JEWISH MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA
The Jewish Museum of Australia is a community museum, which aims to explore and share the Jewish experience in Australia and benefit Australia's diverse society. The Jewish Museum of Australia is committed to being a respected and innovative cultural centre, recognised nationally for its excellence in exhibitions, education programs and collection management. The Jewish Museum of Australia was established in 1982 and for thirteen years was located in the synagogue of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, South Yarra. In that time, the Jewish Museum presented over forty wide-ranging exhibitions, several of which travelled nationally. The Museum attracted significant communal support and won several prestigious industry awards. In 1992 the Jewish Museum of Australia purchased a building in Alma Road, St Kilda opposite one of Melbourne's most beautiful synagogues, the St Kilda Hebrew Congregation, and close to Temple Beth Israel.
On 20 August 1995 the Jewish Museum of Australia, Gandel Centre of Judaica was officially opened by the then Governor General, Bill Hayden.
The Jewish Museum of Australia’s Collection has been acquired mostly through donations. The Museum is the custodian of the community’s history, with a responsibility to preserve and record through material heritage the Australian Jewish experience. The Collection documents many aspects of Australian Jewish life, beginning with the arrival of Jews with the First Fleet, and representing in depth major episodes of migration and settlement of the Jews in Australia, to the present.
The Collection includes over 12,000 catalogued items, as well as ‘to be catalogued’ items, some of which are large personal and/or professional archives. Many of the larger personal archives include pre-migration heritage. The Museum’s Collection includes important holdings about the HMT Dunera and the internment of enemy aliens in Australia in the 1940s.
Other significant holdings document the Shanghai Jewish experience pre- and during WWII, emigration, immigration and settlement processes for different waves of Jewish migration.
In 2008 the Museum acquired the Archives of Rabbi Joseph Lipman Gurewicz. Rabbi Joseph Lipman Gurewicz (b. Vilna 1885) arrived in Australia in 1932 and became the spiritual head of the United Congregations of Carlton. Rabbi Gurewicz was a dynamic community leader and an authority in matters of Jewish law.
The significance of this archive resides in its documentation of the various social/communal and religious issues that onfronted the emerging Eastern European immigrant Jewish community over the two decades of 1930s-1950s – the war and the immediate post-war years, and the community’s responses to those issues.