Snapshot of Jewish Cape Town offered in new book

Jacqui Rodgers, Head Librarian at the Jacob Gitlin Library, is one of the almost 300 Capetonians featured in the book

In this celebration of Jewish life at the tip of the African continent, businessman and philanthropist Tony Raphaely has curated stunning individual and group portraits that collectively represent a snapshot in time of Cape Town’s vibrant Jewish community. 

When asked if the result of the project had met his expectations, Tony said “Yes, and in fact exceeded! Not only were the 17 photographers who took over 3000 pictures from which just under 300 were selected, able to capture members of the Cape Town Jewish community at work and at play in a manner that ‘tells a story’ which was my aim, but the resulting book is also a really classy publication as good as any coffee table book one finds in London and New York booksellers.”

The book is a unique compendium of photographs, taken this year, to showcase and record for posterity some of the people whose professions and services have enriched not only the community from which they come, but also the greater society in which they live. “Two things pleasantly surprised me during this project: How many members of Cape Town’s Jewish community are involved in working to help the underprivileged people living in the peninsula, and the spontaneous reaction of most of the photo-subjects who said they would be honoured to be in the book,” said Tony.

As in many other cities outside Europe, Cape Town’s Jewry has been forged in the Diaspora. A Handful of Sand distils this past into an enduring testament of hope and resilience — it is a record not only of generations current and past, but also for generations to come. 

The book will be on sale (R360) from mid-December from the Jewish Museum Shop next to Café Riteve, as well as from Astra and the kosher counter at Checkers in Sea Point, and leading book stores. 

Judge Dennis Davis will launch the book at the SA Jewish Museum in February, and proceeds of the book’s sales will go to Jewish education in the Western Cape.

To read the editor’s column for December/January click here

To read or download the December/January issue of the Chronicle in PDF click here

To read the most read article of the November issue, click here

Portal to the Jewish Community: to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape town with links to their websites, click here

Featured organisation of the month: The Jewish Community Services’ (JCS) activities are centered on relief for the poor and distressed in the Jewish community. They provide a full range of preventative, educative and supportive counselling, statutory services as well as material relief. Visit for more.



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