PRETORIA


PRETORIA
PRETORIA, administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa. The earliest Jewish settlers after the foundation of Pretoria in 1855 were among the officials whom the Boer government brought from Holland. One such was M. de Vries, and although the laws of the Transvaal Republic placed civil disabilities upon non-Protestants, he became state prosecutor in 1868 and a member of the Volksraad (Legislative Assembly) in 1871. Jewish communal life dates from 1876, when minyanim were held in the home of Daniel M. Kisch, a photographer, and a Jewish wedding was celebrated in 1878. The first meeting of the congregation was held there in 1890, and the first synagogue building was consecrated in 1898. The first minister, the Rev. E. Jaffe, was appointed the following year. Jewish institutions today include the Pretoria Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox), Bet Menorah (Progressive), a Chevra Kaddisha and other philanthropic bodies, a branch of the Union of Jewish Women, and a women's Zionist organization. The Pretoria Council of the S.A. Jewish Board of Deputies acts as a coordinating body. The Jewish population numbered 3,553   in 1969 (1.2% of the total population). This had declined to 1,500 by 2004. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Saron and L. Hotz (eds.), The Jews in South Africa (1955).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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