Warren Goldstein

Rabbi Warren Goldstein (b. c. 1973) is the chief rabbi of South Africa. Born in Pretoria, he currently lives in Johannesburg. He is the first chief rabbi of South Africa that was born in South Africa and the youngest ever to be appointed to that post, at age 32.

Biography

Education

Rabbi Goldstein obtained his ordination from Rabbi Azriel C. Goldfein, Rosh yeshiva of Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg. He is a qualified advocate and has a PhD in constitutional law.

During his years of full-time Yeshiva study, he completed a BA in law and philosophy, and an LLB, both through the University of South Africa. He was ordained in 1996, and completed his LLB the same year. He studied almost exclusively in Johannesburg with a short period spent in Israel.

While practising as a rabbi he completed his Ph.D. at the University of the Witwatersrand Law School. [cite web |publisher= thepropertymag.co.za |date=April 1, 2007 |title= Chief Benefactor - Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein|url=http://www.thepropertymag.co.za/pages/452774491/articles/2005/July/Chief_Benefactor_-_Chief_Rabbi_Dr_Warren_Goldstein.asp] His Ph.D. thesis compared western and Jewish law and was published as a book entitled "Defending the Human Spirit: Jewish Law's Vision for a Moral Society". Rabbi Goldstein's thesis is that Talmudic law was ahead of its time in terms of political rights, women's rights, criminal law and poverty alleviation. "I see Western laws as coming round full circle to positions always held by Talmudic law."

ervice

Rabbi Goldstein began his career as the official rabbi of the South African branch of the Bnei Akiva youth movement. He then served as rabbi of the Ohr Somayach, South Africa Sunny Road Congregation in Johannesburg, an affiliate of Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem.

Chief Rabbi

Due to his young age, Rabbi Goldstein's election "startled" many people in South Africa. [cite web |publisher= jewishjournal.com |date=April 1, 2007 |title= S. Africa Makes Bold Chief Rabbi Choice |url=http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=11579]

At his official induction as chief rabbi of South Africa on April 3 2005, Rabbi Goldstein and those in attendance were addressed by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki:

:We salute Rabbi Goldstein as a true South African patriot...Rabbi Goldstein champions the very values which government would like to instil in our society. Civil society, including religious leaders, has a crucial role to play in South Africa today. By their personal example, and through the wisdom of their teachings, religious leaders such as Chief Rabbi Goldstein, can imbue our country with values of honesty, compassion and self-discipline that are so vital in establishing a truly just and moral society. [cite web |publisher= anc.org.za |date=April 1, 2007 |title= Address at the inauguration of the chief rabbi, Rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein|url=http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mbeki/2005/tm0303.html]

:"Indeed, we are blessed to have a Chief Rabbi who is a formidable Torah scholar whose doctorate is in human rights and constitutional law, including that of our own Constitution." [cite web |publisher= southafrica.info |date=April 1, 2007 |title= Mbeki hails SA's new Chief Rabbi
url=http://www.southafrica.info/what_happening/news/chiefrabbi-04045.htm
]

"Trembling Before G-d"

In 2005, Trembling Before G-d, a documentary film about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews was screened in South Africa. The screenings were presented alongside several public speaking events by Rabbi Steven Greenberg. Goldstein described the film as "intellectually shallow," commenting that "its one-sided caricature of Orthodox Judaism does not stimulate meaningful intellectual debate. [Jacobson, Paul (February 27, 2005), Trembling before G-d Retrieved March 9, 2007 ] .

Publications

*"African Soul Talk: When Politics Is Not Enough" (with Dumani Mandela)
*"Defending the Human Spirit: Jewish Law's Vision for a Moral Society" (Feldheim)

External links

* [http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=11579 S. Africa Makes Bold Chief Rabbi Choice]
* [http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mbeki/2005/tm0303.html Inuagural address by President Thabo Mbeki in honor of Rabbi Goldstein]

References


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