The South African Jewish Museum situated in the “Museum Mile” of Cape Town, found easily on our Cape Town maps, and can be visited on the City Sightseeing’s free Yellow Downtown tour which is part of the Red City Tour. The museum is a major attraction for local and international tourism. The building offers visitors a truly unique experience with its bold architectural design, interactive multi-media displays and engaging accounts of South African Jewish history.
› View paintings on display in honour of those who fought against South African apartheid
› Watch video footage of the famous Barney Barnato, Max Rose and Nelson Mandela
› See fine Jewish collections of rare Judaica artifacts and more
Nelson Mandela, the icon against South African apartheid, officially opened the Jewish Museum in December 2000. The award-winning documentary 'Nelson Mandela. A Righteous Man' is screened daily in the museum.
Exhibitions are constantly updated and changed but still include unseen works by Irma Stern, Marc Chagall Hadassah and selected works of William Kentridge.
One such a painting by Irma Stern includes that 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.
› Learn why a Jewish Museum was needed in the Cape
› Jewish visitors can trace and explore their family history
› See the scaled-down rendition of Lithuania
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.
The SA Jewish Museum has a special family trees section in the Discovery Centre, which provides information on an estimated 15 000 families from Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus who migrated to the southern tip of Africa between 1880 and 1930.
It is here where a scaled-down rendition of the village of Lithuania is on display.
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.
› Walk into the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and pay tribute to the victims it honours
› Purchase Jewish gifts and books at the shop close to the museum
› Leave the museum with a better understanding of the African Jewish community and their history in Cape Town and across the globe.
The Cape Town Holocaust Centre, located in the Albow Centre, is the first and only Holocaust Centre in South Africa and serves as a memorial to the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust and all victims of Nazism.
The gift shop, located right next door to the museum sells books, beaded and ceramic mezuzahs, jewelry, and embroidered challah covers.
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