Rabbi Matthew and Lee Liebenberg have been the rabbinical couple at Claremont Wynberg Shul since August 2001.
Rabbi Liebenberg was born and raised in Johannesburg where he attended King David School in Victory Park. He matriculated in 1991 with full academic colours and very soon thereafter joined the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg under the inspired leadership of Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein, of blessed memory, a scion of the famed Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio. Rabbi Liebenberg studied in the Yeshivah for seven and a half years and received semichah (rabbinical ordination) from Rabbi Goldfein in 1999.
Rabbi Liebenberg is a qualified mohel, having received his teudah (certificate) from Rabbi Yecheskel Kein of the Irgun L’Brit Milah K’Hilchata in Beit Shemesh.
Rabbi Liebenberg studied law and commerce part time through the University of South Africa (UNISA) and served for three years as the ‘camp rabbi’ for the Betar movement. In August 1999 Rabbi Liebenberg and his wife Lee, whom he married in December 1998, were chosen to be the rabbinical couple at the United Orthodox Hebrew Congregation (Schoonder Street shul) in Cape Town, a position they held for two years until the pulpit at Claremont became available.
Rabbi Liebenberg served for several years as the chairman of the Rabbinical Association of the Western Cape and he remains on its executive. He is currently the chairman of the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School and the Simcha Fund. Rabbi Liebenberg enjoys learning and teaching Torah to audiences of all ages and levels. Rabbi Liebenberg gives numerous shiurim during the week on subjects ranging from Talmud, the weekly portion, ethics and Jewish philosophy. In 2012 he initiated the CWEST (Claremont Wynberg Education for Spirituality and Torah) adult education programme. Under the CWEST banner the shul has hosted dozens of local and international speakers of the highest calibre. Please see our learning section for a gallery and upcoming events. He has written hundred of articles on the weekly Torah Portion and other subjects, many of which you can find on this website. He also has a YouTube channel where he presents short weekly ideas on the Parsha and the chaggim. In his spare time (which is very little!) he enjoys studying Torah, reading, swimming and spending time with his family.
Rebbitzen Lee Liebenberg (nee Grodsinsky) was also born and raised in Johannesburg. She attended King David School in Linksfield, where she matriculated as a prefect. Rebbitzen Liebenberg spent her first year out of school on the Bnei Akiva Midreshet Torah v’Avodah (MTA) programme in Israel, where she studied at Orot in Elkana.
She served as a madrichah (counsellor) for many years at Bnei Akiva and was very involved in the planning and organisation of various programmes and events. During this time, Rebbitzen Liebenberg was instrumental in setting up learning programmes in the new Bnei Akiva Beit Midrash in Glenhazel. Rebbitzen Liebenberg has a BA in psychology and communication from UNISA and worked for many years as a bookkeeper and financial manager at various businesses, including Africa Spice and the Cape Town Jewish Museum.
Rebbetzin Liebenberg is involved in many different aspects of CWHC. She is the chairperson of the very active Ladies Guild. She organises meals for bereaved families during their shiva as well as for families who have had babies. Rebbetzin Liebenberg writes a weekly Shabbat brochure for women called Women’s Learning Weekly (WLW), which includes various items of inspiration including: Parsha Pearls, Halacha Rules, Israel Loud and Pround and Diamond Deals. She enjoys teaching her Bat Mitzvah girls, the Torah Learning Continue (TLC) class and a weekly Pirkei Avot shiur. She is engaged in the organisation of all the CWHC chagim festivities as well as all of the CWEST events. She is currently arranging for a group of CWHC women to go to Israel in April 15 on JWRP/PBMW tour with Lori Polatnick.
Rebbetzin Liebenberg is the educational director of Jewish Marriage Education (JME) in Cape Town. This is a worldwide organisation that is responsible for instructing brides and grooms in the laws and philosophies of taharat hamishpachah (family purity) prior to their wedding. She enjoys teaching brides on a one- to-one basis, before their marriage. Rebbetzin Liebenberg is the chairperson of the CT Mikveh Vaad, which is currently undertaking the renovation of Mikveh Aharon. She is also the Malka Ella Fertility Fund representative in Cape Town.
In her spare time, Rebbitzen Liebenberg likes to read, work in her garden, walk her energetic Labrador dogs and keep in touch with her many friends and family members around the world.
Rabbi and Rebbetzin Liebenberg are the proud parents of two daughters, Chani Merryl and Naomi.