Celebrating Freedom – Remembering Responsibilities

Last weekend, Bet David Progressive Jewish congregation in Sandton, Johannesburg joined thousands of Jewish communities around the world in celebrating Pesach, the festival of Freedom. Celebrations included Festival Services and a family Seder on the first night. More than 100 members and guests followed the invitation of Rabbi Schell and Rabbi Margolis to join the congregation for the Festival Evening and Shabbat service, and most of them stayed for the Family Seder.

The Guest of Honour was the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, who opened the Seder by remembering the strong connection of the festival with the Land of Israel, not only in the past, but also today, and how important it is to maintain such connections. In her sermon, Rabbi Margolis pointed out the important role of women in the Exodus narrative, while Rabbi Schell focused on the personal responsibility everyone has to protect the freedom Jews can enjoy today and to take part in the process to expand this freedom to every human being.

Bet David is the only Jewish Congregation in South Africa with a female Rabbi as part of the rabbinic leadership of the congregation. Both Rabbi Margolis and Rabbi Schell were ordained at the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin, Germany.


Guest of Honour: Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk


Bet David’s Chairman Desmond Sweke and Ashley Sweke, Chayim Schell, Rabbi Adrian M Schell, Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, Rabbi Julia Margolis and Gregory Margolis


70 members and guests joined Bet David’s Family Seder.