The leader of a Jewish group in South Africa on Wednesday rejected claims women
came close to being excluded from singing at a Jewish event on religious
Avrom Krengel, the head of the South African Zionist Federation,
which organized the Israeli Independence Day ceremony in Johannesburg last week,
said his organization came under no pressure from haredi (ultra- Orthodox) Jews
to bar women from singing on stage.
“We received no opposition to woman
singing at Yom Ha’atzmaut whatsoever,” Krengel wrote in response to an
Last Monday, The Jerusalem Post ran a story in which a Jewish
group in South Africa said women were almost excluded from the ceremony because
haredi Jews object to women singing in public. Rabbi Robert Jacobs of the South
African Center for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED), a group affiliated
with progressive Judaism, said women sang at the event in a mixed-gender choir
as part of a last-minute compromise. The SAZF did not respond on time for its
comment to be included in the article.