Author Archives: SAUPJ

Statement regarding the attack on the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

South African Association of Progressive Rabbis

“For death had come through our windows into our strongholds” (Jeremiah 9:20)

Together with all the Jewish people, together with all good and decent people, we feel great pain over the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We grieve with the families of those who were murdered and send our wishes of recovery to those who were wounded.

This hate crime was performed by an individual, but it has a wider context, aiming to spread fear and distress, to keep the different groups who build society apart and to try reinstall an old order.

Here in South Africa, we remember well what the outcomes are of such an ideology which tries to keep society in constant dread, refusing to recognize our obvious shared human heritage. Clearly, we are far away from perfection, but South Africa had long moved away from those notions. In a way, the whole dispensation of the new South Africa is intended to ensure that our different communities could come together to live in equality, prosperity and peace.

Our answer to this act of hate will be fortifying our efforts to reach out to one another. We call upon all educators, religious and community leaders to invest in creating an atmosphere of respect, where all voices are heard and appreciated and where diversity is acknowledged as a source of strength.

Though our heart is full of sadness today, we put our trust in The Eternal One, whose wisdom is beyond our grasp. We pray that out of this hard moment shall come forth maturity and understanding, fulfilling the word of the prophet: “They shall not hurt nor harm My holy mountain, for the earth shall be filled with knowing The Eternal, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 9:11)

Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked, South African Association of Progressive Rabbis

Passing of Rhona Lubner

It is with deep sadness that we advise of the death last night in London of Rhona Lubner.

Rhona grew up in Johannesburg and was a member of Temple Israel Hillbrow. Rabbi Weiler conducted her Bat Mitzvah, and she remembered this occasion at her second Bat Mitzvah at Alyth Synagogue last year.

Rhona was well known for the many charitable organisations she either founded or worked with. Her contribution to the Jewish world will be remembered for years to come.

May her memory be only for blessings.

Please pass this news on to your congregations. We will inform you as to where condolences can be sent in due course.

(Fri 2018-09-21)

Passing of Ellie Visser

Netzer Cape Town issued the following statement regarding the tragic passing of Ellie Visser, one of their Madrichim:


It is with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of one of our Madrichim, Ellie Visser.

Ellie was an active part of Netzer SA and our Cape Town branch for the last six years. She was one of the most enthusiastic and charismatic Madrichim we could have asked for.

We ask that you respect her family’s privacy at the moment, during their time of mourning. Should you wish to pass a message on to her family, please get in contact with Jason via his email (, who will pass it on.

The funeral will take place Tuesday, 14 August at 12:00 at Pinelands Cemetery .

May Ellie’s soul find rest and may her memory be for a blessing.

Kind regards,

Jason Bourne

Head of Cape Town Netzer South Africa


The SAUPJ and all its congregations and affiliates join with Ellie’s family and Netzer Cape Town in mourning her passing.

Ellie was 21, and we understand that she died in theatre while being operated on for blood clots on her lungs.