Kirkwood (Eastern Cape)

 

Kirkwood is situated in the Eastern Province in the Sunday’s River Valley, north west of Port Elizabeth. The area is well known for its huge citrus farms and co-operative packing industry.

The first recorded Jewish settler was a Mr. S. Levisohn, who came from Lithuania and settled in a small village called Kariega where the little town of Kirkwood was to develop.

The congregation was established in 1910; Sir Lewis Richardson laid the cornerstone of the shul in 1931.

In 1975 the synagogue and house were sold to an Afrikaans doctor. The proceeds were distributed to different Jewish organisations and some money went to the municipality to care for the cemetery.

The Jews of the area were traders and citrus, lucerne and dairy farmers; there was also a Jewish hotelkeeper, doctor, attorney, and garage owner.

In 1951 there were 52 Jews in Kirkwood; by 1991, there were four. There is no Jewish community in Kirkwood today.