The SAJM is the legacy of the late Mendel Kaplan, a leading member of our community, a successful business man and a great philanthropist. He had a deep interest in his roots and the history of the South African Jewish community. He was larger than life figure who was a passionate Zionist and Jew. In addition to founding the museum, He was Honorary president of Keren Hayesod, And the Former chairman of the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors, He Founded the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town. He built his family business – Cape Gate - into an international Steel manufacturing concern. Mendel passed away suddenly in 2009 but his legacy lives on in the numerous Jewish & non-Jewish philanthropic endeavours he supported in South Africa & Israel.