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Temple Sinai is one of the world’s southernmost Progressive Jewish congregations. Located in central Wellington City, we offer regular services on all Shabbatot and festivals, children’s and adult education classes, B'nei mitzvah programmes, and a wide range of social and community activities.

We educate our children honestly and openly to encourage them to feel pride in their Judaism, their place in the worldwide Jewish community, and their contributions to New Zealand and the world. We often refer to our congregation as the ‘Temple Family’.

Temple Sinai is a member of the Union for Progressive Judaism of Australia, Asia and New Zealand and affiliated with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international umbrella organisation for Progressive Jewish congregations.

The latest annual report can be viewed here.

About our congregation

Our beliefs and values

Our basic values are those that the Jewish people have held for thousands of years, expressed in a modern way. We believe the practice of Judaism to be both relevant and central to Jewish life. Temple Sinai is committed to the core principles and practices of Progressive Judaism in which we assert:

  • the belief in one God

  • the unity of the Jewish people, and

  • the vital role of the State of Israel in modern Jewish life.

 

We are also committed to:

  • inclusiveness

  • equal gender roles in worship and leadership

  • Jewish education as a life-long process

  • using meaningful ritual to infuse the seasons of the year and stages of our lives

  • the value and dignity of other forms of Judaism, and other religions, ethnic groups, cultures and beliefs.

 

We believe that all Jews have a place within Judaism and should have an opportunity to study and carry out its precepts in their own lives. Our common origin, history and faith bind us together, regardless of how many nations we live in, or the different approaches we may take to religion and politics.

Our history

Temple Sinai - The Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation - was formerly known as the Wellington Liberal Jewish Congregation and was established in 1959.   

 

Aspects of our services may be familiar to congregants accustomed to Reform, Reconstructionist, Liberal and Jewish Humanist services.

 

The congregation celebrated 60 years in 2019 and looks forward to continuing to be at the centre of Progressive Judaism in Wellington, providing a spiritual, ritual and educational community.

Progressive Judaism

Progressive Judaism embraces tradition and works to make it meaningful in contemporary life.

Judaism is built on the history and laws set out in the Torah (Five Books of Moses). It emphasises ethical behaviour and prescribes a way of life, telling us how to behave, work, rest, eat, celebrate and much more. Progressive Judaism embraces all these traditions and works to make them meaningful parts of contemporary life. We put particular emphasis on Tikkun Olam (rebuilding the world), the belief that through social or environmental action we are partners with God in creating the world as it should be. Progressive Jews believe that the Torah comes to us from God but it is our task to apply its teachings to our times. Halacha, Jewish law, is not a static set of decisions made by past Rabbis, but a vital process requiring continuing engagement with our core beliefs in the context of our current world. Individuals are responsible for developing a personal understanding of what God wants of them. This means Progressive Judaism emphasises education, requiring each person to engage with Jewish texts and traditions.

The Australia and New Zealand Union for Progressive Judaism is a regional organisation comprising Progressive congregations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Wider community

The wider Wellington Jewish community includes Beth El Synagogue, the Wellington Jewish Community Centre and many organisations.  For more information, see our Activities & Resources page.

The Jewish community archives are maintained by Michael Clements. You can read more about the archives here

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