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The Jews in Australia
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  • 40 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 214 pages
  • Size: 216 x 138 mm
  • Weight: 0.27 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521612852 | ISBN-10: 0521612853)


Jews form only a tiny slice of the Australian population, yet their influence on Australian society has been immense. A dozen Jewish convicts arrived with the First Fleet in 1788. They were forerunners of a comfortable Anglo-Jewish community – which was dramatically challenged and enriched by a wave of European immigrants fleeing from Nazi persecution. In recent decades, new groups from places as diverse as the Soviet Union, Israel and South Africa have brought their own measure of cultural challenge and influence.

   Among many remarkable individuals, Sir Isaac Isaacs was the first Australian-born Governor-General, and Sir Zelman Cowen a distinguished successor. The legacy of Sir John Monash, Australian commander-in-chief during World War I, continues at Monash University in Melbourne. A few names – Peter Singer, Arnold Zable, Frank Lowy, Henry Szeps, Professor Ron Penny, Richard Pratt, Slavor Gregorian – give a sense of the range of Jewish contribution today.

   The Jews in Australia traces the community’s history, explores what makes it different from others around the world, and draws fascinating comparisons between the Melbourne and Sydney components, each with its distinctive institutions and particular character. Though the very success of Jewish integration into Australia’s diverse society has sharpened community debate about such key issues as intermarriage and the shifting roles of women, the dominant picture is of a thriving and vibrant community.

Suzanne D. Rutland is Chair of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney. Her many books include Edge of the Diaspora: Two Centuries of Jewish Settlement in Australia (2001). She has been president of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Sydney, and of the Australian Association for Jewish Studies.



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Cambridge University Press
477 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207, Australia

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Suzanne Dorothy Rutland 2005

This publication is copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2005

Printed in Australia by BPA Print Group

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

National Library of Australia Cataloguing in Publication data
Rutland, Suzanne D. (Suzanne Dorothy), 1946–.
The Jews in Australia.
Includes index.
ISBN 0 521 61285 3.

ISBN 9 78052161 2852.

ISBN-13 978-0-521-61285-2 paperpack
ISBN-10 0-521-61285-3 paperback

1. Jews – Australia – History.     2. Australia – Ethnic relations.     I. Title.

ISBN-13 978-0-521-61285-2 paperback
ISBN-10 0-521-61285-3 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of Illustrations vii
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction 1
1    Convicts and Early Settlement 11
2    Waves of Migration 22
3    A Place in Australian Society 36
4    The Watershed Years 51
5    Diverse Voices 66
6    Israel and Zionism 79
7    Transformation or Disappearance? 93
8    Jewish Women 106
9    The Broader Community 120
10    Recent Immigrants 135
Conclusion 148
Appendix 1: Synagogues 163
Appendix 2: Parliamentarians 167
Appendix 3: Hostels, 1945–1960 171
Notes 174
Bibliography 186
Index 194


Sir Moses Montefiore 4
Rosetta Nathan and Moses Joseph 16, 17
Bridge Street, Sydney 18
Synagogue of the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation 24
Margaret Street Synagogue, Brisbane 26
Karnofsky family shop, Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales 27
George Judah Cohen 39
Isaac Isaacs 44
John Monash 48
An antisemitic cartoon 55
Sydney David Einfeld 64
Dr Nahum Goldmann and Maurice Ashkanasy 71
Isi Leibler and Ari Volvovsky 75
An anti-Zionist cartoon, 1946 84
Israeli President Moshe Katzav, Ambassador Nati Tamir, Mark Leibler and Dr Ron Weiser 89
Mount Scopus College, Melbourne 98
Sydney Jewish Museum 103
Dr Fanny Reading 108
Josie Lacey, Margaret Gutman, Nina Bassat, Diane Shteinman, Ezer Weizmann and Dr Philip Bliss 110
Professor Zelman Cowen 126
‘Mo’ in his renowned make-up 133
Roy Steinman at Moriah College, Sydney 139
Graph showing antisemitic episodes since 1990 156
Peter Wertheim and Jeremy Jones 160


I have worked in the field of Australian Jewish history since 1968, and this book is the product of my research over that whole period. There are so many people who have assisted me over the years and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. With this present publication, there are two people whose names stand out and, indeed, they have been a constant source of help, encouragement and advice over many years. Professor Konrad Kwiet, Roth Lecturer in Holocaust Studies in the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney, read the manuscript not once but twice and his suggestions and comments have been most helpful. Helen Bersten, honorary archivist of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, Inc, (AJHS) also read the entire manuscript and contributed to its accuracy. In addition, other people kindly read and commented on sections of the text, including Professor Colin Tatz, Professor Gideon Shimoni, Dr Ron Weiser and Jeremy Jones. I would like to also thank the team of volunteers at the Australian Jewish Historical Society, particularly Mr Joe Ben Mayor, who scanned in most of the photographs, which come from the archives of the AJHS. In addition, I would also like to thank the Jewish Agency Research and Strategic Planning Unit and Department for Jewish Zionist Education for permission to use material from a survey commissioned by them on the recent Jewish waves of migration to Australia. My editor, Kim Armitage, and the publication team at Cambridge University Press, have also provided me with much support and assistance.

Suzanne D. Rutland
Sydney, 2005

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