We have a number of membership options available, from single to single parent to full family membership. Please complete the membership application form on our forms page and then send it into us by email or fax. Our Executive Director, Eric Beswick will then contact you to set up an appointment with one of our rabbis.
The wedding ceremonies offered by Temple Israel uphold the principle of gender equality which is the hallmark of the Progressive Movement. While the ceremony follows the traditional format of a Jewish wedding, the ketubah expresses the ideals of equality between both parties and does not include the traditional Aramaic legal document which discloses the amount of the dowry brought to the marriage by the bride and the payment which will be made to the bride in the advent of a divorce. Our ketubot are worded in Hebrew and English and articulate the responsibilities of marriage. Following the principle of egalitarianism the ketubah is signed by both parties and women are eligible to sign as witnesses.
A further illustration of our commitment to equality between men and women is our insistence on a double ring ceremony during which both the bride and groom place rings on each other’s fingers and recite the declaration of intent that they are consecrated to each other by the Law of Moses and Israel.
There is also room for creativity and the ceremony can be tailor-made to the needs and requirements of the couple. Again in the interests of inclusivity and following the policy of the South African Progressive Jewish Movement the rabbis of Temple Israel are of the opinion that same sex couples should be afforded the opportunity to celebrate their commitment to each other among family and friends and will therefore officiate at same sex weddings.
We do not perform interfaith weddings. Both parties have to be Jewish (either born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism) in order for one of our rabbis to officiate at a wedding. Proof of Jewish status (parents’ ketubah or conversion certificate) is required before a wedding ceremony can be arranged. In the case of conversion the wedding date cannot be booked until the Jew-by-Choice has completed his/her conversion by appearing before the Beit Din.
Rabbis Matitiani and Alexander are also marriage officers appointed by the Minister of Home Affairs and therefore have the authority to perform civil marriages according to the Laws of the Republic of South Africa. In order for a marriage to be recognised by the secular authorities this civil ceremony needs to be performed before or after the Jewish ceremony.
For further information, or to book your wedding with us please e-mail Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Greg Alexander at email@example.com to book an appointment.
Please click here for a wedding application form
Judaism recognises that adolescence is an important time of transition from a child to a teenager. That change is marked through the bar or bat mitzvah. At Temple Israel we believe that each child is different and so each bar or bat mitzvah celebration needs to have its own personal feeling. At the same time they are also being recognised as part of the community of Klal Yisrael, the wider Jewish people and so we have a process of preparation that allows each child to get themselves ready for their bar/bat mitzvah day.
That involves learning Hebrew and basic Jewish knowledge such as the festival cycle and Shabbat, some Jewish history and thought and how Progressive Judaism differs from other streams of Judaism. This is facilitated through the Beit Batya Hebrew School. Once the child is ready they enter the bar/bat mitzvah programme, a year course that ensures they have the practical skills necessary for leading the service, chanting from the Torah and Haftarah and giving a d’var Torah, a short teaching based on their Torah portion. To do this they are assigned tutors and one of our rabbinic team who will guide them through to their bar/bat mitzvah day.
Keeping in mind the mitzvah of bar/bat mitzvah, each candidate will work with our Social Action Worker to devise their own personalised Mitzvah – something that they will do to make the world a better place. This could be volunteering time, raising money or collecting goods for a cause in line with their own interests.
In keeping with the egalitarian principle that men and women are counted equally in our synagogue, students celebrate their bar or bat mitvah at the age of 13 or older, whether they are boys or girls and likewise both will read from the Torah and Haftarah.
Mazeltov! It is a joy to welcome a new child to this world and Temple Israel would love to help you to create the perfect baby blessing for your family. Whether it is a boy or a girl we offer baby namings in the synagogue, home or in the venue of your choice.
One of our rabbinic team will help you to plan the ceremony, choose a Hebrew name and provide any guidance you should need to create the perfect simchah.
Where appropriate, the rabbinic team will also gladly officiate at your child’s Brit Milah, which takes place on the eighth day, unless the medical doctor has reason to delay (count the day of birth as day 1). Our rabbis will officiate the traditional ceremony, with the bris performed by a specialist GP. For more information please contact any one of our rabbis.
Please click here for the application form
There is a verse in the Torah that compares a human being to a tree. We are also told that one should not pick the fruit of trees before they are three years old. In Kabbalah the connection was drawn between a three year old child and a fruit tree. To mark this symbolically some parents refrain from cutting their child’s hair until their third birthday.
This is a wonderful occasion for gathering friends and family for a hair-cutting party. Each guest is invited to offer blessings and wishes to the child before cutting a small lock of hair.One of our rabbinic team would be happy to help you plan this special simcha.
“… life is a journey,
a sacred pilgrimage
made stage by stage –
from birth to death
to life everlasting
Temple Israel recognizes that death can be a stressful event for everyone concerned. Our rabbinic team and Funeral Director are here to offer support and guidance from the period leading up to death to the death itself and to the mourning period beyond.
In the event of a death occurring, our Funeral Director will assist you with all the necessary preparations for a Jewish funeral. He will also notify one of our rabbinic team who will contact you to arrange a time for the funeral service and shiva prayers. He will also assist with the required legal documentation.
Progressive Judaism recognizes that it is some people’s last wish to be cremated. In such a case our rabbis will officiate at a memorial service and conduct shiva prayers.
Tombstone Consecrations are also conducted at a suitable point after the funeral.
Please contact our Funeral Director, Roy Lipman, for assistance in this regard.