High Holy Days

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The South African Union for Progressive Judaism
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High Holy days

ימים נוראים

5784 / 2023

Message from SAUPJ Interim National Chair

Dear Friends,

As we approach the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, we are presented with the opportunity for spiritual introspection and growth. It’s a time for us to come together and reflect on the year that was, seek forgiveness for our shortcomings and set intentions for a better future. It’s a time to strengthen our connection with our faith, heritage and community.

During Rosh Hashanah, we gather to celebrate the creation of the world and seek blessings for the year ahead. While it’s a festive time, filled with sweet, symbolic foods, it’s also a time for deep self-examination as we engage in heartfelt prayers and introspective rituals.

Yom Kippur is a time for profound teshuvah – a chance to wipe the slate clean. It’s a day of reflection, humility and time to mend broken relationships. It’s a time for reconciliation.

As we turn inward during this auspicious time of year, though, let us not forget that it has been a year of turmoil for the Jewish people, and let us take time to keep those in situations of conflict and war in our prayers.

As we prepare for 5784, let us come together as a community to support one another. Let us make this a time of renewal, connection and growth. And, whether you’re sitting in shul, around the table or on Zoom, take a moment to ask even just one other person what they’re grateful for this year and what they look forward to in the new Jewish year.

Create the conversation. Solidify the community.
May the Yamim Noraim bring blessings, forgiveness and a renewed sense of purpose to us all.

L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you be inscribed for a good year!

Warmest Regards,

Lisa Hack
SAUPJ Interim National Chair

With Services From

Rabbi Greg

Rabbi Greg Alexander

Temple Israel, Cape Town

As part of Temple Israel Cape Town's dynamic professional team, Rabbi Greg Alexander has spent 17 years helping to build this community into a vibrant and growing hub of Jewish life in Africa.

Growing up in Apartheid South Africa, he brings his lived experience of the transformation from minority rule to democracy and the challenges the country has faced since then to his Torah-teaching and social activism.

As a master-educator, he has lived and taught in Jewish communities from England to Israel, from Hungary to Russia and from the USA to South Africa.

He is married to Andrea, herself a rabbinical student, and they have three children.

Rabbi Emma

Rabbi Emma Gottlieb

Temple Israel, Cape Town

Rabbi Emma Gottlieb is from Toronto, Canada and is the newest member of Temple Israel Cape Town’s rabbinic team, having joined us in 2018.

Rabbi Emma received ordination from Hebrew Union College, at the New York campus in 2010, and subsequently held pulpits in small congregations in New York, Boston and Toronto.

Rabbi Emma brings her infectious energy and love for Torah, music, teaching and prayer to the Rabbinic team. It has been particularly meaningful to Rabbi Emma to be one of the first women rabbis in South Africa – to present a different perspective on what a rabbi is, does and looks like.

Rabbi Julia

Rabbi Julia Margolis

Beit Luria, Kelland, Johannesburg

Rabbi Julia Margolis was born in Moscow, USSR as a daughter to her role model mother, Rabbi Elena Rubenstein - the first Russian speaking female Rabbi in Israel.

At the age of 12, Rabbi Julia’s family made Aliyah to Israel, where she completed high school and served as an educational officer in the army (IDF).

In 2000, she earned a bachelor´s degree from Ben Gurion University in Jewish History, Islam and Art. She also went on to complete her Masters’ degree in Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Julia was ordained by the Abraham Geiger College. She has worked in the Reform movement in Israel and has represented the Reform movement all over the world.

Rabbi Julia has served in the South African progressive movement in 2009. In 2019, she opened Beit Luria progressive synagogue and has run online services, chaggim and shiurim since the pandemic.

Rabbi Malcolm

Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani

Temple Israel, Cape Town

Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani has an Honours Degree in Linguistics from the University of South Africa and a Masters degree in Rabbinic Literature from the University of Cape Town and the University of Potsdam.

He received his semicha from the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Berlin - Potsdam, Germany in September 2006, being one of the first three rabbinical students to be ordained in Germany since the Shoah.

He is one of the rabbis of the Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation and is married to Gillian. They share their home with a cat called Marple.


Netzer South Africa

Netzer is a family, a place to come home to, where you can be whoever you want to be.

We believe in the ideals of Progressive Judaism, while striving for Reform Zionism and building sustainable communities of Progressive Jews across the globe.

Netzer South Africa has branches in Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town, where we engage Channichimot from Grade 1 – 12 in different programs and activities throughout the year.

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