Bet David has been at the forefront of Progressive Jewish thought and practice here in Johannesburg, and nationally, since being established more than 40 years ago. We invite you to learn about our history, our leadership, our efforts to reach out to others, and other facets of our warm and accepting community.
Bet David is a Progressive Jewish congregation dedicated to Jewish practice and learning through a vibrant interaction with Jewish history, tradition and scholarship.
We strive to create a meaningful, relevant relationship with our Jewish religion and civilization which enriches our lives spiritually and communally.
Progressive Judaism upholds the belief that the revelation of God is a continuous process as opposed to a single, historical event. Throughout the ages, people have managed to find God and evolve spiritually and ethically. Certain moral truths, revealed in post-Biblical times have been fully embraced by, and incorporated into Progressive Jewish practice.
These include, but are not limited to: Full and equal inclusion of all Jews regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. We can proudly boast that our constitution embodies ALL of these principles.
The 10.5 acre Bet David site was purchased in 1971.
From then until 1971 services were conducted in the rondavel. The new Synagogue building was opened in 1977. In addition to the Synagogue, other buildings on the site include three offices, storerooms, a large nursery school, the aforementioned rondavel (currently used as a small function hall or classroom), the original farmhouse (currently used for Sunday Religion School classes and for weekday classes of the Mitzvah School), staff quarters and the site manager’s cottage.
The Middelton hall seats 250 people and provides a beautiful venue or all events such as weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvot.
Current membership stands at around 350 family units and includes several hundred children. Religion School classes are conducted on Shabbat mornings before services. Adult education classes are on Tuesday evenings.
Progressive Judaism has always been outstanding in its dedication to Tikkun Olam (Social Outreach – literally: Healing the World). In 1986, during the height of Apartheid, members of Bet David opened the Mitzvah School and since then have been teaching pupils from Alexandra township for their final year of school (Grade 12) leading to Matriculation. For the last few years, this outstanding school has achieved a 100% matriculation pass rate. Mitzvah School pupils have gone on to become highly successful in many different walks of life and always express sincere gratitude for the wonderful environment and dedicated teachers at the school.
Visitors to Bet David invariably remark on the beauty of our landscaped gardens and the quality of the outstanding Choir. Both aspects contribute towards the warm and beautiful Shabbat Services and various Chagim (Jewish Festivals).
With the assistance of our Reform Youth Movement – Netzer – Bet David provides stimulating Children’s Services on Shabbat mornings making Shabbat at Bet David an uplifting experience for the whole family.