“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

The kodesh and Secular departments work synergistically at PJJDS. All classes place an equal emphasis on both. However, we do not view the Kodesh aspect of our education as a stand-alone subject. Rather, it represents the values and customs which underpin Jewish life as a whole, and therefore interact symbiotically with the traditional subjects of secular education. For example, we utilise the festival of Tu B’shvat (the ‘New Year of the trees’) as the backdrop for learning about environmental studies, geography and biology. And while we recognise and reward academic excellence, we do the same for the midot –   essential character traits – that characterise Jewish observance, e.g. hospitality to newcomers, concern for others, good sportsmanship, and community service.

Community involvement is a central Jewish value and PJJDS provides numerous opportunities for the students and faculty to interact both with the broader Jewish community and with the Cape Town Community at large.

Earthchild Projects

PJJDS has formed a partnership with the Earthchild Project – a non-profit organisation working in two Cape Town schools, one in Khayelitsha and the other in Lavender Hill.  The Earthchild Project introduces holistic education into schools in order to help children develop practical skills that can be applied at school and integrated into their lives. The project uses such activities as yoga, meditation, organic gardening and worm-farming to impact conscious awareness of the environment, develop core values and foster essential life skills. Not only does PJJDS implement some of the Earthchild Project’s principles in our own school, but we have also joined forces to allow the children of our institutions to interact, share ideas, and learn from one another in a meaningful way.

Intra-communal activities

PJJDS enjoys interacting with other Jewish day schools in communal activities such as inter-school quizzes, communal celebrations and learning opportunities.

Phyllis Jowell (1936-2006) was a true eishet chayil. She embodied many of the values which our school aims to cultivate in our students. Born in Cape Town, Phyllis was also deeply connected to Namaqualand, where she lived for many years, and to Israel as a Zionist. Phyllis was a social worker by training. She later dedicated herself to extensive social history research with particular interest in the Jews of country places in South Africa. Phyllis made an indelible impression on everyone she met, as she took genuine interest in each and every person with whom she interacted; she truly personified the dictate ‘ve’ahavta lere’acha kamocha – ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. She was a dedicated mother, wife, daughter and sister, and a true friend to those who knew her personally and to the communities she loved. Phyllis’s thirst for knowledge was insatiable; her interests were widespread and her bookshelves overflowed with a diverse range of material. She had grace, charm, compassion and, above all, humility. It is for all these remarkable qualities that our school bears her name.

  • To Expose our students to the beauty of the Jewish tradition and the power and profundity of the Jewish Faith.
  • To encourage our students to strive for moral and spiritual excellence.
  • To provide our students with the finest possible general studies education so that they can continue their academic training in the colleges and the universities of their choice.
  • To ensure that families from all sectors of the Jewish community seeking to give their children an intensive Jewish education are welcome in our school.
  • To produce graduates who will become respected and contributing members of the Jewish and general communities.
  • To forge in our students a spiritual bond and sense of identification with the State of Israel.
  • To imbue our students with an attitude of respect towards one’s fellow human being (k’vod habriot’) and love of one’s fellow Jew (ahavat Yisrael).

The administration of PJJDS is structured in accordance with the highest standards of primary and secondary education. Our principal, Rebbetzin Natalie Altman, is a highly qualified and dedicated leader who heads a staff of carefully selected and extremely capable teachers. Best practice procedures and practices are upheld by the Annually elected Board of Governors.

Children of all levels of Torah learning are able to integrate in PJJDS. Classes are warm and inviting, nurturing every child as an individual and seeking to develop their own unique potential. Children are given all the assistance they require. The school also provides differentiated classes for students who need additional assistance.

We are a young school that has seen phenomenal growth. We are hoping to open a High School in the future. Currently, the majority of students who graduate from our Primary School, tend to move either to Herzlia Highlands, or CTTH (Cape Town Torah High) which provide the only Jewish Middle and High School education in Cape Town at this point.

We have had instances where children move to other private schools in South Africa or overseas. In one case we have had children move to The American School (International).

With the continious changes in our society, we realise that there are instances where families need to semigrate for work, or emmigrate overseas, and with this in mind our school is focussed to allow students to be sufficiently equipped to enter any school that they wish to when they leave PJJDS.

PJJDS is a unique school, which blends a solid secular curriculum with Torah education, values, and observance. The school uses innovative techniques and systems to create learning that is Tailor-made for each student. The individual development of young learners is a priority and the teachers are prepared to adjust the educational experience to the needs of the student.

The overarching goal is to synthesise the development of body, mind and soul.

We are a small school that seeks to develop the total child. Our aim is to educate our children to apply the fundamental and timeless laws, lessons and values of our Torah to their lives in a dynamic and modern world. Our secular education is world class, providing students with solid academic grounding.

Since we are a small school with smaller classes than other schools, students are given more individual attention and thus greater opportunity to express and develop themselves individually.

Absolutely, PJJDS offers a unique form of Jewish education that is not matched by any other school in Cape Town. The nature of the modern world is one that demands choice, and that is what PJJDS offers to the community here.

South Africa in general and Cape Town is particular have a unique Jewish community. It is a vibrant, robustly traditional community that offers all the trappings and flavours of a much larger Jewish community despite its modest numbers.

In order to retain this uniqueness, we need to ensure that we meet the needs of all the various segments of the Jewish population. Unfortunately, in recent years, there has been an exodus of religious families and rabbinical leadership from Cape Town due to the lack of an education that is consistent with their lifestyle choices.

PJJDS is generally the school of choice for the more traditional and observant segment of the Cape Town Jewish community. Our school gives these families the opportunity to remain in Cape Town and Participate in generating the vibrancy that exists in our Jewish community.

Our Students and teachers come from all walks of life and all areas of Judaism. We are a Jewish School for ALL Jewish children. We are a community Jewish School that takes pride in passing on the joy of our heritage and tradition.

What our community says about us

Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School Testimonials

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General Questions