Home: Roots en Route

The South African Jewish Museum (SAJM) was honoured to host this exhibition of works by 15 Jewish South African photographers, curated by Jenny Altschuler as part of MOP5, the Cape Town Month of Photography 2012. The themes dealt with in the exhibition – Home: Roots en Route – were particularly apt as it resonated with the narrative of the SAJM. The SAJM tells the story of how South African Jews have created a community – indeed a home – here in South Africa.

The commitment to, and longing for, a safe ‘Home’ is a central theme throughout Jewish history and experience. Since the destruction of the second temple – which marked the beginning of the Diaspora – a longing for unity in a national home has been expressed throughout generations. To this day, each year at the Passover seder, Jews all around the world conclude their seders with the words “Next year in Jerusalem” – our spiritual home.

We, as South African Jews, are shaped both by our Jewish culture and our wider environment. This duality is, I believe, also evident in the works showcased in this exhibition. While many of the works presented deal with uniquely South African imagery, the partaking photographers have undoubtedly been influenced by their Jewish culture and roots. It is, in my opinion, this background which has created the filter through which they approach their work, and through their work, their identity.

Gavin Morris

Director – South African Jewish Museum