Judaism in Australia

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Australian Jews
יהודים באוסטרליה
Total population
0.4% of Australia's population
Australian English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, French, Persian, Arabic, Spanish, Afrikaans, Bukhori, Polish, German, Chinese.
People affiliated with Judaism as a percentage of the total population in Australia at the 2011 census, divided geographically by statistical local area

Judaism is a minority religion in Australia. 91,022 Australians identified as Jewish in the 2016 census, which accounts for about 0.4% of the population.[2] This is a 6% drop in numbers from the 2011 census, although the drop could have been because of the poor running of the census leaving many Jews uncomfortable with revealing their religion.[3]

There are many estimates of how many Jews are in Australia, with some estimates going as high as 250,000.


In 1830 the first Jewish wedding in Australia was celebrated, the contracting parties being Moses Joseph and Rosetta Nathan.[4]

Jewish immigration came at a time of antisemitism and the Returned Services League and other groups publicized cartoons to encourage the government and the immigration Minister Arthur Calwell to stem the flow of Jewish immigrants.[5]


Until the 1930s, all synagogues in Australia were affiliated with Orthodox, acknowledging leadership of the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom. To this day, about 70% of synagogues in Australia are Orthodox.

There had been at least two short-lived efforts to establish Reform congregations, the first as early as the 1890s. However, in 1930, under the leadership of Ada Phillips, a Liberal or Progressive congregation, Temple Beth Israel (Melbourne, Australia), was permanently established in Melbourne. In 1938 the long-serving Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger, was instrumental in establishing another synagogue, Temple Emanuel in Sydney. He also played a part in founding a number of other Liberal synagogues in other cities in both Australia and New Zealand. The first Australian-born rabbi, Rabbi Dr John Levi, served the Australian Liberal movement.[6] These congregations are supported by the Sydney-based Union for Progressive Judaism.


People affiliated with Judaism as a percentage of the total population in Sydney at the 2011 census, divided geographically by postal area
A poster of Menachem Mendel Schneerson at the entrance of a Chabad house in Bondi Beach in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.

About 90 percent of the Australian Jewish community live in Sydney and Melbourne.[7] Melbourne Ports has the largest Jewish community of any electorate in Australia.[8]

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria has estimated that 60,000 Australian Jews live in Victoria.[9] In Frankston, the Jewish community has nearly doubled since 2007.[10]

In Adelaide Australian Jews have been present throughout the history of the city, with many successful civic leaders and people in the arts.[11]

According to the 2016 census, the Jewish population numbered 91,020 individuals, of whom 46% lived in Greater Melbourne, 39% in Greater Sydney, and 6% in Greater Perth. The states and territories with the highest proportion of Jews are Victoria (0.71%) and New South Wales (0.49%), whereas those with the lowest are the Northern Territory and Tasmania (both 0.05%).[12]

The same social and cultural characteristics of Australia that facilitated the extraordinary economic, political, and social success of the Australian Jewish community have also been attributed to contributing to widespread assimilation.[13]

Community success can also be measured by the vibrancy of Australian Jewish Media. While traditional Jewish print media is in decline,[14] new media forms such as podcasts,[15] online magazines,[16] and blogs[17] have stepped into the breach.[18][19]



Artists and entertainers[edit]

Business people[edit]

Legal system[edit]





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Australia's Jewish population rises to 100,000". Haaretz. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
  2. ^ "Australia's Jewish population rises to 100,000 | The Israeli News". Haaretz. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  3. ^ "Census: 6000 less Australian Jews". The Australian Jewish News. 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  4. ^ Suzanne D. Rutland (2008). "Jews". Dictionary of Sydney. Dictionary of Sydney Trust. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  5. ^ Rutland, Susan, 2005, The Jews in Australia
  6. ^ Rubinstein and Freeman, (Editors), "A Time to Keep: The story of Temple Beth Israel: 1930 to 2005" A Special publication of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, 2005.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Dan (2013-01-02). "Australian Jews may top Forbes' rich list, but 20% live on poverty line Israel News". Haaretz. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  8. ^ "Seat of the week: Melbourne Ports – the Poll Bludger".
  9. ^ "Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) - Overview". JCCV. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  10. ^ "Census shows Jews are on the move | The Australian Jewish News". Jewishnews.net.au. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  11. ^ Adelaide Jewish Museum Archived 2008-12-29 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Census TableBuilder - Dataset: 2016 Census - Cultural Diversity". Australian Bureau of Statistics – Census 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  13. ^ Postrel, Virginia (May 1993). "Uncommon Culture". Reason Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  14. ^ "The Australian Jewish News | Galus Australis | Jewish Life in Australia". galusaustralis.com. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  15. ^ "Mazel Tov Cocktail". PodOmatic. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  16. ^ "J-Wire". J-Wire. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  17. ^ "sensiblejew". sensiblejew.com. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  18. ^ http://macroscope.com.au
  19. ^ "kvetchr.com". kvetchr.com. Retrieved 2018-06-18.