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From local to international: Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage

Susan L Tananbaum

<plain_text><page sequence="1">From local to international: Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage SUSAN L. TAN AN BAUM On 15 July 1911, a number of prominent Jews from the Cape Town Philan- thropic Society gathered to discuss the creation of a Jewish orphanage in Cape Town. "Mr. Wittenberg emphasized the necessity of having a Local Orphanage and proposed that immediate steps be taken to organize such an orphanage."1 Apparently, the idea had emerged several years earlier, when Natalie Friedlander was disturbed to learn about Jewish children re- ceiving care from a "Coloured" family in Western Boland.2 She sought the help of a family friend, who located three children in Piketberg, who were working at the back of a hotel.3 The orphanage developed quickly and not only offers a unique lens through which to assess internal relations among Jews in Cape Town and beyond, but also sheds light on the position ofjews in South Africa. Like its predecessor, the South African Jewish Orphanage (Arcadia, founded 1903), the Cape Jewish Orphanage served children who had lost one or both parents.4 The development of two Jewish orphanages i Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 15 Julyign. My gratitude goes to Gwynne Schrire, Milton Shain, the anonymous readers ofjeurish Historical Studies, Jeremy Schonfield, and Joseph Frazer for extremely helpful suggestions. It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge a Fletcher Family Research and Travel Award (2008) and a Research Award (2013) from Bowdoin College's Faculty Development Committee, as well as generous support on two occasions as a Visiting Fellow at the Kaplan Centre, University of Cape Town. I would like to recognize David Gordon for assistance with sources, Janine Blumberg for her always cheerful help while in residence at the Kaplan Centre, and Veronica Belling for sharing her publications on Oranjia. 2 The term "Coloured" in the South African context refers to people of mixed ethnic/ racial origin (including ancestors from Europe, Asia, and South African Khoisan and Bantu tribes). During Apartheid, the government divided people into four groups, Whites, Blacks, Coloureds, and Indians. 3 Eric Rosenthal, The Story of the Cape Jewish Orphanage (Cape Town: Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage, 1961), 1, 3. 4 The South African Jewish Orphanage moved to larger facilities several times during the early years of the twentieth century. Initially serving eight children, it expanded to some 400 by 1939. The orphanage moved to Arcadia in 1923, a property acquired from Sir Lionel Phillips. Johannesburg/Arcadia.aspx. (accessed 2 Oct. 2014). Jewish Historical Studies, volume 46, 2014 75</page><page sequence="2">76 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM indicates the range of needs among South Africa's Jews, but also that com- munity's commitment to developing and maintaining high-quality insti- tutions to serve co-religionists. Cape Jews had a layered identity - with national and transnational connections, ties that are evident in the establishment and development of the Cape Jewish Orphanage, better known as Oranjia. The records of the Orphanage indicate that many Jews regarded their Jewishness as vitally important and expressed it in part through philanthropic activity. The ways that leaders engaged in charitable activity - which also mirrored that of non-Jews - suggest something of their links to other white South Africans, as well as to Jews in other parts of South Africa, and the international rescue effort, the well-known "Ochberg Orphans", highlights Jews' connections to Britain and Eastern Europe.5 Further, internal debates over policy pointed to differing attitudes towards Zionism and the rights of the leadership to make economic decisions with regard to funds collected for the Orphanage. Thus, the Orphanage opens a window on internal and external Jewish affairs in South Africa, exposing tensions between Cape Town and Johannesburg, each with its own orphanage and communal organizations. Until the discovery of gold and diamonds, most Jews settled in the "Mother City", Cape Town. With the arrival of Eastern European immi- grants, Jewish settlement in Johannesburg increased and in the years after the Boer War, "the centre of gravity of Jewish life" shifted from "the Cape Colony to the Transvaal."6 Occasional communal squabbles arose between these two important centres of Jewish life. As Gwynne Schrire, the historian and Deputy Director of the Cape Town Jewish Board of Deputies notes, "the [Cape Town] Philanthropic Society had an ongoing disagreement with the Johannesburg organisation" over paying for repatriation of Jews to Europe.7 To avoid transportation costs, 5 Born in 1878, Ochberg emigrated from the Ukraine to South Africa in 1894 and became a successful businessman and committed Zionist; Lynette Karp, "Remembering Isaac Ochberg: Benefactor, Tsadik, Father of Orphans", E sra Magazine 160 (June-Aug. 2011), (accessed 2 Oct. 2014). For biographies of Ochberg see Bertha I. Epstein, This Was A Man (St. James, Cape Town: privately published, 1974) and Jonathan Boiskin, "The Ochberg Orphans: An Episode in the History of the Cape Jewish Orphanage", Jewish Affairs 49 no. 2 (1994): 21-7. 6 Robert G. Weisbord, "The Dilemma of South African Jewry", Journal of Modern African Studies 5 no.2 (1967): 234. 7 Gwynne Schrire, "How Cape Town's Jewish Community Cared for its Sick Poor a Century Ago", Jewish Affairs 56, no. 2 (2001): 6.</page><page sequence="3">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 77 Johannesburg sent cases to Cape Town and ignored complaints from Cape Town Jews, who finally "inserted an advertisement into the Johannesburg Jewish newspaper stating that they would give no assistance whatsoever to anyone who arrived from Johannesburg on their way to Europe."8 Friction also surfaced between Zionists and non-Zionists. Zionism became a particularly important movement in South Africa and a source ofjewish identity - among Lithuanian Jews, as well as "English-born" and "anglicized Jews of German origin".9 Historical background In the first years of the twentieth century, the Cape Colony, part of the British Empire, was home to a small but active Jewish community. Some of the earliest settlers, Jews from Holland, arrived in the seventeenth century and Jews from Britain and Germany immigrated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Barred from settling in the Cape during the era of the Dutch East India Company (1652-1795), the Jewish community began slow growth with the arrival of more tolerant rulers at the end of the eighteenth century.10 As scholars such as Milton Shain noted, the mid- nineteenth-century Jewish community "conceived of itself in religious terms" and was conspicuous as "a minority culture".11 The majority of South Africa's Jews, however, arrived from Lithuania and Latvia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, increasing the Jewish population by approximately 40,000. 12 Many fanned out across the 8 Ibid. 9 Gideon Shimoni, Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience (1910-1967) (Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1980), 19; the Zionist Federation was the first Jewish organization to create a "countrywide organizational framework" (20) and attracted a nationwide following. 10 Under the Dutch, one had to practise Reformed Christianity and attend worship services. Occupation by the British in 1795, followed by the Batavian Republic (1803-6) and reoccupation by the British in 1806, brought increased tolerance for additional Protestant denominations and Jews; Richard Mendelsohn and Milton Shain, The Jews in South Africa: An Illustrated History (Johannesburg and Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2008), 3-4. ii Milton Shain, Jewry andCapeSociety (Cape Town: Historical Publication Society, 1983), 1. 12 As of 1880, there were approximately 4,000 Jews in South Africa. Of the large migration who arrived from 1880 to 1914, some 20,000 settled in Johannesburg. Riva Krut, "Building a Home and a Community: Jews in Johannesburg, 1886-1914" (PhD diss., University of London, 1985), 6, 24.</page><page sequence="4">78 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM country to small towns and, especially after the discovery of gold in 1886, joined other immigrants who sought their fortune in Johannesburg. Unlike the experience of many Jews in Western Europe and the South African Republic, Cape Town's Jews did not experience a protracted process of emancipation and found themselves fairly well accepted and maintained a strong attachment to their Jewish ethnicity. Nonetheless, the Jewish community was keenly aware of the increasing antisemitism that emerged in political circles and the press towards the end of the nineteenth century.13 Deepening economic recession in turn contributed to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1902 that barred newcomers who were likely to become a public charge and could not sign a form using characters from a European language.14 While directed against Asian immigrants, the law affected Eastern European Jews who communicated in Yiddish (which uses the Hebrew alphabet). This led to a campaign to gain recognition ofYiddish as a European language.15 Given this environment, and much like host communities in the West, South African Jews demonstrated a similar self-consciousness over their reputation, especially as the numbers of Eastern European immigrants increased. "Intra-communal friction", as Gideon Shimoni reminded us, occurred between immigrants and more settled "Anglo-Jews". Early communal organizations generally drew their leadership from German and British Jews and newcomers initially accepted this arrangement.16 After arriving in Cape Town, large numbers of the newcomers received assistance from family, landsmen (people from their community in Eastern Europe), or charitable organizations. The Jewish community's demographic profile differed from the great majority of other South Africans. Jews were more likely to settle in urban areas, receive more education, and locate work in the professions or in 13 Shain, Jewry and Cape Society, 9-10. 14 Ibid., 21-32; Gwynne Schrire, "'I was a Stranger in a Strange Land': Immigration Problems and Community Assistance in South Africa a Century Ago", Jewish Affairs 57, no. 4 (2002): 31-2; Edna Bradlow, "The Anatomy of an Immigrant Community: Cape Town Jewry from the Turn of the Century to the Passing of the Quota Act", South African Historical Journal 31, issue 1 (1994): 106-7. 15 Margot Rubin, "The Jewish Community of Johannesburg, 1886-1939: Landscapes of Reality and Imagination" (Master's thesis, University of Pretoria, 2005), 70, za/thesis/available/etd-092i2005-092700/unrestricted/05chapter5.pdf (accessed 30 Jan. 2008). 16 Shimoni, Jeuis and Zionism, 13.</page><page sequence="5">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 79 administration and sales.17 The racial structure of South Africa, and the large numbers of unskilled blacks, meant that many Jews took up non- manual occupations.18Notsurprisingly,thefirstgenerationofimmigrants focused on settling into a new land - making a living and learning a new language and, despite a personal experience of discrimination, most demonstrated little concern with the racial caste system of South Africa. 19 As a white community, Jews enjoyed a privileged position. Some Anglo- Jewish leaders encouraged Jews to support Britain's imperial aspirations and saw women as playing a key role in achieving and reinforcing white dominance in South Africa. According to Riva Krut, middle-class Jews had similar attitudes to non-Jews about contacts with blacks.20 By the late nineteenth century, notions of race had deepened in the Cape, and leaders, even those considered fairly moderate, promoted racial segregation.21 Many Jews, as whites, shared these views and benefited in myriad ways unavailable to blacks.22 Because ofantisemitism, however, Jews' status as whites was less secure than that of Christians. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the leadership of Cape Town was becoming increasingly English. Undoubtedly, the elite of the Jewish community conceived of themselves as part of this respectable class and accepted Victorian values such as thrift, hard work, property rights, and 17 Krut, "Building a Home", 6. i8 Mendelsohn and Shain, Jews in South Africa, 32-5, 52; Lauren Singer, "Philanthropy and Self-help in the Cape Town Community, c. 1897 to 1918" (Bachelor's thesis, University of Cape Town, 1991), 2, 3; Krut, "Building a Home", 7. 19 There were exceptions and among those who opposed the system of white privilege, a significant number were Jewish; Gideon Shimoni, Community and Conscience: The Jews in Apartheid South Africa (Lebanon, nh: Brandeis University Press, 2003), 4, 6, 7. 20 Krut, "Building a Home", 209, 246. 21 For an important discussion of social policy and its connection to race and perceptions of disease, see Maynard W. Swanson, "The Sanitation Syndrome: Bubonic Plague and Urban Native Policy in the Cape Colony, 1900-1909" Journal o/African History 18, no. 3 (1977): 387-410, www.jst0r.0rg/stable/180639 (accessed 5 July 2014); whites justified keeping Africans out of towns not only to protect whites but also to guard Africans from the "corrupting influences" of urban areas (400). 22 These social and economic advantages benefited Jews in small communities, such as Oudtshoorn, as well; Daniel Coetzee, "Fires and Feathers: Acculturation, Arson, and the Jewish Community in Oudtshoorn, South Africa, 1914-1948", Jewish History 19, no. 2 (2005): 144, 145, 146: many Jews, who played a key role in the ostrich-feather market, lost their fortunes when the market collapsed in 1913; by the 1920s, tensions had risen in Oudtshoorn between Jews and their creditors and some blamed foreign Jews for white poverty.</page><page sequence="6">80 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM cleanliness.23 In this colonial setting, one could be "acceptably English" by being "White, [and] English speaking" and some Jews, albeit a small number, highlighted their ability to contribute to white survival in Africa.24 Those who failed "to share these values could be perceived as 'other' than English, the least adaptable as the most foreign."25 From 1910, with the establishment of the Union of South Africa, Cape Town entered a period of improved economic conditions.26 As information about economic opportunity reached Lithuania, significant numbers of individuals, and later families who joined them, looked to South Africa instead of Britain or America.27 This pattern of Eastern European Jewish immigration continued in South Africa until the passage of the 1930 Immigration Quota Act.28 Jews continued to fear the potential of increased antisemitism and the Quota Act indicated that "the fear that Jews would migrate to South Africa in larger numbers was greater than the desperate need for whites to offset blacks."29 The journalist Peter Beinart has argued that the National Party, in the years before 1948, when it gained power, "came close to impugning the English-speaking Jews as not quite white", undoubtedly reinforcing a pattern in the Jewish community of remaining largely aloof from politics.30 Yet, despite significant outbreaks of antisemitism, deeply religious Afrikaners supported the establishment of the State of Israel. This emerged in part, as the historian Robert Weisbord noted, because something of a rapprochement between Afrikaners and the Jewish community occurred in 1948, with the institution of Apartheid.31 Clearly, Jews had a complicated relationship with those in power. While 23 Vivian Bickford-Smith, Ethnic Pride and Racial Prejudice in Victorian Cape Town (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1995), 39. 24 Courant, 28 Nov. 1924, cited by Coetzee, "Fires and Feathers", 146. 25 R. Colls, "Englishness and the Political Culture", in Enjlishness: Politics and Culture 1880-1920, ed. R. Colls and P. Dodd (London: Croom Helm, 1986), 45, as paraphrased in Bickford-Smith, Ethnic Pride, 39. 26 Rosenthal, Story ofthe Capejewish Orphanage, 1. 27 Shimoni, Jews and Zionism, 10-12. 28 For an analysis of the history of Jewish immigration to South Africa and the evolving identity of the community, see Milton Shain, "Jewish Cultures, Identities and Contingencies: Reflections from the South African Experience", European Review o/History : Revue européenne d'histoire 18, no. 1 (2011): 89-100, DOI 10.1080/13507486.2011.543584; Rubin, "Jewish Community of Johannesburg", 131-3; etd-092i2005-092700/unrestricted/08chapter8.pdf (accessed 30 Jan. 2008). 29 Weisbord, "Dilemma ofSouth African Jewry", 234. 30 Peter Beinart, "The Jews of South Africa", Transition 71 (1996): 70. 31 Weisbord, "Dilemma ofSouth African Jewry", 235-7.</page><page sequence="7">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 81 the majority of Jews accepted Apartheid and its benefits, Jews were over- represented in the opposition to the Nationalist government. Continued Afrikaner antisemitism - which reached new heights during the Second World War - reinforced Jews' sense of their precarious position in South Africa. To challenge racial inequality risked reinforcing one's foreignness. Fear of a backlash against immigrants and traditions of tzedakah (literally, "righteousness", Hebrew and Yiddish for "charity") prompted Jews in Cape Town to reinforce communal services. Philanthropic organizations To help the newcomers adapt, Cape Town's Jewish community estab- lished some two dozen organizations, including an orphanage. Many organizations, suchas schools, prioritized efforts to anglicize immigrants, much like Jewish and state schools in England.32 The oldest Jewish charity was the Cape Town Jewish Philanthropic Society, established in 1859.33 The "Gardens Synagogue", with its Anglo-German leadership, initially ran this society, which became independent in 1877 but retained ties to the Garden Synagogue; its leadership tended to reflect the priorities and attitudes of that segment of the community.34 Similarly, many charities in South Africa - Christian and Jewish - reflected approaches and attitudes common in Britain.35 Jewish charitable organizations demonstrated compassion but, much like host communities in Britain and the United States, "local Jews were afraid that the foreign Jews with their strange beards and unfamiliar dress might draw unwelcome Gentile attention and might rock the boat of their own comfortable experience."36 Although 32 Shain, "Jewish Cultures", 90. Susan L. Tananbaum, Jewish Immigrants in London, 1880- 193g (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014), esp. chs4and 5. 33 On the Philanthropic Society, see Schrire, "'I was a Stranger in a Strange Land'", 30- 34- 34 Singer, "Philanthropy and Self-help", 9, 16, 17. 35 Edna Bradlow, "'The Oldest Charitable Society in South Africa': One Hundred Years and More of the Ladies' Benevolent Society at the Cape of Good Hope", South African Historical Journal 25 (1991): 79, drew on the ideologies of British philanthropy and historical assessments in her analysis of the Ladies' Benevolent Society, an organization founded in 1822 by Jane Philip (wife of the minister of the Congregational Church), but highlights distinct features of Cape charitable work: "While British precedents were an important ingredient in colonial culture, specific Cape conditions ensured that voluntary benevolence would frequently diverge from the British pattern." 36 Gwynne Schrire, "Adapting to a New Land: The Greener in Cape Town, 1900", Jewish Affairs 45, no. 5 (1990): 2. A "greener" was a new immigrant.</page><page sequence="8">82 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM Lauren Singer suggested that Cape Town's Philanthropic Society, unlike England's Jewish Board of Guardians, did not emphasize acculturation of immigrants, she noted that in the late 1890s, several Jewish communities sought to halt Jewish immigration. She raised the question as to whether this reflected a financial burden or discomfort with foreign Jews and their potential for undermining the status of the established Jewish community.37 Cape Town's Jewish elite offered assistance to immigrants and vulnerable individuals such as orphans, in an effort to promote their respectability - and to make them less alien. Despite these efforts, Jews did not escape criticism. The arrival of immigrants coincided with a down- turn in the economy and poor Jews soon gained a negative reputation, affecting locales such as Johannesburg between 1896 and 1906.38 Critics used the pejorative term "Peruvian" to describe lower-class, often unskilled and unemployed, immigrant Jews. They perceived them as economically opportunistic and capitalistic, as well as poverty-stricken and an unassimilable financial burden. While the etymology is uncertain, Jewish participation in prostitution and illegal involvement in the alcohol trade became known as the "'Peruvian' problem".39 Immigrant Jews' "different interests, manner, language, and physiognomy- evoked a range of images, varying from devious to pious and even to outright debasing."40 At the same time, however, Jews rose to a significant number of positions ofprominence and "Jews' alleged thrift, enterprise, energy, and intellectual prowess continued to be respected." Although an increasingly racialized view of immigrant Jews emerged by the 1920s, Milton Shain reminds us that South Africa did not experience "strident European anti-Semitism."41 During the period when Capetonians founded the Cape Jewish Orphan- age, the South African Jewish Chronicle (SAJC) included a number of articles on prejudice against Jewish immigrants settling in the Cape Colony.42 According to the newspaper, government officials used "arbitrary powers" 37 Singer, "Philanthropy and Self-help", 4, 20, 21. 38 Krut, "Building a Home", 85 , 93 . 39 Ibid., 8, 9, 90, 91, 93. 40 Milton Shain, The Roots 0/ Antisemitism in South Africa (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1994), 52; for discussion ofjewish immigration and emerging stereotypes, see esp. ch. 3, "From Pariah to Parvenu: The Making ofa Stereotype, 1902-14", 49-77. 41 Shain, "Jewish Cultures", 92; Shain, Roots of Antisemitism, 64. On anti-alienism see Shain, Jewry and Cape Society, "Anti-Alienism", 45-56. 42 The paper, according to Shain, Jewry and Cape Society, 19, had a "self-appointed" role as "communal guardian".</page><page sequence="9">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 83 to block foreigners from entering the country and the Cape was the only British colony with such anti-Jewish methods. In contrast, Canada, which accepted tens of thousands ofjews, had deported a mere seventy-two.43 Founding of the Cape Town Jewish Orphanage The records only suggest the reasons why Cape Town's Jews wanted their own orphanage: the community accepted the traditional Jewish responsibility of caring for orphans, wanted to remove children from Christian and "Coloured" homes, wished to provide a Jewish environment and education, and patterned their agencies on models from overseas. Before the establishment of the Cape Jewish Orphanage, some children received care from the South African Jewish Orphanage in Johannesburg and the community raised money to send a small number of children to the Norwood Jewish Orphanage in London.44 Participation in charitable endeavours enabled Jews to appear more South African - through participating in activities that had the approval of Cape Town's elite. Establishing Oranjia also provided a means for Cape Towns' Jews to remind other Jewish communities, especially Johannesburg, of their importance and independence. At the beginning of August 1911, the Committee passed a resolution to found the orphanage.45 Leaders began immediate fundraising, collecting donations at communal events such as brit milah (ritual circumcision).46 43 SAJC, 24 Feb. 1911 and 17 Marchigli. 44 Charles Press, The light of Israel: The Story of the Paarl Jewish Community (Paarl: Jubilee Publications, 1993), 17. My thanks to Gwynne Schrire for sharing this reference. 45 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, Tuesday, 1 Aug. 1911. Isaac Ochberg, who would play a leadership role for twenty years, joined the committee later that August; ibid., 22 Aug. 1911; Rosenthal, Story 0/ the Cape Jewish Orphanage, 4. At a meeting on 5 Aug., the new organization elected its first board, with Joseph Kadish (a prominent member of the Cape Town Jewish community and a jeweller) as President; V. Belling, "The Cape Jewish Orphanage Bes Yesoymim, 1911- I939", Jewish Affairs (2009): 19; Advocate M. Alexander as Vice-President, the Policansky brothers as Treasurers, and N. Wittenberg as Honorary Secretary. Well-known men from Cape Town's Jewish community filled out the committee: J. Wittenberg, O. Basson, H. Kadish, M. Lentin, S. Frank, Henry (Harry) Stodel, S. E. Kark, R. Barnett, M. Davies, Louis Gradner, J. Bernstein, R. Weinberg, and M. Paperi; ex officio members: Rev. Alfred P. Bender, Rev. A. Weinberg, and Rev. Strod; Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 15 Aug. 1911. 46 Rev. Weinberg collected the substantial sum of £13 at a bris in Maitland; Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 8 Aug. 1911.</page><page sequence="10">84 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM Within a few months, they followed the advice of Hyman Liberman, the former president of the Philanthropic Society, and called "a representative meeting of all Jewish Institutions &amp; secondly a mass meeting" to gain communal approval for an Orphanage.47 A communal meeting in early October 1911 attracted a sizeable crowd, which congratulated the committee on their accomplishments to date. They stressed the necessity of a Jewish home and "pointed out how detrimental it would be to our community if Jewish children were compelled to go to non- Jewish homes." The community feared losses to their small numbers. They created sub-committees to obtain material donations, to report on potential locations for the new orphanage, and advertised for a matron in leading South African newspapers. Much like other charities of their day, they concluded that the time had come to establish "a special Ladies Committee. Various ladies interested in charity were communicated with, and thus an influential committee was formed."48 Oranjia not only served as an expression of its sponsors' Jewish commitment but also contributed to Jewish continuity by educating needy youth in the tenets of their religion. Localism and beyond The founding of the orphanage exemplified Cape Town Jews' intense localism, as well as its broader ties to Johannesburg. The organizing committee wanted, for example, to be sure that children from the Cape Colony who were "inmates" at the Jewish Orphanage in Johannesburg would return to Cape Town. From early on, they turned to charitable organizations and Jewish communities throughout the Cape and, while they received contributions from all over South Africa, most - personal and business - came from the Western Cape and Kimberley.49 During the same period, the Johannesburg orphanage was fundraising for an addition and noted with some frustration that communities from all over the country sent children to Johannesburg, but donations came only from Johannesburg's Jews. By August 1911, the Ladies' Communal League of 47 Ibid., 12 Sept. 1911. Liberman, who served as president of the Philanthropic Society in 1903, was the first Jewish Mayor of Cape Town, and active in Jewish and non-Jewish philanthropic organizations; Mendelsohn and Shain, Jews in South Africa, 67. 48 SAJC, 24Mayi9i2. 49 The Committee sent out subscription lists to Simonstown, Port Elizabeth, Diep River, Hopefield, and the Philanthropic Society. Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 12 Sept. and 10 Oct. 1911.</page><page sequence="11">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 85 Johannesburg had collected £2,100 towards the new King Edward wing of the South African Jewish Orphanage and was anxious to begin the addition "and thereby enable the Ladies' Communal League to afford accommodation for some of the Jewish children being brought up in non- Jewish institutions."50 The sum was inadequate for the addition and the Orphanage stressed the risk to the Jewish community that this entailed. Support for the Cape Town orphanage was not universal. The SAJC expressed a general concern that Jewish charity was causing antisemitism.51 Further, between 1911 and 1914, the newspaper noted that an orphanage in Cape Town would impede the work in Johannesburg.52 Nonetheless, in October 1911, the Cape Town Committee began reviewing possible locations for the orphanage.53 Drawing on the experience of the Johannesburg Orphanage, the Committee instructed the Secretary to ask for their materials on the management of the orphanage and applications forms.54 By late December, the Committee had hired Miss Hecksher, from Johannesburg.55 That month the Orphanage began accepting applicants and officially opened in February 1912. Colonel Sir D. Harris, mla, presided at the opening. Described as a "red letter day" for the Jewish community of Cape Town, the official opening drew a large gathering, including non-Jews. The Committee received a donation of land from a Mr. Elias of Oudtshoorn and expected to build there once they needed a larger home and had collected sufficient funds. Meanwhile, they opened the orphanage in a temporary building at 77 Upper Mill Street.56 Challenges of finances, growing demands for space and facilities, and the repeated turnover of matrons, dominated the early years. The Committee worked out programmes of secular and Jewish education, offered a range of extra-curricular activities, organized sub-committees for investigating applicants and overseeing finances, and created policies for family access to orphans and aftercare. The leadership regularly turned to Johannesburg and London for staff, references, and policies. 50 A Mr. Otto Beit had donated £1,000 towards the building fund; SAJC, 4 Aug. 1911. 51 SAJC, i Sept. 1911. 52 Ibid., 24 May 1912, 16 Jan. and 13 Feb. 1914. 53 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 17 Oct. and 24 Oct. 1911. 54 Ibid., 10 Oct. 1911. 55 Ibid., 20 Dec. 1911. 56 SAJC, 16 Feb. 1912.</page><page sequence="12">86 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM Intercommunal relations Almost immediately, questions arose as to whether an orphanage in the Cape Colony would compete with Johannesburg. Johannesburg, having grown in size and stature since its founding, resented the efforts of Cape Town, despite its recognition as the "Mother City". The Orphanage Com- mittee, for example, received a letter, "from Mr. Rogaly, Port Elizabeth asking. . . whetherwe would clash in any way with the Jo'burgOrphanage." The Committee requested the Secretary to write to Mr. Rogaly and explain why Cape Town needed its own orphanage.57 Several months later, the Committee received "a letter . . . from Mr. Elias in which he enclosed a letter from Mrs. Sarah Davis-Marks (Hon Secretary of the Jewish Ladies' Communal League [1911] and Secy of the South African Jewish Orphanage, from circa 1917) stating. . .that a Cape Jewish Orphanage was wholly unnecessary." The Orphanage Committee voted to establish a sub- committee that would document "concrete instances when admission to the Jo'burg orphanage had been applied for from Capetown &amp; refused on any ground whatsoever; and to submit a report as soon as possible."58 Further, the Cape Town committee decided to write to "Mrs. Marks asking her to withdraw her statements which are unfounded and stating that we would not allow such incorrect statements to be circulated."59 Ironically, Mrs. Davis-Marks had provided a reference supporting the Johannesburg matron whom Cape Town had hired.60 Tensions between Cape Town and Johannesburg continued. In May 1912, an SAJC article complimented their "Cape co-religionists" on such good progress in a short time, but reported that "it has been the complaint of the executive of the Jewish Orphanage in Kensington [Johannesburg] that the amount of financial support that came from the Colony was not in proportion to the number of children received from that partofthe Union." According to the paper, the Cape Orphanage had collected significant sums and the Cape Town community had demonstrated "healthy vigour and activity ... in this matter, all of which promise to make of the Cape Jewish Orphanage a very successful and popular communal institution." The paper concluded that it was probably not that Cape Town's Jews 57 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Committee Meeting Minutes, 19 Sept. 1911. 58 Ibid.,3Jan.i9i2. 59 Ibid. 60 Ibid., 20 Dec. 1911.</page><page sequence="13">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 87 were unwilling to give money to the Johannesburg orphanage but that they lacked energetic honorary collectors who could generate the same enthusiasm in Cape Town as in Johannesburg. Perhaps it was human nature; people wanted to see something for their money: And to subscribe to an organisation which exists thousands of miles away - much too far for the majority of Capetonians to observe the good being done with their money and to watch the tender care and unflagging zeal bestowed on the community's young charges and to see them growing up healthy and Jewish children - is not so easy a matter to persuade people into as it is to induce them to support an institution which not only tends to alleviate the misery immediately round them, but in which they can take a lively and personal interest, it being part of their local life, and the credit for which they can legitimately take to themselves. Capetonians remained convinced that the establishment of the Cape Orphanage would relieve pressure on the South African Jewish Orphan- age. The Cape would care for its own children and, given the pattern of increasing numbers of Jews in South Africa, they could anticipate that they would always have poor people to aid.61 At the 1912 opening in February, Advocate Morris Alexander (the Vice- President and a prominent Cape leader and parliamentarian) welcomed those present and reassured them that Cape Town did not intend to "clash with the Johannesburg institution which is a pride to the community but to relieve them of their overflow."62 Again, in May, at the General Meeting, Alexander repeated that they were not "working against the Johannesburg institution." The Cape Orphanage recognized "their beneficent work" but thought it "a pity for this, the mother city of South Africa", not to have a Jewish orphanage.63 Clearly, the Orphanage took offence at the charges that their actions would have an adverse affect on another Jewish charity and resented the questioning of their judgment. Establishing orphanagepolici/ Governance questions dominated the early years - the committee, for 61 SAJC,24Mayigi2. 62 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918. A1.1, Minutes of the Opening Ceremony, held at Gardens ground next to 77 Upper Mill Street, Gardens, n.d. (after 8 Feb. 1912). In addition to being a Member of Parliament, Alexander helped found the Jewish Board of Deputies; Schrire, "'I was a Stranger in a Strange Land"', 31, 32. 63 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, General Meeting Minutes 19 Mayi9i2.</page><page sequence="14">88 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM example, debated whether the orphanage should accept used clothing items.64 Visiting policy, secular and religious education, expansion, and the need for an isolation hospital all received attention.65 In March 1912, the first of many problems with matrons emerged. "A report reached the President to the effect that the Matron [Miss Heckscher] had been in company with a man at 9:45. After investigation this proved to be correct." Further, a robbery went unreported to the Committee. The Committee asked Heckscher to resign and soon after booked her ticket to Johannesburg.66 By June, they had found a new matron and by October, she had given notice.67 In a pattern that became common, the orphanage turned to London for advice and staff, drawing on the experience of the London Jewish Board of Guardians and the Union of Jewish Women (ujw).68 The Orphanage soon hired Miss Berliner, who received references from the ujw in London and a Mr. Benjamin who "stated that Miss Berliner is an excellent matron of good ability &amp; conscientious."69 On other fronts, the Orphanage proceeded more smoothly and by 1913, the Committee actively sought land to build a larger institution. They debated whether to buy and build or accept free use of land offered by the municipality of Cape Town. The "stand" granted free of charge by the City Council came with a condition "that under no circumstances shall the building be disposed of, or used for any other purposes than as an Orphanage." Products of their time, some of the Orphanage's leaders expressed concern that the neighbourhood (Upper Mill Street) might become "unsuitable for an Orphanage, by - even at some distant date finding itself too close to, or within a neighbourhood thickly, or even partly populated by coloured inhabitants." The alternative was to purchase land in Oranzejicht- which would cost about £1500. Those supporting the Upper Mill property option also revealed their racial attitudes, contending 64 Ibid., Committee Meeting Minutes, 19 Feb. 1912. 65 Ibid., 14 Feb. 1912. They sent two girls to Hopewell School; ibid., 19 Feb. 1912. 66 Ibid., 27 March; 14 April 1912. 67 Ibid., 16 June 1912; Special Committee Meeting Minutes, 31 Oct. 1912. 68 Ibid., 26 Jan. 1913. Similarly, in 1915, when Mrs. Binion retired as matron of Johan- nesburg's South African Jewish Orphanage, the SAJC reported that the Committee would advertise in Europe and South Africa. The Orphanage anticipated challenges in finding a matron who combined the level of strict orthodoxy necessary for a Jewish institution with requisite administrative skills, and even more in finding someone who would take "whole-hearted interest in the institution", as had Mrs. Binion; SAJC, 11 June 1915. 69 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, A1.1, Special Meeting Minutes, 2 Feb. 1913.</page><page sequence="15">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 89 that "there is no fear of the Upper Mill Street property becoming surrounded by coloured residents." They did not, however, want to force their opinion on others without allowing those who favoured buying land to get financial advice. Both sides had significant support and wanted an amicable solution, since all believed strongly in the importance of the orphanage.70 Although it would be more costly, if the community purchased land, any building or improvements would be a permanent investment. Whatever their decision, the Chair hoped that rumours of an impending split between those supporting the two options were untrue.71 More sustained tensions remained between the supporters of the Johannesburg and Cape Jewish orphanages. Johannesburg experienced continuing challenges in their efforts to collect the funds necessary to add the planned King Edward vii Memorial Wing and some perceived Cape Town as a competitor. The organizers of the Communal League of the Johannesburg Jewish Orphanage were anxious to sell tickets for their fundraising event. One can hear the resentment in the comment that the foundation stone of the new wing "still stands solitary and forlorn", while the Cape Town Jewish Orphanage was moving forward with plans to build a home for its orphans. One observer argued that, while lacking "first- hand knowledge of the requirements of Capetown Jewry," he or she did not "think that they are of such dimensions as to make it necessary to build a separate orphanage for the comparatively few cases of real and legitimate need that occur in Capetown." Instead, Cape Town should hand over the money they collected to Johannesburg, as it served the entire Jewish community: "Then not alone would the orphans for whom this money is to be spent be helped, but our Capetown fellow-Jews would do more good with the money, more children would be benefitted by this extra financial assistance, whilst at the same time they would be attaining their object of providing a Jewish home and a Jewish upbringing for those orphan children who comprise their . . . present justification for establishing a Jewish orphanage in Capetown."72 The writer acknowledged that Cape Town claimed that it was not acting in a "spirit of opposition or disapproval" towards Johannesburg, but found it quite difficult to raise funds for an institution that was iooo miles away, with which they had no direct contact or influence. 70 SAJC, 30 Jan. 1914. 71 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC918, A1.1, Special General Meeting Minutes, i Feb. 1914. 72 Veritas, SAJC, 16 Jan. 1914.</page><page sequence="16">90 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM In response to the criticism that they sent children to Johannesburg, but did not provide adequate sums for the children's maintenance, Cape Town Jews explained that they had less trouble raising money for a local institution that provided local housing. Critical of such an explanation, the SAJC noted that the South African Jewish Orphanage continued to care for some Cape Town children. The limited needs of the Cape Town community did not justify a separate orphanage, particularly "in view of the fact that there is a well-tried and thoroughly experienced institution already in existence to deal and take care of South African cases." Further, the author contended that it was "surely not beyond the power of mortal mind" to find ways to get the money willingly given for Cape orphans and transfer it to Johannesburg where it would support "the very same children". The writer thought it possible that the railway authorities could offer "special excursions from Capetown to the Jewish Orphanage or the Ladies' Communal League" could bring the orphans to Cape Town "and exhibit their charges to the Capetown donors of the orphanage charity."73 Advocates of Cape Town's orphanage clearly wanted control over their own institution and vigorously defended their actions. In 1914, supporters of the Cape Town orphanage noted that the lack of space in Johannesburg had an impact not only in the Transvaal but also beyond. The South African Jewish Orphanage had recently refused admission to six children who were living at the Yeoville Nazareth Hospital. To expect Johannesburg to take children from the Cape would add to that burden and might result in refusing admission to more children if there was no orphanage in Cape Town, "merely from a desire to respect the unnecessarily hyper-sensitiveness of the Johannesburg Communal League."74 Yet, Cape Town's Jewish community denied support to Johannesburg and then complained that the orphanage would not admit all its applicants. Critics contended that this was not a matter of financial wherewithal. Cape Town expected to raise 4,000-5,000 pounds, which showed "conclusively that the motives of the givers of this large sum cannot be solely for the good of the orphans, which is put forward as the ostensible excuse for Capetown having its own orphanage, and which motive, it seems necessary to remind some people, should be the only one in this matter."75 The fact that the Cape Town committee could collect more money for Cape Town than for Johannesburg did not prove 73 Ibid. 74 SAJC, 6 Feb. 1914. 75 Ibid., 13 Feb. 1914.</page><page sequence="17">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 91 the need for a second orphanage. Benefactors of the South African Jewish Orphanage resented Cape Town's tactics and suggested that the donors had motives that were less than honourable. Opposition to the Cape Town orphanage did little to sway the local committee, who continued fundraising efforts for their institution. In a June 1915 letter, the Treasurer and Rev. Alfred P. Bender (the spiritual leader of Cape Town's most important synagogue, the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation76) sought donations for a new £6,000 building. They had collected £4,000, mostly from residents of the Cape Peninsula, and hoped to collect the remaining £2,000 "from our friends in the country". Since the Home served orphans from Piquetberg, Sunderland, Robertson, Kimberley, and Bulawayo (in modern Zimbabwe), the leadership concluded that "the obligation of the upkeep of such an Institution rests as much on them [the country] as on us."77 Cape Town's Jews had paid ninety per cent of the yearly costs and two thirds of the cost of the new Home and felt the country should come up with the remainder.78 Given the challenges of raising adequate sums, fundraising continued over a wide geographic area - both a reflection of the financial reality and of the sense of kinship of Cape Town to other Jewish communities.79 The new home opened in March 1916 with a minimal debt (£800), having raised £5,000, and took in sixteen children.80 Klal Yisrael: international ties It is striking that the SAJC had little discussion of any of the conflicts leading to the First World War and the Orphanage Committee minutes made little mention of the war once it broke out. At the war's end, the President did take time to recognize the Armistice, noting that "although we are not a political Institution at the same time he wished to congratulate the members of the Committee on the Armistice that was just recently signed, which means that the war between our Country &amp; Germany is 76 The community considered Bender the leader of South African Jewry and Bender saw himself as the community's leader. Personal communication with Gwynne Schrire, March 2014, and Shain, Jewry and Cape Society, 9. 77 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC918, J, (Hon. Treasurer) Honickman and Bender to potential donors, 15 June 1915. 78 Ibid., Honickman to President, Riversdale Hebrew Congregation, 28 July 1915. 79 Ibid., Helping Hand Jewish Philanthropic Society to S. Levin, thanking those from Helping Hand in Kimberley for a cheque for £3.18.6, 19 May 1917. 80 SAJC, 17 March 1916.</page><page sequence="18">92 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM practically at an end. He hoped that this will be the last war, &amp; we shall now live in peace for generations at least to come."81 In contrast, news about Jewish communities, especially in England and Eastern Europe, garnered extensive coverage in the SAJC. The 1918 ravages of the Spanish Influenza, with its connections to the war, resulted in a small number of casualties at the orphanage, and the need to care for newly orphaned children.82 It was in the aftermath of the war, however, that the orphanage embarked on a major international mission to assist their co-religionists in Eastern Europe. In 1919, Ochberg, while the president of the orphanage, travelled to Europe and the next year, in August 1920, broached the idea of bringing "pogrom orphans" to South Africa.83 The story of the Ochberg Orphans is one of vision, tzedakah, evidence of the interconnectedness of South Africa's Jews to klal Yisrael (the worldwide Jewish community), but also fissures among South African Jews - a pattern one sees in a variety of charitable endeavours. In introducing the topic, Ochberg "explained that, owing to the War and Pogroms", there were large numbers of destitute Jewish orphans; "indeed, one American Investigation Committee reported that there were at least 300,000 orphans in Eastern Europe."84 Ochberg recommended bringing 50 or 100 orphans to the Cape Jewish Orphanage. They would ask families to adopt the orphans "and as soon as the number brought out be disposed of . . . a further batch of 50 or 100 be brought out. He felt that the feelings amongst the Jewish people were such, that . . . probably 500, or even a thousand, could in time be brought out to this country. The orphanage in this respect would act as a clearing house, and whatever number of children would not be taken away for adoption should remain to be brought up at the Orphanage."85 81 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918, Ai.2, General Committee, Committee Meeting Minutes, 1 Dec. 1918. 82 Spanish Influenza struck Cape Town particularly hard in October 1918; Rosenthal, Story of the Cape Jewish Orphanage, 9; Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, "History of Orphanage", 21st Anniversary Fête Programme, found in minute book, n.d. (c. 1932 or 1933). 83 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Meeting Minutes, 8 Aug. 1920. 84 Ibid. Estimates varied: "Providing a Home for 75 Years", Cape Jewish Chronicle (Dec. 1986), p. ii, placed the estimate at400,000. 85 Cape Jewish Orphanage, BC 918 A1.2, General Meeting Minutes, 8 Aug. 1920.</page><page sequence="19">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 93 Palestine or South Africa Not everyone favoured bringingpogrom orphans to South Africa and some differed over the proper use of the money collected to benefit European children who had lost parents because of the First World War. Several recommended placing the money in the bank until Palestine could receive the children. One writer to the SAJC urged sending the money to Europe - not wasting it on unnecessary expenses - so it could provide immediate benefits to the needy. At least one writer opposed bringing the orphans to South Africa for fear they would become typical Jewish South Africans, who tended to remain ghettoized rather than become South African Jews, whose primary allegiance would be to South Africa.86 However, several members of the Cape Orphanage Committee suggested that "it would be a disgrace to the Jewish community in Cape Town, if they did not act in this matter." The Committee authorized President Ochberg to "formulat[e] a scheme to bring this proposition into effect."87 The Orphanage and the Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War Victims agreed to cooperate "in the matter of bringing out and supporting the orphan sufferers from the War &amp; Pogrom areas in Eastern Europe." The Cape Relief Fund would provide £10,000 and the Orphanage would arrange the transfer of the children from Eastern Europe and take responsibility for caring for the orphans.88 Ochberg and members of the Cape Orphanage committee began fundraising. The SAJC also reported on efforts to collect clothes for starving Jews in Europe.89 Throughout November and December 1920, Isaac Ochberg and J. B. Schaksnovis (sic) toured "outlying towns and villages" to collect money. They canvased communities in the Western Cape; a meeting in Stellenbosch yielded promises of £300 and they expected an additional 200. Those attending meetings in Paarl and Malmesbury each promised £i,ooo.90 Soon after, the pair visited Maitland and Claremont - seeking donations for an extension to the 86 SAJC, 13 Aug. 1920. 87 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Meeting Minutes, 8 Aug. 1920. South African Jews learned of conditions in Russia from a variety of sources including the SAJC; Boiskin, "Ochberg Orphans", 21. 88 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, Minutes of Meeting of Executive Committee of Cape Jewish Orphanage and Delegates of Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War Victims, 10 Aug. 1920. 89 SAJC, 9 March 1920. 90 Ibid., 5 Nov. 1920.</page><page sequence="20">94 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM orphanage.91 In December 1920, Ochberg and Shacksnovis addressed Jewish communities in Simon's Town and Observatory.92 Ochberg had contacted the Prime Minister, Jan Smuts, and received permission to bring an unrestricted number of orphans to South Africa.93 According to Bertha Epstein, Ochberg's daughter, after protracted "consultations with the authorities, with the backing of many influential people of whom General Smuts was one, he was finally granted permission to bring 200 Jewish orphans to South Africa on the condition that the entire Jewish community made themselves responsible for the project and that at no time would these children become a burden to the state."94 Bernard Alexander of Johannesburg received a commitment from the Union Government to match funds raised by the Pogrom Orphan Fund.95 Such communal commitment and enthusiasm speaks to the feeling of connectedness of South Africa's Jews to their European kin. At the February 1921 Annual General Meeting of the Cape Orphanage, Ochberg reviewed past, present, and future policy and "exhorted" those present to do all they could for orphans: "He also touched on the great importance of trying to alleviate the great distress of the Poor Jewish Orphans in Eastern Europe by collecting and bringing some of them out here. ... He thought that to bring them to this happy land would be a great salvation. He therefore appealed to the audience to help the new Committee to carry on the noble work."96 In early March, Ochberg reported they had canvased twenty places in South Africa and, while they had received generous support, they still needed additional donations. In preparation for the orphans' arrival, the management of the orphanage asked for applications from those willing to adopt the orphans. Ochberg planned to leave for Europe that month and bring back the first 100 children at his own expense.97 During this period, the Orphanage moved ahead with plans to purchase adjoining land and add a wing to accommodate the new "pogrom orphans".98 91 Ibid., 26 Nov. 1920. 92 Ibid., 10 Dec. 1920. 93 "Providing a Home for 75 Years", Cape Jewish Chronicle (Dec. 1986); Rosenthal, Story of the Cape Jewish Orphanage, 13. 94 Epstein, This Was A Man, 26. 95 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, Committee Meeting Minutes, 12 Jan. 1921. 96 Ibid., Minutes of Annual General Meeting of Cape Jewish Orphanage, 27 Feb. 1921. 97 SAJC,4Marchi92i. 98 Ibid., ii March 1921.</page><page sequence="21">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 95 By March, the Chair (President) had made the necessary arrangements and proceeded to Europe "to fetch the first batch of orphans."99 Before boarding the Briton, he stopped at the orphanage to say goodbye to the children. Reports described him as very popular and many Jews saw him off at the docks. "'My journey', he told his well-wishers, 'no doubt is connected with many difficulties, but I hope that with the blessing Almighty [sic] I shall be able to overcome everything in the way, and eventually take away the first hundred children from that hell on earth and bring them to this country.'"100 After arriving in London, he planned to travel to "Pogrom Areas in Eastern Europe".101 Community efforts to rescue the orphans - especially fundraising - exposed internal dissension over two related issues within Cape Town's Jewish community. One concerned the joint fundraising campaign with the Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War Victims to save Eastern European children. The other was over the destination for these children - South Africa or Palestine. Those who favoured Palestine fell into two categories. A majority had an ideological commitment to the building up of Palestine; a smaller group thought that allowing children to go to Palestine was necessary given the increased antisemitism emerging in South Africa. The records indicate that this was a deeply emotional issue. In April, the SAJC reported that Rabbi Dr. Landau (the rabbi of the Jo- hannesburg Hebrew Congregation and prominent religious leader, also known by the English title Reverend) had returned to Johannesburg from Palestine, where he had visited "splendid orphanages". The newspaper agreed with Landau that orphans should go to Palestine where they would receive excellent care and "be brought up in the best traditions of their re- ligion". Not only was such a plan much less expensive (care in Palestine would amount to between £3 10s and £4, half what it would cost in South Africa) but retention of religion would also be more likely in Palestine. "We do not wish", they argued "only to save these unfortunate children for humanity, but we also want to retain their adherence to Judaism and we certainly can best achieve that object by paying for the sustenance of these orphans in a country where the environment shall be such as is calculated 99 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, Committee Meeting Minutes, 2 March 1921. 100 SAJC, 24 March 1921. 101 Oranjia Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 J, Correspondence, Pres. and Hon. Treasurer to Manager, African Banking Corporation, Ltd, Cape Town, 1 March 1921.</page><page sequence="22">96 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM to make Jews and Jewesses rather than bring them to South Africa where everything is against the retention of their religion."102 The SAJC argued that everyone knew that it was impossible to hire teachers if one lived on Jewish farms and in small dorps. Therefore, orphans would get better reli- gious education in Palestine than in South Africa. Further, Jewish families raised children in many different ways. While the paper anticipated that the children could expect sympathy from adoptive families, they feared that some foster parents would focus on a good return on their investment and "will tend to rigorous treatment and Spartan feeding." They hoped that the needs of the orphans would be paramount.103 In the end, it ap- pears that families "adopted" less than half the children.104 Meanwhile, differences of opinion over the proper home for orphans became increasingly divisive during the first half of 1921. In March, the Orphanage had received a letter from the Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War Victims inviting them to a May conference for all congregations, societies, and associations interested in the Fund.105 The Orphanage was working with the Fund and understood that money raised would support the transfer of additional "Pogrom Orphans" to South Africa. Two leaders from the Orphanage attended the conference at which they learned "that the most important business of the Conference was to change the name of the Fund" and thus its purpose. The Cape Orphanage contended that the organizers had not carried out the conference properly. They had failed to invite a number of societies and passed a motion to change the name of the fund from the Pogrom Orphan Fund to one that supported "the settlement of Orphans in Palestine". 106 As the Orphanage was committed to bringing the children to "sunny South Africa", they did not want to cooperate with fundraising at odds with their goal. Furthermore, they resented being invited to a meeting whose agenda seemed to have changed. Various 102 SAJC, i April 1921. 103 Ibid. 104 "Memories of Claire Klein (Chaya Bernfeld)", as cited by David Solly Sandler, ed., The Ochberg Orphans and the Horrors from Whence they Came : The Rescue in 1921 of 181 Jewish Orphans by Isaac Ochberg, the Representative of the South African Jewish Community , from the Horrors of the "Pale o/Settlement" (Wanneroo, Western Australia: David Solly Sandler, 2011), 143. Of those cared for by families, apparently about half took the names of their "adoptive" families. Email communication with David Solly Sandler, 19 March 2014. 105 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 J, Correspondence, Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War Victims to various organizations, 29 March 1921. 106 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, Committee Meeting Minutes, Delegate Report, War Victim Funďs Conference, May 1921.</page><page sequence="23">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 97 meetings followed and, ultimately, the two organizations ended their joint fundraising efforts. By mid-April, Ochberg was travelling in "darkest Russia" where he had "made all possible inquiries and investigations short of visiting the actual places." He then planned to travel to the areas where orphans resided, though he expected "a good deal of trouble and labour" and that it would be many months before he returned to Cape Town "with his rescued children."107 While many sources maintain that Ochberg collected only children who had lost both parents, a number of children had a surviving parent who felt incapable of providing support.108 At least one mother expressed regret that she allowed Ochberg to take two of her children to South Africa, and claimed that she thought she was to accompany them on the voyage. When she learned that she was to remain behind, she asked Ochberg to return her children, but he refused because he had already obtained theirvisas.109 Several months later, in August, the Orphanage received a cable from President Ochberg. He had collected several hundred orphans. He also notified the Committee that he had bought beds in Europe and was bringing them back to South Africa. Ochberg gratefully acknowledged the help he had received from very a charitable "lady", Madam Regina Engel, from Warsaw. Ochberg arranged temporary shelter in Warsaw for 233 children, though 37 children ran away - occasionally splitting siblings - and others became ill. The children travelled from Warsaw to London, staying at the Jews' Temporary Shelter in the East End.110 Ochberg's efforts garnered international attention. Reports about the rescue project appeared in newspapers in London, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Rhodesia (now Zimba- bwe), including several Jewish papers. They described the horrors the children had experienced and explained that support from the Cape Orphanage and the Trustees of the Jewish War Victims and Orphans' Fund (sic) in Johannesburg meant that the children would live with Jewish families in South Africa and be raised as British citizens - an 107 SAJC, 29 April 1921. 108 See letter from Chaya Noydutsh, trans. J. Goldfarb and V. Belling, in Sandler, Ochberg Orphans and the Horrorsfrom Whence they Came , 96. 109 Feiga Mirel Shamis, Shalom Shalom My Dear Children, cited in Sandler, Ochberg Orphans and the Horrorsfrom Whence they Came, 137. no "An Unique Meeting in Cape Town", SAJC, 19 Dec. 1952, cited in Sandler, Ochberg Orphans and the Horrorsfrom Whence they Came, 123.</page><page sequence="24">98 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM additional indication of the international identity of many South African Jews.111 In the end, Ochberg brought 167 children to South Africa, approx- imately 78 of whom went to Johannesburg and the rest to the Cape Orphanage; a few came to South Africa a year later. The children, all aged under nine, travelled in "specialised accommodation" on the Edinburgh Castle,112 accompanied by Messrs Stuart Solomon, Charles Leake, and Isaac Ochberg. The first contingent would receive care from the Jewish Orphanage at Johannesburg and the Cape Town trustees of the Jewish War Victims and Orphans Fund.113 Recollections of Ochberg suggest great warmth existed between him and the children.114 The children referred to him as "Daddy Ochberg".115 Becky Greenberg, an "Ochberg Orphan", described him as "a honey, he was like a father to us."116 In an interview in the SĄJC, Ochberg explained that the children were "all victims of pogroms and that he found them roaming the towns and forests, filthy, naked and starving." He located many in orphanages. The children had experienced "horrible atrocities" which included "seeing their parents buried alive or otherwise tortured before being killed." Gathering the children and arranging their emigration involved "considerable risk". The SAJC recognized the role of South African Jewry for its "practical help in removing the children from a land where they suffered intolerably, to a land where they have every hope ofbecomingusefulmembers ofsociety."117 As the leaders of the Cape Jewish Orphanage prepared for the arrival of the new orphans, the acting chair proposed that the community arrange "a hearty welcome" for Ochberg at City Hall and invite prominent hi Sandler, Ochbera Orphans and the Horrors from Whence theu Came, 107-14. 112 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Committee Meeting Minutes, 1 Sept. 1921. 113 SAJC, 2 Sept. 1921. 114 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, Committee Meeting Min- utes 1918-1922, Monthly General Committee Meeting, 21 Aug. 1921. In the same period, the us, Germany, and South Africa sent food and clothing to Warsaw to aid poor com- munities in the Ukraine and Galicia. "Providing a Home for 75 Years", Cape Jewish Chronicle (Dec. 1986). The Joint Distribution Committee and the Juedischer Hilfsverein provided support for orphanages in places such as Brest-Litovsk; Rosenthal, Story 0/ the Cape Jewish Orphanage, 14, 15, 17. 115 Charlotte Cohen, "Connections and Recollections: Remembrances of an Ochberg Orphan", Jewish Affairs 62, no. 1 (Pesach, 2007): 45. 116 Personal interview with Mrs. Becky Greenberg, Cape Town, 5 Aug. 1992, cited in Boiskin, "Ochberg Orphans", 22. 117 SAJC, 2 Sept. 1921.</page><page sequence="25">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 99 citizens.118 The leadership of the Orphanage expected and received acceptance and approval beyond the confines of the Jewish community. They wired Johannesburg requesting them to send delegates to Cape Town "to meet the steamer so that they may take immediate charge of the children intended for Johannesburg."119 While the SAJC had expressed a preference for the children to settle in Palestine, they offered their congratulations to the organizers. They reminded the community that costs would be ongoing and encouraged the Committee to be cognizant of unemployment when asking for contributions. They were especially keen to raise the children as good Jews, so that they would be good citizens of South Africa and the British Empire - and a credit to those who saved them. Only time would reveal the success of the venture.120 In October, Ochberg resumed his role as chair of Oranjia. He reported that his experiences led him to conclude "that it was essential to take the Orphan children away from their miserable homes in Russia &amp; bring them to a free country, preferably South Africa to Palestine."121 To meet the need, Ochberg proposed that they raise £25,000 and add an isolation wing. The community seems to have demonstrated support and Shacksnovis highlighted the plight of Jews in Eastern Europe, describing mothers who brought starving children to "fever-stricken areas in order that they might die". Louis Gradner (who served as Mayor from 1933 to 1935) moved that the meeting approve a campaign to raise £25,000, which they passed.122 Challenges, however, surfaced and after blaming several "gentlemen" from the War Relief Fund for disrupting a meeting, the Orphanage deferred the fundraising campaign.123 Additional strains emerged during discussion of finances, exposing resentment and distrust from some Orphanage supporters. At a crowded meeting on u November 1921, at the Old Synagogue, applause followed when a member of the audience asked for a balance sheet with details of expenditures over the previous six months. Ochberg, who occupied the 118 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Committee Meeting Minutes, 1 Sept. 1921. 119 Ibid., Committee Meeting Minutes, Meeting of the Reception Sub-Committee, 4 Sept. 1921. 120 SAJC, 23 Sept. 1921. 121 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Committee Meeting Minutes, 5 Oct. 1921. 122 SAJC, 28 Oct. 1921. 123 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage Collection, BC 918 A1.2, General Committee Meeting Minutes, 2 Nov. 1921.</page><page sequence="26">100 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM chair, responded that the question "could be answered at the proper time." Others argued thatOchberg should provide the requested information as rumours had emerged that the Orphanage "had pots of money in hand. It had even been stated that £37,000 had been collected before Mr. Ochberg had left London. The Jewish community was not a lot of 'blithering idiots'. It could be led but it could not be driven. They wanted to know where they stood, what they had in hand and what they had spent. They had a right to know."124 Communal meetings indicate that community members had competing goals for fundraising and these differences aroused a vocal response. Some in the Jewish community wanted to support Jews in Eastern Europe; others favoured assisting children, but sending them to Palestine. Many stressed the need to provide proper care for those they had already brought to South Africa, which led to the heated exchange just noted. Someone in the audience asked: "Why don't you give them away?" which generated loud applause. In his response, Mr. Kadish explained that "they had brought those children out of misery, and he was not going to send them into misery again." Ochberg, whether committed to the original purpose of the meeting or resistant to challenges to his authority, told those assembled that he was willing to call a special meeting but that the current meeting was not the time or place; they had not called the meeting to discuss finances.125 Challenges to the committee continued. Someone else in the audience complained that the intended use of the £25,000 was unclear. While the orphanage had to look after the children, South African Jews "had to consider the hundreds of thousands of starving children in the Ukraine." Then one speaker, a Mr. Goodman, moved that the meeting "wholeheartedly" support the £25,000 campaign and that the money "collected be vested in a special committee consisting of representatives of the Cape Jewish Orphanage and the Cape Relief Fund for Jewish War and Pogrom Victims [sic], which consists of delegates from the Cape Jewish institutions; that the special committee shall act as an executive committee in all matters affecting Jewish war and pogrom orphans here and elsewhere."126 Another member of the audience argued that if the chairman did not put forward a motion to raise £25,000 for the various needs, "he would make a great blunder" and that "there was a very large 124 SAJC, ii Nov. 1921. 125 Ibid. 126 Ibid.</page><page sequence="27">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 101 section of Jews in South Africa who felt that instead of bringing out more orphans from Ukraine or Poland to South Africa, they should be sent to Palestine, which would cost less, and at the same time they would be brought up better Jews and Jewesses."127 In an effort to resolve the matter, a Committee member, a Mr. Fried- lander, suggested that they adjourn for two weeks and have a "round table conference" at which they could work out an agreement and various organizations would meet to discuss the situation. Ochberg was clearly disappointed and "regret[ted] that the meeting had not been of the nature they would have liked, and that it had terminated so abruptly without accomplishing what they had in view." He hoped that those who had gathered would continue their work "and that when they met again they would do so with a better understanding."128 Nonetheless, Ochberg stepped down as the president of the £25,000 campaign. TWo weeks later, the Committee announced that at their annual general meeting they would elect officers and approve the balance sheet. They planned to publish a full report in 1922 and, in response to the controversies involving the orphanage, would include a special report because '"certain persons have spread false rumours which have greatly prejudiced the welfare of the Cape Jewish Orphanage and the raising of funds on its behalf.'"129 The report included an attached letter from Ochberg with details of expenditures associated with collecting the pogrom orphans. They refuted charges of careless financial management and showed that Ochberg "personally bore the expense of his journey and defrayed other expenses."130 Over the next few months, the Orphanage discussed plans to bring over additional orphans. While the Orphanage favoured bringing children to South Africa rather than Palestine, it offered some support for Zionism, despite conflict with Zionists who wanted children sent to Palestine. In January 1922, Ochberg reported on the Zionist conference he attended in Johannesburg, which he described as "an absolute success and a pleasure for any national Jew to be there. Also that Dr Shmarya Levin is a great man and well worth hearing".131 He was "proud that we had agreed to 12 7 Ibid. 128 Ibid. 129 SAJC, 25 Nov. 1921. 130 Ibid. 131 Oranjia Cape Jewish Orphanage, BC 918 A1.2, Monthly Committee Meeting Minutes, Meeting of General Committee, 24 Jan. 1922.</page><page sequence="28">102 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM affiliate ourselves to the Zionist Federation." Clearly gratified by South Africa's efforts and perhaps a little anxious to receive credit, Ochberg further explained that while he did not oppose the efforts to bring Pogrom Orphans to Palestine, he "pointed out that we [in South Africa] were the first who started the movement of taking the Pogrom Orphans away from their miserable home in Eastern Europe." Since the Zionist conference strongly favoured bringing some of the children to Palestine, Ochberg thought the Orphanage might ask the Zionists for a "percentage of their funds as their appeal will interfere with our work."132 By May 1922, a significant majority of the Orphanage Committee supported a proposal to rescue more orphans. The Chair "pointed out that we have a great responsibility before us. There are thousands of children to be saved, &amp; ifwe have the opportunity of saving a few unfortunate orphans by bringing them to this sunny land by all means let us bring them. We have room in the Home for them &amp; why should we have empty beds when there are so many Jewish children lying starving in the gutters in E Europe." TWo Board members opposed the scheme. Both wanted to save children but argued that they should "either feed &amp; clothe them in Eastern Europe or take them to Palestine." They pointed out that "the last batch of Orphans to this country" had led to the recent increase in antisemitism and additional pogrom orphans would interfere with the immigration of other Jews from Russia. It seemed prudent to postpone consideration of the matter for four to six months.133 The Committee debated a postponement. Several speakers felt that they should act on the opportunity. One committee member argued that the public would object to using money raised for bringing children to South Africa to settle them in Palestine. In an effort to find a compromise, the Chair suggested that the Orphanage agree to the principle "of bringing further children here but we should leave them on the other side until the country has quietened down and the time is ripe for bringing them here." The Committee then proposed that the Orphanage establish and fund a temporary home "in Eastern Europe for a number ofjewish Pogrom &amp; War Orphans" and bring them to South Africa at an opportune time. Only one committee member objected.134 Both the ties to South Africa and world Jewry, and competing priorities emerge in these discussions. At the May 1922 Annual Members' Meeting, Ochberg pressed the 132 Ibid. 133 Ibid., Monthly Committee Meeting Minutes, 12 May 1922. 134 Ibid.</page><page sequence="29">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 103 members to assist "some of the other unfortunate ones still left, on the other side". He explained to the gathering that he did not oppose moving children from Eastern Europe to Palestine; in fact, he favoured it, "but at the same time as there is a special organisation for this purpose why should we interfere with their work". He asked the meeting to vote on the resolution to establish a temporary home. A long discussion ensued. Those favouring Palestine and concerned about growing antisemitism argued against bringing more orphans to South Africa. Clearly exercised over this, Ochberg reminded those gathered that in rejecting the current motion "they would be committing a serious wrong to the suffering children of our race in Eastern Europe." While Ochberg thought it was more practical to bring the children "to this free country", he promised that "if South African Jewry decides by majority to take them to Palestine and not to bring them out here he would be quite in favour of sending them to Palestine and would give such movement his heartiest support." The meeting then voted to refer the whole matter back to the Committee, indefinitely postponing the removal of additional orphans.135 Without doubt, Ochberg was disappointed and could not understand the vote at the annual meeting. A month later, the discussion continued over sending money to Eastern Europe.136 In the end, internal divisions and challenges on the Eastern European side made it impossible to bring more orphans to South Africa. Concern about financial management continued. Early in January 1923, Kadish responded to a letter published in the SAJC that claimed that the new Eastern European Director-Secretary of the Cape Jewish Orphanage was receiving an annual salary of £750, with a promise of £1,000 once joined by his wife. Kadish, annoyed that the paper had not checked the facts, replied that the person must have grudge, as the new director - who was very good and "giving every satisfaction" - should not be attacked. He earned less than half of the alleged £750 and there was no chance that he would receive £1,000. While the paper apologized and voiced their view that the Orphanage was a "splendid institution", they urged the Cape Orphanage to publish details of the salary.137 Alongside controversy, nevertheless, the Orphanage continued to respond to new needs of the children. In January 1923, they opened a hospital. According to Rev. Bender, commitment to the Orphanage demonstrated the "well- 135 Ibid., Annual Members Meeting, 14 May 1922. 136 Ibid., Monthly Committee Meeting Minutes, 18 June 1922. 137 SAJC, 12 Jan. 1923.</page><page sequence="30">104 SUSAN L. TANANBAUM known spirit of charity, which existed among the Jewish people the world over".138 Cape Town's Jews demonstrated their commitment to klal Yisrael not only by sending relief money abroad but by "bring[ing] a portion of the tortured orphans of the pogrom areas" to South Africa, where they would "bring them up as their own". That work "had aroused the cordial admiration of all engaged in humanitarian work." The success of the work was evident, as the children "were developing into healthy and splendid types ofjewish youth, of whom not only the Jewish community, but South Africa also, would be proud."139 Cape Town's Jews remained active in charities that aided Eastern European Jews. Ochberg had served as the representative of South African Jewish relief organizations at the Jewish World Relief Conference held in Russia in November 1922. He reported that the Russian Jewish community was '"totally ruined"' and it was especially heartbreaking to see the situation of intellectuals - men of science - dressed in rags applying for assistance.140 Contributions to the "Save the Jewish Children Fund" helped support Eastern European orphans, and South African Jews hoped to expand their activities.141 In May, Ochberg returned to South Africa. Rev. Bender welcomed him back from his difficult and dangerous, "high and noble adventure." According to Bender, Ochberg "not only brought honour to the Jewish community of South Africa, but to all Anglo- Jewry."142 In addition to praising Ochberg, Bender commented on terrible conditions in Russia that had resulted from the war. Soon after his return, the committee held a dinner in honour of President and Mrs. Ochberg. While in the Ukraine, Ochberg opened a Cape Jewish Orphanage Kitchen to feed 150 starving children. He received the thanks of acting President Kadish for "entering typhus-ridden areas of the Ukraine" to help fellow Jews. Ochberg reported that his negotiations to bring out the balance of the 250 children, for whom he had secured permission from the South African Union Government, had not proven fruitful.143 These efforts demonstrate the connectedness of Jews the world over. The SAJC emphasized the need for South African Jews to raise money to help in Europe. They encouraged British Jews to do the same. They praised 138 Ibid., 26 Jan. 1923. 139 Ibid. 140 SAJC, 16 March 1923. 141 Ibid., 6 April 1923. 142 Ibid., 18 May 1923. 143 Ibid.</page><page sequence="31">Cape Town's Jewish Orphanage 105 Ochberg, who gave time as well as money, and reported that he was en route to Johannesburg to update them on his Ukrainian mission "and to arrange for co-operation between the S.A. Orphanage and its sister- institution at the Cape."144 Yet tensions between Johannesburg and Cape Town suggest competition between the two communities. Landau's role vis-à-vis South African Jewry also suggests the kinds of fissures within South Africa's Jewish community. In 1928, for example, references to Landau as the Chief Rabbi aroused ire in some circles, particularly in Cape Town.145 The friction diminished when "the Executives of the Board and of the United Hebrew Congregation of Johannesburg" agreed to the recommendation "that a statement be issued to the constituent bodies and the Jewish press to the effect that Dr. J. L. Landau is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of Johannesburg and of the Federation of Synagogues of the Witwatersrand."146 Rivalry between Cape Town and Johannesburg for recognition as the most important centre of Jewish life increased as Johannesburg's community grew in size and stature. As the history and controversies indicate, the Cape Jewish Orphanage offers a rich window for understanding the complex identity of South African Jews in the early twentieth century. It demonstrates the strong ties and identification of Jews with the Cape Colony and Cape Province. An analysis of the Orphanage also offers a lens through which to view the larger national associations of Cape Town's Jews and intracommunal tensions. Moreover, a study of the Orphanage highlights the deep and enduring attachments of South African Jewry to their co-religionists around the world. While local needs were most influential, South African Jews' ties to Britain, Europe, and Palestine played a key role in formulating their priorities and the social services they provided. This micro-study of a single institution in a small Jewish community underscores the interconnected nature of those local, national, and international Jewish concerns. 144 Ibid., 15 June 1923. 145 Ibid., 6 April 1928. 146 J.D.B. News Letter, 16 Dec. 1928, letter-244#ixzz2wcYh6CEz (accessed 22 March 2014).</page></plain_text>

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