Judaism in Australia
0.4% of Australia's population
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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. 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.
There are many estimates of how many Jews are in Australia, with some estimates going as high as 250,000.
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.
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. These congregations are supported by the Sydney-based Union for Progressive Judaism.
In Adelaide Australian Jews have been present throughout the history of the city, with many successful civic leaders and people in the arts.
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%).
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.
Community success can also be measured by the vibrancy of Australian Jewish Media. While traditional Jewish print media is in decline, new media forms such as podcasts, online magazines, and blogs have stepped into the breach.
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- Roy Clive Abraham, linguist
- Bernhard Neumann, German-born British-Australian mathematician
- Peter Singer, philosopher
- Ghil'ad Zuckermann, linguist and revivalist
Artists and entertainers
- Lior Attar, singer, musician
- Danny Ben-Moshe, writer
- John Bluthal, actor
- Saskia Burmeister, actress
- Isla Fisher, actress
- Amelia Frid, Russian-born actress
- Renee Geyer, soul singer
- David Helfgott, pianist (inspired Academy Award-winning film Shine)
- Barrie Kosky, opera director
- Ben Lee, singer, songwriter and actor
- David Malouf, writer
- Miriam Margolyes, British-Australian actress
- Leon Pole, artist
- Ohad Rain, Australian-born Israeli singer-songwriter
- John Safran, comedian
- Troye Sivan, South African-born Australian singer, actor and YouTuber
- Elana Stone, musician
- Yael Stone, actress
- Felix Werder, German born
- Yitzhak Yedid, Israeli born composer
- Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist
- John Gandel, businessman, philanthropist
- David Gonski, businessman, philanthropist
- Solomon Lew, businessman
- Frank Lowy, Slovak-born Israeli Australian businessman
- Anthony Pratt, Australian businessman
- Richard Pratt, businessman
- Sheree Rubinstein, entrepreneur, women's business leader and advocate
- Sidney Sinclair, businessman
- Victor Smorgon, businessman
- Harry Triguboff, Chinese-born Australian businessman
- Alex Waislitz, businessman
- Nick Molnar, entrepreneur, businessman
- James Spigelman, Former Chief Justice of New South Wales
- James Edelman, High Court Justice
- Louis Waller, Legal academic and head of Monash law faculty
- Hajnal Ban Black, Israeli born author, politician
- Josh Burns, member for Macnamara
- Sir Zelman Cowen, politician, Governor-General of Australia
- Michael Danby, member for Melbourne Ports
- Mark Dreyfus, former attorney general
- Syd Einfeld, Australian politician and Jewish community leader
- Josh Frydenberg politician and deputy leader of the Liberal party
- Sir Isaac Isaacs, Judge and politician, Chief Justice of Australia, and Governor-General of Australia
- Henry Ninio, Egyptian-born Lord Mayor of Adelaide
- Martin Pakula, politician
- Kerryn Phelps, president of the AMA and independent member for Wentworth
- Mark Regev, Australian-born Israeli diplomat and civil servant
- David Southwick, politician
- Raymond Apple, Senior Rabbi of the Great Synagogue of Sydney
- David Bar-Hayim, born David Mandel, head of the Machon Shilo in Israel
- Eliezer Berkovits, leading rabbinic philosopher, served as a rabbi in Sydney 1946-50
- Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, served as a rabbi in Australia 1923-37
- Harry Freedman, rabbi, author and translator
- Yitzchok Dovid Groner, head of the Yeshiva Centre in Melbourne, implicated in coverups of child sex abuse
- Chaim Gutnick, first head of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria
- Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, senior rabbi in Melbourne, implicated in coverups of child sex abuse
- John Levi, Rabbi
- Karen Soria, Reform rabbi, first woman to serve as a rabbi in Australia
- Yehiel Grenimann (formerly John Green of Melbourne),Masorti (Conservative), Jerusalem, author, human rights activist
- Ashley Brown, soccer player
- Jordan Brown, soccer player
- Gavin Fingleson, Olympic silver medalist baseball player
- Jessica Fox, canoeist, Olympic silver medalist
- Noemie Fox, canoeist
- Todd Goldstein, AFL Player for the North Melbourne Kangaroos
- Todd Greenberg, former NRL executive
- Michael Klinger, cricketer
- Jonathan Moss, former first-class cricketer for the Victoria cricket team (2000 - 2007). Played for Australia at the Maccabiah Games in Israel
- Phil Moss, manager of the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League, and former soccer player in the National Soccer League
- Steven Solomon, sprinter
- Lionel Van Praag, speedway champion
- Julien Wiener, cricketer
- David Zalcberg, table tennis player
- Alex Fein, activist and entrepreneur
- John Monash, Australian General
- Ikey Solomon, convict, first fleet prisoner
- Sharri Markson, journalist
- Gregory Sher, Australian Soldier
- Australian Association for Jewish Studies
- History of the Jews in Australia
- List of Oceanian Jews
- Religion in Australia
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