Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



Paarl – proof of Jewish life beyond the ‘boerewors belt’



In the Boland – or across the “boerewors belt,” if you will – there’s a community that still has regular minyanim. The community is Paarl – die perel (the pearl).

The majestic Paarl Synagogue is in Breda Street, and cannot be missed.

Founded in 1893, the Paarl Jewish community consisted mostly of pedlars who made Paarl a base. However, it’s arguable that the congregation is the oldest in South Africa whose membership will probably double in size in a couple of years.

As opposed to the stories of small communities that continue to diminish, our services have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in more than 20 years, we held Shabbos morning, Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot morning services.

This year, however, brought a resurgence of almost epic proportions. We’ve been blessed with an influx of families moving into the Paarl environs.

In 2023, we began our monthly Paarl “Power Shabboses”. These are usually attended by more than 60 people, about 16 to 20 children, and are accompanied by traditional heimish food.

This year, we had a Purim replete with a dress-up pageant, a make-a-gragger – noisemaker for the “Haman special” activity, kids games from jumping castles, giant-Jenga, to a boxing ring with giant gloves – go figure, the kids of today – and it was all rounded off in the way that only Paarl is able to – a Build Your  Own Burger braai. I believe it says somewhere in the ancient books of South African Jewry that if you haven’t seen a Paarl braai, you haven’t seen a braai.

Pesach has so far been the highlight of the year – and we’re only in the first month. We ran communal seders both nights of Pesach! They were attended by just more than 30 people each night, comprising Paarlites and Capetonians representing almost every suburb where Jews reside.

You’re all invited to join us for a service and gesels, stay over at the beautiful bed and breakfast in the area, or to celebrate your simcha with us.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *