Jewish Child & Youth Centre

PO Box 1204 | Cape Town | 8000

Contact: Lynette Shapiro
Phone: 021-465-5009

Website: www.oranjia.org

Our Goals

We provide child and youth centered services as well as residential care to Jewish children who have been found in need under the Child Care Act. Our philosophy of care is based on the core principle that children and youth at risk need opportunities for competency, development and personal growth.

Our emphasis is on the development of the whole child in a context that actively promotes personal growth and development by building trusting and safe relationships between professional staff and residents. These meaningful relationships are characterized by concern for physical and emotional needs, and understanding and awareness, of the child as an individual in a social and communal context.

Our History

The Oranjia Jewish Children’s Home was established in 1911 as an orphanage. Since then thousands of Jewish children from Cape Town have been cared for at Oranjia and brought up in an environment sensitive to Jewish traditions and values.

One of the most remarkable events during Oranjia’s history is that of the “Ochberg children” also referred to as the “Immigration of the Ukranian Orphans”. In the wake of the collapse of the old Czarist regime in Russian and the ensuing civil war, hundreds of thousands of Jewish children were orphaned in brutal pogroms which terrorized the Jewish communities of Russia and the Ukraine. Epidemics of typhoid and other diseases caused even more deaths and increased the number of orphans. A desperate cry for help went forth from Jews who were suffering terribly in the affected areas. And the call was heeded, initially by Cape Town Jewry and later by South African Jewry as a whole. The idea of rescuing Jewish orphans from these areas quickly took form and gained support.


Isaac Ochberg, a philanthropist who had been involved with Oranjia for some time, took the initiative and proved to be a key participant in the rescue of 200 Jewish orphans from the Ukraine. At great personal danger he visited towns and cities, which included Minsk, Pinsk, Stanislav, Lodz, Lemberg, Vladowo and Brest-Litovsk and filled his quota of 200 Jewish orphans. In 1921 they were brought to Cape Town (via England) where they were cared for at Oranjia while awaiting suitable adoption placements with Cape Town Jewish families. The quantity of children was so great that some had to be sent to Arcadia (the Johannesburg equivalent of Oranjia) where they too were cared for while awaiting adoption.

The Ochberg children represent a proud period in the history of both South African Jewry and Oranjia.

Thanks to some very generous community members who gave of their resources, time, and expertise Oranjia has just completed a much needed and beautiful renovation. "A unique and most beloved aspect of Oranjia is that we are not merely a safe haven for our children appointed by the courts: we’re a home. We’re THEIR home. We’re run like a home and the children feel at home. It is with such excitement that we think of the joy that the kids will experience when they arrive back here and are greeted by a fresh space and stunning surrounds that they can call their own." - Tamara Davidson, volunteer Board Member.