I’d like to share with you an open letter to Rabbi Goldstein I received from Dr Nontando Hadebe, supporting us in our efforts to achive real equality for women in public Jewish events.
Rabbi Julia Margolis
Dear Rabbi Goldstein
Shalom! Sawubona! I greet you in the name of peace and a shared African and faith tradition. I am writing in both my personal capacity and that of Coordinator of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians in support of Rabbi Julia Margolis with regard to her court cast against the Jewish Board of Directors and in opposition to the decision to ban her from this board.
The issue that Rabbi Margolis raised namely women singing in a public space in commemoration of a public historical event namely the memory of the holocaust/Shoa is not an intra-religious issue that excludes the concern of outsiders. If you can recall that it took the intervention of outsiders in this case the allied forces who shared the same values of the dignity of all human persons as the basis of their being willing to risk their lives in waging a war against Germany. This historical interference based on violation of human rights is what turned the war around and also helped in establishing the declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations as a global commitment signaling a new era where the world will no longer tolerate any form of discrimination against any human being based on sex, ethnicity, race etc. Equally important is the decision to respect the rights of religions to practice their faith. The issue that Rabbi Julia raised is not an intra-religious issue but the expression of this in a public sphere that is committed to the equal rights of all citizens. As women who are part of this public space we are profoundly affected by this decision against Rabbi Julia Margolis and register our opposition. I personally was so traumatized and hurt by the statements about women and the intent to exclude women from singing in a public event that is part of the shared history of humanity. The historical events are already traumatizing without also adding the exclusion of women from singing and banning Rabbi Julia.
I appeal to you honorable Rabbi in the name of Ubuntu, equality, democracy to act justly towards Rabbi Julia Margolis as a celebration of our shared values of the dignity and value of all of humanity.
Looking forward to a favourable response
Yours in Ubuntu and equality
Dr Nontando Hadebe
Coordinator of Southern African Chapter of The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians