Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



WIZO gift shop closes after 59 years



The Elise WIZO Gift Shop sadly closed its doors at the end of 2020 after being a well-known feature of Johannesburg Jewish life for many decades.

The shop was started in 1961 as a small project by the Johannesburg North Branch of WIZO (the Women’s International Zionist Organisation), headed by Elise Kaplan and Berjoulie Press.

From its humble beginnings in a garage storeroom to its last premises in Genesis Fairmount, it was more than just a gift shop.

Before each yom tov, it became a hive of activity, with extra volunteers helping to display, wrap, and deliver gifts all over Johannesburg.

Zelma Meinstein was the mainstay of the shop for many years, ordering gifts, exacting a high standard of professionalism in presentation and service, and roping in her husband, Siggy, to sort and personally deliver mounds of presents in his car.

Kaplan would like to thank the loyal customers for their support over many years, saying that it was always a pleasure to welcome them, and they enjoyed the personal assistance given to them in choosing a gift.

Sincere gratitude goes to the many volunteers who gave their time freely and worked under the guidance of the able and friendly permanent staff.

The camaraderie in the shop was tangible, and the new look décor, thanks to Cindy Polakow, gave the shop a stylish edge and brought in many new customers.

Regrettably due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, our wonderful shop had to close its doors in spite of the tremendous efforts of Andrea and Kim Wainer, who tried to keep it going, and Andy Schwartz, who tried to take the business online.

All those involved with Kaplan were proud to know that they were contributing to WIZO’s important ongoing projects in Israel.

Gifts may still be purchased online through the WIZO office, and a wide range of cards for every occasion, in lieu of gifts, is readily available.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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