Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition


Rabbi Goldman’s take on media speculation





“I like so many of us, am again angry and embarrassed by yet another ignorant, no make that idiotic, and biased statement by a SA government Minister. But having said that, Mr Lieberman should really think more carefully before he posts things on the social media.”


What’s Nu @ Sydenham Shul?

 Your Family Shul Where Every Jew is Welcome

By Rabbi Yossy Goldman


Dear Friends,


“CALL FOR JEWS TO LEAVE SA!” screamed The Star newspaper’s banner headline across Louis Botha Avenue yesterday. All because of a Facebook comment by Israeli MK Avigdor Lieberman. The Russian-born former Israeli Foreign Minister (who has just been cleared of corruption charges in Israel) was responding to yet another outrageous and puerile statement by a South African government minister. This time it was International Relations Minister Nkoana-Mashabane who said she cannot sleep at night because of the plight of the Palestinians and that our government will not engage with Israel at ministerial level until the situation changes. You may be tempted to ask how many countries with innocent blood and atrocities on their hands SA does engage with at ministerial level. But please don’t confuse her with the facts. She may never sleep again.

Yes, I like so many of us, am again angry and embarrassed by yet another ignorant, no make that idiotic, and biased statement by a SA government Minister. But having said that, Mr Lieberman should really think more carefully before he posts things on the social media. Lieberman said the South African government is creating an anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic atmosphere, which means that a pogrom against the country’s Jews is now all-but inevitable. “I call on all the Jews still living there to immigrate to Israel without delay, before it’s too late,” he stated emphatically.

Do me a favour! We are blessed with one of the lowest incidences of anti-Semitism in the world! We are doing much better on that score than the USA, Europe and Australia. Pogroms against Jews came from Russia. Thank G-d, there has never been one in SA and please G-d, there never will. The SA Zionist Federation and Board of Deputies both expressed outrage over our minister’s statement and also called Lieberman’s comment ‘alarmist and inflammatory.’ I will go further and say it was untrue, uncalled for, and let us just say extremely unintelligent. Israel’s political leaders have plenty of good reasons to promote Aliyah and should not feel the need to resort to cheap sensationalism and fear mongering.  In fact, just the other day, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid was in New York and speaking at a Jewish event he said that purely from a security perspective New York was safer than Israel. New Yorkers who make Aliyah are doing so for positive reasons and there is no shortage of them.

Last Shabbat at Sydenham Shul we welcomed Israel’s new Ambassador to SA, Mr. Arthur Lenk, who made a wonderful impression on all of us. In his interesting remarks at the Brocha he also hinted at Aliyah but in a wise and tasteful manner.

I recently heard from a highly intelligent and well-connected gentleman who I have much respect for that all these recent ANC statements are nothing more than a political plan to win the Muslim vote in the next elections. They are determined to get the DA out of power in the Western Cape and are hoping to win over the Muslims with these anti-Israel statements. So, while they are disturbing and uncomfortable I don’t believe we should take them too seriously. On the international level, SA was never really a player in Middle East politics and with these recent diatribes has made itself completely irrelevant.

As far as the future of Jews in SA, I have every confidence in my saintly teacher and mentor’s repeated promises and blessings for our country. On many occasions over the years, when consulted by prominent rabbis and lay leaders, the Lubavitcher Rebbe assured us that this country would be good for Jews “until the coming of Moshiach.”

Speaking of the Rebbe, another Lieberman, United States Senator Joe Lieberman was a Keynote Speaker at the International Conference of Chabad Rabbis last week in New York. He addressed over 5000 Shluchim, rabbis and lay leaders. He shared some of his encounters with the Rebbe and Chabad around the world and how his respect and reverence for the Rebbe inspired him to seek his advice and blessing throughout his public and political career. We look forward to Rabbi Yehuda Stern’s official Report Back from the legendary ‘Kinus’ this Shabbos in SydShul right after the Brocha.

 And speaking of Israel, I thank my friend Moshe Erster for sharing this link with me. CAROLINE GLICK at her feistiest! Enjoy.

I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me this week to thank Sydenham Shul for bringing out Benny Friedman and Gad Elbaz for “The VOICES” concerts the other week. Please G-d, we do hope to do a big musical event ever year. As soon as we know who our next exciting guest artist will be you will see it first right here in my What’s Nu.  If you haven’t yet, do check out the concert pictures on our Shul website.


Next week it’s the final session for 2013 of our CAJE and CHEV Social Services “Enrich Your Life” series. Wednesday 13 November the topic is “Living in the Most Connected/Disconnected Era in History”: Internet Connection vs. Real Connection. The presenters are Luke Lamprecht, a Child and Youth Care Practitioner and Ilanit Gerson, who has a in Computer Programming and is a Counsellor with experience in this field.

The partnership between CAJE and the CHEV has been a huge success this year with many hundreds of people attending these evenings and we intend carrying on the “Enrich Your Life!” series in 2014 too. Incredibly, our brand new programme is almost finalised. Trust me; it’s an exciting series with lots of winners in the pipeline.

And just in case you are reading this newsletter for the first time, the Dis-Chem Golf Day of our Shul takes place on Wednesday, 27 November which is also the 1st Night of Chanukah! This is the first time ever that our Golf Day falls on Chanukah and Chazan Yudi Cohen is preparing a beautiful musical programme for the golfers and sponsors. Join us at Houghton for golf and if you’re not a golfer we’d still love you to sponsor a Hole. For a 4-ball or Hole Sponsorship please contact Ingrid Seeff, 083 377 1111. Thank you to all our sponsors and especially our main one, Dis-Chem. G-d bless the “pharmacists who care!”

And then there is a final Young Adults Dinner for 2013. It’s for Young Adults & Young Couples with Advocate Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s Public Protector. It’ll happen on Friday Night, 29 November, Dinner R185. Bookings @ Info: Shul Office – 011 640 5021. Well done Rabbi Stern and Co for getting such a high profile person. I hear her name in the news regularly. (Can she protect us from our government ministers?!)

In case you don’t hear enough of me in Shul you can listen to me on SAfm, which is national radio (the former ‘English Service’ olov hasholom) every Monday morning in November just before the 6 am news. It’s only 3.5 minutes so you can handle it.

A number of our Shul boys have gone to Israel for the Kfar programme where they will learn and tour until the new year. Ryan Beder, Avi Kassuto, Meiron Jacobson, Gidon Nerwich and Daniel Sauer are the names that have come to my attention. Hatzlacha! Hope to hear some inspiring reports when you guys return.

Mazel Tov to Jared and Kerry Landsman on the birth of a precious daughter. Much nachas.

Mazel Tov to Ricky and Justine Michel on the birth of a beautiful boy and to the grandparents Alan and Diane Michel and Michael and Helen Levitan. Lots of nachas.

And it seems it is 3rd Birthday haircut season. Mazel Tov to Eli and Lee Unterslak on Yaakov’s Upsherenish and to Greg and Nicci Hurvitz on Aviel Tzadok’s Upsherenish. May you both enjoy gezunteh nachas.

And a very big Mazel Tov to Mr Phillip Richter on his 100th Birthday! Wow, a century! Well done Phil, who told me he would love to come back to Shul but “it’s awkward in a wheel chair.” G-d bless you!

We wish Refuah Shleimah to Paul Bloch and Michelle Lieb. Hope you enjoy complete and speedy recoveries.

We extend condolences to Janis Simon and family on the loss of her father Hymie Berger of Edenvale. We wish you all long life and only simchas in future.

This Shabbos is Parshas Vayetze and Jacob leaves Be’er Sheva for Haran.  On route he sleeps and dreams the vision of the ladder going up to heaven with angels ascending and descending. Hashem promises him this land of Israel for his descendants. In Haran he works seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage only to be duped into marrying Leah. He works another seven years for Lavan his deceitful father-in-law. Eventually, between Leah, Rachel, Bilha and Zilpah, 11 of the Twelve Tribes of Israel will be born in this Parsha as well as the only daughter, Dina. With Divine intervention, and deservedly so, Yaakov becomes wealthy at the expense of Lavan. After some 20 years in his service Yaakov decides to return to his homeland. He leaves in middle of the night and Lavan follows in hot pursuit. Eventually, they make a peace treaty and agree to go their separate ways.


  • Shabbos Candles: 6: 11 pm
  • Mincha Friday: 5:40 p.m.
  • Shabbos Shachris: 8:15 am; Shtibl 8:45 am
  • Brocha in the Seeff Hall.
  • ‘Kinus Report Back’ by Rabbi Yehuda Stern
  • Shabbos Mincha: 5: 55 pm
  • Shabbos ends at 7: 03 p.m.
  • Weekday Mincha 6:00 pm.


Wishing you a very Gut Shabbos .

Hope to see ya all in Shul. 


 Posted 4 Kislev 5744 / 7 November 2013

Continue Reading


  1. Choni

    Nov 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

    ‘I submit that in this ‘debate’ between who is right between Avigdor Lieberman’s plea for Jews to leave S.Africa, and Rabbi Goldman’s counter that it will be good for the Jews in this country, there is one fundamental fact.

    Jews in are ‘exile’ Jews. No matter how comfortable they are, and how ‘little’ anti-Semitism there is, Jews are living in a foreign land in voluntarily exile. The same Rebbe who said that it was going to be good for the Jews in S.Africa, also said that \”Always a Jew should feel deep pain and remorse that he is living in exile away from his homeland\” (Likutei sichos vol 30 p234). Also since the Rebbe made that prediction 13 years ago, has it been good for Jews in S.Africa?

    I would say, certainly not. Assimilation and intermarriage is at almost 40% . We live in a country whose government is strongly anti-Israel, and becoming more anti-Semitic by the day.


    Bottom line Rabbi Goldman; The exile (punishment) is indefensible, and no amount of praise for conditions in S.Africa can justify our young Jews to remain in this country.

    Let us rather leave now in an upright manner, instead of being forced. The gates of Eretz  Yisreal have been opened for the past 65 years. TELL OUR YOUTH TO MAKE ALIYAH’

  2. Choni

    Nov 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    ‘(First off, I would like to make a correction in my last comment. The Rebbes prediction was made 23 years ago not 13 years).

    Speaking of the Rebbe’s prediction that it would be good for Jews in, let me remind you of predictions, and advice given to European Jews by previous Lubavitcher (and other) Rebbes,   prior to WW2. They also urged their communities to remain where they were. We all know the tragic consequences of their misjudgements.

    Today we read Parsha Vayeitzei. The Chafetz Chaim wrote…..\”But when we see their faces are not towards us as before- in the sense that Yakov saw Lavan’s face (that is) when the heads of state give us ‘angry’ looks, then we must find a place of shelter. AND THE SAFEST PLACE IS IN THE LAND OF OUR FATHERS.

    If we do not return to the Land on our own volition, God will cause the nations against us and banish us from their lands.\”

    The Chofetz Chaim warns us to pay close attention to the early signs of animosity, so that we can find shelter in the Holy Land before it is too late. Let a word to the wise be sufficient.

    Rabbi Goldman; You are not defending S.African Jewry.

    You are defending the exile. (punishment) ‘

  3. Dunn Rabinowitz

    Nov 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    ‘I am upset that R. Goldman quotes Yair Lapid’s silly statement about New Yorkers are safer in New York than living in Israel. Simple statistics show that life expectancy is about 3 year longer in Israel than in New York. The murder rate is about 3.5 times higher in NY than in Israel and the road deaths also multiple times higher per 100,000 km driven in NY as compared to Israel. Instead of quoting Lapid he should be mocked for stating unsubstantiated opinions.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.