Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

 

Port Elizabeth is a port city and is the capital of the Eastern Cape. It is known as the ‘friendly city’.

Jewish families were among the founding British settlers of 1820.

A congregation was formed in 1861 and the first synagogue building (a converted Lutheran church) was acquired the following year.

Port Elizabeth became an important centre of the wool trade, with Jewish merchants, most notably the Mosenthal brothers, playing a leading role.

The city has a well organised communal life. The United and Raleigh Street Synagogues are under joint control. The Summerstrand Orthodox Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1947 and a progressive congregation (Temple Israel) in 1949.The United Hebrew institutions of Port Elizabeth include a Hebrew school, a Chevra Kadisha, and a benevolent society. There is also a Jewish day school – Theodore Herzl.

The headquarters of both the Eastern Province committee of the Jewish Board of Deputies and of the Eastern Province Zionist Council are situated in Port Elizabeth.

In 1923 Adolph Schauder, a merchant and industrialist, was elected to the city council and remained a member for more than 40 years. He also served as mayor from 1940-42. In addition, he was also president of the Orthodox Hebrew congregation for some years.

In 1969 the Jewish population of Port Elizabeth numbered 2,811 (1.1% of the total population).