Response From Our Readers

The six printed volumes of the series on Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities have been enthusiastically received by readers both locally and worldwide. We would like to share with you some of the comments we have received.

“The very act of documenting the minutiae of the Jewish rural past, in addition to the date it contains for the benefit of future scholars, has become in itself a respectful tribute to those who have gone before. ... [N]o effort has been spared to uncover even the most minor instance of Jewish activity in the most nondescript, out-of-the-way hamlets which few, if any, Jews visit nowadays. The uplifting message is that every Jew counts, not just the millionaires, mayors and various communal machers, but also the saddler, tailor, smous or bootmaker. This explains the general enthusiasm with which the first volume has been greeted in the Jewish community.”
“I recently set off on a tour of the north-eastern Cape armed with various tour books, including Vol. 3 of Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities. … One no longer has to go to the cemetery to know of the Jews who had created a community for themselves. Even if there was no shul in the town, I could still read about the lives of the Jewish community. … From Lady Grey there is the story of Sarah Bella Glueck, the brave postmistress during the Anglo-Boer War. Without this book I would not have known about a house on the main road of Willowmore, its fence made up of Magen Davids.”
“The books arrived in good order - and wow!! how exciting is the content - seeing pictures of my parents and grandparents and getting a glimpse of the rich Jewish tradition in the town of my birth, is nothing short of mind blowing !!...... I consider what you folks have undertaken is .... amazing. Having been brought up in Volksrust, where my father and his siblings were born to immigrant parents, was fantastic and now having an opportunity to see that in the rich cultural context of that little town is absolutely mind blowing.”
Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities is beautifully laid out, with a particularly rich assemblage of photographs – both historical and of a more recent vintage. The reader can discover the countries of origin of the various Jewish stamvaders who arrived in South Africa from many different European nations, all the way from England to Russia.”
“The volume is truly wonderful—a great thrill for me to have, and I have also notified other members of my family about it. To see all those details was truly absorbing, and it’s a great credit to all of you to have compiled these histories which would otherwise disappear. Not least for those of us living elsewhere, this is something we can pass on to our children, so that the record remains.”
“The book evoked great pride of where and what I came from, but simultaneously and sadly, nagging nostalgia and resignation at the loss of what once was. It is beautifully compiled and thoroughly researched.”
“The evolution of the immense Jewish contribution to South Africa constitutes a huge part of the history of our relatively young Nation. These books are valuable pieces of Africana that document the progress of a country from rural backwater to modern day industrial powerhouse. The photographs in particular are of important historical interest, especially those of buildings still recognizable throughout the land."
"This is a fine example of the sort of diligent, professional research and writing that is in diminishing supply in this country, yet which is essential if our shared heritage is to be recorded for future generations."

YOUR VITAL PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTION

This project relies entirely on the generosity of those individuals and trusts in South Africa and abroad who recognise the importance of preserving this unique history. It is hoped that readers of this website will be inspired to give generously to enable the completion of the last book in this very special series on Jewish Life in the South African Country Communities. Without your assistance, future generations will be unaware of the fascinating story of the Jewish contribution to the growth of the entire country.

If your family and/or friends ever lived in a country town in South Africa, please contact us with any information and photographs you may have. Omissions are obviously regrettable, and we always strive to avoid them.

To purchase book, make a donation and to submit information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..