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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Jews in South Africa – a Comprehensive History

The Jews in South AfricaComing soon from Jonathan Ball: The Jews in South Africa.

Spanning the past two centuries, The Jews in South Africa explores the fascinating role played by a small but highly significant community in the economic, political, social and cultural life of this country.

This richly illustrated story – the first comprehensive history to appear in over 50 years – includes a wide range of historically important photographs, many long unseen, and encompasses a broad swathe of Jewish life, from the bimah and the boardroom to the bowling green.

Beginning with the first Jewish immigrants to South Africa, and depicting the fragility of the early foundations and the shifting fortunes of this infant community, the book traces its development to robust maturity amidst turbulent social and political currents. These include the strident antisemitism of the 1930s, the moral dilemmas of the apartheid era, the subsequent turbulent transition towards a non-racial democracy, the birth of the New South Africa and the fresh challenges that have followed in its wake up to the present day.

Included are such personalities as Barney Barnato, Helen Suzman, Joe Slovo, Sol Kerzner and Rabbi Cyril Harris, as well as many others who have made an important mark in their fields.

The Jews in South Africa will be of great interest to every member of the Jewish community living both in South Africa and in their adoptive countries, as well as for all wishing to learn more about this highly energetic and innovative community whose contribution in many spheres of life has so greatly influenced and enriched the history of South Africa.

About the authors

Professors Richard Mendelsohn and Milton Shain teach in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. They are the co-editors of Memories, Realities and Dreams: Aspects of the South African Jewish Experience, published by Jonathan Ball in 2002. Mendelsohn and Shain have published numerous books and articles in the fields of South African Jewish history, the history of anti-Semitism and the history of film.

Book Details


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