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Jewish life in Cape Town during December

If you’re “migrating” to Cape Town along with the rest of Johannesburg for the holiday season, rest assured that there are plenty of kosher options, Chanukah events and community activities. Here’s an “insider’s guide” to Jewish life in Cape Town and further afield:





Kosher food:

Avron’s Place serves a wide variety of dishes, including beef ribs and sushi. It does takeaways, catering and will pack Shabbat meals for visitors. Opening hours Monday to Thursday are 11:00 – 15:00 and 17:00 – 22:30; Fridays 10:00 – 14:00; Saturday December 17, one hour after Shabbat till 23:30. Open on December 25 and 26. Closed during the day on January 1, but open from 17:30. Address: 19 – 33 Regent Road, Sea Point, tel (021) 439-7610.

Coffee Time: Milchik coffee shop in lovely surroundings. Gluten-free and sugar-free options. It also caters for functions. All proceeds go to supporting the Astra Centre. Opening hours Monday to Thursday are 0800 – 15:30pm; Fridays 08:00 – 15:00. Address: 20 Breda Street, Gardens, tel (021) 461 8414.

Café Riteve: Milchik café, conveniently located in the heart of town, in the Gardens Community Centre. Serves kosher wine and liquors. Special buffet evenings on December 21, 22, 27 and 29 and on January 3. Open on December 25, 26 and 27 and on January 1 and 2. Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 08:30 – 17:00; Friday 08:30 – 15:00. Address: 88 Hatfield Street, Gardens, tel (021) 465-1594.

Goldies Deli and Diner: A meat and parev deli, a sit-down diner and a bakery. The menu is increasing with more options like falafel/pita, schwarma and many interesting meat and chicken dishes. The weekly Shabbos special is running right through the season – R180 buys you a meal for 3 to 4 people. It includes one litre soup, four perogen or kneidlach, a main course (varies every week), a dessert and a challah. Opening hours: 08:30 Sunday to Friday, closing around 20:30 Sunday to Thursday and Friday 08:30 – 16:30. Address: 174 Main Road, Sea Point, tel (021) 439-300.

Where to buy kosher food and wine

The following supermarkets have dedicated kosher sections stocking warm and cold food products:

  • Checkers Sea Point:  Regent Road, Sea Point, tel (021) 430-4680.
  • Spar Sea Point: Regent Road, Sea Point, tel (021) 439-0914.
  • Pick n Pay Adelphi: 127 Main Road,| Sea Point, tel (021) 434-8987.
  • Pick n Pay Claremont: Cnr Campground and Main Roads, Claremont, tel (021) 674-5908.
  • Shoprite Checkers Milnerton: Cnr Koeberg and De Grendel Roads, Milnerton, tel (021) 528-1680 (kosher meat section only).

The following Cape wine farms create kosher reds and whites under the supervision of the Beth Din:

  • Kleine Draken: Pieter Hugo Street, Paarl, tel (021) 863-2368.
  • Backsberg: Simondium Road, Klapmuts, Paarl, tel (0 21) 875-5141.

Shuls and Chanukah:

Chabad of the West Coast is having a Chanukah celebration at the Paddocks, Milnerton on Monday December 26 from 17:30. They will also be hosting a gala benefit dinner (R900 per person) on December 14, inaugurating the Sinai Foundation and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Sinai Academy. Contact: Mandy or (021) 557-7560 for reservations and information.

Chabad in Sea Point will be running Camp Gan Izzy from December 12 – 23 at Herzlia Weizmann for ages three and up. To register e-mail or call (021) 434-3740.

Claremont Wynberg Shul will have a Chanukah programme on Thursday December 29. Information: shul office (021) 671-9006.

Temple Israel (Progressive Synagogue) has a special Chanukah Shabbat candle-lighting.  All three synagogues will run Chanukah lighting ceremonies in Green Point, Wynberg and West Coast on the evening of Friday December 30. Bring your own chanukiah or simply come along for the lighting and special Shabbat service. Information:

Hermanus Hebrew Congregation: New Jewish Centre and Synagogue have modern facilities including a kosher kitchen, banqueting hall, garden space and ample parking. Services on Friday evenings and on all important Holy Days. Service times: Friday evening mincha starts at 18:30. Address: Corner Jose Burman Drive and Magnolia Street, Hermanus.

Plettenberg Bay Shul: Chanukah celebration and golf day planned. Contact: Shai (044) 533-4833 or Address: 16 Roche Bonne Avnue, Plettenberg Bay.

Jewish community sites:

The Gardens Community Centre (88 Hatfield Street, Gardens) includes the Cape Town Holocaust Centre (free entrance), South African Jewish Museum (small entrance fee), the Jacob Gitlin Library (free, with a new children’s library), the historic Gardens Synagogue and Cafe Riteve, and a small kids’ play area.

Visitors are requested to bring photo identification with them. Park in the Jewish Museum parking lot further up Hatfield Street, or get off at the Stop 8 of the “Hop-On, Hop-Off” Red Bus.

“The Space Between”, a fundraising art exhibition showcasing the work of Jewish artists in Cape Town, is on at the South African Jewish Museum until December 18. Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 10:00 – 17:00, Friday 10:00 – 14:00. 

The exhibition “Eva’s Story: The Promise” will be on display at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre until the end of February. It tells the story of Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s posthumous stepsister. Entrance is free, donations welcome.

Mother City Jewish Tours will be hosting walking tours of sites with Jewish history in Cape Town, including the Castle of Good Hope, District Six, the City Hall, Greenmarket Square, the Slave Lodge, the Company’s Garden, the National Gallery, ending at Cafe Riteve. Contact Craig Nudelman for more information: or 082-424-2545.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Robin Lee

    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:44 am

    ‘I am writing the history of Hermanus and would appreciate any references in the SAJR. I located a letter by Minette Minitzer in 2008, which referred to an earlier letter by Rebecca Lerer, which I have been unable to find. Any help will be much appreciated to preserve the memory of a vigorous Jewish community going back to the 1890s. Thank you.’

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Shabbat Around The World beams out from Jozi



More than 75 devices around the globe logged in to Beit Luria’s World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) Shabbat Around the World programme on Friday, 15 January.

Whether it was breakfast time in California, tea time in Europe, or time to break challah in Johannesburg, participants logged in to take part in Beit Luria’s Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Among those participating were Rabbi Sergio Bergman, the president of the WUPJ; chairperson Carole Sterling; and Rabbi Nathan Alfred, the head of international relations. Singers Tulla Eckhart and Brian Joffe performed songs from a global array of artists, along with Toto’s Africa to add a little local flair to the service. After kiddish was said and bread was broken, Rabbi Bergman thanked Beit Luria for hosting the WUPJ. The shul looks forward to more collaborations with its global friends in the future.

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UJW Sewing School graduates model creations



The outfits modelled by graduates of the Union of Jewish Women’s (UJW’s) Sewing School were all the more spectacular for the fact that some of their creators had never seen a sewing machine prior to the four-month course.

They were modelled at the school’s graduation ceremony at Oxford Shul on 15 December to much excitement and applause.

UJW executive member and Sewing School Manager Ariane Heneck expressed her gratitude to Chido Tsodzo, the school’s superb teacher, and the event ended with a much appreciated lunch for graduates and their invited guests.

The self-empowerment Sewing School for unemployed men and women was started by the UJW 10 years ago. It now has a small production team of ex-students, and some of its graduates have been employed in factories, while others are selling their own creations.

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Israel Rugby 7s to camp with the Blitzbokke



The thrill-a-minute Rugby 7s have captured the hearts of fans around the world. The Blitzbokke, South Africa’s national Rugby 7s team, ranks second in the world, and is among the most exciting, formidable, and feared of 7s teams.

Exactly 9 191 km away are the Israelis, an emerging rugby nation that has talent, determination, and a world-class coach in South African Kevin Musikanth. Now, these two squads will meet. The Israeli 7s side will be travelling to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch to train with the Blitzbokke.

The Blitzbokke will have the opportunity to prepare for the coming 7s rugby season by measuring their skills of play against the Israelis. And the Israelis, well, they will be rubbing shoulders with, and learning from the best in the world and honing their skills for their coming European Rugby season.

“It’s an opportunity for our boys to learn from the world’s best,” says Musikanth. The SAS Rugby Academy is run by the legendary Frankie Horn, a technical expert whose coaching guidelines and methods are second to none in World Rugby 7s.

Musikanth took over as Rugby 15s head coach in Israel in 2018, and in October 2019, he became director of rugby for the Israeli Rugby Union and head coach for the national programmes of both the 15s and the 7s.

Horn visited Israel last December at the behest of Rugby Israel and its supporting Olympic body and since then, the partnership has continued to grow. The upcoming training camp will begin in Israel, where Horn, together with Phil Snyman, the former Blitzbok captain and multiple world champion winner, will spend a week with the players and coaching staff at Wingate, Netanya, the home base of Rugby Israel. They will then all travel to Stellenbosch for a week’s camp with the Blitzbokke.

“We’ve already seen the difference through our partnership with Frankie. Two of our players were spotted by him on his previous trip to Israel, and have been training at SAS on the off-season,” says Musikanth. The two players are Omer Levinson (scrum half) and Yotam Shulman (lock).

Horn, technical advisor to Rugby Israel’s 7s, says “It is a great opportunity for both teams to derive positive benefit from the camp.”

Israel Rugby has been making considerable professional strides since Musikanth took over the reins. Israel 15s played their 100th test match against Cyprus and celebrated with a 34-22 victory.

“We’re in the top 25 in Europe in 15s and in the top 16 in 7s, the toughest, most competitive continent in world rugby,” says Musikanth, “and I can realistically see us setting our sights on the Top 15 and Top 12 respectively in the future.”

Currently, there are three eligible South Africans who are on the Israeli national squad: Jayson Ferera as flanker (Pirates Rugby Club), Daniel Stein as fly half (studying in Israel), and Jared Sichel as prop (Hamilton’s Rugby Club, Cape Town). Eligibility to play for a national team in rugby is stricter than in other sports. One does not qualify just because one has a passport. One has to have had a parent or grandparent that was born in that country or one has to have lived in the country for at least three years.

“With so much Jewish rugby talent around the world, we would be able to put a world-class Israeli national team together if not for the measures that restrict eligibility to national call ups,” says Musikanth.

The Israel Rugby development project was accelerated thanks to Musikanth initiating Bridges through Rugby. This project is the collective effort of a few South African Jewish businessmen who appreciate the long-term vision of Israel becoming a stronger rugby nation. They have come on board to assist with this most opportune tour. National financial support is fixed and, as such, is limited. While the strong players and national coaches will be attending the training camp in Stellenbosch, there will be some that will, unfortunately, have to stay behind.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players and coaches. To get to see the best upfront and feed off their knowledge is going to be incredible,” says Musikanth. “Everyone is eager to go, of course, but there is a cap to the support we have in place. We would like to take a development u20 squad as well as coaching staff who would carry the benefits of this into the future. A rugby visit to Stellenbosch can change rugby lives in many respects. Stellenbosch is rugby utopia!”

Rugby aside, with the Israelis and South Africans camping together, the question of what will be for dinner after a gruelling day’s training may be a matter of contention. A tussle for whether to serve boerewors or shwarma may result in a scrum in the SAS dining hall to determine the outcome.

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