East London (Eastern Cape)

East London is a port in the Eastern Cape on the east coast of South Africa. It was founded in 1836 as a landing stage and proclaimed a town in 1847.

W. Barnett acquired a land grant in 1849, but the first known permanent Jewish resident was Gustave Wetzlar, who arrived in Cape Town in 1861 from Germany and settled as a merchant in East London in 1873. He was a town councillor in 1881, and went on to become mayor in 1889.

The Jewish population in East London grew as a result of increased immigration and an influx resulting from the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902.

The Hebrew congregation was established in 1901 under the initiative of Julius Myers and G.G. Deal, both English immigrants who were very active in communal life.A small synagogue was opened in 1903 after the arrival of Emmanuel Lipkin from England. A larger synagogue was built in the early 1920s.

A small reform congregation was established in 1958.

East London has an active Jewish communal life with Hebrew schools, Zionist and other organizations, regional branches of national bodies, and a country club.

East London’s Jewish population numbers approximately 1,200. The community is engaged in commerce, industry, and the professions.