Subscribe to our Newsletter


click to dowload our latest edition

Waverley’s R. Nossel looks after body & soul

The Waverley Hebrew Congregation has welcomed a home-grown product, Rabbi Dr David Nossel (pictured) as its spiritual leader – a return to the shul where he had his barmitzvah.

Published

on

UOS/Congregations

SUZANNE BELLING

Healing both the body and soul, he leads the services in Waverley’s main shul, while by day he practises medicine at the Chiawelo Clinic in Soweto.

This versatile rabbi/doctor has also written a book on Hebrew and another on marriage.

Former head prefect at King David Victory Park, he was brought up in a traditional home.

“I lived equidistant between the Parkwood and Oxford Synagogues and went to neither. My parents, Harvey Nossel, (of “Talking Law” at ChaiFM) and mother Iris, a speech therapist, ran a proud Jewish home.

“When I was at Wits medical school, my grandfather passed away and I accompanied my father to the daily minyanim when he was saying Kaddish.”

He attended shiurim at medical school and was inspired by Rabbi Akiva Taitz, who now lives in London.

“I was drawn towards the religious Kollel in Yeoville, where a number of families adopted me for Shabbos meals. I became gung-ho about Yiddishkeit under Rabbi Boruch Grossnass.”

After doing his internship at the Boksburg/Benoni Hospital, he went to Israel, studying at the Ateret Yisrael mainstream yeshiva, where he was mashgiach (spiritual dean) of outreach, under Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, “one of the gedolim” (leading rabbis of the generation).

“I didn’t have formal halachic ordination. It was bestowed on me after two years of learning. It was a learning thing. I was given smicha in order to teach in the yeshiva.”

Rabbi Nossel married Leanne Jacobson after “love at first arrangement” (it was a shidduch).They have eight children aged between 21 and seven.

Back in South Africa, how did he choose between medicine and the rabbinate?

“I threw up my credentials to Shamayim. I said: ‘Hashem, here is my BSc, here is my MBBCh, here is my CV as a mashgiach.’

“Hashem answered me in a most remarkable way. He guided me back into the shul where I had read my maftir as a boy, shaking like a leaf. Thirty-seven years later I was reading my maftir in the same shul where I first read it under Rabbi David Rogut.”

Initially after his return to South Africa, he had problems with the Health Professions Council of South Africa with regard to regaining his licence after his five-year absence from medicine.

“It was the academic department which welcomed me and assisted me in getting my licence back and working in the clinic.”

The Waverley campus comprises the main shul (upstairs) and the Beit Yisrael minyan downstairs, under Rabbi Gabi Bookatz.

“We are co-rabbis on the campus, which includes facilities for youth, children and a traditional approach to study.”

Rabbi Nossel was appointed to Waverley Synagogue on a fulltime basis at the beginning of September, in time for the Yamim Noraim.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UOS/Congregations

Cemetery in sad state & no funds for repair

The Jewish cemetery in Roodepoort on the West Rand is in a sorry state of disrepair, with nearly a third of the tombstones broken or pushed over. There is also no wall to demarcate the area from the general cemetery. Unfortunately, no Jewish congregation remains to deal with the problem, nor are there funds available to carry out the necessary restoration.

Published

on

By

STAFF REPORTER

Pictured: The sad state of disrepair at the Roodepoort Jewish cemetery, is clearly visible in this photograph.

Currently, the Country Communities Department of the SAJBD is responsible for the maintenance of over 220 cemeteries in the smaller towns and villages around the country. What makes it possible to carry out this role, however, is the availability of funds from various trusts set up by the former Jewish congregations of the areas concerned.

In the case of Roodepoort, no provision was made for the maintenance of the cemetery while there was still a functioning Jewish community in the town and no funds remain from the sale of the community’s assets after the closure of the shul. 

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, spiritual leader to the South African Country Communities, said his department was willing to take over the responsibility for maintaining the cemeteries of other congregations in the event of their closing down. This, however, was predicated on the trustees of those congregations entering into an agreement with the SAJBD to ensure that adequate resources were available for that purpose.

This would be done, as in the case of other country cemeteries, through the establishment of a trust, set up through the sale of the community’s property and other assets. It followed that the larger the cemetery, the more funds are needed to be made available.

In the case of Roodepoort, he had met with the trustees before the congregation closed and strongly advised that they make provision for their cemetery’s future maintenance. They had taken a conscious decision not to do so, and unfortunately, there was now nothing that his department could do about the situation, he said. 

Rabbi Silberhaft urged all communities outside the Greater Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban areas that had not yet made provision for the upkeep of their cemeteries, to do so as soon as possible, while they were still active and viable.

The upkeep of the final resting places of community members who had passed on, was a sacred responsibility, he stressed, and that in turn meant that the trustees of the congregations concerned needed to act responsibly when determining what to do with their community’s remaining assets.

Rabbi Silberhaft said that should they wish the SAJBD to take on that responsibility, they should contact him at thetravellingrabbi@gmail.com to arrange for the necessary legal document to be drawn up in anticipation of the community closing. Alternatively, they could contact SAJBD Country Communities Chairman Marlene Bethlehem on bhjbeth@gmail.com.  

Continue Reading

UOS/Congregations

Ambassadors talk about Israel and Germany

On Sunday May 29, SACRED (South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity) in collaboration with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, Bet David Progressive Synagogue and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, was an organiser of “Ambassadors in Conversation: Dealing With a Complicated Past, Creating a Common Future”.

Published

on

By

RABBI JULIA MARGOLIS

CHAIRMAN OF SACRED

The ambassadors in question were Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk and German Ambassador Walter Linder.

“Today relations between the two peoples are astonishing given the recent past: the German government’s position is one of ‘unconditional support’ of Israel.

“Indeed, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that ‘Germany’s support for Israel’s security is part of our national ethos, our raison d’être’. These words have been backed up by action internationally.

“She has also been on an official tour of Israel and has addressed the Knesset. Jewish life in Germany is active and supported by the government. Israelis now flock to Berlin and Merkel enjoys high popularity in the Jewish state.

“With the Holocaust still within living memory, we were honoured to host survivors in the audience who could not possibly have imagined this state of affairs 70 years ago, at the end of the Second World War.

“This is attributable to determined efforts by both countries to keep the doors of communication open without ignoring the terrible events of the Holocaust. Both ambassadors agreed that although relations between the two states will never be ‘normal’, they had been able to make significant progress in the last 70 years and that this should serve as an example to other countries and peoples dealing with painful pasts.”

The setting for the discussion was the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, whose director, Tali Nates, herself the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, was the moderator.

 

Continue Reading

UOS/Congregations

Remember those who refused to be mere victims

For Yom Hashoah 2016, the international theme chosen by Yad Vashem is remembering those victims of the Holocaust who resisted being brutalised by the horrific circumstances in which they were placed, but instead strove to maintain and preserve their essential humanity.

Published

on

By

DAVID SAKS

The SAJBD, which organises the ceremonies in the seven main Jewish centres countrywide, is this year putting a particular emphasis on educating the next generation and providing it with the tools to carry remembrance of the Holocaust forward into the future.

An information pack specially geared towards young adults has been prepared for the many high school learners from both the Jewish and government schools, who are expected to attend the ceremonies.

Over the past decade and more, the keynote speakers for Johannesburg and Durban have been prominent Holocaust survivors from abroad, brought out for the occasion by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies. These have included Auschwitz prisoner Eva Schloss, whose mother later married Anne Frank’s father, Otto, Wallenberg survivor John Dobai and Ben Helfgott, who went on to become an Olympic weight-lifter.

This year’s speaker, Veronica Phillips, is from Johannesburg. Born in Budapest, Hungary, she survived years of internment in the international ghetto in her home city, the Ravensbruck, Penig and Johanneorgenstadt concentration camps and the Death Marches.

The Johannesburg and Durban programme will also include a presentation by SAJBD National President and Director of the Durban Holocaust Centre Mary Kluk, who will focus on the specific lessons that the Holocaust has for South Africa today.

The traditional Yom Hashoah programme includes alternate Hebrew-English reading of “To everyone, there is a name/Lechol ish Yesh Shem”, lighting of six memorial candles by survivors, Holocaust poetry readings and renditions of the Hazkara, Partisan Song, Ani Ma’amin, Shiviti and Hatikvah.

Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa Arthur Lenk, will deliver a message on behalf of the State of Israel and Lt Hilton Kaplan, the Soldiers’ Tribute on behalf of the SA Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s League. 

In addition, the Johannesburg ceremony will feature violinist Waldo Alexander playing the theme from the film Schindler’s List and Redhill High School pupil Gemma Davies reading an extract from her poem “Brother”, the prizewinning entry in the Writing, Poetry & Art Competition held by Chapman University, US.

Ceremonies will be held in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth on Thursday, May 5 and in Durban and Bloemfontein on the following Sunday (May 8). The date of the East London ceremony is still to be confirmed.

SAJBD Gauteng Council Chairman Shaun Zagnoev will preside over the proceedings in Johannesburg which will take place as usual at the Martyr’s Monument in West Park Cemetery, at 12:30.

* For further information on the Yom Hashoah ceremonies around the country, contact (Johannesburg) Shirley Beagle, (011) 645-2583; (Cape Town) Gwynne Robins, (021) 464-6700; (Durban) Roseanne Rosen, (031) 335-4452; (Pretoria) Diane Wolfson, (012) 346-8792; (Port Elizabeth) Michael Simmons (041) 373-7433; (Bloemfontein) Leah Chabas, (051) 436-2207, and (East London) Ellen Ettinger, (043) 748-4481.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Naale Elite Academy

Trending