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Deutsch To the German Version (incl. pictures)


European Conference of Women Rabbis, Cantors, Scholars and all Spiritually Interested Jewish Women and Men

Berlin / 13 - 16 May 1999 / 27 Iyar - 1 Sivan 5759

Women stand together with men, on an egalitarian basis, on the Bima. In the decade which is just ending a fascinating development has taken place in European Jewish life; increasingly, women are exercising important ritual functions. There are women rabbis in London, Paris and Oldenburg (Germany), as well as in Moscow, Minsk and Budapest. What does this mean for Jewish tradition and continuity? What impact do these women have on religious practices? Which themes have become more important? What are the new challenges?

Berlin is the city in which Regina Jonas, the world‘s first woman rabbi, served. With her murder in Auschwitz in 1944 an important development in Judaism was cut off and set back by decades. The questions Regina Jonas raised about Jewish tradition then are still relevant today. We remember her courage and her difficult struggle for recognition as a rabbi. More than half a century after the Shoah we invite women rabbis, cantors, scholars and interested Jewish men and women from all over Europe to come to Berlin and join us in discussing what it means to be Jewish.

BET DEBORA initiated by
Elisa Klapheck, Lara Dämmig
Dr. R. Monika Herweg

Invited Speakers:

· Adina Ben Chorin (Jewish Liberal Community „Or Chadasch", Zurich)
· Prof Dr Judith Frishman (Universities Leiden and Utrecht)
· Hadass Golandsky (Progressive Jewish Community „Or Chadasch, Vienna)
· Prof Dr Eveline Goodman-Thau (Universities Halle and Harvard)
· Rabbi Jane Kanarek (University Moscow)
· Rabbi Katalin Kelemen (Jewish Community „Szim Salom", Budapest)
· Dr Susanna Keval (Egalitarian Minyan, Frankfurt/M)
· Nelly Kogan (Community for Progressive Judaism „Simcha", Minsk)
· Katka Novotna (Educational and Cultural Center of the Jewish Museum, Prague)
· Prof Dr Diana Pinto (Consultant of the European Council, Paris)
· Cantor Pamela Rothmann-Sawyer („Temple Israel", Almeda, California)
· Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild (Jewish Community, Orpington)
· Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah (London)
· Rabbi Dr Sybil Sheridan (Leo Baeck College, London)
· Rabbi Daniela Thau (Bedford)
· Rabbi Bea Wyler (Jewish Community, Oldenburg)

Guests of Honor

· Hanna Hochmann (Petach Tikva, former member of the Liberal Synagogue Norden, Berlin)
· Dr. Ilse Perlman (New York, former student of the „Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums", Berlin)
· Shoshana Ronen (Tel Aviv, former student of the „Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums", Berlin)


The languages of the conference are English and German (Translations provided).

Thursday, May 13

until 1530 Arrival and Registration

1600 „Women on the Bima" – Opening Discussion with Speakers and Special Guests

Opening Comments - Daniela Thau

1830 Buffet Reception
2000 Lectures:

Sybil Sheridan: History of Women in the Rabbinate
Bea Wyler: Experiences as the First Woman Rabbi In Germany since the Shoa

Friday, May 14

0900 Morning services
1000 Lecture:

Diana Pinto: The Concept of „Choosing to be Jewish"

1100 Discussions about Egalitarian Communities in Eastern
and Western Europe
1230 Lunch

1400–1630 Workshops:

- Halacha and Equal Rights for Women
- The Status of Women in Community Life, Ritual Functions and the Rabbinate
- Professionals and Lay People
- Female Perspectives on Tanach and Rabbinical Literature
- Concept of God and Human Beings in a non-patriarchal Judaism
- Emotions and Ambivalence Regarding Traditional Liturgy, Creating New Litugies and Experiences withWomen‘s Rituals
- Taboos in the Synagogue
- Educational Ideals
- Loneliness: Learning Outside the Traditional Guidelines – Theory and Practice
- "Leining" – Theory and Practice

1630 Preparation for Shabbat
· Walking tour „In the footsteps of Regina Jonas"
· Mikva visit

1945 Services with a „Taste" from all parts of Europe
Kiddush and Dinner

Saturday, May 15

1000 Services with all Rabbis, Cantors and Conference Participants
Kiddush and Lunch

1500-1600 Study and Relaxation
Shiurim on the Parasha, Haftora, Book of Ruth, Rosh Chodesh etx
1700 Lectures

- Eveline Goodman-Thau: Study and Prayer: the Pillars of Jewish Tradition
- Judith Frishman: Reconstructing a Useable Past

2000 Dinner and Musical Program
2200 Havdalah and Rosh Chodesh Ceremony

Sunday, May 16

1000 Rosh Chodesh Service with Jane Kanarek and Bea Wyler
1130 Panel Discussion: „Is the Synagogue The Right Place for Emancipation?"

Bet Debora – Summary and Perspectives

1600 Concert: Mimi Sheffer, Soprano
(Opera Singer and Cantor)

Meeting Place:

Jewish Community Berlin, Oranienburger Straße 28/29, 10117 Berlin

Underground station nr 6 Oranienburger Tor, S-Bahn station Hackescher Markt or Oranienburger Tor

Organization: Elisa Klapheck, Lara Dämmig, Dr R Monika Herweg

c/o Elisa Klapheck, Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin, Fasanenstraße 79/80, 10623 Berlin
Tel. +49-30-880 28 260, Fax +49-30-880 28 266 - e-mail

With assistance from members of the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue, the Berlin Egalitarian Minyan and the group "Gesher, Forum for Diaspora Culture"

With support from the Jewish Community of Berlin, the Berlin Jewish Volkshochschule, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the Berlin Senate’s Office for Labor, Professional Education and Women and the German Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth


The application form below must be completed and returned with the registration fee by April 30, 1999.
Space is limited, so please register soon.

The participation fee (including dairy-vegetarian meals as listed in the program) is DM 200.-/
DM125.- (reduced rate for students, unemployed, etc.)

We have reserved a number of rooms in a pension within short walking distance. All rooms are double or triple occupancy and have their own bath and small kitchen. The cost per person for three nights is DM 240. For those who need financial assistance (i.e unemployed individuals or those receiving public social support), we hope to have a small amount of money available to cover travel and accommodation expenses. Please tell us when returning the registration form if you need such assistance. We are also attempting to arrange free home hospitality for some participants.

We will confirm your participation as soon as we receive your registration form and payment of the registration fee (as well as payment for the hotel if required.)

Please indicate on the form the amount you will be paying to participate in this conference. The registration fee is not refundable.

Please send registration forms to:

Elisa Klapheck
Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin
Fasanenstraße 79/80
10623 Berin
Fax +49-30-880 28 266

Name ......................
Address ...................

I will pay
· DM 250
· DM 100
I would like to contribute DM . . .

· By transfer to the Bet Debora Account
· By Check

I would like to:

· stay in a hotel , at my own expense (3 nights for DM 240) . I understand that this amount must be paid to the account listed below not later than April 30.
· Stay in private accommodations

I would like to arrange care for ___ children aged ___, ___, ____

Date / Signature ..........

acct # 7581 14-108
Postbank Berlin
Bank code 100 100 10
Elisa Klapheck

Guided tours about Jewish Women`s History


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