Chanukah in the Bush

December 2, 2013 Agencies
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As Jewish communities in major cites across Australia celebrate  the Chanukah festival this week, one group is heading into country Australia to support Jewish people living in isolated areas without a synagogue or connection to their culture.

RARA on the road

RARA on the road

The founder of Chabad of Rural and Remote Australia, Saul Spigler, says while the census lists only 3,600 Jews as living in remote areas, the work of his group indicates there could be between 7000 and 10,000 in regional areas

He says he and his workers are a little like ‘Jewish detectives’, who will go ‘anywhere to visit anybody’.

Trawling the phone books, knocking on the doors of local shops and visiting cemeteries, town halls, police and Jewish doctors, they’ve found 250 new contacts in the past four months.

In the process, they’ve stumbled across some remarkable stories—a man who, as a baby, was smuggled out of Auschwitz, was discovered by Chabad in the telephone book, and eventually made his Bar Mitzvah as a 40-year-old with tears streaming from his eyes.

He turned out to be a direct descendant of the famous founder of Kabbalah, Rabbi Isaac Luria.

There was also a Jewish didgeridoo player they discovered living in a an Aboriginal community at Uluru, where he too, eventually made his Bar Mitzvah. The man’s mother was a Jewess of Moroccan French descent and his father was an indigenous Australian.


For more on this story and to hear the interviews, follow this link to ABC’s Radio National.

J-Wire thanks ABC’s Radio National for contributing this story…



3 Responses to “Chanukah in the Bush”
  1. Eleonora says:

    Coming to Tamworth?

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    How extraordinary, and what worthwhile detectives Saul Spigler and his workers are!

  3. Bronwyn says:

    Re: Chanukkah in the Bush

    Very cool! This is great work they’re doing. What a great story.

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