Jewish life in Cape Town

The Great Synagogue

The large campus that includes the Holocaust Center, the Jewish Museum and the Great Synagogue (pictured here from the inside) stands next to the parliament building. Miriam Samson married her first husband in this synagogue. Nelson Mandela, who inaugurated the complex in the year 2000, praised the contribution of South Africa's Jewish community to the struggle against apartheid.

Jewish life in Cape Town

In memory of an activist

The main street in Cape Town's Jewish quarter commemorates Helen Suzman, a heroine of the anti-apartheid movement who passed away in 2009. As the child of Jewish parents, she was for many years the only parliamentarian who campaigned against racial segregation and in favor of extending voting rights to non-white citizens.

Jewish life in Cape Town

Kosher water

Jewish culture is not as present in the Green Point and Sea Point neighborhoods as it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, kosher grocers, bakers and butchers can still be found here, along with Jewish schools and houses of prayer.

Jewish life in Cape Town

Jewish studies

In the 1970s and 1980s, Cape Town University was a center of resistance against racial suppression. Many of the white activists had Jewish heritage. Today, the university has a department for Hebrew studies, as well as the renowned Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, run by Professor Milton Shain.

Jewish life in Cape Town

House of prayer

The Temple Israel in the Green Point district is home to Cape Town's heterogeneous Jewish community.

Jewish life in Cape Town

Colorful mosaic

This tapestry with Jewish symbols can be found in the Cape Town Holocaust Center.

Jewish life in Cape Town

The rabbi

Rabbi Richard Newmann was born in Berlin. After living in the US, Great Britain and Israel, he eventually landed in South Africa, where he bridges the divide between conservative orthodox and liberal Jews.

Jewish life in Cape Town

Tree of life

For decades, the synagogue was a focal point in the lives of the Samson/Herzfeld family. This family tree with names and dates hangs in the entrance to the synagogue as a reminder of congregation members and important events.

Jewish life in Cape Town

In celebration

The marriage of Miriam and her second husband Günther Kleineibst is recorded on a small placard on the tree.

Jewish life in Cape Town

Circle of chairs

Miriam and Günther Kleineibst live in the Good Hope Centre senior residence in Green Point. Most, if not all, of the residents have a Jewish background.

Jewish life in Cape Town


The traditional seven-branched candelabrum has many meanings, but symbolizes above all enlightenment. This menorah stands on the sideboard in Miriam Kleineibst's home.

Watch video 07:46
Now live
07:46 mins.

Cape Town

Albanian Shqip

Amharic አማርኛ

Arabic العربية

Bengali বাংলা

Bosnian B/H/S

Bulgarian Български

Chinese (Simplified) 简

Chinese (Traditional) 繁

Croatian Hrvatski

Dari دری

English English

French Français

German Deutsch

Greek Ελληνικά

Hausa Hausa

Hindi हिन्दी

Indonesian Indonesia

Kiswahili Kiswahili

Macedonian Македонски

Pashto پښتو

Persian فارسی

Polish Polski

Portuguese Português para África

Portuguese Português do Brasil

Romanian Română

Russian Русский

Serbian Српски/Srpski

Spanish Español

Turkish Türkçe

Ukrainian Українська

Urdu اردو