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Boas, Abraham Tobias


BOAS, ABRAHAM TOBIAS (1842–1923), Australian rabbi. Boas, the son of a rabbi, was born in Amsterdam and graduated there at the theological seminary. He lived in England before immigrating to Adelaide, South Australia, as minister of the Hebrew Congregation in 1870, retiring in 1918. While his main interest was education, Boas was also active in civic affairs. He obtained recognition of the Jewish community as a denomination entitled to representation at official functions. He introduced the triennial reading of the Law but later reverted to traditional usage.

His son isaac herbert (1878–1955) was an Australian timber technologist of international repute. Born in Adelaide and educated there and in Perth, Western Australia, Boas was an academic and industrial chemist before joining the government's scientific sector. He perfected a method for utilizing the vast eucalyptus reserves for industry. From 1928 to 1944 he was chief of the division of forest products, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (csiro), located in Melbourne. During this period his laboratory earned worldwide recognition. Boas served as president of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. After his death the timber technology research station at Ilanot, Israel, was named for him. Boas was active in the Jewish community, serving as president of the Jewish Welfare Society and the St. Kilda Hebrew Congregation in Melbourne.

Another son, harold boas (1883–1980), was a distinguished architect and town planner in Perth, Western Australia. In the period immediately after World War ii, he was one of the main leaders in last-ditch efforts by acculturated sectors of the Australian Jewish community to oppose the creation of the State of Israel.

add. bibliography:

L. Rosenberg, "Abraham Tobias Boas," in: [Sydney] Great Synagogue Congregational Journal (1970); W.D. Rubinstein, "The Australian Jewish Outlook and the Last Phase of Opposition to 'Political Zionism' in Australia, 1947–1948," in: W.D. Rubinstein (ed.), Jews in the Sixth Continent (1987); H.L. Rubinstein, Australia I, 305–6, index.

[Israel Porush /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]

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