Jewish businesses in Ceres
An article about the number of Jewish general dealers in Ceres, who dealt in a wide variety of stock including boots and shoes, clothing, drapery as well as groceries and farm produce and even farm machinery. See also the Images page for a gallery of photos of and advertisements for these businesses.
The Tikvah Zion Society in Ceres was founded by Abraham Hillel Miller and Lazarus Goldberg in 1898, the same year the South African Zionist Federation was formed, and became one of its first affiliated societies. By 1902, meetings were taking place at half-yearly intervals, and Ceres was represented at a Zionist meeting held at the Good Hope Hall in Cape Town. However, on 7 May 1908, the SAJBD was notified that the Ceres Zionist Association had been dissolved. In February 1920 Mr J Markowitz, president of the Junior Zionist Society of Cape Town, gave an inspiring address in Ceres which resulted in the resuscitation of a Zionist Society. In April that year Mr Sebba, president of the Ceres Zionist Society, expressed his thanks to the British government and to General Smuts for their effort in restoring Palestine as a Jewish national home. In July a thanksgiving service and banquet was held by the society at the residence of Mr and Mrs Frank Fish.
A Chevra Kadisha was formed by 1907 as part of the Hebrew congregation. In 1911 the Ceres Chevra Kadisha was established as a separate society under the chairmanship of Mr G Epstein. On his committee were M Katzeff, G Kling, M Polusky and M Mints.
The name of the Ladies Benevolent Society first crops up in the 1920s. At this time, much of its fundraising was for congregational needs. In 1924 the society paid for the land on which the communal hall was later built. They also assisted the congregation to reduce its bank overdraft. By the late 1920s, the ladies were holding annual fundraising balls.
The Ceres-Wolseley branch of Bnoth Zion was established in 1929 with Mrs Jane Sarembock, Mrs Amalie Sebba and Mrs Elizabeth Sarembock as the committee. At some stage the society also included members from Wolseley and Tulbagh. In 1966 they amalgamated with the Union of Jewish Women until 1970, when the UJW ceased to exist in the town. Mrs Cynthia Batten and Mrs Gladys Fish were co-chairmen. When the 29 September 1969 earthquake struck the societies were in session at Mrs Minnie Yamey’s home.
The Ceres-Wolseley branch of the Union Jewish Women was established in January 1941. In 1952 the society had nine members. However, by 1969, after joining ranks with the Bnoth Zion, there were twenty members. The society ceased its activities locally in 1970.
The Ceres Young Israel Society was founded in 1924 by Mr I Solomon of Wellington. Its name was changed in 1925 to the Maccabean Society. The following year the society rented the land on which a communal hall was to be built, using it as a tennis court. It appears that the names Maccabean Association and Young Israel Society were used interchangeably. In December 1936, a combined Society picnic was arranged at Bain’s Kloof with the Paarl and Worcester Societies.