Remembering Louise Rosenberg

December 20, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The AGM of the AJHS [NSW]  brought together “face to face” the Melbourne grandchildren of the late Louise Rosenberg OAM to honour their grandmother with the dedication of the Louise Rosenberg Communal Archives in the NSW Jewish War Memorial building.

Eddie Jaku, Louise Rosenberg, Norman Seligman, Sydney Jewish Museum CEO

Louise passed away in 2018 at 104 years of age and during Louise’s life, she had been a loyal and devoted volunteer of the Society.  The AJHS is most appreciative of a bequest from the estate to assist in providing for the ongoing archival storage space for the Society providing a safe and secure home for the records and ephemera of the NSW Jewish community.

Helen Bersten,  a great admirer and friend of Louise and, who became the honorary archivist for the society in 1978 told the AGM: “Louise revelled in doing family research including knowing the Great Synagogue birth, death and marriage registers backwards.  She could tell you volume and part for most AJHS Journal articles and did the research for historical exhibitions held at the Great Synagogue.  She remained secretary of the AJHS for 22 years.  Her role involved everything that was possible, from secretary’s reports to journal articles and book reviews, the creation of the first series of Newsletters and her special research project on Rev Abraham Tobias Boas of Adelaide being published in the journal as well as an offprint.  She also did extensive research and interview with Sir Asher Joel for his biography.

Martin, Catherine, Helen and Chris – Louise’s grandchildren and Helen Bersten.

As secretary, she was a meticulous minute keeper and kept us all fully informed about committee matters. Her Secretary’s Reports published in the Journal were full of interesting information. She wrote book reviews for the Journal and created the first series of Newsletters. Her special research project on Rev Abraham Tobias Boas of Adelaide was published in the Journal and as an offprint. She also did research into and extensive interviews with Sir Asher Joel for his biography.  It is interesting to note that when Louise gave up her position at the Society, four people were required to take over her position.

Louise continued to take self-improvement courses – in public speaking and local history writing. She also wrote short stories and verse.  She was encouraged to write a book, the first titled Of Jewish Folktales and Jewish Folk, followed by a second True Blue Jews and a third which was a collection of essays from the Adult Study Group.

Age was of no consequence to Louise, who was still doing regular weekly research at the Great Synagogue until she was in her 90’s.   It was a habit of hers to look at the RSVP column in the Sydney Morning Herald in case people were searching for Jewish relatives and she was often successful in finding them. She also successfully reconnected a number of adoptees with their Jewish biological parents.


2 Responses to “Remembering Louise Rosenberg”
  1. Hilary Rubinstein says:

    Louise was a phenomenon, and as a longtime member of the AJHS (Vic) who met a very lively and enthusiastic Louise when she bounded up to me in the State Library of Victoria to introduce herself many years ago I am delighted to see her memory being honoured in this way. For those of your readers who may not realise it, please allow me to explain that the AjHs Journal has, since 1988, been published twice yearly – in Sydney in mid-year and in Melbourne towards each year’s close. Our high quality journals cover the entire sweep of Australian Jewish history from 1788 onwards, and we welcome articles on all sorts of relevant topics.

  2. Russell Stern says:

    It was a delight to read that Louise’s (Melbourne) grandchildren were able to, and attended the AGM of the AJHS and the dedication of the Louise Rosenberg Communal Archives in the NSW Jewish War Memorial building in Sydney. Louise was a wonderful Australian Jewish historian, and it is fitting that her memory will be present in perpetuity with its association to the Archives maintained by the AJHS.

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