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Madonsela to speak at Temple Israel milestone

  • temple israel 80 years
Temple Israel in Hillbrow, the mother shul of the local Progressive Reform movement, will celebrate its 80th anniversary on Saturday July 9, with a special morning service starting at 10:00, followed by an exhibition tour and refreshments. A battery of local and international VIP guests will be in attendance.
by ANT KATZ | Jun 22, 2016

Guest of honour, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, will deliver a keynote speech after the service. The shul chairman, Reeva Forman, expects a big turnout of participants, including Jewish organisations and associations at this milestone event.

Madonsela, who was recognised by Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people in 2014, will also deliver the keynote address while Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk will also be a guest speaker.

temple israel 80 years heritage site“We are ecstatic that Advocate Madonsela has accepted our invitation,” says Forman, who has been chairman of Temple Israel since 1994. “Not only has she been hugely successful as South Africa’s public protector and an excellent advocate for human rights, but she is also an eshet chayil, a true woman of valour, a remarkable individual.”


RIGHT: The shul is a Johannesburg heritage site

Safe parking inside the grounds is available on request and RSVPs are required - click here Templeisrael80@gmail.com to email your RSVP for security reasons. Remember to include a phone number where they can contact you if needs' be.

SA Union for Progressive Judaism chairman, Capetonian Alvin Kushner (who got married at Temple Israel 50 years ago) who sits on the executive committee of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) will be there for the celebrations.

Among the international dignitaries will be 12 international Progressive leaders, most notably Canadian Carole Sterling, chairman of the WUPJ, and the organisation’s vice-president for the Diaspora, Rabbi Joel Osrin.

In 1933, Rabbi Dr Moses Cyrus Weiler was brought to Johannesburg to lead a small, but growing Progressive Jewish community. Three years later, Temple Israel was built in Hillbrow. It still stands proud as a place of Jewish culture and religion and as a heritage site.

temple israel 80 years - ReevaRabbi Weiler established a school in Alexandra township and, in his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela wrote about the Progressive movement’s commitment to the school, even when churches and other groups were pulling out of schools in the area.


LEFT: Doyen and saviour of Temple Israel, Reeva Forman

Temple Israel was designed by architect Hermann Kallenbach, a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, and was built in what was then the northern-most part of Hillbrow. It serviced the flourishing Jewish populations of Hillbrow, Yeoville and Doornfontein and services were filled to capacity.

It continues to serve the elderly Jews still left in the area with Lael Bethlehem as spiritual lay leader. Rabbis Adrian Schell and Julia Margolis from Bet David in Sandton support her and share services on Shabbat mornings and over all Jewish holidays. The shul also runs numerous community projects for the surrounding community.

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