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A moving tribute and detailed account of one of the great Jewish communities of the diaspora, the South African Jewish Museum is one of Cape Town’s not-to-be missed heritage experiences.


Situated in the midst of arguably the most interesting and historic urban square miles in the country, and on a campus that includes SA’s first, oldest and surely grandest synagogue, the South African Jewish Museum is nevertheless a marvel of modern architecture, and one whose contents mirror this fusion of the old world and the new. Its sleek, gleaming interiors house a range of interactive displays, audio-visual presentations and rare and fascinating artefacts, taking visitors on a journey back to South African Jewry’s early roots, and painting a portrait of a community who were extraordinarily influential in the building of South Africa as we know it, and who continue to thrive and impact society at every level.


The museum also looks back fondly at the origins of SA Jewry hailing from Eastern Europe and elsewhere (and featuring a wonderful recreation of shtetl life) and traces the cultural history of Jews, Jewish life and Judaism in general. As an added attraction, the museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Netsuke (Japanese miniature art). A thrilling combination of the old and new, the historic and the contemporary, the religious and the worldly, the South African Jewish Museum is a fitting tribute to a community who have been and continue to be at the epicentre of South Africa’s economic, political and cultural narrative.

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