The SA Association of Progressive Rabbis

The SA Association of Progressive Rabbis

The South African Association of Progressive Rabbis (SAAPR) embraces all rabbis serving congregations of the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ).The purpose of the SAAPR is to pool Rabbinic expertise, to provide collegial support and to agree on a common policy regarding minhag (custom) as included in Minhag SA. Because of the small number of rabbis within the SAAPR, it is only necessary for one person to convene and co-ordinate meetings and activities. That person is termed the Chairperson and is elected for a two-year period, though re-election at the time of such a period is possible and at times desirable. Minhag SA is a document that includes the rules and regulations of the SAUPJ in areas such as the Jewish status, marriage, adoption, conversion, divorce, burial and cremation. These rules and regulations are updated when deemed necessary as a consequence of proposals submitted by both rabbis and lay leaders. Amendments to the document have to be ratified at a National Assembly of the SAUPJ. All members of the SAAPR are bound to abide by the rules and regulations of Minhag SAMinhag SA is important in order to avoid different standards on matters of Jewish status within the SAUPJ.

Rabbinic qualifications

The SAAPR accepts rabbinic ordination from the following institutions:

  • Leo Baeck College, London
  • Hebrew Union College, Cincinatti
  • Hebrew Union College, New York
  • Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles
  • Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem
  • Abraham Geiger College, Berlin
  • Jewish Theological Seminary, New York
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia

We also accept rabbinic ordination from the following Orthodox colleges:

  • Jews College, London
  • Yeshiva University, New York

Rabbinic ordination from one of the above does not guarantee the social skills necessary for successful work in the field.

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South African Rabbis

The following are current South African rabbis in our movement:


SAAPR Members:
Rabbi Greg Alexander
Rabbi Emma Gottlieb
Rabbi Malcolm Matitiani
Rabbi Shimon Nikitenko
Associate Members:
Rabbi David Benjamin
Rabbi Andi Kuti-Alexander
Rabbi Julia Margolis

Rabbis Expelled, Suspended, or Censured for Violations of the Code of Ethics

The SAAPR, as the umbrella body for Progressive rabbis in Southern Africa, is committed to ensuring that all our communities are led and served by rabbis who abide by our Ethics Code, and as such we expect our members to work by the highest moral values of our Jewish tradition, and as members of the SAAPR, we hold each other accountable.
Our Code requires us to provide information about rabbis who were expelled, suspended, and censured (with publication) from the SAAPR for ethical misconduct—including resigning in the face of charges of ethical misconduct—to its members and to the Progressive Jewish community.  We communicate this directly to those bodies and we also add that information here on our website; to recite that an expelled rabbi is no longer a member of the SAAPR; and to identify a suspended rabbi or a rabbi censured with publication, who may not perform any rabbinic services until the suspension or censure is lifted.
While the SAAPR does not have the power to “defrock” or remove someone’s rabbinic title or status, we believe that an expelled person is unfit to serve as a rabbi under the Ethics Code of the SAAPR.

Expelled Rabbis:

Sa’ar Shaked had been charged with violating Ethics Code Section V (Sexual Boundaries).  He was temporarily suspended pending an Ethics Enquiry during which time he resigned from the SAAPR. The Ethics Panel concluded its process and recommended his expulsion which was ratified by the SAAPR members in February 2024. He is no longer a member of the SAAPR.