Pretoria (Gauteng)

 

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, and is located just north of Johannesburg.

The town was founded in 1855. The earliest Jewish settlers were among the officials who had been brought from Holland.

Jewish communal life dates from 1876, when minyanim were held in the home of Daniel M. Kisch, a former Durban resident. The first Jewish wedding was celebrated in 1878 and the first meeting of the Pretoria congregation was held in 1890.

The first synagogue was consecrated in 1898. The city’s Jewish institutions include the United Hebrew Congregation (with two synagogues) and the progressive Jewish congregation. There is a Jewish day school (Carmel College), a Chevra Kadisha (burial society) and other philanthropic bodies. The community also has a branch of the Union of Jewish Women, a Zionist council, and a community council, which acts as a coordinating body.

The Jewish population numbered 3,553 in 1969 (1.2% of the inhabitants). In 1997 there were about 3,000 Jews living in Pretoria.