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South African Jewish Museum

The origin and development of the Jewish community in South Africa is revealed in the exhibitions and presentations at this compelling museum.

Learn about the history of South Africa’s Jewish community as you browse the historical artifacts, interactive displays and presentations at the South African Jewish Museum.

Cape Town has the oldest Jewish community in sub-Saharan Africa. Learn about the country’s first Jewish settlers who arrived in the early 19th century. These settlers were English and German Jews who came here to trade.

The city's first synagogue, erected in 1862, serves as the entrance to the museum. Once inside, view the collection of Jewish ceremonial artifacts. Then cross the drawbridge to the main museum building. The walkway is meant to represent ship gangplanks that immigrants would have walked down on arriving in the country.

Read information panels and watch touch-screen presentations that cover such topics as anti-Semitism and how Jewish immigrants established themselves in the country. One of the touch-screen kiosks provides details on prominent Jewish people who have contributed to South African society, including the actress Janet Suzman.

Walk through the life-size re-creation of a shtetl. A shtetl is a typical Eastern European village from where many of South Africa's first Jewish settlers would have come. See the replica of a smous cart that would have been used by peddlers to transport their wares.

The museum is also home to a Japanese miniature art collection. Peruse miniature ceremonial carvings in ivory and wood that were worn by rich merchants. The items date from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and more than 200 are on display. View another touch-screen presentation to see photographs of each piece and learn about its history.

The museum is located in the center of Cape Town in an area known as Museum Mile for the concentration of museums. Catch public transportation to the area or drive and use the parking, available for a fee, about a block from the museum.

The South African Jewish Museum is open every day except Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Admission charges apply with discounts for seniors. Children under the age of 12 can enter for free. Bring photo ID with you.


Guide to Exploring around South African Jewish Museum


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Taj Cape Town ¥18,777
Taj Cape Town

Taj Cape Town

1 Wale Street, corner St Georges Mall, Cape Town, Western Cape
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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    Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel ¥26,737
    Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

    Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

    76 Orange Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located in the mountains, within a 15-minute walk of Company's Garden and South African Jewish Museum. Greenmarket Square and Iziko Social History Resource Centre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cape Town Station is 25 minutes by foot.

      The Onyx Apartment Hotel ¥11,476
      The Onyx Apartment Hotel

      The Onyx Apartment Hotel

      57 Heerengracht Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Hilton Cape Town City Centre ¥12,221
        Hilton Cape Town City Centre

        Hilton Cape Town City Centre

        126 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          Signature Lux Hotel by ONOMO Foreshore ¥4,639
          Signature Lux Hotel by ONOMO Foreshore

          Signature Lux Hotel by ONOMO Foreshore

          31 A Heerengraght Boulevard, Cape Town, Western Cape
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Cape Town City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Long Street, Cape Town International Convention Centre, and Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Greenmarket Square and Castle of Good Hope are also within 15 minutes. Cape Town Station is 6 minutes by foot.

            ONOMO Hotel Cape Town – Inn on the Square ¥6,886
            ONOMO Hotel Cape Town – Inn on the Square

            ONOMO Hotel Cape Town – Inn on the Square

            10 Greenmarket Square Road, Cape Town, Western Cape
               
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              Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town ¥11,978
              Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town

              Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town

              22 Riebeek Street, Cape Town, Western Cape
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Cape Town City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Long Street, Greenmarket Square, and Cape Town International Convention Centre. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and Castle of Good Hope are also within 15 minutes. Cape Town Station is 7 minutes by foot.

                Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore ¥8,973
                Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore

                Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore

                29 Heerengracht Street, Foreshore, Cape Town, Western Cape
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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