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Jill Katz, a regal presence who touched many lives

  • RebbetzinKatz
Jill Katz, a renowned, respected, and beloved matriarch and rebbetzin, passed away last week at the inspiring age of 91.
by DIANE WOLFSON | Feb 07, 2019

She was held in high esteem as a refined, regal, and elegant lady, who conducted herself with grace. She was very dear to her many friends, and incredibly devoted to her extended family.

Together with her late husband Rabbi Shabsy (Sidney) Katz of blessed memory, she led the large Pretoria Jewish community for close to four decades. In their rabbinical role, they became highly influential figures in the wider Jewish community, and government circles.

After the sudden loss of her husband, Jill continued to involve herself in communal activities. She volunteered for many years for several large research projects, involving herself in working with the archives of various communities in southern Africa. In July 1987, she concluded an 11-year project as editor of the book, The Story of the Pretoria Jewish Community up to 1930, beginning with the first Jews to settle there in 1855. This book is a great tribute to her for the enormous amount of work she did to research and edit it.

Although she held a public position, she quietly touched and affected the lives of many. She was a sage and larger-than-life presence.

She is survived by her children, Chana Zakheim of Jerusalem, Israel; Ruth Chaiton; Rabbi Michael Katz; and Joan Wainer – all of Johannesburg. The light of her life was her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren throughout the world.

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