Rabbi Sam Thurgood was born in Johannesburg and grew up in Durban. He studied under Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein ztz”l at the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg where he received smicha in 2008. In his own words, he became a Rabbi because his three great loves in life are Hashem, the Jewish people, and teaching – and Rabbinic life exists in the intersection of these passions (he also loves jokes). Rabbi Thurgood has years of teaching experience in Johannesburg and Durban, and is grateful and proud to serve as the Rabbi of Beit Midrash Morasha – a community of warm, engaged, Zionistic and wonderful people. His favourite food at the Morasha brocha? Cheesecake and mini-quiches. (Not at the same time!)
Aviva was born in Johannesburg and is a qualified physiotherapist and pilates instructor. From the young age of eleven, she started full contact Karate and holds a Second Dan, she has since also done kickboxing, Krav Maga and Muay Thai and teaches self defense for women and girls. Aviva is passionate about mental, physical and emotional health. She enjoys the outdoors and is always up for an adventure. Aviva has completed The Eden Centre Kallah teachers course and enjoys integrating her knowledge of women’s health into her lessons. She has taught locally as well as brides in America, Israel and Sweden. She is a Faculty member of The Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning and she enjoys teaching and learning about the more unusual and challenging stories within Tanach.
Rabbi and Aviva were appointed to our community in November 2012, and on celebrating the milestone of three years, Rabbi expressed his gratitude to a community that taught him how to be a community Rabbi. “What makes the community so wonderful,” he said, “is that so many people place different emphasis on what makes a successful community. For some it is the learning, others the shul services. Yet others the children’s programmes, or the events, or the importance of security. But our members go beyond words and invest themselves and their time in the areas that they consider important, and it is this that makes what we have here so special.”