Shir Hatzafon- Jewish Heritage and Culture for Future Generations
Shir Hatzafon originates from a small group of Jews who in 1998 begin to meet privately to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays together. The informal group soon realizes that there is a lack of educational services for children based on a progressive Jewish outlook. Soon, Sunday school, bnei mitzvah, and adult education of the group will be organized in private homes.
The group grows and in 2000 the circle formally organizes and founds the organization Progressive Jewish Forum (PJF). PJF is applying to join the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). During the WUPJ Congress in Barcelona in 2001, PJF’s first president Robin May Schott is handed a walking torah from Kehilat Gesher in Paris. Monthly progressive Shabbat services can now be held in Copenhagen with readings from a Torah roll. In 2002, the first bar mitzvah is celebrated and in 2004 the first girl reads from the Torah at her bat mitzvah.
PJF is transformed into a congregation in 2003 and changes its name to Shir Hatzafon (Song from the North). In 2004, Shir Hatzafon obtains ministerial approval for religious communities with the right to marry and bury. The event is marked with a party and concert attended by the Israeli and Austrian ambassadors. At the same time, Rabbi Dr. Charles Middleburgh receives the title of Founding Rabbi in gratitude for his efforts as the congregation’s first rabbi.
Since 2002, the congregation has offered conversion classes every year for people who want to transition to Judaism. Shir Hatzafon collaborates with the European Beit Din at the Sternberg Centre in London during WUPJ. In connection with the Sternberg Centre is Leo Baeck College, which is the largest progressive rabbinical seminary in Europe. From here, Shir Hatzafon has picked up many of the congregation’s visiting rabbis. In 2006, one of Shir Hatzafon’s members became the first woman in Denmark to attend the rabbinical education at Leo Baeck College.
Shir Hatzafon continues to develop and is today a cemented offer for the Jewish community in Denmark. It is Shir Hatzafon’s goal to become a congregation that can offer its members all parts needed to live a Jewish life in Denmark. It is Shir Hatzafon’s hope to be able to welcome you to a parish centre and have a resident rabbi in Copenhagen within the foreseeable future. Shir Hatzafon is currently working on the establishment of a progressive Jewish cemetery in Copenhagen.
Shir Hatzafon and the church’s users fulfill an important role in the cultural exchange that takes place in today’s Denmark. It is Shir Hatzafon’s goal that it can ensure a strong diverse and rich Jewish culture as well as the continuation of Jewish life in Denmark for many generations to come.