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Blessing by four female rabbis a first for SA

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Temple Israel Cape Town acknowledged the brave and courageous women in our history with four female rabbis present on the bimah giving blessings in four different languages.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Aug 22, 2019

The gathering, the first time that four female rabbis have ever been on a bimah together in South Africa, was in celebration of Women’s Day on 9 August. Rabbis Elena Rubinstein, Julia Margolis, Tamara Schagas, and Emma Gottlieb blessed members of the congregation in Spanish, Russian, Hebrew and English.

Rubinstein was born in Moscow, and was the rabbi of Shaarei Shalom, the progressive congregation in St Petersburg, until her retirement in 2018. She is teaching conversion classes in Israel under the auspices of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ).

Also born in Moscow, Margolis is Rubinstein’s daughter. She was raised in Israel, and lives in Johannesburg, where she has started a new congregation, Beit Luria, that recently joined the South African Union for Progressive Judaism.

Schagas was born in Argentina. She lives in Israel, and works for the IMPJ. She is on a three-month rabbinical assignment at Temple Israel in Cape Town.

Gottlieb was born in Toronto, Canada. She has served as a rabbi in the United States and Canada, and is now a rabbi at Temple Israel in Cape Town.

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