South African Jewish history on show

May 8, 2018 by Hila Tsor
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B’nai B’rith NSW has opened the ‘Goldene Medina’ exhibition at the B’nai B’rith centre celebrating 175 years of Jewish life in South Africa.

The exhibition was created by the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town, and has since travelled to Israel.

President of B’nai B’rith NSW, Anna Marks, gave the opening speech and welcomed everyone to the event. Marks gave a brief history on B’nai B’rith in America, and how it spread abroad.

Stephen Chipkin, president of the JCA, gave the keynote address touching on how the exhibit displays snippets and anecdote which provide an insight of Jewish life and growth in South Africa. Chipkin explained that the exhibition does not have any names, no labelling of places and no dates in order to give a ‘collage effect’ of the vibrant community over time.

He added: “This exhibition covers and captures the diversity and the pulse of the community over time. It shows in reality a modest community that was rich with Jewish content and vitality, it reflects early struggles, ingenuity and hard work and describes the forging of Jewish identity amongst the locals, including amongst the Afrikaans.

In small dusty towns and in the suburbs of big cities it speaks of bar mitzvahs and weddings, it speaks of family and lots of food. It depicts chutzpah, and humour, and success. It shows ordinary Jews in play, in prayer and in celebration.”

Special events for the exhibition will be held throughout May. See for more information.


One Response to “South African Jewish history on show”
  1. Maureen Bereson says:

    My late husband Itiel Bereson was born in Cape Town on October 10 1927. His parents were Chlavne and Dora Beresinski. They were the Principal and Matron of the Jewish orphanage in Cape Town. They left from Johannesburg after the war for Melbourne as Dora had 2 brothers originally from Bialystok living there. Chlavne had lost all his family in Bialystok. This had influenced Itiel greatly. He became a Principal of a High School and author of mainly History text books. He was interviewed extensively by National Library of Australia on disc and will be available in print. He speaks about the Jewish community in South Africa. His Godfather was Isaac Ochberg who brought the orphaned children to South Africa
    He visited Capetown for a 50 year reunion of Seapoint School

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