Brothers organisation.

Shabbat Shalom, see you in Shul!


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/01/20/beit-emanuel-matters-18-19-january-2019/

Beit Emanuel Matters 11/12 January 2019

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.

Water outage

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

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’
4.45: Interval
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?

Receptionist/Admin Assistant

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.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2019/01/14/beit-emanuel-matters-11-12-january-2019/

Chanukah 5779 and end-of-year activities

Chanukah is around the corner. Please join us for the following festivities:

Wednesday, 5 December at 18h30 – FOURTH CANDLE – An open Shiur on the last day of classes, at which Rabbi Shaked will explain the significance of the festival.

Thursday, 6 December at 18h00 – FIFTH CANDLE – Bring your young children for Candle Lighting, Dreidels, Latkes and Doughnuts. Special guest: Rabbi Greg Alexander from Cape Town. Families from Bet David will also be joining us.

Friday, 7 December at 18h00 – SIXTH CANDLE – Bring your Chanukkiah for Candle Lighting at the Kabbalat Shabbat Service at the Shul. Indoor and outdoor activities for younger and older children and of course our fabulous Brocha! Everyone is welcome. (Flyer attached).

JKids Club/Youth programmes

JKids Club:   We’ll be having our final JKids Club Shabbat Service for the year this Friday evening. Please meet in the Courtyard at 18h15 sharp, where we’ll welcome the Sabbath by lighting candles, then use our own JKids Club Siddur (prayer book) to sing and recite the blessings for our interactive Kabbalat Shabbat service. This will be followed by a Kiddush with our legendary kid-friendly unfermented wine, Challah and sweets. See you there! Teens and JKids Dads/Granddads club members also welcome. Love, Jody and Kathryn, your JKids Club team.

JKids Club will meet again next Friday evening (the 7th) for our end of year party. After that we’ll be taking a break until after the secular New Year.

Youth Zone: Always available as a place to hang out and chill, supervised by Gamemaster Kfir Shaked.

Religion School: Please note Religion School is closed for this year. Lessons will resume in 2019 and dates will be advised.

Calling or visiting the Shul Office

Please be patient when calling or visiting the Shul Office, as we don’t currently have a Receptionist. As a result, incoming calls and email messages are being fielded by Christine and Russell (mostly by Christine). We are updating the job description and requirements for the post and hope to fill the post early in 2019.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/12/03/chanukah-5779-and-end-of-year-activities/

Beit Emanuel Matters: 2/3 November 2018

Proudly Progressive Shabbat Project

Our Proudly Progressive Shabbat Project took place over 26/27 October. Our Shabbat programme is pretty full as it is (especially on Saturdays), so the only additional activity was the Tallit-making workshop facilitated by Sharon Shaked. Now that PPSP has become an accepted part of our Shul calendar for the year, we’ll see what we can do to enhance the programme for next year. I’m pleased to report that some congregants mentioned that they had attended specifically to support the Shabbat Project, and I’m now able to put faces to a few more names.


Sadly, 27 October 2018 has also become a date that will “forever live in infamy”, as the date of the massacre of 11 congregants at Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh. We will be participating in the AJC #ShowUpForShabbat initiative (supported by the SAJBD and SAUPJ) this weekend, and the names of those murdered will be read out before the Mourners Kaddish. Please see the attached SAJBD mailing for more details, but in a nutshell, show up here, and post about it on social media.

Auerbach Lecture

Our 14th Annual Franz Auerbach Interfaith Memorial Lecture was held on Tuesday evening (30 October), and featured our captive guest speaker Irwin Manoim. With his usual dry wit and acerbic style, Irwin took apart some of our most treasured notions about ourselves as a people, including the idea that reasoned debate and discussion have always been part of our DNA.

In line with Lesley Hudson’s vote of thanks, I won’t try to do justice to Irwin’s lecture in a paragraph or two. For those of you who weren’t there, we will probably make the lecture available in at least one medium. Why weren’t you there, by the way? Irwin Manoim is perhaps not as famous as some of our previous Auerbach Lecture speakers, but he is one of the moral and intellectual giants of the late and post-Apartheid era. Next time he speaks, I strongly recommend that you take advantage of the fact that he hangs around at Beit Emanuel, and come and listen to him, whatever the topic or occasion. At the very least you’ll get a chuckle out of it, and probably go away with a new perspective on whatever he’s talking about.

Mandla Makhubu

We note with sadness that it’s a year (1 November) since Mandla Makhubu passed away. Even in his absence, he is still very much a presence on the Beit Emanuel Campus. MHDSRIP.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/11/03/beit-emanuel-matters-2-3-november-2018/

14th Auerbach Memorial Lecture, presented by Irwin Manoim

The 14th Annual Franz Auerbach Interfaith Memorial Lecture was held on Tuesday, 30 October 2018 at 19h00 for 19h30 in the Slome Auditorium. This year’s speaker was Irwin Manoim, former Chair of Beit Emanuel and co-founder of the Weekly Mail and Mail & Guardian. His topic, ‘What happened to our courage to debate?’ dealt with how, in the Jewish community, we pride ourselves on our ability to wrestle intellectually with difficult issues, a tradition stretching back to the Talmudic sages. It’s an outlook that requires some moral courage. He asked: have we lost that courage? The full lecture is in the PDF below:

Auerbach Lecture-Manoim

Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/10/27/14th-auerbach-memorial-lecture/

Beit Emanuel Matters: 19/20 October 2018

(Russell Cohen, COO)

If you attended the service in the Janks Hall last Friday, please complete the VERY brief online survey linked to elsewhere in the Bulletin. ONLY if you were here last Friday though. We couldn’t help noticing that many of our regulars didn’t attend, and we’re hoping it was due to the inclement weather. If it wasn’t, we’re counting on you to set us straight.

You’ve seen the revised date for the Auerbach Lecture, right? It’s now Tuesday, 30 October instead of 23 October.

We’re still looking for more recruits for our Volunteer Security Team, which is somewhat under-strength at the moment. If you’re the outdoor type, and you’re looking for a way to put something back into the community, the Security Team is for you! Remember that the more active members there are, the less shifts each member will need to stand. Please contact Graeme Hochschild or Virgil Challens to find out more. Details in the sidebar of the Bulletin.

A serious request to please keep your speed down to 20 km/h or less when on the Campus, especially when attending services and other events. We have many blind spots, and speeding vehicles are not good for the elderly, the infirm, distracted children and cats. Lots of cats.

On the subject of security, please wind down your driver’s side window when approaching the gate, especially if your vehicle’s windows are heavily tinted (which most are these days). This will help to speed up the process at the gate. If you’re a member, you’re welcome to collect a vehicle security sticker at the Shul Office, which will also speed things up (just not above 20 km/h!).

Gauteng in 2018 is quite a dangerous place, and we need to find a balance between being a warm and welcoming community and having some idea of who’s coming through our gates. We encourage members to invite guests who are curious about Progressive Judaism to attend our services and other events. If you’re not accompanying them, however, please notify the Shul Office that you’ve extended the invitation by completing the form on the Contact Us/Forms page of our website, or by using this link: http://bit.ly/2pMH7Uo. This is particularly important if you’re inviting guests who may be unknown to our security staff and volunteers. If you prefer a “belt and braces” approach (and to avoid any embarrassment), please let me know at email address director@beitemanuel.co.za and I’ll ensure that they’re on the Guest List.

Especially for our older members, we really need some method of electronic communication with you. If we have an email address and/or a mobile (Cellular) number for you (preferably both), we have all we need to stay in touch. (If not, then at least a fax number we can send your Yahrzeit notices to.) The details don’t necessarily have to be your own, provided that the person (e.g. your daughter, son, or even your bookkeeper) is willing to pass on the messages to you.

Shabbat Shalom!


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/10/21/beit-emanuel-matters-19-20-october-2018/

Beit Emanuel Matters: 12/13 October 2018

When Avi’s away, the Choir will play. Choirmaster Avi Kanar is away this week, so the format of this evening’s service will be slightly different. The venue is the Janks Hall, and the Choir members will be distributed amongst the congregation. To accommodate this, the Brocha will be in the Courtyard/Boardroom/Slome Foyer area. The JKids Shabbat service takes place in the Boardroom, so a quick set change will be needed once the kids have left.

JTalk next week in the Slome

Speaking of venue changes, the JTalk on the 20th (next week) will be in the Slome Auditorium, to accommodate what we hope will be a larger-than-usual attendance. See the attached flyer for details.

The Auerbach Lecture

Just in case you’ve forgotten to pencil in this year’s Auerbach Lecture, the date you’re looking for is Tuesday, 23 October, 19h00 for 19h30.

Proudly Progressive Shabbat Project

The Proudly Progressive Shabbat Project is the weekend of 26/27 October. Our programme is more or less the same as usual, although there will be a couple of extra goodies (details to be announced) and one or two special flourishes as a hat tip to the P/P Shabbat Project.

Electronic Communications

Since the untimely demise of the SA Post Office (at least for all practical purposes), we’ve struggled to get material out to those who don’t have some means of electronic communication. This has come up as an issue again with our automated Yahrzeit Notices. So, if you don’t already have an email address, mobile (Cellular) number or fax number on file with us, please provide one. Those are the only options available to us for sending out these Yahrzeit Notices to you.

Useful links

And while we’re talking of things electronic, here’s a couple of links you might find useful:

  • Request to attend a service at Beit Emanuel: http://bit.ly/2pMH7Uo. This is to simplify the process for non-members wishing to attend a service here. The link is also available on our website.
  • We’re experimenting with trying to make our JTalk sessions available as podcasts. This is where you’ll be able to find them: https://anchor.fm/beitemanuel.
  • Copies of our weekly Bulletin will in future be made available online. You’ll be able to find them here: Beit Emanuel Bulletin – Google Drive: http://bit.ly/2yzjByb.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/10/11/beit-emanuel-matters-12-13-october-2018/

Beit Emanuel Matters 5/6 October 2018

The High Holy Days “season” is well and truly over, and our staff routines and the Campus are now returning to normal. The Introduction to Judaism (ITJ), Religion School, JTalk and Talmud Study sessions will all resume in terms of their own schedules, especially with the KDS school holidays coming to an end next Monday.

Routine doesn’t mean things come to a standstill though. In fact, there’s always something happening at Third and Oxford, and here’s a taste of what’s on in the week ahead:

  • United Sisterhood Food Collection (Benmore/Gallo Manor/Morningside shopping centres), Sunday, 7 October, 09:00 – 13:00 (Please contact Marian Gonsalves at The United Sisterhood on 011 646 2409 mariang@unitedsisterhood.org.za if you can assist with this ongoing “existential” project)
  • UNiTE – Worldwide Circle of Sound – Interfaith Sacred Chants (The Garden, Beit Emanuel, at Third and Oxford), Sunday, 7 October, from 18:00 – 20:30
  • Eve Kantor Golden Age Club (Courtyard, Stalson Building), Wednesday, 10 October, from 09:00 – 12:00

Finally, mentioned elsewhere is the next Auerbach Lecture, with guest speaker Irwin Manoim. Pencil it in for Tuesday, 23 October, 19:00 – 21:00

Shabbat Shalom!


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/10/04/beit-emanuel-matters-5-6-october-2018/

Beit Emanuel Matters 28/29 September 2018

The trend of strong attendance at our High Holy Days services continued during Sukkot, especially the Erev Sukkot (Open Sukkah) service on Sunday evening. The Shul, Janks Hall and Sukkah were all filled with members and visitors, both regulars and curious first-timers, of all faiths.

This weekend will bring the “season” to a close, with our Pride Shabbat service on Friday evening and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah services on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Treasurer Ian West and former Chair Liebe Kellen will be honoured as Chatan Torah and Kallat Bereshit respectively. On Tuesday, our facilities staff will start to take down the Sukkah, and after that, 5779 will be in full swing.

Just while I think of it, a quick “Thank You” to those who donated towards the new state-of-the-art sound system for the Choir, which operates independently of the hard-wired sound system in the Shul and Hall. We hope you all enjoyed listening to the Choir without the audio glitches we’ve been experiencing.

A note on membership

It was wonderful to see so many old and new friends over the HHDs, with the Kol Nidrei service being particularly well-attended. If you’re not a member, and we only see you here once or twice a year, please remember that for our doors to open one day a year, we have to keep them open 365 days a year (or 354/384 days a year, if you prefer the Hebrew calendar).

One of the ways we do that is to encourage people to become members of the congregation. This means accepting our “Ts & Cs” and contributing to the finances of the Shul. We have a variety of options for those wishing to become members, and as a matter of principle and practice, we never turn away anyone unable to afford our standard pricing. So, if you’re hesitant to enquire about membership because you don’t think it’s affordable, put your mind at rest and make that call. We’ll meet you at least halfway.

Russell Cohen (Executive Director)


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/09/28/beit-emanuel-matters-28-29-september-2018/

Beit Emanuel Matters 21/22 September 2018

While the High Holy Day “season” is far from over, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are now behind us. Attendance was strong at all our services, and feedback regarding the new Machzor (Mishkan HaNefesh), the allocation of honours and the increased participation of lay readers in services has generally been positive.

A second presentation of our Vision for Sustainability was held Motzei Shabbat on Saturday, 15 September (Shabbat Shuvah). We plan to hold further presentations, perhaps during one of our Friday evening Oneg Shabbat meals? Your feedback in this regard would be appreciated.

We expect that many of our regulars will be “Shul-ed out” by Friday evening, so we’re not expecting a big turnout for our Shabbat services this weekend. We will still be open for (spiritual) business as usual, of course, and we do hope to see you all on Sunday evening at 18h00 for Sukkot.

“Crowdfunding” the Shul

You all know what’s coming next. DON’T skip ahead, unless you have no interest in the future of Beit Emanuel.

It should be no surprise that shuls in general are to a large extent “crowdfunded” by means of membership fees and donations from congregants. Beit Emanuel is no exception to this, although we have managed to build up other sources of income over the years. In a sense, though, Beit Emanuel is more dependent than most on those fees and donations, because we have very few “Machers” or mega-donors to give us that boost. It should also be no surprise that many shuls rely on their High Holy Days fund-raising appeals to build reserves or close the gap between quality income and expenses. Once again, Beit Emanuel is no exception to this. We are therefore very concerned that donations in general (and over the HHDs in particular) have dropped off over the past few years.

We therefore appeal to all our members (and friends who aren’t members) to revive the tradition of HHDs’ giving (whether it’s R180 or R180,000) to help bolster this essential component of the Shul’s revenue streams.

Our members and friends tend to be quite effusive in telling us how much they love Beit Emanuel. We need you to show us the love in a concrete way, by contributing financially (over and above membership fees), to whatever extent you can afford. We’re attaching a copy of our High Holy Days appeal form, which may help you in deciding how much to contribute, and by what means.

Help us to make crowdfunding a part of the ethos at Beit Emanuel again!


Permanent link to this article: https://www.beitemanuel.co.za/2018/09/21/beit-emanuel-matters-21-22-september-2018/

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