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South African Jewish Museum

South Africa's first synagogue was built in Cape Town in 1863. By 1905 the growing Jewish congregation needed something larger. And so the Gardens Synagogue was then built next door to the first one. In 1958 the Old Synagogue was converted into the original Old Jewish Museum of South Africa. In 1996 a much larger building was erected and so the current South African Jewish Museum came into being.

Exhibits include paintings by Irma Stern, and a study of human rights activist Helen Suzman, a South African member of parliament who fought tirelessly to denounce apartheid.

An exhibition of Japanese Art collected by the Isaac Kaplannet contains one of the world's finest collections of netsuke miniature ceremonial Japanese carvings made from ivory and wood.

The SA Jewish Museum has on display a reconstructed "Shtetl", the Yiddish word for village. Most Jews living in South Africa are descendants of Eastern European Jews who would have lived in such villages during the time of harsh Russian oppression of Soviet Jewry.

Also on display are many examples of items used Jewish ceremonial art.

Next door to the museum the Albow Centre has a shop with books, beaded and ceramic mezuzahs, jewelry, and embroidered challah covers. The Cape Town Holocaust Centre is also located in the Albow Centre.

88 Hatfield Street, Gardens

(021) 465-1546

Sun-Thurs: 10:00-17:00
Fri: 10:00-14:00

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