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As South African Jewry Dwindles, Its National Groups Move Together

The three leading Jewish organizations in South Africa are reacting to declining demographics and financial strains by creating a joint umbrella group.

The decision signed last week by the leaders of the three major South African Jewish organizations — the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African Zionist Federation and the Israel United Appeal-United Communal Fund – – comes as South Africa’s Jewish community, which numbered about 130,000 at its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, now ranges between 80,000 and 90,000.

If smaller Jewish organizations “are not in financial difficulty now, they will be in the future,” said Errol Goodman, chief executive officer of the new organization, Beyachad, or together, who attributed the financial troubles to emigration.

Beyachad’s offices will be in a predominantly Jewish suburb, close to a number of synagogues and kosher shops.

Each organization will retain its autonomy, while Beyachad will control the administration, marketing and accounting departments. A number of satellite organizations will be housed in the building, which will also include a small shul, museum, exhibition area, auditorium, meeting rooms and a space for youth movements.

The formal launch of Beyachad is scheduled for September.

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