About Shir Hatzafon
Jewish life & legacy for the future
Shir Hatzafon stems from a small group of Jews who in 1998 began meeting privately to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays together. The informal group soon realizes that there is no educational provision for children, based on a progressive Jewish philosophy of life. Soon they organized Jewish Sunday school, B'nei mitzvah education and adult study for the group in private homes.
The group grows and in 2001 is organized formally as Progressive Jewish Forum (PJF). PJF applies for membership of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). During WUPJs Congress in Barcelona in 2001 the first president of PJF, Robin May Schott is passed on a Torah scroll from Kehilat Gesher in Paris. Monthly progressive Shabbat services are now being held in Copenhagen with readings from the Torah scroll. In 2002 the first Bar Mitzvah is celebrated. In 2004 the first girl is called up to the Bimah to read 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 official approval from the Danish authorities as a religious community with the right to marry and bury. The event is marked with a celebration and concert, which is attended by the Israeli and Austrian ambassador to Denmark. At the same occasion Rabbi Dr Charles Middleburgh receive the title Founding Rabbi of Shir Hatzafon as gratitude for his efforts and work as the congregation's first rabbi. Shir Hatzafon is now so established that the national Danish television the Danmarks Radio portrayed the community in the documentary series Himlen over Danmatk (The sky above Denmark), which portrays new trends in religious landscape of Denmark. The series is also shown in the other Scandinavian countries' national television channels
Since 2002, the congregation each year offered conversion training for people who want to revert to Judaism. Shir Hatzafon cooperates with the European Beit Din at the Sternberg Centre in London during WUPJ. In the Sternberg Centre found Leo Baeck College, which is the largest progressive rabbinical seminary in Europe. From here Shir Hatzafon downloaded many of the ward visiting rabbis. In 2006 began one of Shir Hatzafons members as the first woman rabbi in Denmark in training just at Leo Baeck College.
Shir Hatzafon continues to evolve and is now cemented a bid for the Jewish community in Denmark. It is Shir Hatzafon's goal of becoming a Jewish coumminity that can offer its members all the benefits of a full service synagogue required to live a Jewish life in Denmark. It is thus Shir Hatzafon's hope within a few years to welcome in his own parish center and have a resident rabbi in Copenhagen. Shir Hatzafon is currently working on the establishment of a Jewish cemetery in Copenhagen according to Progressive Jewish values.
It is our view that Shir Hatzafon and members of the congregation perform an important role in the cultural exchange that takes place in Denmark today. It is Shir Hatzafon's goal that through our work to ensure a rich, strong and diverse Jewish culture and continuity of Jewish life in Denmark for many generations to come.