History of the SAJBD

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is the central representative institution of the South African Jewish community. Most of the country’s religious congregations, Jewish societies and institutions and student bodies are affiliated to it. Its members are elected by the affiliate organisations at regional conferences and meet regularly to discuss and act upon issues of Jewish concern.

The SAJBD has a long and proud record of service to South African Jewry stretching back well over a century. It was founded in the Transvaal in 1903 and the Cape in 1904, “to watch and take action, with reference to all matters affecting the welfare of Jews as a community”; the two entities merged into one body in 1912 shortly after the Union of  South Africa was created in 1910.

Over the years, the Board has intervened with the authorities to prevent Jewish immigrants suffering discrimination or disability on account of their religion, combating antisemitism and resolving conflicts within the Jewish community. In recent years, it has worked to help Jews adjust to post-apartheid South Africa and to be active and contributing participants in building a just, prosperous society.