Uitenhage (Eastern Cape)

 

Uitenhage is situated in the Eastern Cape, near Port Elizabeth. The town once had a thriving Jewish community.

The earliest recorded Jewish settler was Benjamin Norden, who arrived in about 1823, but left for Grahamstown five years later.

It is thought that the congregation was established in 1901, when the first Minyan (prayer group) took place in a private home. The synagogue was built and consecrated in March 1911.
Over the years, the town employed many rabbis who acted as shochet (ritual slaughterer) and teachers of the youth, among their other duties.

In more recent years kosher meat was obtained from Port Elizabeth.

The Jewish residents were involved in many economic activities. There were doctors, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists, shopkeepers, photographer and farmers.

In 1904 there were 216 Jews in Uitenhage and in 1936 there were 277. By 1951, there were 261 Jews in the town and this figure dropped to 77 in 1980. The following year there were only 20 and by 1995, only 15 Jews remained.