Judaism in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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.
Geographic distribution of the Jewish population of Australia (by reported religious affiliation, or by ancestry if no other religion is reported), by Statistical Areas 1 (SA1)[2]
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. 99,956 Australians identified as Jewish in the 2021 census, which accounts for about 0.4% of the population.[3] This is a 9.8% increase in numbers from the 2016 census.

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]


The Great Synagogue of Sydney.

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.


The predominant first response of Australian Jews (by reported religious affiliation, or by ancestry if no other religion is reported) to the question about ancestry, by Statistical Areas 1 (SA1) with more than 5% of Jewish population.[2]
The language most commonly spoken at home by Australian Jews (as reported by religious affiliation or by ancestry if no other religion is reported), by Statistical Areas 1 (SA1) with over 5% of the Jewish population.[2]
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]

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria has estimated that 60,000 Australian Jews live in Victoria.[8] In Frankston, the Jewish community nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012.[9]

In Adelaide Australian Jews have been present throughout the history of the city, with many successful civic leaders and people in the arts.[10]

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%).[11]

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.[12]

Community success can also be measured by the vibrancy of Australian Jewish Media. While traditional Jewish print media is in decline,[13] new media forms such as podcasts,[14] online magazines,[15] and blogs[16] have stepped into the breach.[17][18]



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. ^ a b c ""Census of Population and Housing - Cultural Diversity, 2016, TableBuilder"". Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
  3. ^ "Australia's Jewish population at an all-time high". 28 June 2022.
  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. ^ "Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) - Overview". JCCV. Archived from the original on 2013-09-08. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  9. ^ "Census shows Jews are on the move | The Australian Jewish News". Jewishnews.net.au. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  10. ^ Adelaide Jewish Museum Archived 2008-12-29 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Census TableBuilder - Dataset: 2016 Census - Cultural Diversity". Australian Bureau of Statistics – Census 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  12. ^ Postrel, Virginia (May 1993). "Uncommon Culture". Reason Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  13. ^ "The Australian Jewish News | Galus Australis | Jewish Life in Australia". galusaustralis.com. Archived from the original on 2018-06-18. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  14. ^ "Mazel Tov Cocktail". PodOmatic. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  15. ^ "J-Wire". J-Wire. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  16. ^ "sensiblejew". sensiblejew.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-18. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  17. ^ "Home - Macroscope". Archived from the original on 2021-04-14. Retrieved 2017-05-18.
  18. ^ "kvetchr.com". kvetchr.com. Archived from the original on 2018-06-05. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  19. ^ "The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8243734) Private Gregory Sher, 1st Commando Regiment, Afghanistan". www.awm.gov.au. Retrieved 2023-06-07.