Opening paragraphs of the first constitution, drafted in early 1934

Key documents

Copies of important original documents and histories of the various congregations, as compiled by community leaders.

There at the start

Register signed by those attending the first general meeting of the fledgling congregation at the Carlton Hotel on 22 November 1933. Rabbi Weiler’s name is the last on the list, barely visible.

Cape Town pioneers

A list of those who attended the founding meeting of the Cape Town congregation, and those elected to office.

Who was the founder?

Following a dispute over who founded the Progressive movement in South Africa, a commission of inquiry was set up in 1973. It concluded that several people played key roles.

 

The first constitution

At a general meeting in March 1934, a formal constitution was adopted, which, among other radical advances, gave equal rights to women to sit on management committees.

 

Key dates in the history

A timeline of key dates in the movement’s history from its beginnings in the early thirties. It was compiled in 1977, possibly by Rabbi Walter Blumenthal.

 

Full text of Concordat

The controversial Concordat signed between rabbis Arthur Super and Bernard Casper in June 1965. This is the version housed at the Jewish Board of Deputies.

 

Orthodox-Progressive differences

A table listing some basic differences in practices and beliefs between Orthodox Judaism, the Classical Reform of the mid-twentieth century, and modern Progressive Judaism, compiled by Irwin Manoim.

Customs and beliefs

Minhag South Africa, which sets out the religious beliefs and practices of the local Progressive movement. This document is updated from time to time: this version is from 2010.

Mandela’s infamous Temple Shalom speech
Chapter 23 of the Mavericks book describes the heated controversy that followed an invitation by Rabbi Ady Assabi of Imanu Shalom to Nelson Mandela to speak from the bimah a few months after his release from prison in 1990.

Same Sex marriages

The SAUPJ feared a backlash to its decision to allow for same sex marriages. This public statement featured a detailed explanation by Rabbi Greg Alexander

Reflections on 80 years

A critical consideration of the Progressive movement’s achievements and failures, written by Rabbi Greg Alexander on the 80th anniversary.

 

Rabbi Sherman’s memories

Rabbi David Sherman wrote a readable history of the Cape Town congregation, from his personal perspective over more than four decades.

 

BRIEF OFFICIAL HISTORIES

Bloemfontein history

A booklet describing the history of the Bloemfontein Progressive congregation on its 25th anniversary.

 

Brief history of Bet David

A brief history of the Sandton congregation Bet David, founded in 1974. The history appears to have been written around 2007.

 

Brief history of Springs

A brief official history of the Springs congregation, compiled for its 30th anniversary in 1974.

 

Brief history of Port Elizabeth

A brief official history of the Port Elizabeth congregation, compiled by former president Colin Melmed

Brief history of East London

A brief official history of the Springs congregation, compiled for its 30th anniversary in 1974.

 

Early Cape Town history

A history of the early Cape Town congregation by Dr Jonathan Marks, written in the mid-seventies.

Temple Israel Wynberg

The history of Temple Israel Wynberg by Helga Sandak-Lewin, written in 2007 when the congregation was 52 years old.

 

Cape Town sisterhoods

A history of the Cape Town Sisterhood by Phina Hoberman, written on the 50th anniversary in 1995.

Hadassa, Cape Town

A history of Hadassa, a Cape Town movement started in 1990 for younger working women, as an alternative to the Sisterhoods.

Hosted by the Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town

Write to us at kc@uct.ac.za.