Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, widely known as ‘The Travelling Rabbi’, is the spiritual leader and National Director of the Small Jewish Communities Association (SJCA) and the African Jewish Congress (AJC). The SJCA was founded in 2019 to carry on the work of the Country Communities Department of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies while the AJC serves the Jewish communities of all Sub-Saharan African countries. Rabbi Silberhaft's ‘territory’ thus encompasses eleven countries, including the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar and Mauritius.
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.
The Travelling Rabbi has many facets – spiritual leader and 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.
The seventh in a line of country community rabbis, Rabbi Silberhaft has injected his youth, passion and love of people into his work, extending his post into a legendary one.