South African Rabbinic Student Julia Margolis Ordained as Rabbi in Poland, 75 Years after German Invasion
On the 2nd of September Rabbi Julia Margolis became the third South African woman to be ordained as a rabbi, and the first to serve in South Africa, when she and six other new rabbis and cantors were ordained in Poland on Tuesday. The ceremony, held under the auspices of the famous German Abraham Geiger College, was held at the White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw, Poland, on the 75th anniversary of the NAZI invasion of Poland in 1939.
Julia Margolis was born in Moscow and made Aliyah with her family at the age of 12. In Israel she completed high school and served as an educational officer in the army (IDF). In 2000, after her release from IDF she earned a bachelor´s degree from Ben Gurion University in Jewish History, Islam and Art and went on to complete her master´s degree in Jewish Studies in 2005. Julia was raised in a family with deep roots in the Progressive movement – her mother was the first Russian speaking female Rabbi in Israel. Julia was active in the Israeli Progressive movement and has represented the movement in summer and winter camps all over the world. Julia has been involved with the Progressive movement in South Africa since 2009. During her rabbinical internship, she worked as rabbinical assistant at Beit Emanuel, and since 2011, she has been working for the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) in different synagogues as well as performing in life cycle events. Julia’s thesis focuses on a book of Menachem Finkelstein “Proselytism – Halakhah and Practice”. After her ordination Julia will be working at Bet David in Morningside. She will be the only female rabbi currently holding office in South Africa.
Julia sits on the Board of SACRED – a fact of which we are duly proud!
Julia resides in Johannesburg with her husband and two daughters.