Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Afrikaan Quest

Eliana Cline

Afrikaners are best known for their unusual tongue and love of a dried beef treat called biltong. But lately, they’re becoming better known to the Jewish community in South Africa, where dozens of Afrikaners have shed their Christianity and found their true spiritual home.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The winter morning sun shines brilliantly against the azure African sky. Aryeh Simcha Boshoff meets me at the gate of his home, his black yarmulke resting easily on his head, his two dogs barking at his heels. Well over six feet tall and broad-shouldered, Aryeh Simcha exudes youthfulness, confidence, and strength. His wife Talya wears a colorful scarf wrapped around her head. My crude high school Afrikaans allows me to follow the gist of the conversation with their ten-year-old son Binyomin as he shows off his two budgies [parakeets]. Siddurim and Chumashim lay scattered throughout the house and an ornate gold engraving of Jerusalem hangs on the wall. The Boshoff family didn’t live like this ten years ago. In fact, a decade ago they knew almost nothing about Judaism and would have described themselves as devoted Christians. But the Boshoffs, and dozens of other formerly Afrikaans Christian families, are now part of a growing trend in South Africa, one that has seen young and old leave the religion of their birth to find Judaism. Rav Moshe Kurstag, rosh beis din in Johannesburg, marvels at the phenomenon. “This is a new thing for the beis din,” he said. “We have never seen whole families converting to Judaism.” 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"