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Archive of Australian Judaica


August 2008

ISSN 0814 - 8288

August 2008

The Casual Bulletin now appears on the Archive website as an electronic journal. Printed copies are mailed out on request. It is published once or twice a year.

PDF version of Bulletin 43


The Archive wishes to thank:

Sophie Caplanwho continues to donate journals, broadsheets, and papsers on a regular basis. These contributions have formed the basis of the archive ephemera collection, which is now substantial.

* Ilana Cohen for ephemera, some journals and minutes of Woman Power and material on the Judean Scouts and Woman Power.

* Yehuda Feher for ephemera, and journals, and pieces from the past from his private collection. There are now 11 archive boxes of his collection in the Archive.

* Denise Lvoff the archivist from Moriah College for donating A Pearling Master's Journey by J.E.Norman & G.V. Norman, which mentions Jewish connections in Broome.

* Margaret and George Rigal from England for a copy of an updated Michaelis and Hallenstein Family Tree to supplemetn the material supplied by the .ate nancy Keesing and further identification of photos. Margaret rigal was ablet o supply most of the names of the children in the above photo.

*The family of the late Severyn Pejsachowicz for over 70 audio tapes from his Jewish Radio Programme on SBS from 1979 till late 1986. Programmes include interviews with prominent Jewish personalities, music and Hebrew lessons. The language is predominantly Yiddish.

* Lionel Sharpe for the book he authored: A History of Giving-the Melbourne Hebrew Ladies from 1857.

Jewish Folk Centre Yiddish Library

On Monday, March 17, thanks to the efforts of Dr Jennifer Dowling, lecturer in Yiddish, the Archive of Australian Judaica in the Fisher Library of the University of Sydney became the temporary home to the collection of yiddish books formerly under the aegis of the Jewish Folk Centre in Sydney. The Jewish Folk Centre had decided it was no longer interested in housing the collection of what was estimated to be 2-3,000 books, and was preparing to ship them to the National Yiddish Book Centre in Amherst, Massachusetts (USA), since they "could not find anyone interested in the material".

Archivist in Israel

In June, the archivist was in Israel to attend the annual conference of the International Council of Christians and Jews on the theme of: " The Contribution of Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogue to Peace-Building in the Middle East." While there, she also spent some time in the Central Zionist Archives listing material from 28 files of early Australian Zionist material dating from 1908 to the 1940s. Some of the files contained only two or three pages on Australia, mixed in with correspondence from all round the world. Letters sent to the Central Zionist Archives were preserved by the Central Zionist Administration, although not retained here, in Australia. See one such letter from B.H. Altson to Max Nordau, 1908.

Central Zionist Archives

A preliminary investigation in 1983 of zionist archives in Australia revealed that virtually the only extant archival material here, in Australia, consisted of an incomplete set of minute books, the earliest, that of the Young Judean Zionist Society dating to 1921. This material that existed supplemented information from the newspapers of the day, and the minutes of the York Street, synagogue. The Archive of Australian Judaica filmed material in mid 1984 that was assembled from zionist resources in both Sydney and Melbourne. Subsequently, in 1988 the originals of this material in the Melbourne office were destroyed, and the only record of this material (1921-1975) is on the microfiche copies made at the time. In referring to the problem of educating Jewish organisation to keep their records, Ben Zion Patkin wrote on 13th August 1982 to Dr Albert Silver, the President of the Zionist Federation of Australia:

"Since, as you know, all the archives of the Zionist Federation of Australia and N.Z., up to about the 1950's, have been destroyed and same applies to archives of Boards of Deputies, Keren Kayemeth (Jewish Agency) Keren Hayesod (Jewish National Fund) and of many zionist organisations throughout Australia, I am trying, on the basis of my own diaries, notes and documents kept personally by me, since my arrival in Australia in May 1929, to write up as much of zionist history in this part of the world as possible.

It can never be made even near complete because of lack of sufficient evidence relative to important events. Also many pages of Jewish newspapers located in libraries are missing and very often same applies to whole numbers.

The picture of the preservation of Australian Jewish records as presented by Patkin in 1982 was bleak, but 25 years later, following the foundation of the Archive of Australian Judaica in July 1983, the picture has improved.. All major Australian Jewish newspapers from the nineteen hundreds have been filmed as well as considerable portions of twentieth century newspapers, and records amassed from scattered locations. Some of the early Zionist material has been located, thanks to the correspondence having been kept in the Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem, and taeh fact that the archivist constults the Central Zionist Archives on every occasion possible. Some has been copied, but funding is needed to continue this project. In addition, organisational archives such as the records of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, rather than having been lost, have been meticulously kept from the earliest years, these records having been lodged by the Board of Deputies in the Archive in 1983 and updated since that time.

However, huge gaps exist in the runs of material from many of the Jewish organisations in Australia, as material continues to be destroyed, despite the efforts of the Australian Jewish Historical Society and the Archive of Australian Judaica. In general, there does not appear to be an appreciation of archival material, as this nee dless destruction is continuing. At its Plenum session of 15 April 2008, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies adopted a proposal entitled the "Jewish Archival Partnership" with the aim of establishing an archival policy and a records'#6633cc inventory of Jewish organisations of New South Wales. This will be overseen by an Archiving Referral Panel. Essential to the proposal is the development of a community-wide framework for archival record keeping. The archivist has been invited to join the initial Archival Referral panel."

Archive Publications

The sheet music of Mi Adir, Sheva B'rochot and Phantasia Judaica (by Boaz Bischofswerder), which was initially composed on the Dunera may be purchased from the Archivist for AU$22 (includes GST) each plus postage (AU$5 local, AU$10 overseas).

Copies of Monograph No 12: Early Australian Zionism: An Annotated Index of Records in the Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem. Part 2. 50pp are available from the Archivist for AU$10.00 (includes GST) + $1.00 postage (AU$3.00 overseas).

In addition, copies of the catalogue will continue to be updated on the internet, as well as some copies printed on request. The online catalogue on the web is kept up to date.

The Archive continues to attract a wide variety of users including museum curators, students of higher degrees from overseas universities, as well as local students, authors, film makers, journalists, writers and researchers preparing exhibitions.

We wish to thank the University of Sydney Library for housing and technical support of the Archive, the Mandelbaum Trust for its financial support and the Friends of the Archive for their financial help with the Archive's projects, and in the supplying of records and information.

The image shows a stained glass window, one of a series at Temple Beth Israel, Melbourne.

PDF version of PERIODICAL PUBliCATIONS FROM THE AUStrAliAN JEWISH COMMUNITY, 6th edition (Sydney, Archive of Australian Judaica, University of Sydney Library, 2008), first published in 1986. This edition totals 205 pages numbered in arabic numerals (i-iv, 1-206, ie. 211 pages including the title page).


Dr Marianne Dacy

Archive of Australian Judaica,

C/o Rare Books & Special Collections,

Fisher Library, University of Sydney

Fax 61 2 9351 7765 (Updated to 61 2 9114 0881 as of 2nd February 2009) .

Tel 61 2 9351 4162 mdacy@library.usyd.edu.au

Project Directors: John Shipp, University Librarian.

Alan Crown, Emeritus Professor in Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies

Assoc/Prof Suzanne Rutland (Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies)