Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, widely known as ‘The Travelling Rabbi’, is the spiritual leader of the Country Communities Department of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the African Jewish Congress. His ‘territory’ encompasses thirteen countries – the entire African continent south of the Sahara – as well as the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar and Mauritius.
The seventh in a line of country community rabbis, Rabbi Silberhaft has injected his youth, passion and love of people into his work, extending his post into a legendary one. This has gained him the respect and acknowledgement of people from all walks of life, including Queen Elizabeth II, who expressed surprise, on his invitation to Buckingham Palace, that ‘such a young man’ was at the helm of so important a mission.
The Travelling Rabbi has many facets – spiritual leader and one-man Chevrah Kadisha, caring for the graves of the forgotten and tracing their descendants, as well as the ‘Romantic Rabbi’ who performs wedding ceremonies, whether on a beach in Mauritius at sunset or at the foot of the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. He is also a caterer, a counsellor, a teacher; but, above all, he is a friend.
Many once-thriving Jewish communities in small towns in South Africa and in other African countries have disappeared and their synagogues closed as people moved to the main cities or emigrated. Whether one, two or a handful remain, Rabbi Silberhaft is there for them.
To the detriment of his personal and social life, Rabbi Silberhaft spends over half a month travelling – often by air, but much of the time in his car, equipped with a refrigerator, not only for his personal consumption of kosher food, but to enable him to cater for barmitzvahs and other functions in towns that cannot obtain kosher facilities.
This book traces the journeys of the Travelling Rabbi, highlighting his invaluable work. We travel with him, meet and hear the stories – sometimes tragic, often humorous, always fascinating – of the resilient people he encounters, and remember Jewish communities and personalities who would otherwise be forgotten.
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|Parameters of Book: Book|
|Sub-title:||My African Tribe|
|Author:||Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft as told to Suzanne Belling|
|mobi file ISBN:||9781431406012|
|Colour:||Black & White|