The Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies is for all Jews living in the Western Cape and not only those in the main centre of Cape Town.
Each of our outskirt communities has played such an important and vital role in the building of communal structures in the Cape, and so we must ensure that we continue to provide service to these communities and ensure their wellbeing.
One service we provide is historical and communal research, facilitated by our Senior Researcher, Gwynne Robins. Most recently, she was approached by Nicky Stein to assist in compiling research that Nicky had done on the history of the Milnerton Hebrew Congregation, and the Milnerton Jewish Guild which has been in existence for over fifty years.
The first Hebrew congregation was started in Cape Town in 1841 when no Jews lived in Milnerton. When German Jewish refugee Helmut Gonsenhauser moved there, he saw a need and arranged for cheder classes and Friday night services to be held in his stables from 1955. This led to the community coming together and forming a Jewish Guild which built a communal centre in 1967 where community functions were arranged and which had a welcoming committee for new residents. Arising from this, a synagogue developed, with its first official service held on Rosh Hashanah in 1980, in the shul as it stands today.
Remarkably, little more is known about the Milnerton Hebrew congregation. We call on the community to share any memories, stories, pictures or information you may have.
Please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 082 293 8855 by no later than 31 March 2022.
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Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website: www.capesajbd.org, Instagram, and Facebook page.
• Published in the PDF edition of the February 2022 issue – Click here to get it.
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