S. African Jewish museum opens

A highlight is a reconstructed Lithuanian shtetl. Most South African Jews trace their roots to Lithuania.

"I want you to know that whatever differences we have, whatever quarrels, there is one thing we appreciate: the role that has been played by the Jewish community in this country," Mandela said, addressing a crowd of several hundred that included Kaplan; Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris; Albie Sachs, a Constitutional Court judge and former anti-apartheid activist; and opposition political leader Tony Leon.

"There was a time when no lawyer in this country was prepared to take our cases, when only Jewish lawyers would defend us," Mandela said, referring to those who fought apartheid and aided Mandela's then-outlawed African National Congress.

"Today we live in peace, and many people will have forgotten the role of the Jewish community," he said. "They have also played a very important role in the economy of the country, and it's a community which we respect and admire."

Mandela was presented with a gift made of Jerusalem stone, the material used in the construction of the museum.