views updated Jun 11 2018


PRETORIA , administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa. The earliest Jewish settlers after the foundation of Pretoria in 1855 were among the officials whom the Boer government brought from Holland. One such was M. de Vries, and although the laws of the Transvaal Republic placed civil disabilities upon non-Protestants, he became state prosecutor in 1868 and a member of the Volksraad (Legislative Assembly) in 1871. Jewish communal life dates from 1876, when minyanim were held in the home of Daniel M. Kisch, a photographer, and a Jewish wedding was celebrated in 1878. The first meeting of the congregation was held there in 1890, and the first synagogue building was consecrated in 1898. The first minister, the Rev. E. Jaffe, was appointed the following year. Jewish institutions today include the Pretoria Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox), Bet Menorah (Progressive), a Chevra Kaddisha and other philanthropic bodies, a branch of the Union of Jewish Women, and a women's Zionist organization. The Pretoria Council of the S.A. Jewish Board of Deputies acts as a coordinating body. The Jewish population numbered 3,553 in 1969 (1.2% of the total population). This had declined to 1,500 by 2004.


G. Saron and L. Hotz (eds.), The Jews in South Africa (1955).


views updated May 29 2018

Pretoria Administrative capital of South Africa, Gauteng province. Founded in 1855, it was named after Andries Pretorius. It became the capital of the Transvaal in 1860, and of the South African Republic in 1881. The Peace of Vereeniging, which ended the South African Wars, was signed here in 1902. In 1910, it became the capital of the Union of South Africa. Pretoria is an important communications centre. Industries: steel production, car assembly, diamond mining. Pop. (2002) 1,228,200.