South Africa -- Jewish Museum

This is a little far afield, but here's a link to an article by Dan Fellner about Jewish heritage sites in Cape Town, South Africa -- where, apparently, 80 percent of the Jewish population has roots in Lithuania....

Most of the important Jewish sites, including the South African Jewish Museum, the Gardens Shul, Cape Town Holocaust Center and Gitlin Library, are located in the same complex on an outdoor square in the heart of downtown Cape Town, just four blocks from the South African Parliament.

A focus was the Jewish Museum, which, the article says, attracts 15,000 visitors a year and features a "reconstructed shtetl from Riteve, Lithuania in the 1880s" with "a scale model of a school, shop and modest house. Inside the home, the table is set for Shabbat dinner."

The entrance to the museum is through the exterior of the first synagogue built in South Africa, which was consecrated in 1863. Inside are the original wooden ark and mosaic floor and other artifacts from the synagogue. [...] every window in the museum has a view of Table Mountain, which is what the Jewish immigrants first saw when arriving in Cape Town by ship.

The museum depicts what life was like for those immigrants and does so with high-tech and interactive exhibits, including a bank of touch-screen computers where visitors can research their family roots.


The museum also showcases the role played by Jews in the struggle against apartheid, including Isie Maisels, who was Nelson Mandela's defense lawyer during the 1963 trial that led to Mandela's incarceration for treason, and Helen Suzman, who for many years was the sole anti-apartheid voice in the South African Parliament.
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You can also read the article and see pictures on Dan Fellner's web site. Click HERE.