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By: Dr Klee Benveniste


About 12% of our South Australian Jewish community served in the first World War, the highest proportion of any congregation in the Commonwealth of Australia. There have been national efforts in Australia to undertake what is proving to be a difficult process of compiling a list of all the Jewish men and women who served in the First World War for centenary events. For South Australia, Adelaide Hebrew Congregation archivist and Board Member Dr Klee Benveniste started with the Congregation’s Roll of Honour board and has been researching digital newspapers and war service records in the National Archives of Australia on South Australian Jewish servicemen and women as this is extremely difficult for anyone outside Adelaide who does not know the community. As work continues, other Jews who served from the same family are being found and added to that list. Service records almost universally list them as Jewish or Hebrew, but in some cases the examining person recording height, hair colour etc, recorded another religion.

So far, at 24th April 2015, the Jewish men and women who enlisted who were born in South Australia, were from the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation or enlisted from South Australia and declared in their service records to be Jewish totals at least sixty with others still being considered which may take the total to more than eighty:


ABLESON, Coleman;  ABRAMOVITZ, Alexander;  ASHER, Felix;  ASHER, Rudolph;  BARNARD, Lancelot Lee;  BARNARD, Sydney Harry;  BENJAMIN, Louis;  BENJAMIN, Mark;  BLACK, Emanuel;  BLACK, Ernest;  FRANKENBURG, Edward;  GILD, Samuel;  GOLDBERG, Joseph;  HAINS, Clarence Louis;  HAINS, Harold Joseph;  HAINS, Ivan Coronel;  HAINS, Morris;  HAINS, Philip;  HAINS, Sidney Joseph;  ISRAEL, Reuben;  JACOBS, Arthur Abraham;  JACOBS, Clifford  Arthur;  JACOBS, David;  JACOBS, Emanuel (or Martin Edward);  JACOBS, Sullivan William;  JACOBS Sydney;  JUDELL, Cedric;  JUDELL, Elias (known Jewish , but listed as another religion) killed in action at Gallipoli and buried in grave no. 6 plot 2 Row Z of the Walker’s Ridge Cemetery;  KURTZ, David Mark;  LEVY, Elias;  LIPERT, Louis (or Lewis);  LIPMAN, Alfred Emile;  MEYER, Reginald Victor;  MORRIS, Alfred Levy;  MORRIS, Lewis George;  MORRIS, Roy Albert;  NAPHTALI (in records as NAPTHALI), Walter;   NETTER, Henry;  PIMENTAL, Morton Parker;  RABINOVITCH, Elijah Hurst;  RAPHAEL, Keith Simeon;  ROSENGARTEN, Arnold Leslie;  ROSENGARTEN, Leopold;  ROSENGARTEN, Leopold Jabille Gersham;  ROSENTHAL, Samuel;  SALOM, Bertram Philip;  SAUNDERS, Samuel Archie;  SIMMONS, Israel;  SIMMONS, Leon;  SOLOMON, Albert Yuba; SOLOMON, Louis Victor;  SOLOMON, Sidney Gordon;  SOLOMON, Sydney John; SOLOMONS, Leslie Emanuel;  VICTORSEN, Albert Joseph;  VICTORSEN, Talbot George;  VICTORSEN, Louis Charles (or Charles);  WHITEHILL, Thane formerly WEISBERG, Thain;  WOLFSON, Heyman;  WOOD, Gus Raymond.


Research has added more recorded as Jews at enlistment:  ADELSON Isidore; ASCHMAN Robert ;  BEHREND Oscar;  BLOUSTEIN Maurice (discharged); BLOUSTEIN, Solomon;  BIRNBERG, Lionel;  GORDON Samuel Louis; HARRIS Joseph, as well as some who enlisted in imperial forces overseas such as JACOBS, Isaac Charles (in South Africa).

Some of the soldiers who appear on lists but whose status is still to be determined; ISAAC, Alfred Ernest;  JOSEPH, Coleman Henry – Major (religion not declared);  JOSEPHS, Cyprian James;   JOSEPHS, Walter Charles;  MARTIN, Felix;  MYERS, Isaiah Myer;  SOLOMON, Douglas;  SOLOMON, Lawrie recorded as Laurie;  SUSMAN, Harold Steinfeld (Lieutenant, religion not declared);  and Nurse: BENNETT Rosetta.

So the number of Jews who served is still being verified and may never be finally known. There are many personal stories behind the names in documents and newspapers:

- Mrs Camens (nee HAINS) who applied in 1967 to obtain the medals of her brother Morris killed at Gallipoli in 1915 wrote in her letter that her four Hains brothers including two doctors, enlisted for active service.

- Mrs Hannah JACOBS, formerly from London, who ran various hotels in Adelaide including the Saracen’s Head and the Colonel Light Hotel (which has only recently closed this year) was noted by a newspaper to have six sons serve as soldiers in the war, five enlisted in Australia, one of whom was killed in action, and a sixth who enlisted from South Africa and not heard from since.

 “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”:

On Anzac Day (25th April, which falls on Shabbat this year) we remember the following South Australian Jewish men killed in action in World War I or II and other conflicts since:

Private Coleman ABELSON

- buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, Nord, France;

Stoker John Samuel ASHER

- buried in West Terrace Jewish Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia;

Private Sydney Harry BARNARD

-  buried in France, remembered at Villers Brettoneux Memorial, Somme, France;

Private Morris HAINS

- died at Gallipoli, buried at Lone Pine Cemetery, ANZAC, Turkey;

Sergeant Arthur Abraham JACOBS (buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West- Vlaanderen, Belgium;

Quartermaster-Sergeant Elias JUDELL (died at Gallipoli, buried at Walker’s Ridge Cemetery, ANZAC, Turkey;

Private Elias LEVY

- buried at Longueval Road Cemetery, Somme, France;

Private Eliezer Hurst RABINOVITCH

- buried at Suzanne Communal Cemetery extension, Somme, France;

Driver Samuel Archie SAUNDERS

- buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France;

Driver Samuel SOLONSCH

- Jakarta (ANCOL) Netherlands Field of Honour, Indonesia;

Also Commando Private Gregory Michel SHER who grew up in Adelaide, died in Afghanistan and was buried in Australia.

The work will be developed into a local Adelaide Hebrew Congregation Library display in our new ‘Hall of Fame’ museum so any photographs or further detail would be appreciated. Any financial support to Adelaide Hebrew Congregation Library Fund toward the project or the display materials or in memory of those who served, would be most gratefully received. The archivist is also planning to exhibit a never-before-displayed collection of photographs of Australian soldiers serving in Palestine donated to our AHC archives years ago by the niece of a local non-Jewish serviceman.

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Visit of The Chief Rabbi Mirvis to Australia. What happened to Adelaide?

Adelaide Hebrew Congregation

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was appointed to the role of Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth following the retirement of Lord Jonathan Sacks in September 2013. We learn from a recent  ‘Australian Jewish News’ that Chief Rabbi Mirvis is currently making his first trip to Australia for 12 days, with visits to Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Then he travels to New Zealand to visit Auckland and Wellington.

In Perth he is speaking at Perth Hebrew Congregation on his vision for the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

In Sydney he is speaking at Central Synagogue, South Head Synagogue, the Jewish Learning Centre in North Bondi and at North Shore Synagogue and at various schools (Masada, Moriah, Mt Sinai and Kesser Torah Colleges), delivering an address for the 65thanniversary of Bnei Akiva and another at a public meeting at National Council of Jewish Women of Australia’s Fanny Reading House.

In Canberra he will attend the inauguration of the ACT Jewish community’s new Rabbi Alon Meltzer.

In Melbourne he visits Caulfield Hebrew Congregation, St Kilda Synagogue, Blake Street Hebrew Congregation, Mizrachi and Central Shule, as well as speaking at Mount Scopus Memorial College, Leibler Yavneh College and Bnei Akiva.

After travelling to New Zealand he will visit Wellington and Auckland to attend Rabbi Netanel Friedler’s inauguration at Auckland Hebrew Congregation on 1st December.

Original Adelaide synagogue consecrated 1850 on right and 1870 on leftAdelaide Hebrew Congregation is older than ALL of the above-mentioned Australian and New Zealand congregations of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth included in the list above. We were formed in 1848 by settlers arriving from England in the earliest ships arriving in South Australia. The customs and rituals, many of them written in detail and adopted by our congregation were based on those of Duke’s Place Synagogue in London from which many of the settlers and merchants came. These traditions are Ashkenazi, from Poland, and include various London shul rituals AHC has maintained for over 166 years. Our parade rituals honouring Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereishit, our pledges to charity at an aliya to the Torah, the prayer for the Queen and many other rituals and customs of our synagogue continue, probably unchanged, intriguing visitors, to this day.

At the time we moved to our new location in Glenside, the congregation’s previous Adelaide synagogue building, which was used for over 140 years, was the oldest continuously used synagogue in the southern hemisphere.

Our first qualified minister (and a Shakespearean scholar), Reverend Abraham Tobias Boas, served 50 years and was finally ordained as a Rabbi at his retirement, during a previous tour by a Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth; the Chief Rabbi noted that Rabbi Boas was the longest serving Jewish minister in the Commonwealth. Other past AHC Rabbis, including Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn and then Rabbi Baruch Davis (who now serves at Chigwell and Hainault synagogue in Essex) maintained our strong links with these traditions.

Although we are a tiny community, we are proud of our heritage and look forward to learning of the new vision of the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth for all the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

We remain, like a diamond in the sand, on some distant shore, waiting to be discovered again.

(This is a guest post by a member of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation)

You can read about Chief Rabbi Mirvis here:



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The Shabbos Project Adelaide

The Shabbos Project Adelaide

The Adelaide Shabbos Project was an amazing success! After watching this video:

Rebbetzin Rachel was inspired to bring the Shabbos Project to Adelaide, South Australia.

With the help of the whole community, the Shabbos Project in Adelaide was a huge success!

Learning a new way to braid challah

Learning a new way to braid challah at the Adelaide Shabbos Project Great Big Challah Bake

Thursday night was a challah bake that brought together three spiritual leaders and women from all walks of life, from Israelis to first-time challah bakers. (Read more here!)

Friday night the ladies of the community joined with WIZO South Australia in a communal candle lighting ceremony.  This was followed by a kabbalat Shabbat service led by visiting Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn of Melbourne, whose booming voice led Adventuring Akiva to clap and dance in the aisles.

After the service was a communal dinner with preparation led by a long-time community stalwart.  With nearly 40 people in attendance, the Adelaide Jewish community was well-represented.  Ages ranged from under one to the 80s!  Food included a first course of dips and salmon mousse, a main of half a dozen salads and chicken, and dessert of sorbet and berries.  Rebbetzin Rachel introduced our visiting rabbi with some stirring words about Jewish unity and how to use technology to keep Torah better.  Rabbi Heilbrunn then gave an inspirational sermon about the importance and the power of Shabbat.

Saturday morning saw a popular service led by Rabbi Heilbrunn, followed by a community kiddush.  Then there was a delicious lunch of homemade hummus and tehini, spinach salad with heirloom tomatoes and balsamic vinegar pearls, tropical barbeque salmon, lasagna, and a selection of homemade sorbets, held at the rabbi’s house.

Congregants at the AHC enjoying refreshments during the havdallah concert

Congregants at the AHC enjoying refreshments during the havdallah concert

Finally, the Shabbos Project ended with maariv services and a havdallah ceremony.  Then there were mini-concerts given by Rabbi Heilbrunn and Rabbi Ben, a performance by the Jewish Adelaide Zionist Youth (JAZY), a sing-along and kumzitz, and refreshments prepared by Rebbetzin Rachel and the cheder girls.

All in all, the Shabbos Project Adelaide was a big success!  Visitors came all the way from Melbourne to participate and Jews from all walks of life, from the strictly observant to the strictly secular, came together in a display of Jewish unity.  Adelaide Jews are already asking Rebbetzin Rachel to begin organizing for next year!

Kol hakavod, Adelaide and the Shabbos Project!

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The Shabbos Project: The Great Big Challah Bake!

The Shabbos Project: The Great Big Challah Bake!

In Adelaide, South Australia, I decided to organize our own challah bake in solidarity with Jews all over the world who were participating in their Shabbos Project challah bakes.  We may be a small community, but this was a great chance to have some unity!  Jewish women from all walks of life showed up to bake challah. It was an amazing event! Just check out some of the photos below!

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Celebrating Purim in Adelaide, Australia 2014

Purim in AdleaidePurim started Saturday night with a party at the Rabbi’s home. The Megillah was read by Rabbi and then everyone sat down for some yummy hamantaschen baked by the Rebbetzin. A couple of visitors from Sydney also joined us.

Purim day we had a nice turnout at the shul for our program fromnoon to 3.00pm. People were having so much fun that it ran overtime and ended closer to 4.00pm.

The program started with hamantaschen baking. Supervised by the Rebbetzin, participants made hamantaschen with fillings of chocolate, marshmallow, peanut butter, jam and sometimes a collection of all four together! The hamantaschen were placed in the oven to bake and then everyone gathered in the shul to listen to the Megillah. Of course Rabbi had to tell a few corny Purim jokes prior to the reading like: “What is the difference between a telephone and Haman”. Answer: “Nothing. When we are finished with both of them we hang them up!”

After the megillah reading we had a collection of short Purim films shown on a big screen in a makeshift cinema on the stage. Special thanks to David Benveniste, for putting it all together. At this point, we should mention that David won first place again for best costume dressed as Ezio from the video game Assassin’s Creed.

By the time the Movie was done, Klee along with some helpers had set up a lovely Israeli lunch of pita, falafel, salad, and tabouli. Dessert was a potpourri of all the fresh hamantaschen out of the oven.

Then came the long awaited Juggling show by the great Benjini, who did some impressive juggling, a couple of magic tricks with plenty of jokes. If you were there, you’d have seen him perform the fastest juggling trick in the world, make a balloon worm, do card tricks, and turn an empty container into a tray of hamantashen!

The day continued with a Purim Seudah at the Rabbi’s home along with a second megillah reading that day for those who had missed the first one, or enjoyed it so much they wanted to hear it again, followed by lots of Rebbetzin’s delicious food, l’chaims and stories.

Thank you to all of you who participated in the great Mitzva of Matanot L’evyonim, giving charity to the poor on Purim. This Purim from the Adelaide Community we gave US$180 to Yad Eliezer ( and US$61 to Leket Israel ( Both organizations do tremendous work in bringing food to those who need it in Israel. The organizations are all well recognized and run mostly by volunteers. Check the links for more information.

Thank you all who participated and made our Purim.

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The film ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,’ is a 2006 comedy starring the Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen. The plot: Kazakh television personality Borat Sagdiyev leaves Kazakhstan for the “Greatest Country in the World”, the “U, S and A” to make a documentary at the behest of the Kazakh Ministry of Information. He leaves behind his wife Oksana and other inhabitants of his village including his “43-year-old” mother, bringing along his producer Azamat Bagatov and a pet chicken. The film pokes a lot of fun at a country that most foreigners know little to nothing about.

It is rare to meet someone who has travelled to Kazakhstan, but last week Rabbi Ben met a young Australian who had just cycled through Kazakhstan. Naturally he asked the cyclist, ‘Did you meet Borat’s family?’ The cyclist replied, ‘Whatever you do, never mention Borat in Kazakhstan. The people there are not happy about this movie that has portrayed their country as a joke!’
It’s interesting to note, that the villages that Baron Cohen visits in depicting how backwards Kazakhstan is, were not even in Kazakhstan, they were filmed in Romania.

Sacha Baron Cohen may not be welcomed in Kazakhstan but Jews have a history there.

General Secretary Joseph Stalin forcibly moved thousands of Jews from other parts of the Soviet Union to the Kazakh SSR, and during the Holocaust 8,000 Jews fled to Kazakhstan.

A Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Almaty is named after Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe, who is buried at the city’s cemetery, close to the synagogue. Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was exiled to Kazakhstan from Ukraine, Dnepropetrovsk, where he was a chief rabbi. Lubavitcher Jews from all over the world come to pray at his grave.

It seems like Jews historically ended up in Kazakhstan not entirely by choice though today there are estimated 3,300 Jews living there.

Between 2005 and 2006 attendance in religious services and education in Almaty among Jews greatly increased. The Kazakh government registered eight foreign rabbis and “Jewish missionaries” (most likely Chabad!) and has also donated buildings and land for the building of new synagogues.Across the country, there are fourteen Jewish day schools attended by more than 700 students and there is a Jewish kindergarten in Almaty. 

We find it inspiring to learn about Jewish communities and hope you do too. Who knows, maybe some Rabbi in Almaty met a cyclist from Adelaide and this week is writing about the Jewish community of Adelaide!


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