Sonja Guentner received the Israel Jacobson Jubilee Plaque from UpJ Germany

Sonja Guentner, Chair of the European Union for Progressive Judaism – EUPJ, today received the prestigious Israel Jacobson Jubilee Plaque from the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany.

The award came in recognition of her immense achievements to rebuild Progressive Judaism in Germany and throughout Europe. The award is named for Israel Jacobson (1768-1828), a German considered as one of the pioneers of Reform Judaism. It was presented during a ceremony at Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam.

Sonja has held many senior leadership positions in the Progressive Jewish world over the past 20 years, including serving as Chair of the Union for Progressive Judaism in Germany from 2011 to 2017. She is Vice Chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Leo Baeck Foundation.

Receiving the award from Rabbi Walter Homolka, Chair of the Leo Baeck Foundation, Sonja said: “It is particularly meaningful to be recognised in one’s country for whatever contribution one may have been able to make, but I highly appreciate the recognition of my international work as well.

“I have always felt that the toolbox I was able to establish here in Germany has literally been instrumental for all my work at EUPJ and WUPJ. Understanding start-up congregations and their particular characteristics and needs, building relationships within existing political and organisational structures and finding that seat at the table which allows us to demonstrate to the surrounding world a very central reality of our lives and work: the simple fact that Judaism is and has always been pluralistic and embraces diversity at every level.”

Sonja is currently with WUPJ President Rabbi Sergio Bergman visiting Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic to see first-hand the response of the EUPJ, WUPJ and Progressive communities to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

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