Jews in Rhodesia



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Encyclopaedia Judaica

Jews in Rhodesia

Jewish immigration from Russia, Lithuania and Rhodes - Jewish communities - racist anti-Muslim Herzl Zionism

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia, vol. 14,
                col. 148, map with the Jewish communities of 1971
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia, vol. 14, col. 148, map with the Jewish communities of 1971

from: Rhodesia ; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 14

presented by Michael Palomino (2008 / 2010)ggg

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<RHODESIA, formerly the British colony of Southern Rhodesia.

[since 1894: Jews from Russia, Lithuania and Rhodes]

Organized Jewish life in Rhodesia goes back to 1894 when about 20 Jews were among the purchasers of land in Bulawayo. They established a congregation there in that year, followed by another in *Salisbury in 1895. A third congregation, which, however, has remained small was established in Gwelo in 1901. Individual Jewish traders had penetrated north of the Limpopo 35 years earlier, and a number of Jews were in the occupation column that Cecil Rhodes sent to Salisbury in 1890 as well as in the fighting columns of 1893 and 1896.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in
              Rhodesia, vol.14, col.149: The synagogue of the Bulawayo
              Hebrew Congregation, foundation stone laid in 1897. Photo
              Camera Craft, Bulawayo
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia, vol.14, col.149: The synagogue of the Bulawayo Hebrew Congregation,
foundation stone laid in 1897. Photo Camera Craft, Bulawayo

An important role in the development of Rhodesia was played by Alfred *Beit. The majority of the Jewish settles were of Russian and Lithuanian origin, although later on an appreciable number of Sephardim came from the Aegean island of Rhodes.

The earliest settlers came up from the south, some by way of the east coast through Portuguese Beira. Joe van Praag, who later became mayor of Salisbury, is known to have walked from Beira. There was a small influx of German refugees in the late 1930s, and during the period of prosperity after World War II a considerable number of South African and English Jews settled in Rhodesia.

[Jewish communal life in Rhodesia]

The Jewish settlers founded newspapers and were largely responsible for pioneering efforts in transportation systems, mining, the tobacco industry, cattle and produce marketing, furniture and clothing industries, and the hotel business. As the population began to grow and disperse, a number of synagogues were established.

[Figures]

Census figures show the development of the Rhodesian Jewish population:

there were 400 Jews in 1900
1,289 in 1921
2,219 in 1936
4,760 in 1951
7,060 in 1961,
followed by a drop to approximately 5,500 in 1968.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Rhodesia,
              vol.14, col.149: the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of
              Rhodesia, Salisbury, established 1931. Photo Ilo,
              Salisbury
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Rhodesia, vol.14, col.149: the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Rhodesia, Salisbury, established 1931. Photo Ilo, Salisbury


The two main Jewish centers are Bulawayo and Salisbury, the latter gradually overtaking the former; in 1971 each had about 2,500 Jews. There are also congregations in Gatooma, Gwelo, and Que Que.

[Racist anti-Muslim Herzl Zionism in Rhodesia]

In 1943 two nationwide organizations were established, the Rhodesian Zionist Council and the Rhodesian Jewish Board of Deputies, both including what was then Northern Rhodesia (see *Zambia). Rhodesian Jewry has demonstrated its racist anti-Muslim Zionist orientation both in fund raising and aliyah. (col. 148)

[[Rights of the Arabs don't exist in Zionist ideology, but the aim is a "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates and the Arabs can be driven away as the natives in the "USA" had been driven away, or as slaves]].

[Independence]

More recently very active groups of *Benei Akiva have been established in Bulawayo and Salisbury. Beefore Rhodesia declared independence, the Israel consulate-general in Johannesburg, South Africa, also served Rhodesia. Since (Southern) Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence, however, Israel, in common with most of the other nations in the world, does not maintain any diplomatic relations with Rhodesia.

Local community institutions include synagogues (Orthodox and Progressive), welfare organizations, nursery schools, Jewish day schools, a home for the aged, and sports clubs.

Bibliography
M.I. Cohen: in: South African Jewish Year Book (1929). [[1969?]]

[M.WAG.]





Sources
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia,
                        vol. 14, col. 148
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia, vol. 14, col. 148
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia,
                        vol. 14, col. 149
Encyclopaedia Judaica: Jews in Rhodesia, vol. 14, col. 149


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