Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

South African Rabbi Steps Down Over $4K Blackmail of Other Rabbi

A South African rabbi was jailed and resigned from his synagogue after attempting to blackmail another rabbi.

Cape Town Rabbi Bryan Opert stepped down from the Milnerton Hebrew Congregation and was jailed for 48 hours after trying to blackmail Rabbi Ruben Suiza, the longtime head of the city’s Sephardic community, Haaretz reported. The case was first covered in an Afrikaans-language newspaper.

Opert, who approached Suiza anonymously via emails to Suiza’s wife, threatened to make public that the rabbi had been consorting with prostitutes if Suiza did not pay 48,000 South African rands, approximately $4,430.

The charges against Opert, who also is the administrative head of conversions at the Union of Orthodox Synagogues, have been suspended in an agreement with the Suizas as they continue talks with the authorities, according to Haaretz.

In a letter to his congregation, Opert blamed his behavior on a struggle with depression.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.