Short description

A welfare organisation providing a holistic range of progammes and services aimed at meeting the various needs of the Jewish Community.


Chevrah Kadisha’s mission is to meet the needs of the poor, aged, sick and defenseless Jewish people from cradle to grave.


Established in 1888, Chevrah Kadisha is the oldest Jewish organisation in Johannesburg, and is also the largest Jewish welfare organisation in Africa. While the organisation started as a burial society it now aims to meet all the needs of its community. This includes providing welfare services to the poor, aged and sick and ensuring that they are fed, housed and receive the necessary treatment. The Chev works primarily in the Johannesburg area. Over the years, Chevrah Kadisha has brought several community welfare organisations under one umbrella to consolidate the assistance provided by these entities. This has also allowed the organisation to consolidate operating costs.

Currently Chevrah Kadisha includes four organisations:

  • Sandringham Gardens — an aged facility providing holistic care aimed at meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of residents. Residents receive a vast array of medical care and are provided with meals that fit their dietary requirements.
  • Our Parents Home — provides specialised care for persons with Alzheimers. In addition the facility also runs a day programme. Beneficiaries have access to doctors, counselors and other specialists. The programme also includes several forms of recreational activities such as arts and crafts, exercise classes and games.
  • Selwyn Segal — incorporates the Selwyn Segal Centre, Kibbutz Lubner, Camp David and Finkelstein TLC. The centre accommodates 113 residents and is frequented by 25 day visitors. It provides accommodation, therapy and stimulation to these beneficiaries. Based in Olifantsfontein this facility provides its residents with accommodation as well as an income stream through the production of Selwyn Segal Products which includes veggie chips and jams. On average, residents earn around R 2 300 per month. Finkelstein TLC is a school that caters for children with special needs. Often, graduates from Finnkelstein enter the protected employment workplace programme.
  • Arcadia — a home catering for children in transitional situations such as pending court finalisation, pre-foster care placement or temporary safe care while social workers conduct an investigation. Both full-time care and aftercare is provided to children at the home.

In addition to these four organisations, the Chev provides the following services:

Financial Assistance Services — covers the cost of food, health care, rent, medical expenses and education. On average, the Chev assists 2000 individuals and families.

Residential Services — a combination of free and subsidised accommodation options are available to beneficiaries. There are currently 105 residents across the organisation’s four residences.

  • Social Services — a suite of counseling services that range from drug addiction and domestic abuse to physical and mental disabilities. The Chev currently has 662 family cases as well as 2648 individual cases.
  • Health Care Services — the organisation’s medical centre provides an array of health care services. These are for residents as well as the community. The centre primarily dispenses prescriptions, but also runs a mental health facility which is used by 107 beneficiaries. Over 40 000 prescriptions were dispensed in 2013.
  • Emergency Services — a 24 hour helpline providing telephonic counseling and support is available to beneficiaries. Additionally, cemetery staff and a trauma response team can also be contacted around the clock.
  • Bridal Services — assistance is provided to cover the cost of weddings for young couples, which includes a mix of loans and donations from the community.
  • Burial Services — provides free or subsidised burials ensuring that Jewish burial customs and laws are upheld. The maintenance of cemeteries and grave sites is also encompassed in this service.
  • Education Support Services — the Chev provides funds for learners at Jewish day schools (133), Remedial (78), Finkelstein TLC (17) and tertiary (208) institutions.
  • Protected Employment Service — provides employment opportunities for beneficiaries who are unable to enter the work place primarily due to physical and mental disabilities. 220 people are currently employed through this service.

Chevrah Kadisha also runs numerous outreach programmes. Eleven mentally challenged young adults from a facility in Alex take part in Selwyn Segal’s daily activities and therapy programmes. Furthermore Arcadia facilitates a training programme for child and youth care workers primarily teaching them how to work effectively and therapeutically with the children they serve. Protective employment service opportunities are provided to individuals outside the Jewish community and the Chev’s Bereavement Project trains teachers in basic counselling.

What we like about this organisation

  • The organisation provides a comprehensive range of services that meet numerous welfare needs. Consolidating a number of organisations and services under one umbrella has enabled the organisation to minimise running costs. The organisation has the necessary in-house expertise to meet the varied needs of their beneficiaries.

What difference can your money make?

  • R10 000 will contribute towards waterproofing and roof maintenance at Arcadia
  • R250 0000 will cover the cost of upgrading the Selwyn Segal dining hall
  • R750 000 will contribute towards maintaining the lifts, which are crucial in buildings servicing the sick and elderly

Volunteering opportunities

  • Become a big buddy to an Arcadia child
  • Befriend an older resident
  • Visit the sick
  • Work alongside the fundraising team particularly for events
  • Volunteer a professional service