Inauguration Speech by Rosh Beth Din
Address by the Dayan Kurtstag on the occasion of the inauguration of the Chief Rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein, at the Sandton Synagogue, Sandton
Mr President, Dear Colleagues, Members of the Beth Din, Rabbonim, Dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today, the 23rd of Adar, 3307 years ago, Moses our Teacher, was instructed by G-d to consecrate Aron as the High Priest. I feel that there is a great similarity to that event which took place in the desert in the presence of the entire nation.
Today we consecrate and induct Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, in the presence of representatives of the South African Government, Jewish organizations and indeed the whole Jewish community of South Africa. As the High Priest was chosen by the people being one of his brethren, so for the first time in South African history, our Chief Rabbi, who was born and bred in South Africa, was elected by the people.
The Jewish community in South Africa can be proud that a “local product” is going to lead the community, which in itself is an achievement, not only for Rabbi Goldstein, his parents and his teachers, but is also a great source of pride for the South African Jewish community.
Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s duty will not only be confined to bring the message of G-d to our community and to service G-d as the High Priest did in the past, but also he will be the representative and the spokesman for Judaism and the Jewish community to the outside world. We are confident that he will distinguish himself in this position.
Albeit young in age, I would like to say to you in the words which G-d said to Jeremiah, the Prophet, – “Don’t say that I am young”. We are sure that with G-d’s help you will raise high, the pride of Israel, the Jewish people and Torah.
Therefore, may it be the will of Hashem that he bestow life, kindness, diadem and crown upon Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein who has been chosen to be Chief Rabbi of South Africa:
to strengthen, bless and make him great in the study of Torah;
to seek him out for life, to glorify him, and to establish him in society;
to grant him merit and life, and to assign him in the council of the Torah’s light;
to grant him virtue and distinction, to teach him knowledge and logic;
to let him escape danger, to raise him, to succor him with refined support;
to delight him, to support him, to make him righteous among the people for whom the world was created;
to draw him near, to show him mercy, and to protect him against every distress and trouble.
Arise Chief Rabbi Dr Goldstein and come and occupy the pulpit to address this gathering.
Will the congregation please rise to honour our Chief Rabbi.