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Tikkun olam at SAUPJ's successful conference

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A Mandela Day tikkun olam project by the Progressive Jewish community of Cape Town was the final highlight of the three-day Biennial South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) conference in the city over the weekend.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jul 27, 2016

Pictured:  Rabbi Greg Alexander, chairman of the SAAPR, and some willing young SAUPJ helpers.

The SAUPJ in a media release said its newly-elected chairman, Monica Solomon, was one of over 200 people who helped prepare sandwiches for Cape Town’s underprivileged last Saturday night.

“After a Havdalah service headed by both international and local Progressive rabbis, we got down to the serious business of caring for those less fortunate than ourselves. This involved making hundreds of sandwiches and care packages for them.”

A 12-person delegation from the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), headed by Rabbi Joel Oseran, vice-president emeritus of the WUPJ and Rabbi Lenny Thal, retired senior vice-president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) joined six South African Progressive rabbis from Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Numerous delegates and dignitaries from across the country came to Cape Town to elect the new board and to help plan the way forward for the SAUPJ.

Last week Friday morning was devoted to the biennial general meetings of all SAUPJ affiliates, while the afternoon was spent on the business of the SAUPJ, including the passing of a number of important resolutions and the election of the new board.

Solomon was elected national chairman; Linda Thorn and Gary Budlender were elected vice-chairmen; Ian West as treasurer; and Russell Cohen as the administrator.

Said Solomon: “We have been tasked with the very important function of restructuring the SAUPJ to give each region more autonomy while still maintaining a vibrant and meaningful parent body. In times of change, an organisation representing communities from across the country needs to reflect that change in the way it operates and the way it maintains itself.”

Rabbi Thal concluded the day with a discussion on ‘Roles, Responsibilities and Rewards - the Three Rs’ for future leaders of our communities.

After a Shacharit service last Sunday morning, delegates were given a sneak preview of a book on the history of Progressive Judaism in South Africa, written by Irwin Manoim.

Interactive workshops on various topics followed with a keynote address “Fortress Israel - Challenges to our Jewish Identity and Democracy”, presented by Dr Leonard Suransky and Mike Berger.

 

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