United Herzlia Schools

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The United Herzlia Schools is an organisation that manages the delivery of separate Jewish education in Cape Town in South Africa.


One of the earliest Jewish schools was the Hope Mill Hebrew Public School which was located at the top of Government Avenue, close to the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation. By 1901 it had about 350 pupils. The school received state assistance from the Cape school board and the school gradually lost its Jewish character.

A Talmud Torah school was established in District Six in 1899 and by 1903 it housed 100 pupils. In 1919, the United Hebrew Schools of Cape Town were established. The school was housed at 101 Hope Street under the principalship of Mr Joseph Homa.

With the arrival of Rabbi Abrahams as Chief Rabbi of the Cape Town Hebrew Congregation, the idea of the Jewish Day School was given new impetus. The first class, which was housed at 101 Hope Street, Cape Town, opened in January 1940.

The first parent committee was established in August 1940 to help stimulate parental support. Thus began the long tradition of active commitment on the part of the parents.

In 1945, it was decided to give the morning school a separate identity from The Hope Street Talmud Torah. It was subsequently given the name Herzlia [1] By 1948, with 225 on the roll and six standards, the problem of space prompted the committee to purchase four and a half acres of land in Highlands Estate but building only began many years later.

In 1955, the school went up to Std 9 with 423 pupils and Myer Katz was appointed Head of Herzlia. Construction began on the Highlands plot. In 1956, the four foundation stones were laid by; Chief Rabbi Professor Abrahams, Max Rabie, Ben Wilder and the fourth (in memory of the late Jacob Gitlin) by Meyer H Goldschmidt.

On 29 April 1957, 560 Herzlians assembled in the new school hall for the first time, The number of pupils soon approached 1000 and a new preparatory school block was built as well as a hostel (currently Highlands Primary) that enabled the country pupils to obtain a Jewish education. They came from as far afield as Upington and Zambia.

In 1976, the Kindergarten classes of Highlands Primary moved into the building which previously housed the school hostel and the upper primary classes joined them in 1978. In 1972, the first sod was turned on the ten acres of land in Kendal Road, Constantia and on 17 July 1973 the completed building was handed over to the new governing body of the school.

Weizmann Primary joined the Herzlia system in 1976 and so it was at that point that the Jewish Day School movement in Cape Town was unified. In 1981 the Middle School was erected on what was previously the school sports field.

Herzlia Schools 2000-2010[edit]

Many changes have occurred at the schools over the past decade, including significant changes to the national curriculum and the matriculation examinations.[2]

During 2000, the United Herzlia Schools merged with the Association of Hebrew Pre-Primary Schools. Herzlia has opened playgroups for younger children and also consolidated some of its campuses, integrating the preschools into its schools in the Atlantic and Southern Suburbs regions. The Herzlia Pre-Primary schools are situated in four suburbs of Cape Town, serving families closest to their homes. Herzlia has also absorbed the Sarah Bloch crèche, which provides an aftercare service to families in the area.

The schools are managed in regions by regional principals with the majority of children attending school in the City Bowl region. The Director of Education has direct educational responsibility for all Herzlia schools educationally and is also the public face of Herzlia, while finance and administration is headed by the Director of Finance and Administration who is seated in the administration house.


Herzlia’s 6102 alumni are located in all corners of the world. Currently the alumni are spread as follows: 833 live in the United States of America, 197 in Canada, 560 in the United Kingdom, 556 in Israel, 580 in Australia, 29 in New Zealand while the balance of 3259 live in South Africa and a few other smaller destinations. Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the current Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth studied at the school between 1968 and 1973


  1. ^ United Herzlia Schools (1990). Im Tirzu. Published by United Herzia Schools.
  2. ^ United Herzlia Schools (2010). Herzlia Today. Published by United Herzlia Schools.
  • Im Tirzu – published by United Herzlia Schools (1990)
  • Herzlia Today – published by United Herzlia Schools (2010)

External links[edit]