Outside of the major cities, South Africa’s smaller Jewish communities are served by the Country Communities Department of the SAJBD, run by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft. He also serves Jewish communities throughout Southern Africa, via the African Jewish Congress.
The Country Communities Department (CCD) has been an important facet of the Board’s work for over half a century. Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, current Spiritual Leader to the Country Communities, regularly visits outlying towns in South Africa, and communities in countries affiliated to the African Jewish Congress. Besides his regular pastoral tours, he conducts weddings, Bar/Batmitzvahs, funerals, unveilings and other life cycle events. Rabbi Silberhaft also works closely with the SA Friends of Beth Hatefutsoth, who are documenting the history of the Jewish country communities in South Africa. The CCD also coordinates the sending out of officiants to various communities throughout Southern Africa to officiate at High Holydays services.
The CCD oversees the maintenance of over 20 000 Jewish graves in over 220 cemeteries across the country. The condition of all Jewish cemeteries is monitored and close contact maintained with various Town Councils regarding their upkeep. The CCD’s cemetery restoration programme entails laying tombstones flat in a bed of concrete to prevent their future vandalisation or exposure to the elements. Cemeteries where this has been implemented to date include Mafikeng, Polokwane, Uniondale, Jansenville, Aliwal North, Barkley East, Beaufort West, Colesberg, Elliot, Indwe, Lady Grey, Rouxville and Smithfield, amongst others.
For more information, contact Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft
PO Box 87557, Houghton, 2041
Watch Rabbi Moshe’s YouTube Channel to see the documentary “Shalom the Beloved Country” in five parts