New Book: “The Travelling Rabbi – My African Tribe” by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft as told to Suzanne Belling

by The SAJBD on 5 September 2012

in Books, The Travelling Rabbi - My African Tribe


Real anecdotes of real people; The Travelling Rabbi: My African Tribe is a story of one man’s journey to connect the trailing threads of the African Jewish community. Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, widely known as ‘The Travelling Rabbi’, is the spiritual leader of the Country Communities Department of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the African Jewish Congress. His ‘territory’ encompasses thirteen countries – the entire African continent south of the Sahara – as well as the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar and Mauritius.

Following a long heritage of country community rabbis, Rabbi Silberhaft is the seventh community rabbi in his line. His youth, passion and love of people have gained him the respect and acknowledgement of people from all walks of life.

A man of many facets, his personality makes him endearing to those he serves. He is there for those who do not have the luxury of a synagogue around the corner. This book will take you into the hearts and homes of those thought to be forgotten, stories filled with passion, laughter, joy and sadness.

He is the one-man Chevrah Kadisha, caring for the graves of the forgotten and tracing their descendants, as well as the ‘Romantic Rabbi’ who performs wedding ceremonies, whether on a beach in Mauritius at sunset or at the foot of the Twelve Apostles in Cape Town. He is also a caterer, a counsellor, a teacher; but, above all, he is a friend.

Many once-thriving Jewish communities in small towns in South Africa and in other African countries have disappeared and their synagogues closed as people moved to the main cities or emigrated. Whether one, two, or a handful remain, Rabbi Silberhaft is there for them.



Sunday 9 September 2012, 10:30 am at Beyachad, 2 Elray Street, Raedene, with guest speaker Gus Silber 011 628-3200

Wednesday 12 September 2012, 19:30 at the Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre at the Great Park Synagogue, Glenhove Road, Houghton, with guest speaker Suzanne Belling

Both launches will show a montage of footage from the documentary Shalom the Beloved Country featuring Rabbi Silberhaft



The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is the central representative institution of the South African Jewish community.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs Zandra Green August 16, 2014 at 20:21

I have recently read this stunning book by Rabbi Silberhaft.
Is it possible to send the information which I have about my grandmother and her parents
who came to South Africa in 1898 from Lithuania and see if he has heard of a story like mine.
It would be a miracle if I could find out who my Jewish is.

from, Zandra Green


SAJBD September 17, 2014 at 12:06

Please contact Rabbi Silberhaft on


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