The Claremont Wynberg Shul saw in the new calendar year with a relaxed and enjoyable function to mark the launch of Rabbi Liebenberg’s first book Wisdom From The South.
The book is a collection of over one hundred original essays on the weekly Torah portion. Many of these essays were given as sermons during Rabbi Liebenberg’s sixteen-year tenure at the shul or appeared in the congregation’s weekly Shabbat publication.
The essays touch upon many contemporary subjects including the alienation of youth from their heritage; Jewish education; the proliferation of superhero films and the challenges of urban living.
Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, who was present at the event, praised the author as a dedicated spiritual leader and Torah scholar who has produced a truly handsome volume in every respect. Batya Bricker, the book’s publisher, who travelled from Johannesburg to be at the launch, spoke of some of the ‘quirky’ titles of the essays, with names like Plastic People and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
The hall was packed with congregants, friends and colleagues of Rabbi Liebenberg who was on hand to sign copies of the 500-page, hard-covered book. The author explained that, although there are many parsha books currently available, this one is unique in that it possesses a truly South African flavour. Indeed the title — which is a paraphrase of a Talmudic dictum — reflects the fact that the book was written, edited and printed in South Africa.
He added that, in future, the book would serve as a kind of historical document chronicling the issues that were facing the South African rabbinate in the 21st century. Rabbi Liebenberg thanked his wife Lee, who was the MC for the evening, for her support and encouragement and he also expressed his gratitude to all those who regularly read his divrei Torah.
Wisdom From The South sells for R395 and is available in Cape Town at the Claremont Wynberg Shul (contact firstname.lastname@example.org) and the South African Jewish Museum Shop.