Saturday, 26 Iyyar, 5781
  |  May 8, 2021

Rabbi Nachman Bernhard, 80, obm

Rabbi Nachman Meir Bernhard, who moved to South Africa at the behest of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and was a pillar of the community, passed away. Full Story

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Our Rabbi
October 22, 2014 11:39 pm

Our Rabbi our friend our mentor,you were so special to us with a friendship of almost 50years.You married us 48 years ago I our shul in Doornfontein and we joined your Oxford congregation soon there after.With your guidance we helped build your first lubavitch. School adjacent to Oxford Shul, your dedication to your mentor The Rebbe encouraged more new Rabbis to expand the Chabad movement in South Africa.Your interracial programs at Oxford were ahead of the time, To darling Joan and family we send love and strength

so missed!!
October 7, 2014 11:23 pm

thank you for making me feel important. like i was the only person in the word at that moment. u left behind children and grandchildren, and they too effect my life and give to me just as much as u did!!!!

Dear Joan and Familly
October 7, 2014 8:48 pm

Sorry to hear about Nachman (Norman)’s passing. I haven’t seen him since we were both teenager’s. But I still have his e-mail when we reconnected about six years ago. He had quite a sense of humor.

Helene & Martin Celnick

My memories
October 7, 2014 6:31 pm

My heartfelt condolences to the whole family on the passing of dear Rabbi. I consider Rabbi Bernhard like a grandfather that I never had, especially a spiritual zaida, as he was the one who mekareved my parents. I remember him as our principal at Menorah Primary school in Oxford. I remember when were in either Standard 1 or 2, that he used to come into our classroom, shut the lights and tell us: “Torah hi Ha’Orah!” (The O’s were pronounced like the name of the letter “O”.) I used to think him a little strange for interrupting our lesson with… Read more »

A Blessing of a human being
October 6, 2014 8:36 pm

Rabbi Bernard was a true giant of humanity. A man full of wisdom and deep compassion. He had a remarkable ability to make each person he encountered feel like they matter. May his memory be a blessing. Sending love Mrs Bernard and all the family

October 3, 2014 4:54 pm

so many Lessons…… thank you for changing our lives forever

Military Fatigues
October 3, 2014 11:31 am

Even though I left SA when I was 11 years old Rabbi Bernard had a profound influence on me. My grandfather Solly Danziger was very involved in Oxford synagogue and I used to go with him to Shul every Friday and Saturday where I would also sing in the choir. When I was about 9 or 10 years old I decided I wanted to wear military fatigues to Shul. My grandfather was not pleased with the idea. Someone said we should speak to Rabbi Bernard and see what he thought. Grandpa Solly and I approached Rabbi Bernhard and asked him… Read more »

A Special Rabbi,was Rabbi Bernhard.
October 3, 2014 4:58 am

I only just heard this sad new this morning.Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.
Was so honoured to spend some special shabbat friday night meals at the Bernhard household in my batchelor days as far back as 1971.Such a warm and wonderful family.My heartfelt condolences to Rebbetzin Bernhard and to his whole family.May you all be comforted together with all the mourners of Zion & Jerusalem.David Shapiro(in Cape Town since 1975)

From a Family Member
October 2, 2014 10:44 pm

To all who have written the most beautiful things, thank you so much for your love and support at this time. We truly feel the unity of this great nation and that we are not mourning alone, but that our entire extended family of Jews is right here with us.
Keep your comments and memories coming, they bring great comfort!

Laytin Family-Tucson
October 2, 2014 10:04 pm

We are so,so,so sorry for your loss. Your family is in our hearts and prayers. It seems that he had a profound and meaningfull impact on everyone he met.

October 2, 2014 8:23 pm

He taught me for my barmitzvah 1n 1967 great teacher

A Giant amongst his Peers
October 2, 2014 7:37 pm

The Shapiro family formerly Jhb now Sydney
A giant amongst his peers who will always be remembered for his compassion and great oratory who earned the respect of everyone who came into contact with him. He and Joan epitomised how true Jewish values should be lived and expressed. Our heartfelt condolences to Joan and family

An ex South African, in Toronto
October 2, 2014 7:12 pm

Rabbi Bernhard will always be remembered fondly as one of the Great Rabbi’s of Johannesburg!
Thinking of his dear family at this sad time! Hamokom Yenachem eschem b’soch she’ar aveilei tzion v’yerushalayim.
Candy Fayl (nee Charney)

Contact info for emails
October 2, 2014 6:35 pm

The family would love to hear your Rabbi Bernhard memory or story. To share with them, please send emails to:
[email protected]

Rabbi Bernhard Z"TL
October 2, 2014 5:37 pm

B”H Rabbi Bernhard introduced us to the Rebbe’s Shluchim, Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gerlitzky in Tel Aviv, and that is how, many years ago, we arrived to the Rebbe. Thank you Rabbi Bernard for that life changing moment. May your soul rest in Gan Eden. I had the merit to sit with you and the Rebbetzin in your Sukkah, just days prior your stroke and you laughed remembering the way I had to hide from the Apartheid Regime. As I was about to leave your home to travel back to Cape Town, you pointed at the photo of the Rebbe, and… Read more »

October 2, 2014 5:07 pm

I was so saddened to see this on COLIVE. I fondly remember the Bernhard family staying with us in Crown Heights.
Just last evening I decided to watch a DVD of a Kinus Hashluchim. Randomly I chose the year 2012 and watched Rabbi Shishler who spoke. He mentioned a refuah for Rabbi Bernhard, and then the very next day I saw this sad news.
May Hashem comfort the entire family.
Hamakom Yenachem Eschem Besoch Shaar Avaylay Tzion VeYerushalayim.

Hensha Gansbourg

Dear Joan and Family
October 2, 2014 4:55 pm

Rabbi Bernhard was a Man amongst Men.
He will always be remembered by many and especially my family

October 2, 2014 4:51 pm

People do not understand what the South African community lost today. In fact the world. This was a giant of a man who’s reach was global because his actions were local. He impacted the lives of people including our lives in a way that is actually indescribable. His wife Joan was his life long partner in brining light to the world and so they did. Our family and our extended family of JEWS mourn this loss. Our dear Rabbi Bernhard, thank you and we love you forever.

To our dear family friend Kivi
October 2, 2014 3:45 pm

Your father’s passing is a great loss to all of us. He should be a gute beter for klal yisroel. Kivi you exemplify your father’s fine character. Your dear mother and entire family should be comforted. You should have a year of simchas. Gmar Chasima Tova
Harlig Family

A Tzadick in his time
October 2, 2014 3:02 pm

My Hashem bless the neshama of Tzadick Rabbi Bernhard who was a guiding light to my family and the community at large. Chaim aruchim to Joan, kids and the extended family

Baruch Dayan Haemet
October 2, 2014 2:40 pm

We are so saddened to hear about the passing of such a wise ,special ,inspiring ,caring person.Your memory will be forever with us ,your wise advice has guided me through many dilemnas, your warm personality always a shining ,guiding light.May Hashem watch over you,may you be in a better place.Michal and David Hoppenstein

Beloved Mechutan of Rachel Uzvolk
October 2, 2014 2:23 pm

I’m so very saddened at the loss of my wonderful mechutan who always stood by me in so many ways. His practical and wise advice was always accompanied with his humorous touch. He was always such an inspiration to his children, his sons-in-law, his daughter-in-law and wonderful grandchildren..May Joan continue to be the shining example to all that know her ad 120..

Contact email for messages.
October 2, 2014 1:43 pm

Emails of condolences and memories and messages can be sent to Rebetzin Joan Bernhard [email protected]

ברוך דין אמת
October 2, 2014 1:15 pm

So sorry to learn of his passing. Chayim Arukim to Joan and all the family.

Reeva Brown

What a loss!
October 2, 2014 11:35 am

What a loss: personally, socially, communally, nationally and internationally. The inevitability of this moment doesn’t lessen the pain of its sadness. Be מלמד זכות on us in ב״ד של מעלה, ר׳ נחמן מאיר.
David Lapin

Our family Rabbi of many years.
October 2, 2014 10:54 am

I am sad to hear of the passing of Rabbi Bernhard. He shared so many of the most important events in my family’s life. He will be fondly remembered as a distinguished Rabbi and leader. Wishing Joan and family ‘Long Life’.
Tessa Dorfan (Utian) and family.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emes
October 2, 2014 10:38 am

So incredibly sorry to hear of your loss. We all have such very fond and warm memories of the times spent together. Many brochos of love, comfort and strength during this moment in your lives.
May his soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life.

October 2, 2014 10:08 am

We’re all so sorry to hear of your loss. May you all be comforted with strength & love during this sad time in your lives. With warm wishes to all the family.
Hessel & Miriam Kessler & all our family. (SA – LA)

Loved you so much!
October 2, 2014 9:44 am

Thank you for being such a formidable presence in our lives. Our yiddishkeit today came from you!! My late father Moe loved you and so did we all. Sorely missed.

Mourning the loss from Toronto
October 2, 2014 9:33 am

His reach extended beyond SA to all parts of the globe. We mourn his passing in Toronto. Baruch Dayan Haemet. DS

Bella Fielding
October 2, 2014 9:26 am

I was Rabbi Bernhard’s Private Secretary for 21 years. He used to call me his left-hand helper, as he was left-handed. He always taught that the aim of Judaism was to take a man and make a mensch out of him. He was a real mensch in every sense of the word. He was loved by so many, and will be sadly missed. May his memory be for a blessing. Heartfelt condolences to Joan, and the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


October 2, 2014 9:24 am

A true mentch and aristocrat. His impact was deep and will be lasting here. Mrs. Friedman is an excellent torch-bearer of his values…

Baruch Dayan HaEmett
October 2, 2014 9:16 am

I will always remember Rabbi Bernhard, Zecher Tzaddik Livracha, as the man that sent me to Yeshiva College 1968, setting me on Torah Road. Major pioneer of Jewish education. Outspoken critic of apartheid because his conscience made him speak – fearless of consequences emulating the Ramban and many great Torah leaders in history. Talmid Chacham, man of wisdom, heart of gold. Yehi Zichro Baruch.
Cecil Coblentz, Efrat.

A true Tzadik
October 2, 2014 9:14 am

What an amazing,wise,gentle ,caring human being.He touched so many lives.Long life to all the family MHDSRIP,our thoughts are with you all.Phillip and Jody Glick and family

A sad day for klal yisroel...
October 2, 2014 9:06 am

I remember hearing about this great Rov as child growing up…Rabbi Bernhard! (With the SA accent:))

October 2, 2014 8:53 am

Sorry for the sad news.
Looks from the photos that he was just interviewed by jem on their trip to SA. Perhaps someone who looked like him.
May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion.

Rest in peace
October 2, 2014 8:08 am

He was a lovely man who performed my wedding ceremony. May his memory be a blessing.

October 2, 2014 7:28 am

saddened by the loss
G-D comfort the family

Please post
October 2, 2014 6:56 am

Email address or contact number to send wishes to the family

A Man in a Million
October 2, 2014 4:49 am

a phenomenal man who touched the lives of everyone that he came in contact with. He always had time for everyone. A great family friend whom we will miss dearly. He lead by the incredible example that he set. Together with his beloved wife Joan they united the Jewish community in South Africa. I will miss his lessons that he taught myself and our sons and the family friendship that spanned 48 years. May his memory be for a blessing. He will live in our hearts forever. Love to the entire family on the passing of your beloved husband, father… Read more »

Barbara Sacks
October 2, 2014 4:34 am

I remember the day clearly when I was a child. My late Grandfather Willie Gavshon was instrumental in bringing Rabbi Bernhard to South Africa. The excitement was unbelievable and we were truely blessed to be part of his wonderful congregation, Shabbat and Yomtov tables. Thinking of Joan and the family MHDSRIP

David Klatzkin
October 2, 2014 4:05 am

This is so sad. What a special man

Yisroel Uzvolk
October 2, 2014 3:57 am

Thank you zaida … for everything

October 2, 2014 2:46 am

Doesn’t he have a brother a professor in Israel?

Will be missed
October 2, 2014 2:01 am

By an admirer in Sydney Australia

B'oifen Hamiskabel
October 2, 2014 12:46 am

It was Rabbi Bernhard who received this now famous answer from The Rebbe regarding speaking to people about the coming of Moshiach. When Jews in SA were worried about the changing political situation, The Rebbe also famously told Rabbi Bernhard that everything will be good for the Yidden in South Africa until the coming of Moshiach.

A very special neshama
October 2, 2014 12:05 am

Rabbi Bernhard will be sorely missed. His practical advice was mixed with humor and grace. I loved speaking with him.

He will always be remembered
October 2, 2014 12:02 am

Even here in Tucson Arizona Rabbi Bernhard teachings and menchlichkeit can be felt and now it will be missed. We were so fortunate to know him. We wish his beautiful family a long life filled with great memories of a great man.

#1, so true
October 1, 2014 11:06 pm

He was a giant of a man, a true mentsch by its definition, and had a very close relationship with the Rebbe.

What a special person!
October 1, 2014 11:06 pm

He will truly be missed.
He has touched so many lives!!

October 1, 2014 11:00 pm

Incredible person!!

His number one lesson…

Alwas be a MENTCH