Jewish Museum of Australia

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Jewish Museum of Australia
Jewish Museum of Australia is located in Melbourne
Jewish Museum of Australia
Location within the Melbourne area
Established 1982 (1982)
Coordinates 37°51′37″S 144°59′08″E / 37.8603°S 144.9855°E / -37.8603; 144.9855Coordinates: 37°51′37″S 144°59′08″E / 37.8603°S 144.9855°E / -37.8603; 144.9855
Public transit access Tram: 3, 67 Alma Rd/St Kilda Rd

The Jewish Museum of Australia is the only Jewish community museum in Australia, which aims to "explore and share the Jewish experience in Australia". It is located in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne.

The museum has presented over forty wide-ranging exhibitions, several of which traveled nationally. The museum has attracted significant communal support and won several industry awards.

In 2011, the museum conceived the Babel Project.[1]


The Jewish Museum of Australia was established in 1982 by Rabbi Ronald Lubofski to display his Judaica collection to the public.

It was located in the synagogue of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, South Yarra, until 1995. In 1992, the Jewish Museum purchased a building in Alma Road, St Kilda opposite the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and close to Temple Beth Israel. The museum was officially opened at the new site by the then Governor-General, Bill Hayden, on 20 August 1995 as the Jewish Museum of Australia, Gandel Centre of Judaica.

Helen Light was museum director from 1983 to 2010.[2] In 2010, Rebecca Forgasz took over the position.[3][4]


The museum has approximately 9,000 objects from the original Rabbi Lubofski's collection. The collection comprises objects of ritual, religious, historical, cultural, social and artistic significance which encompass Jewish life and history. The museum now holds approximately 20,000 objects.

In 2008, the museum bought a part of the so-called Gurewicz Archives.[5] The Gurewicz Archives was collected by Rabbi Joseph Lipman Gurewicz, born in Vilna in 1885. Rabbi Gurewicz arrived in Australia in 1932, becoming the spiritual head of the United Congregations of Carlton. He was an authority in Halachic matters. The Archives consists of files of documents covering all matters related to Judaism and reflecting the variety of issues confronting Melbourne Jewry in the 1930s to 1950s. In 2007, a New Yorker purchased the documents and after removing much of the holocaust material, rabbinic communications to Lithuania, Palestine, material re Dunera, sold the remainder at auction to the Museum.[6][7]

The museum has exhibits on permanent display as well as temporary exhibitions. It has a number of galleries, including the Zelman Cowen Gallery of Australian Jewish History, the Gross Gallery and the Loti Smorgon Gallery.


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