Two Progressive rabbis inducted at Bet David

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Rabbis Julia Margolis & Adrian Schell were inducted at a special ceremony at Bet David Progressive Synagogue, Sandton, earlier this month. The ceremony was led by Rabbi Emeritus Hillel Avidan. It was a historic event as R. Margolis is SA’s first home-grown female Rabbi. "We welcome you as future leaders within our community and wish you all success. We look forward to working with you in the years to come," said Charisse Zieffert from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies. "It was such a joyous event,” added deputy German ambassador Herbert Beck.
by ANT KATZ | Feb 24, 2015

Rabbi Julia Margolis and Rabbi Adrian Schell were inducted at a special ceremony at Bet David Progressive Synagogue in Morningside, Sandton earlier this month.

SAUPJ induction 15The ceremony was led by Rabbi Emeritus Hillel Avidan and the historic event, the induction of South Africa’s first home-grown female Rabbi, was attended by several dignitaries, including representatives from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and the German Embassy.

Rabbi Schell hails from Germany and both he and Rabbi Margolis completed their rabbinic training at the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam.


Speaking at the induction, the SAJBD's Charisse Zeiffert said: "We welcome you as future leaders within our community, and wish you all success. We look forward to working with you in the years to come."

Herbert Beck, the deputy head of mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, also extended his congratulations. "It was such a joyous event and we all got the impression that something very good is starting in Morningside," he said, and added: "We are humbled and moved by the fact that two Rabbis who have been educated at the Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg in Potsdam are now living and working as scholars and pastors in South Africa."

The two Rabbis have taken over rabbinical duties at Bet David following the retirement of Rabbi Robert Jacobs. Bet David is a Progressive Jewish congregation dedicated to Jewish practice and learning through a vibrant interaction with Jewish history, tradition and scholarship.


  1. 7 david 26 Feb
    Mazaltov to you both --  we have passed a new  tipping point in the South African variety of our wonderful religion 
      may they both go from strength to strength
  2. 6 Choni 26 Feb
    "The variety of our wonderful religion"?
    Sounds to me like the cardinal sin of idolatory.
  3. 5 David 28 Feb
    So unfortunate that we have some members of our community who do not understand the meaning of 'acceptance and embracing  ' our own, as Jews who are no less than them, possibly better due to our capacity for tolerance and understanding of others of the same faith. 
    Disappointing in the extreme but expected from whence it comes. 
  4. 4 Kas55 01 Mar
    Choni, get a life. Just because 'your' brand of Judaism isn't everyone's cup of tea, does not make it wrong or bad- just a bit different. Kol Hakavod to the new Rabbis of Bet David. They are an asset to the Jewish community in South Africa and worldwide. Remember, that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.... we may be slightly different, but , really we are all the same, and are always all counted as one.
  5. 3 Jacob Goldin (U.S.A.) 01 Mar
    Choni, I work at a U.S. Jewish organization and am a regular follower of this website. I have often wanted to respond to your bigoted comments which I find very insulting. Clearly there is big difference between the tolerance levels in South Africa and the U.S.A. which comes thru in many comments, not just yours.
    Were your strictly Orthodox outlook to be accepted by all, there would only be about 2.5 million Jews in the world today. It would be roughly 1.5 million Jews in Israel and 1 million in the diaspora.
    Do you really think that after the exclusion of your remaining self-identifying observant Jewish neighbors there would be enough of us to keep things alive? A culture, alanguage, a country, a religion, an army, an economy and even a ‘people’?
    Please, friend, whoever and wherever you are, stop this talk that could destroy this most beautiful we have: A Jewish nation of people of Hebrew extraction – and those who have chosen to become one of us.
    When folks speak of Muslims, Christians, and the non-monotheist religious like Hinduism, they are inevitably referring to all of the followers of these faiths and not separating them into factions or means of practice as you seem to do. Can you imagine a world where people separate our already dismally small population into separate religions, as you often seem to espouse? Or, worse still, a world where people refer to “the 2.5 million Jews”.

    Choni, the Jewish community in the U.S.A. has identified your way of thinking as the single biggest threat to the future existence of the State of Israel and to the Jewish people. It has also identified this type of intolerance as a major factor in our losing self-identifying deep-rooted Jewry at the frightening rate we are (over 400,000 a year)!
  6. 2 Choni 01 Mar
    Wow ! After this "blast" from Jacob, I think I'll join Jews for Jesus.
  7. 1 Lenny G 05 Mar
    Not a bad idea at all Choni.


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