You need a photo ID to enter the secure compound that's home not only to this imaginatively designed museum but also to the functioning and beautifully decorated Great Synagogue, a 1905 building in neo-Egyptian style. The museum partly occupies the beautifully restored Old Synagogue (1863). The excellent permanent exhibition Hidden Treasures of Japanese Art showcases a collection of exquisite netsuke (carved pieces of ivory and wood). There are also temporary exhibitions that are usually worth seeing.
Your ticket also covers the fascinating 25-minute documentary, Nelson Mandela: A Righteous Man, screened in the building across the courtyard from the museum’s exit. Upstairs, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre packs a lot in with a considerable emotional punch; the history of anti-Semitism is set in a South African context with parallels drawn to the local struggle for freedom.
Also within the compound is the kosher Café Riteve and a gift shop.