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Disgrifiad

A press release and a welcome address for a Celebratory Service that was held at Cardiff New [later Reform] Synagogue on 20 September 1992.

The press release outlines how the service was to honour three important events: the dedication of two memorial windows to Rabbi Graf (the first Rabbi of Cardiff Reform Synagogue), the induction of the Synagogue's next Rabbi: Rabbi Elaina Rothman, and the re-consecration of the refurbished Synagogue that coincided with its fortieth anniversary. It also provides some background information on the Cardiff Reform Synagogue including how the new Rabbi (Elaina Rothman) was a student Rabbi at the synagogue for the previous two years.

Although Reform Judaism promotes gender equality and has theoretically supported the concept of women becoming Rabbis since 1922, the first ordination of a woman took place in the 1930s. This first female Rabbi was Regina Jones, a German woman who wrote a thesis about the topic of female Rabbis: 'Can a Woman be a Rabbi According to Halachic Sources?'. The question referred to Halacha: Jewish law as dictated by the Torah and other Jewish foundational texts. Regina found evidence that a woman could be a Rabbi, however her academy disagreed, and she was later ordained in private. Regina worked as a chaplain in a number of orphanages and Jewish residential homes for the elderly. During World War Two while held at the Theresienstadt transit camp she acted as a preacher and pastoral counsellor. She died in Auschwitz in 1944.

Sources:
'Women Rabbis: A History of the Struggle for Ordination' by Howard Sachar (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/women-rabbis-a-history-of-the-struggle-for-ordination/);
'What is Reform Judaism?' (https://www.Reformjudaism.org.uk/about/);
'Halacha: The Laws of Jewish Life' (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/halakhah-the-laws-of-jewish-life/);
'Holocaust Encyclopedia: Theresienstadt' (https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/theresienstadt).

The welcome address first acknowledges that the wife of the former Rabbi (Rabbi Graf) Eve Graf died four days before this Celebratory Service that was to commemorate her husband. In the light of this the service paid tribute to her as well.

The Cardiff Reform Synagogue was founded in 1948 as the Cardiff New Synagogue. The following year, it became a constituent member of the Movement for Reform Judaism. Born in reaction against the more restrictive traditions of the Orthodox Judaism of Cardiff Hebrew Congregation, such as the prohibition of driving on the Sabbath and the ban on interfaith marriages, the new Synagogue appealed to the immigrants who had fled the war-torn Europe, where the Reform movement was already well-established. The congregation worships in a converted Methodist Chapel on Moira Terrace they acquired in 1952.

Sources:
'The History of the Jewish Diaspora in Wales' by Cai Parry-Jones (http://e.bangor.ac.uk/4987);
JCR-UK/JewishGen (https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/Community/card1/index.htm).

Depository: Glamorgan Archives.

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