Message from Chairman Marco van Embden

Welcome to the Friends of the UJC Cape Town. If you are currently living out of town, elsewhere in South Africa or further abroad, this website has been designed with you in mind.

We welcome you back to our lovely shores and to the vibrant Jewish community that exists in Cape Town. I have no doubt that you share my passion for the beauty and warmth of our City and for the well-being of its Jewish members and institutions.

With this in mind, we created the Friends of the UJC Cape Town, in 2009. We wanted to provide an opportunity for those who do not reside here all year round, to forge a sense of community and to celebrate Cape Town and its Jewish life.

I am pleased to report that since those humble beginnings, we have grown in terms of numbers of Friends to over 800.

All the donations we have received thus far have been invested in the David Susman Community Foundation which has grown significantly and has been created to stand as a stabilization fund in case of need.

We have held eleven memorable functions, at which our Friends have socialised with each other and inspired us with their goodwill and generosity.

This year we celebrated our 11th event at the spectacular venue – the Ovenstone Homestead at Stellenberg Gardens in Kenilworth. Once again we enjoyed the support of Patrons and Friends from all over the world.

If you are already a regular to our end-of-year event, or if you feel you would like to join us, we would love to hear from you. I can be contacted on or +27 (0)21 464 6700.

With warm Cape Town regards

About The Friends of the UJC Cape Town

The Friends of the UJC Cape Town was conceived with the aim of welcoming South Africans who live outside of Cape Town to local Jewish communal affairs. Most of these visitors gather here each summer to see family and friends, enjoy the beauty and facilities of the city and meet with other holidaymakers, many of whom have established homes in the city. Jewish life in Cape Town offers unique and varied facilities to locals and visitors alike and Friends see the importance of investing in and supporting the community to safeguard its future existence. These are the people who commit themselves to becoming Friends of the UJC.

The United Jewish Campaign (UJC) is the one umbrella fundraising body for the entire Cape Town communal infrastructure. The UJC supports over 35 Jewish beneficiary organisations in the areas of welfare, culture and education as well as the Israel United Appeal. All contributions from the Friends of the UJC go to the David Susman Community Foundation (Community Foundation). In the event that the UJC cannot meet its financial commitments, any shortfall is made up from the income of investments from the Community Foundation.

Special mention must be made of the Friends of the UJC’s magnanimous patrons whose extraordinary philanthropy has inspired others to support the Friends of the UJC Cape Town.

Patrons include:

  • Mick & Barbara Davis
  • Bob & Renee Drake-Bloch
  • David & Merle Horwitz
  • Vivian Imerman
  • In memoriam, Sol & Rose Kantor by their sons
  • Sol Kerzner
  • Frances Kirsh
  • Natie Kirsh
  • Sean & Lindy Melnick
  • Moshal Family
  • Roy & Sue Peires
  • Eric Samson
  • Sheila Samson
  • Doug & Carolyn Smollan
  • Rachel Velkes
  • The Meyer Hirsch Goldschmidt Foundation

Our Journey

About the annual end-of-year event for Friends

At the end of each year when many of the Friends of the UJC are in Cape Town, a very special event is planned where Friends are invited to gather and meet their peers and local top donors.

The event is held in a unique venue; there are interesting speakers and entertainment and Friends are invited to support the Cape Town Jewish Community.

Previous guest speakers have included Mick Davis, Sol Kerzner, Natie Kirsh, Helen Zille, Vivian Imerman, Stephen Koseff, Frances Kirsh, Doug Smollan and Mark Coetzee.

Venues have been Leeuwenhof, the home of the Premier of the Western Cape, the Green Point Stadium, the One & Only Hotel, the Green Point Urban Park, the Herbert Baker-styled home of the Fabians, the Piazza of the Hatfield Street Jewish Community Centre, the Croquet Lawn overlooking the V&A Waterfront, the Galerie de la Banque, the iconic Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and the Norval Foundation Art Museum. The 2019 venue was the Ovenstone Homestead at Stellenberg Gardens in Kenilworth.

The main focus of the annual event is to ensure a sustainable future for the Cape Town Jewish community and to celebrate Jewish Life in the Mother City. The proceeds of the Friends of the UJC Cape Town support the David Susman Community Foundation (Community Foundation).

These funds, which have been invested by Investec, have grown tremendously since inception and are well managed by a highly qualified Board of Trustees. The Foundation is crucial to the Cape Town Jewish community, as it is a protection mechanism against any future adversity which may befall it.

Our efforts so far have been highly successful and we have built up a community of over 800 individuals of whom approximately 180 attend our exclusive annual function and pledge their support to the Community Foundation.

We would like to make special mention of and thank our generous annual sponsor Investec, who have supported every event since inception 11 years ago.

The annual summer party of the Friends of UJC Cape Town

30 December 2019

The Setting

Guests gathered from around the globe on Monday 30th December for the 11th anniversary celebration party of the Friends of the UJC Cape Town (Friends). Overseas and Johannesburg-based Patrons and Friends attended this wonderful evening.

The event, which has become a highlight of the summer season in Cape Town, was held at the magnificent Stellenberg Estate, gardens and home of Andrew and Sandy Ovenstone.

On arrival at the Gardens, pre-arranged private tours were conducted by Sandy Ovenstone and her head gardener. Guests mingled with others from far and wide and enjoyed the ambience at this magnificent location.

Four talented Herzlia musicians: Benji Anstey, Gabriel Sieff, Adam Selikowitz & Gabriel Dubb entertained guests upon arrival and within the garden tour. Acoustic Element provided background music during canapés and drinks. 

Guests were treated to gourmet food of the highest calibre, catered by Avron Almeleh of Avrons and Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs.


Alan Silverman welcomed guests to Cape Town and introduced Andrew Ovenstone, owner of Stellenberg, who gave a history of Stellenberg Homestead and Gardens. Jonathan Bloch, Director of Investec Wealth & Investment spoke on behalf of the bank and the Friends’ ongoing partnership with them.

Marco Van Embden, Chairman of Friends and the David Susman Community Foundation (Community Foundation) addressed the guests and shared the successful 11 year journey, with the main focus being ensuring support for the sustainable future of the Cape Town Jewish community and to celebrate Jewish Life in the Mother City. Please click here for a transcript of the speech.


We were honoured that many of the Patrons of the Friends of the UJC Cape Town were able to attend this year along with members of their families. They included – Anthony and Lauren Moshal, Frances and Natie Kirsh and their daughters Wendy Fisher and Linda Mirels.

We thank our Patrons, Donors and Loyal Supporters, and believe that the Friends of the UJC Cape Town and the Community Foundation will continue to grow from strength to strength.

To view our gallery of pictures from this event, please click here.

Video Highlights from 2019

Video Highlights from 2018

A special edition newspaper was created for the event:

The David Susman Community Foundation

The proceeds of the Friends of the UJC Cape Town support the David Susman Community Foundation (Community Foundation). It is the Community Foundation that will step in, in the event that the community is unable to raise sufficient resources locally to sustain the Jewish Welfare and Communal organisations in Cape Town. This Foundation is crucial to the sustainability of the Cape Town Jewish community as it is a protection against any future adversity that may befall the community.

The Community Foundation also supports strategic initiatives, which will ensure the strength and longevity of the Cape Town Jewish community.

Innovative projects and ideas are provided with seed funding in order to ensure that new and relevant ideas are permeating the community. Thus, the Cape Town community is ensured of a stable and vibrant existence. In certain instances, and subject to the approval of the Allocations Committee, a portion of the income from the Foundation might be used to fund entrepreneurial ventures for the Jewish Community of Cape Town.

In eleven years the Community Foundation has reached R92 million. Under the leadership of its trustees the funds have been invested so as to garner positive growth and returns for this community.

Trustees of the DSCF include:

  • Steven Cohen
  • Philip Krawitz
  • Steven Nathan
  • Bernard Osrin
  • John Rabb
  • David Resnick
  • Alan Silverman
  • Samuel Seeff
  • Simon Susman
  • Ronnie Stein
  • Marco Van Embden, Chairman

The Fountain

A Tribute to The Friends of the UJC Cape Town and Patrons

The fountain is a symbol of gratitude to Patrons and Friends by naming those who have provided financial support for the sustainability of the Cape Town Jewish community.
  • Water represents life – It gives all things life. The ever present sound of the running water serves to soothe as well as to remind us of the role of community within our lives.
  • The colours of the marble and stone reflect the golden Jerusalem sandstone which clads the impressive Jewish museum on the other side of the piazza.
The beautiful fountain which stands inside the entrance to the Jewish Community Centre in Hatfield Street Gardens welcomes guests to the hub of Jewish communal life in the city.
  • The integration of alternating layers of acknowledgement strips and stone in low horizontal planes resonates with the architectural language of the surrounding buildings.
  • The seating provides a playful interaction with the cascading water and a place for repose and meditation for young and old.

About becoming a Friend of the UJC Cape Town

If you would like to become a Friend or Patron of the Friends of the UJC Cape Town, please let us know. You can submit a message to us here, or contact us by email or phone as below:

Friends, P.O. Box 4176, Cape Town, 8000

Tel: +27 (0)21 464 6700

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“The more tzedakah, the more shalom.”

Ethics of the Fathers 2:8: Hillel