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Letters/Discussion Forums

Kol isha: Jo’burg SAJBD decision welcomed by Sacred

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Rabbi Julia Margolis, Chairman Sacred

Sacred has been trying to have the ban removed since our formation in 2011. Eventually after all attempts at negotiation had been rebuffed, we joined Gilad Stern’s Equality Court action against the Cape region of the SAJBD.

The action was intended to compel the region to drop its ban on women singing at its Yom Hashoah memorial. Fortunately, since this had always been our aim, negotiations were entered into and a suitable compromise was reached which removed the ban on women singing and also allowed those members of the community whose beliefs prohibit them from hearing a woman’s singing voice to attend the memorial. 

At the time Sacred stated that it expected “all chapters of the Board of Deputies across South Africa to include women singing in their Holocaust memorial ceremonies”.

Sacred and our co-applicants in the Equality Court are thus delighted to read that the Johannesburg region will apply the settlement reached in Cape Town to its own memorial. Personally, this news fills me with great optimism about the future. 

Once again, in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, all future SA Jewish Board of Deputies ceremonies and events will be infused with respect for the equal treatment of all – regardless of sex and gender.

No longer will parts of the community be treated as second class Jews. The end of the unacceptable situation of officially-sanctioned discrimination at SAJBD-run Holocaust memorial ceremonies in South Africa, should be cause for rejoice.

Our sincere thanks to our co-applicants and to all our supporters.

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