High Holy Days

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Our Services

About our services

Choose from many different services, ranging from the formal to the informal, traditional or modern, professional choirs to communal sing-alongs, male and female rabbis, youth-led and children’s services, and much more.

Our shuls are looking forward to welcoming you, whether you choose to join online or in person.

The following Rabbonim and Lay Leaders will be running services this year.

Greetings from our Rabbonim

Rabbi Greg

The Yamim Noraim (Days of Awesomeness) bring an opportunity to carefully assess our year past and reset our path for the year forward. Every element from the shofar to wearing white, from slichot to fasting is a tool to support us in the big project of self-transformation. The great majesty of the music and ritual combine with quiet internal moments of reflection to call us to “return, return” to our truest and most powerful selves.

Rabbi Greg Alexander

Temple Israel, Cape Town
Rabbi Julia

On Rosh Hashanah, we read Exodus 12, which teaches us that “this month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Tishrei marks the beginning of time, and my wish is that 5784 begins a new, prosperous and healthy year ahead. As we greet the New Year together, we are equally treasured by the Holy One. Whether we are online, all together around the dinner table or far from home, may your sanctuary this year be a place of love and respect, dignity and appreciation for all. As we approach a New Year, I extend my blessings to you. May your prayers be fulfilled many times over and may you experience a year of fulfilment and peace.

Rabbi Julia Margolis

Beit Luria, Kelland, Johannesburg
Rabbi Malcolm

The Talmud (Taanit 20a-b) relates the following story about Rabbi Eleazar ben Rabbi Shimeon. While riding on his donkey from the house of his teacher he rudely replied to a man who greeted him. The man was exceptionally ugly and Rabbi Eleazar asked if all the inhabitants of the mans hometown were as ugly as him. The mans reply, I do not know, but go and tell the craftsman who made me, ‘How ugly is the vessel which you have made’" brought Rabbi Eleazar to the realisation that his insult was a grievous transgression and, prostrating himself at the mans feet he begged for forgiveness. At first the man refused to forgive the scholar until he accused God of making an ugly vessel, but ... Read more

Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani

Temple Israel, Cape Town
Rabbi Emma

The High Holy Days are the spiritual climax of our Jewish year – a time for personal introspection as well as communal reflection. We look within and also around us, trying to answer the question of how we can be better people, and how we might improve our relationships, our communities and our world. Jewish tradition is saying to us that all beginnings must be undertaken with intention. We cannot be passive participants in our lives. Judaism is a religion of activism. We are invited and empowered to take responsibility and ownership for ourselves – each year, each day, each moment.

Rabbi Emma Gottlieb

Temple Israel, Cape Town
Shimon Nikitenko

On Rosh ha-Shana we celebrate and acknowledge G-d's rule over the universe. Signifying the G-d's coronation, the major commandment of the festive day is to listen to the Shofar blowing. Similar to wheeping of a child, its sound symbolises the cry of our souls to the Merciful One, as every year on this day G-d executes judgment on all mankind.
Translates literally as "head of the year", the name of the feast specifically intimates that just as the functions of the entire body depend on the head, a person's attitude to Rosh ha-Shanah determines the entire coming year. Isn't that a good enough reason to spend this sacred day in prayerful dialogue with the Creator, in a warm circle family and friends, or all together at the Shul?
May we all be granted a good and sweet 5784. May G-d bless us year full of good hopes, joyful times with our close ones – the year of spiritual renewal, of our answered prayers and close Partnership with the Creator in enhancement of our lives, the lives of our family.

Rabbi Shimon Nikitenko

Bet David, Sandton
Danny Gottlieb

The work of Teshuvah—repentance and renewal—is the work in which we engage during the Days of Awe. It is a time for communal gathering, a time for individual reflection and introspection, a time for chesbon ha-nefesh—taking account of our souls—balancing the scales of our own self-judgment and the judgment of the Holy One of Blessing. The Book of Life is open during these Ten Days of Repentance, and it remains open until the Gates of Repentance close at the end of Yom Kippur. We pray to be inscribed for a good and sweet NewYear, and that our inscription be sealed for good on account of our teshuvah-work during these days.

May the sound of the shofar awaken in us the spirit of returning, that we might meet G-d along the path of our return, and enter into this New Year joyfully and with optimism and strength for the year ahead.

Rabbi Danny Gottlieb

Beit Emanuel, Johannesburg
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