views updated May 23 2018


PERTH , capital of Western Australia, founded in 1829. The first Jew arrived in the same year, but up to the 1880s only a few Jews lived in Perth. The Perth Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1892 and the synagogue opened in 1897, but the community of Fremantle, the port of Perth some nine miles (14 km.) distant, was established earlier. Most of the Jewish settlers came from Eastern Europe both before and after World War i, but a number also arrived from Palestine. A Liberal (Reform) congregation Temple David, was formed in 1952. In 1970 the Jewish community, which numbered about 3,300, was the third largest in Australia. In recent decades Perth's Jewish community has expanded considerably. According to the optional religious question asked in the 2001 Australian census, 4,871 declared Jews lived in Perth; the actual number was probably more than 6,000. Many were recent migrants from South Africa, for whom Perth was the nearest community in an English-speaking democracy. Perth's Orthodox synagogue, the Perth Hebrew Congregation, was led by a number of rabbis who were prominent spokesmen for the community, including David Isaac Freedman (1874–1939), Louis Rubin-Sacks (1910–1983), and Shalom Coleman (1918– ). There was an Orthodox day school, Korsunski-Carmel College, established in 1959. David Mossenson's Hebrew, Israelite, Jew: The History of the Jews of Western Australia (Perth, 1990) gives a full account of the community's evolution.


D.J. Benjamin, in: Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, 2 (1946), 293–329; ibid., 3 (1949), 434–6. add. bibliography: H.L. Rubinstein, Jews in Australia i, index; W.D. Rubinstein, Australia ii, index; D. Mossenson, The Perth Hebrew Congregation, 18922002 (2003).

[Israel Porush /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]


views updated May 29 2018

Perth City on the Swan River, sw Australia; capital of Western Australia. Founded in 1829, the city grew rapidly after the discovery of gold at Coolgardie in the 1890s, the development of the port at Fremantle and the construction of railways to the e in the early 20th century. Industries: textiles, cement, food processing, motor vehicles. Pop. (1999 est.) 1,364,200.