The Other Goldene Medina: The History of South African Jewry

Milton Shain, emeritus professor of history at the University of Cape Town, specializing in the history of Jews and anti-Semitism in South Africa, tells the very different story of a Jewish settlement in the New World.



This season of the Tel Aviv Review is made possible by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, which promotes humanistic, democratic, and liberal values in the social discourse in Israel.

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Photo: Charlotte Wiener

4 comments on “The Other Goldene Medina: The History of South African Jewry

  1. Joe Polliack says:

    Excellent interview

  2. Joe Polliack says:


  3. Aubrey Krawitz says:

    Have listened with interest.
    My Zaida (Elliot Lewis) came to SA from Zagar in Lithuania in the 1890s. My Dad (Jack) & his sisters came late 1890.
    Do not fully understand your reasoning as to why Jews came to SA at that time.My Zaida came to Port Elizabeth
    as an indentured labourer to build the roads. Many others came the same way & this is why for many years there was a thriving Jewish community in PE.The reason why young Jews left Lithuania at that time was the fact that young men were conscripted into the Czar’s army & were forced to serve for 25 years ,,,,, this was a good reason to emigrate.
    You refer Reform (Progressive) Judaism & it’s beginnings in SA. Am surprised that no mention is made of Rabbi Weiler. The Weiler family & 5 children (4 boys & a girl) emigrated to Israel in the mid 1940s. Two of the Rabbis sons were killed in wars against the Arabs. Both sons were decorated soldiers in the IDF.
    Rabbi Weiler was given “The freedom of Jerusalem” & this award was bestowed upon him by Rabbi Rabinowitz.
    This is all part of my history in the Reform Movement ,the UIA ( i was national Vice Chairman of UIA under Mendel Kaplan) & served with Leon Wilder.

    Aubrey Krawitz.

    PS> I have lived in Australia for the last 31 years. Have kept contact with Marc van Embden.

  4. MK Sharansky addressed the National Reform Conference in New York asking them to concentrate on bringing JEWS BACK TO THE RELIGION AND THE SUPPORT OF ISRAEL. The question is how does one do this ? The answer is though HOLISTIC EDUCATION which includes both formal and informal techniques and curricula. Curricula that teachers enjoy teaching and more importantly pupils enjoy learning.
    I offer Gimme 5 to be viewed at http://www.gimme 5 as an educational tool for this purpose. The board game is unique, animated and intuitive which has the ideal role models and decision making opportunities. The question base of the board game can cover any topic, at any level and in any language. The pupils enjoy the prospect of winning this game and it gives the teachers, youth leaders, madrichim etc. to introduce the educational aspect. Gimme 5 enhances any educational programme already in use.
    The 15 value – based dudes seen revolving on the website can be likened to Biblical characters e.g. Scholar Dude – Moshe Rabeinu, Spiritual Dude – Aaron, Friendly Dude – Ruth, Happy Dude – Miriam, Strong Dude ( both physically and mentally ) – Samson, Budget Dude – Joseph, Team Dude – Joseph, Friendly Dude – Abraham etc.
    Gimme 5 can also be adapted for use in the pro Israel Christian community with questions on the New Testament and Israel. I can award 2 dudes to them e.g. Spiritual Dude – Jesus and Caring Dude – John.
    I am asking the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute to consider using Gimme 5, initially as a pilot study, in Israel, and through its international contacts for pro Israel education and support .

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