Rabbi Adrian Schell

Rabbi Adrian Michael Schell was ordained from the Abraham Geiger College, Potsdam/Berlin on April 2013. Born and raised in Germany, he worked 12 years as a bookseller and key account manager in Munich, before deciding on a career change to the rabbinate. Having worked in a number of Liberal congregations in Germany and abroad during his rabbinic training, which included a year at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, he worked as well as the national youth director (Rosh Netzer Germany) for the progressive Jewish movement in Germany (UpJ). Rabbi Schell earned a bachelor’s degree in Jewish and Religious Studies, and a Masters degree in Jewish Studies. His thesis dealt with the issue of adoption of children in the Hebrew Bible in the context of religious law (Halacha). He served the Jewish congregation in Hamelin, Germany as Rabbi, before he has decided to move to Johannesburg. He has been appointed the new Rabbi of Bet David, being one of four progressive Rabbis in the Gauteng region. Rabbi Schell is a member of the South African Association of Progressive Rabbis (SAAPR), the German General Rabbinical Conference and of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and he is a founding member of arzenu Germany and Beth Hillel Potsdam (Hillel).

Temple Israel Port Elizabeth

Temple Israel Port Elizabeth was officially opened by his Worship the Mayor Councillor C.F McArthur, consecrated by Rev. Isaac Richards: HCF Minister of the Congregation and officially opened by Mr. S Hallis (President) assisted by Mr. B Braak, Chairman of the Building Committee and Mr. C Adler the Architect on Friday, 28 August 1953/8 Elul 5713. We believe in the full and equal inclusion of all Jews regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

We offer on Fridays; Kabbalat Shabbat Services @ 6:15pm and Saturdays Shachrit @ 10am, followed by Kiddush and Brocha in Leo Baeck Hall along with all Chagims and Simchas.

Bet Menorah

We, at Bet Menorah, conduct regular religious and life-cycle services. We counsel and provide religious education for members of our community. We support previously disadvantaged communities in Mamelodi with aid and food and assist Jaffa, the Jewish retirement home for the aged and frail, with fund-raising, and religious and social support.

The religious and social life of Bet Menorah continues to thrive through its lay-leadership, services, counsel, educational and charitable exploits for its members and extended communities.

Hayley Brown

Hayley Brown has been SAUPJ’s National Administrator since 2005.

Hayley is a solid administrator with 20 years plus experience gained within various businesses including non-profit organisations, Personnel Consulting, Financial Planning and other Financial Services segments.

Her current role has been diverse, stretching across a wide portfolio, some of her tasks have been developing creative content for the Union’s newsletter and various articles that go out around the world such as the World Union news and the European news, being a solid right hand person to the National Chairman, responsible for general administration, correspondence , dealing with international and local community/organizations, coordination of international, national and regional offices, and the arranging of training seminars and conferences, dealing with international Rabbis and Guest speakers as well as making the necessary travel arrangements.

Hayley has an innovative approach, is able to develop interesting content for newsletters and magazines and create professional presentations for training and conferences. Hayley has also written various articles for the media and other publications on behalf of SAUPJ.

Hayley is a passionate and focused individual who is deadline sensitive and task orientated. She has a friendly disposition, is easily approachable and helpful.

Hayley matriculated with Exemption from Kind David, Victory Park High School, and Tertiary education – Diploma in Secretarial Tourism from Technikon of Witwatersrand and did various other courses including Writers Write course.

Hayley is married to Clinton Brown Marketing and Sales Manager for SSP Africa together they have three wonderful children.


Steve Lurie

I matriculated at Hyde Park High School in Johannesburg in 1970 and in 1972 obtained a Diploma in Agriculture from Cedara Agricultural College. I worked for the last 28 years of my career at Hillside Farm in Balfour, Mpumalanga. Hillside farm was 1800 Ha where we had a mixed farming operation.

Since 2004 to date I have been and am the current National Chairman of the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ). This is currently my tenth term of office. I served on the board of Beit Emanuel for 15 years, a number of those as Vice-Chairman. Prior to being involved with Beit Emanuel I was the past president of Temple Emet in Springs.

I currently serve on the management committees for both the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation and sit on the Executive Board for the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ).

Kendyll Jacobson

Kendyll Jacobson is the Mazkirah (National chairperson) of Netzer South Africa. A part of Netzer since 2006, Kendyll is also the head of Netzer’s Durban branch. She is currently in her second year as the Youth Worker for the KwaZulu Natal Zionist Council. Kendyll is passionate about informal education and hopes to pursue a career in Jewish education. In her spare time, which is limited, Kendyll likes to dabble in the art of photography.

Giddy Lief

Giddy Lief was born into a family of charity workers and from a young age, was encouraged to help out wherever I could.

As a teenager I was a Habonim Madrichah and eventually served on the local Habonim Executive. I chose Habonim instead of the old Maginim (Reform Youth Movement) as I went to Carmel School and all my friends went to Habonim.

I attended Johannesburg College of Education and qualified as a Junior Primary Teacher. During my College years I became a debutante and got involved in whatever charity functions were around. I came second in the competition.

I taught in Primary Schools for 20 years, teaching all age groups from Grade 0 to Grade 7.

In 2002 I started teaching on a part time basis at the Hebrew School at Bet Menorah, taking over the running of the school in 2004. In 2007 I joined Beit Emanuel as the Religion School Principal and in 2010 I joined Bet David taking over as the Religion School Principal and also teaching Jewish Studies in the Nursery School on the premises.

I was a member of Lions International for many years and served as president of my club during that time.

Although I have been a member of Bet Menorah in Pretoria all my life and my parents were on the Council for many years, I eventually got involved in Bet Menorah and all the activities in 2001. I was thrown in at the deep end as the convenor of the Membership and Social Activities Committee organized a function and got me on board. When he saw my enthusiasm and results, he stepped down as convenor and nominated me to carry on…..I am still in that position today.

I joined the Bet Menorah Tzedakkah committee, getting very involved in their projects. Although I am no longer an active member of this committee, I still support all their projects.

I was never an active member of the Sisterhood, but as the Membership and Social Activities started working together with the Sisterhood, I was told I had no choice but to join. This I did in 2007, becoming vice-chair in 2009, and in 2010 I was elected as National Vice President at the conference. Little did I know then what lay ahead…!!!!

In 2009 I attended the Beutel Seminar for Leadership in Israel.

In June 2012, SOUTH AFRICAN UNION OF TEMPLE SISTERHOODS (SAUTS) changed their name to WOMEN FOR PROGRESSIVE JUDAISM-SOUTH AFRICA (WPJ-SA) and I was elected as National President.

In June 2014, at the conference in Cape Town, I was re-elected as National President of WPJ-SA.

Rabbi Greg

Rabbi Greg a third generation child of the Progressive Movement, his grandparents having been members of Temple Israel in Hillbrow and later Temple David in Durban. He grew up in Temple Shalom on Louis Botha Ave in Joburg and was an enthusiastic chanich of Netzer. He studied Psychology and English at UCT while being mazkir of Netzer Cape Town and after a brief career in advertising went overseas for 10 years in Israel, Russia, Hungary, Thailand, the USA and the UK. After marrying Andrea and getting his smicha at Leo Baeck College, he returned to join the rabbinic team at the Cape Town Progressive Jewish Congregation and he runs the development work for the community. He also teaches on Melton and heavily involved with Limmud Cape Town. He has three children, Immanuel (11), Yonatan (9) and Yasmin (4).

Linda Thorn

Linda Franklin Thorn, qualified at the University of Witwatersrand and has been practicing as a Speech Therapist / Audiologist for many years. Her qualifications include a B.A. in Speech and Hearing Therapy from the University of Witwatersrand; a B.A. Honours in Psychology from the University of the Western Cape (cum laude) and a M.A. in General Linguistics, from the University of Stellenbosch. Linda is registered with the Health Profession Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF)..

In her capacity as a Speech Language Therapist, she has taught at the University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, and at the University of Stellenbosch. She also taught English as a second language at the University of Namibia.

Linda acted as Head of the Speech Therapy Department at Groote Schuur Hospital and set up the Windhoek State Hospital Speech Therapy Department. She worked as a consultant for Rossing Uranium Mine, where she was involved in the Audiological Services for the Miners and offered Speech and Language Therapy services at Cottage Hospital in (Swakopmund) for Rossing employees and their dependents. Linda provided speech therapy private practice in Windhoek to people who came from all over Namibia – from the areas of Katima Mulilo to Oranjemund.

Linda is a founding member, and acted as Chairperson of an N.G.O. called C.L.a.S.H(Children with Language Speech and Hearing) which is a community development program directed at assisting children and their families with communication difficulties. For this work she was selected as a finalist for the Namibian Professional/Business Woman of the Year award in 1996.

Whilst in Namibia she was very involved in Jewish communal life. She taught cheder at Windhoek Hebrew Congregation and was a member of the synagogue committee. She was responsible for a newsletter sent to members of the Jewish community who lived in various towns in Namibia, raising awareness of Jewish community and identity.

Linda has been an active member of the South African Speech Language Hearing Association(SASLHA), having sat on various committees, including Chairperson of SASLHA Western Cape, SASLHA Ethics committee and the Coding Committee for SASLHA.

On her return to South Africa from Namibia, Linda established a private practice based in Milnerton in Cape Town, South Africa. This practice offers speech language and swallowing therapy to all, from neonatal infants to the geriatric population. Linda’s special interests include treatment of communication and swallowing difficulties linked to acquired and progressive neurological conditions, as well as voice disorders.

Linda is currently Vice President of Temple Israel Cape Town, and Vice Chairperson of West Coast Council. She represents Temple Israel on the Zionist Council(.Cape Region) She represents the SAUPJ as regional chair of the Western Cape.

Linda is married to Brian, and has 3 children, Michael, Nadia and Jessica

Antony Arkin

Prof Antony Arkin is a former Head of Department of Economics, University of Kwazulu-Natal and the retired Academic vice-Rector Durban University of Technology. He is currently Editor of Hashalom, chairman Kwazulu-Natal Zionist Council, Treasurer South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), Executive member Council of Kwazulu-Natal Jewry (CKNJ), President Durban Progressive Jewish Congregation (DPJC), chairman Arzenu S A, South African delegate to the World Zionist Organization (WZO), JAFI and JNF, vice-chair SAUPJ.