Mission Accomplished

October 8, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Osaka-based U.S. photographer Jono David’s plans to photograph Australian synagogues and Jewish cemeteries were thwarted in 2009…but in 2010 he has added the Australian images to his world-wide collection.

Hobart Torahs copyright Jono David

David spent three weeks in August extensively capturing images of Australian synagogues and cemeteries. He also travelled to New Zealand documenting Jewish life.

In 2009, the photographer who has amassed a collection of 36,000 images in the seven years he has been documenting Jewish life throughout the world, met resistance from security groups in Australia fearful that his work might present a risk.

This year, however, David admits to healthy co-operation from the Melbourne and Sydney communities and has just released the fruits of his efforts.

He told J-Wire: “If I have to choose which synagogue I found the most interesting, I would have to say Hobart. When the Ark was opened to reveal its velvet-lined home for the congregation’s sefer torahs, its beauty and richness blew me away.” The photographer was also captivated by  the East Melbourne Synagogue and found the Toorak Synagogue “impressive”.

East Melbourne Synagogue Copyright: Jono David

Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery presented other challenges for David. He said: “It is so expansive. After three hours shooting, it was time to leave. Only then did I realise that I had missed the old part of the cemetery…so somehow I had to rearrange my day in order to spend the needed extra time there.”

During his time in Australia, David visited and photographed  in Adelaide, Ballarat, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne and Sydney,. In New Zealand, his image-capturing journey took in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.

David, who teaches English at Osaka University will head for Seoul next month and a meeting with Chabad in his search for the graves of Jewish foreigners buried in the South Korean capital.

David told J-Wire that the project had grown from interest generated when he was travelling as a tourist with the first images in his collection being around 20 years old.

Jono David in Hobart Synagogue

His favourite image? David had no hesitation in naming the Subotica Synagogue in Serbia, adding: “But now I have Hobart to add to that.”

David has trips planned to Manipur in north-east India and to Harbin and Beijing in China.

Jono David’s amazing images and videos of  Australian and New Zealand synagogues and Jewish cemeteries can be seen at:



One Response to “Mission Accomplished”
  1. Judi says:

    Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B’nai B’rith in Melbourne, Victoria, recently launched the Raoul Wallenberg Stamp Sheet and Envelope Set to mark its 25th anniversary. The Stamp Sheet Set was released in conjunction with Max Stern & Co, a leading Melbourne stamp dealership and Australia Post. The set is available for $A20 plus $A5 handling and postage in Australia or $A20 plus $A12 handling and postage overseas.

    For further information, please contact Judi on +61 (0)3 9816 9414 or email: judi@judischiffphotography.com

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