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Upheaval in Cape Town Jewry’s religious life




The first shock for Capetonians came as the popular Rabbi of the Milnerton Shul, Rabbi Bryan Opert (pictured above), unexpectedly resigned his position. Joel Norrie, president of the Milnerton Hebrew Congregation, confirmed to Jewish Report that Rabbi Opert had resigned.

The second community upheaval, Jewish Report has been reliably informed, that Rabbi Opert also resigned his position with the UOS as head of their conversion programme with immediate effect last week. Asked for confirmation of this, and about what plans had been put in place to replace Rabbi Opert in their conversion programme, the UOS’ manager in Cape Town, Eric Berger, referred Jewish Report to the Chief Rabbi’s office.

SAJR is awaiting a response from the Chief Rabbi.

The third surprise may be the biggest

The third surprise was a letter sent last Thursday by Peter Greenberg, president of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Cape Town, informing members that their Rebbetzen had been the victim of an attempted extortion.

“Three months ago, Rebbetzen Suiza was the unfortunate recipient of an anonymous e-mail which contained various scurrilous, defamatory and utterly false remarks about Rabbi (Reuben) Suiza,” wrote Greenberg. “The anonymous person who sent the e-mail with malicious intent,” continued Greenberg’s letter to the congregation, had also attempted to extort money or the person would “divulge this false information to certain members of the community.”

Greenberg says he can “categorically advise you” that the contents are a “malicious fabrication without any foundation of truth.” He goes on to say that the matter has been handled by the SAPS, “a suspect has been arrested,” and that he is “confident that the perpetrator will be dealt with appropriately in the near future.”

Rabbi Suiza also serves on the Cape Town Beth Din.

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