Early Jewish Australian items up for auction in Jerusalem

August 24, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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An impressive group of historical items  from the founding days of Australian Jewry has surfaced in Jerusalem.

Letter from the Chief Rabbi

       Letter from the Chief Rabbi

The diverse items shed much light upon the beginnings of the Jewish community in Australia. This collection ranges from letter archives of Australia’s first rabbis and Australian Jewish soldiers who fought WWI, to Ketubahs, pictures and community newspapers. They will all be up for sale at a  Jerusalem auction house, under a total opening price of A$10,000.

Letter 2

                                      Letter 2

Among the outstanding items is an archive of letters written by the leaders of congregation and by its rabbis, such as Rabbis Moses Rintel, Samuel Herman and others, as well as by the chief rabbi of the British Empire, Nathan Marcus Adler. One of the most interesting letters is one which directly related to the founding of a Beit-Din in Melbourne in 1864, the first Beit-Din in the British Empire situated out of London.

Also up for auction are two ketubahs, one dating to the early days of the Jewish community in Australia  in 1868.

19th century volumes of “The Australian Israelite”, “Australian Jewish Historical Society” and “The Jewish Herald” reveal the early history of the Jewish community.

A window to the religious life of the community is disclosed by a booklet about reformed revising the version of prayers, a booklet printed for the inauguration of the St. Kilda synagogue in 1872, a series of sermons, a booklet about Jewish Australian rites and customs and an essay about synagogues in Melbourne from    1877.As the community grew and strengthened, some of its members participated in WWI. Testimonies for t

                      1868 Ketubah

hat is a book of letters from a Jewish soldier in the Australian army during the war, an essay presenting YMCA activities for Jewish soldiers in the Australian army and the Australian Jewry Book of Honour from WWI.

A spokesperson for the auction house says that “this lavish collection sheds light on the development of a fairly new but strong and powerful Jewish community, and it piques the curiosity of a new community in Sydney and Melbourne in the 19th century. The collection sheds light from the various vivant aspects – be it religion, social solidarity, national service and more. They all reveal a community which was a product of the gold rush in the 1850’s, but at the same time reached high elements of unique spiritual development and integration of the Jews within Australian society in Parliament and army”.

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