Bronkhorstspruit (Gauteng)

 

Bronkhorstspruit is located in a farming area, east of Pretoria in the south-eastern region of the former Transvaal. The town’s origin has been traced to 1894.

The first Jewish settlers were members of the Schlosberg family, who arrived soon after the town was established.

The Bronkhorstspruit Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1928. Services were originally held in a large storeroom until the synagogue was built in 1933.

As the town never had its own permanent official, country community rabbis were relied on and visiting ministers were engaged for the High Holy Days. Shochtim (ritual slaughterers) and teachers came to the town once or twice a week. Apart from High Festival gatherings and Zionist societies, there was not much Jewish activity in Bronkhorstspruit. The Jews were mainly farmers, cattle dealers and general dealers.

Reggie Lazarus was Mayor at one time and his wife Sarah was active in the Transvaal Agricultural Union.

The Bronkhorstspruit congregation ceased to exist in the late 1970s. The synagogue was finally dismantled and donated to Jafta, a home for the aged in Pretoria, in 1984.

Official census figures tend to be much higher than community statistics, which show that in 1943 there were 64 Jews in the town. This numbered dropped to 38 in 1948 and to 20 in 1957. There were 29 Jewish inhabitants in 1967 and 16 in 1980. By 1997, there were only two Jewish families (five persons) still living in Bronkhorstspruit.