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Wednesday 3 July, 4.30pm, at the Australian War Memorial


The Australian Jewish Historical Society will take part in a Last Post Ceremony to honour Flight Sergeant Alexander Bennett, a Jewish serviceman who was recorded as missing, presumed dead, over South Poland while in service on 5 August 1944.  As there may be no family members present, wreathes will be laid by the ACTJC President and the AJHS ACT President to honour this serviceman.  Bennett’s short life will be described, wreathes laid, the Last Post sounded, and because it is a Wednesday, a military catafalque party will be in attendance, adding to the moving spectacle.


All members of AJHS and ACTJC are welcome to attend, but every attendee MUST REGISTER WITH THE AWM.  Register for free ticket here.


Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT)


The Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT), meets throughout the year for lectures, talks and excursions related to various areas of local, national and international Jewish historical interest. Our members learn about Jewish history and have the opportunity to contribute to that knowledge.
We look forward to welcoming you and your friends to another year of thought-provoking events. Each year MEMBERS will receive two issues of the AJHS Journal, the quarterly Newsletter, and voting rights at our ACT Annual General Meeting.
A benefit for MEMBERS is access to areas of which include past issues of the Society’s Journal and special publications, databases, personal papers, photographs, military records, newspapers and ephemera dating back to the First Fleet in 1788.
NOTE: A generous aspect of membership to AJHS (ACT) members is that the $35/$25 subscription includes all members of one family unit. This entitles the family to one issue only each time the journal is published (twice each year).


We hope you will consider becoming an AJHS member this year and support the ACT Branch of the AJHS. Please click on the image of our brochure to complete the membership form contained within. Or telephone ACTJC the office for more information (02 6295 1052).

Methods of payment:

1. Electronic funds transfer OR payment at bank Payee: (PREFERRED METHOD)
AJHS-ACT, St George Bank, BSB no: 112-908, account no: 140-555-462 Please put your surname as the reference and email the ACTJC office who will forward your email to the Hon Treasurer of the AJHS to confirm that you have paid. Email:
2. Cheque / exact cash payment (no change is available) to the office staff at ACT Jewish Community Centre. Please complete the membership form inside our brochure (available at the Centre) with enclosed payment and the office staff will forward to the AJHS Treasurer on your behalf.
To apply for membership, please complete the online below or CLICK HERE to download our brochure, complete it and then email to the ACTJC office.

AJHS Membership Form

Welcome to the Australian Jewish Historical Society (ACT).

To join the Society, please complete the following:
  • Complete the form below to submit an application for membership.
  • Complete your payment as the bank details set out below detailed at the very end.
  • Send an email to the AJHS via
Thank you for your submission.

In order to complete your application, please pay your $25 (electronic Journal) or $35 (Journal hard copy) membership fee into the AJHS bank account as below:
Account Name: AJHS-ACT
BSB: 112908
A/C: 140 555 462
Reference: Your surname.

2024 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Rabbi Dr Ben Elton

Rabbi Elton, Senior Rabbi at The Great Synagogue, Sydney delivered an illustrated talk on The History, Architecture and Refurbishment of The Great Synagogue. He outlined the development of the plan by architect Thomas Rowe, and discussed the Romanesque, Gothic and Byzantine motifs on view in the synagogue. Current plans to relocate the bimah and raise the pulpit were described.


Jews in Suits: Men’s Dress in Vienna 1890-1938

Delivered by Dr Jonathan Kaplan-Wasjelbaum

Dr Jonathan Kaplan-Wasjelbaum, Senior Educator and Manager of Research at the Sydney Jewish Museum examined the dress politics of the Jewish men who adopted the modern suit in Vienna.  He used a range of written and visual sources to examine the intersection between dress, acculturation and Jewish identity.



2023 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Joanna Gilmour

Joanna Gilmour, Curator Collections & Research at the National Portrait Gallery delivered an illustrated talk on the life and works of the artist, Judy Cassab AO CBE, two-time Archibald Prize winner, and Holocaust survivor.  A classroom at the National Jewish Memorial Centre is named in honour of Judy Cassab.






The Jews of India and 'Synagogues of India' 

Delivered by Angelica Jacob, President of IJAANZ and Prof. J.A. Waronker
Angelica Jacob, President of the Sydney Chapter of the Indian Jewish Association of Australia & New Zealand, spoke about the history of the five communities of Jews of India who flourished without persecution for more than 1,800 years.  India’s Jewish population made significant contributions to life in art, literature, science, engineering, the armed forces and Government services.  Prof. Jay Waronker followed via Zoom, describing the repertoire of Indian synagogues which he has painted, now on display in the ACTJC art gallery.


Operation Entebbe

Behind the Scenes

Delivered by Major Rami Sherman
In a co-sponsored event with the ACT Zionist Council, Major Rami Sherman gave an evocative account of when an Air-France ‘plane was hijacked and rerouted to Entebbe, Uganda in 1976.  At the time, Rami was the operations officer of Unit 269 of the IDF under the command of Yoni Netanyahu z”l who lost his life in the operation.


Nazi collaborator Bronius Sredersas's story

Delivered by Emeritus Prof. Konrad Kwiet 
Prof. Kwiet, resident historian at the Sydney Jewish Museum, discussed how he used documentation to research the background of Nazi collaborator of Wollongong Art Gallery benefactor Bronius Sredersas.  He outlined the challenge of reconstructing history on the basis of fragmented documents, and indicated that there are gaps in this history that may never be filled.

2022 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Adjunct Professor George Newhouse, co-founder of the National Justice Project
George reviewed the relationship between the First Nations and Jewish community through the lens of the waves of Jewish migration to this land.  He questioned whether Jews and First Nations people have had or still have, a close and constructive relationship, except for a period pre and post WWII where their interests aligned.  He suggested actions to improve the relationship to avoid tensions between the two communities.
Here is a link to listen to a recording of George's talk on the ABC's Speaking Out program


Tell Your Story – Triumph over Adversity

Delivered by Dr Agnes Boskovitz and Michael Rosenberg
Agnes Boskovitz describe the moving story of her mother Anna's journey from Hungary experiencing a world war, two defeats, civil war, persecution, a fascist government, communist dictatorship, dislocation and suffering, yet ended up having a good life in Australia.   
Michael Rosenberg told how his father Harry, aged 16, evaded the Nazi invasion of Poland, was deported to the frozen wastes of Siberia, but eventually migrated to Australia, settling in Canberra to become a highly respected scientist at the John Curtin Medical School, and our community's first volunteer Cheder principal.


Launch of Time Travellers time capsule

Children, parents and friends witnessed the awarding of certificates and cupcakes to some of the 58 children who had contributed art and written work to the AJHS ACT sponsored time capsule, to be opened for the 100th anniversary of the ACT Jewish Community in 2051.   The capsule was created for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ACTJC in 1951, and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Jewish Memorial Centre in 1971 (delayed by the Covid pandemic).


Antisemitism on Campus – Attacks from all sides

Delivered by Dr Will Allington
Dr Will Allington, a graduate of the Department of Jewish Civilisation, Thought and Culture, University of Sydney, explored both right and left-wing antisemitic activities on campus, their history, how effective they are, and how they can be countered.  This surge of antisemitism over the past decade is not isolated to Australia, but is part of broader international trends and is influenced by the long, global history of antisemitism.

2021 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Dr Brian Wimborne
Brian's lecture, Jewish Settlements: Dreams and Realities, described the plans to settle Jews escaping from the Holocaust to Australia and other locations around the world, most of which were no more than unfulfilled hopes.  These dreams did not end until the re-establishment of Israel.
Video of Brian's presentation: 


The 'White City' – Modernism in 1930s Tel Aviv

Presented by Michael Hauptman
Michael gave an illustrated talk, discussing the socio-political influences on the architecture on 1930s Tel Aviv inspired by the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier, and some key aspects of its distinctive local interpretation.   The collection of over 4,000 buildings is listed by UNESCO as perhaps the largest well-preserved grouping of 1930s International Style buildings.


Jewish Heritage from the Middle East & North Africa

Presented by Ronit Gabriel
In a co-sponsored event with the ACT Zionist Council, Ronit, former Cultural Attache at the Israeli Embassy, spoke on the rich Jewish heritage from the Middle East and North Africa dating back 2,500 years, in part based on her own family history.


Three Score Years & Ten:  Reflections on 70 Years in the ACT Jewish Community

Presented by Adele Rosalky,
AJHS ACT President
To mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the National Jewish Memorial Centre and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ACT Jewish Community, Adele presented an illustrated talk based on her personal reflections over 70 years.  The talk was followed by the launch of the booklet, The ACT Jewish Community:  70 years of Highlights & History authored by Adele Rosalky and Sylvia Deutsch OAM.
Video of Adele's presentation:

2020 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Michael Komesaroff
As outlined in his book 'Reds Under the Bed', Michael discussed the records which were kept on his family by ASIO, which was unable to differentiate between dissent and disloyalty. As well as describing why ASIO was interested in the Jewish organization it had under surveillance, he also discussed why early last century Jews were attracted to the Left, and why and when this was no longer so.

                February              Last Post Ceremony for Private Maurice Lewis Aarons

As no family members were in attendance, wreathes were laid by ACTJC President Veronica Leydman and AJHS President Adele Rosalky at the Australian War Memorial in honour of Private Aarons who was KIA at Gallipoli in 1915. Private Aarons is listed on the Australian Jewish War Memorial at the National Jewish Memorial Centre, Forrest.


People of the Book

Delivered by Rabbi Elhanan Miller, ACT Jewish Community
Rabbi Miller outlined his initiative People of the Book, which is a bid to educate Muslim and Arab audiences about Judaism.  What started as a series of cartoons dealing with religious issues has now grown into an active channel providing weekly lectures on ritual and faith, as well as interviews with Arabic speaking Jews and Israeli Arabs.  He continues to respond to questions and comments since taking up his position in Canberra.


Dr Elena Govor, author of Russian Anzacs in Australian History and Falling Stars: The story of Anzacs from Ukraine 

Dr Govor, spoke about many of the 150 Jewish Russian soldiers who fought for Australia in the First World War.  Some were well-known, others invisible.  Telling their stories helps us understand our multifaceted history and to fight stereotypes associated with Jews. Read and view her talk here:

2019 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Angus Trumble, recently retired Director, National Portrait Gallery of Australia.
Angus' lecture, The Rothschild Bank, the Montefiores and the Victorian Gold Rush, outlined the discovery and contents of documents and correspondence found in the basement of the London Rothschild Bank which connects the two families to every aspect of the gold rush in colonial Victoria.


Records Continuity: Preserving Today's for Tomorrow's Community

Delivered by Sabrina Elias, Senior Archivist, AJHS.
Sabrina discussed the importance of retaining records in Jewish communities, illustrating her work with examples she has undertaken. Sabrina also delivered a valuable workshop for the benefit of AJHS(ACT) and others with material stored in the ACTJC archive.


delivered by Alpha Cheng, son of Curtis Cheng who was gunned down by a teenager radicalized by ISIS ideology.

In his talk entitled 'Çarrying the Light', Alpha spoke about his training in Holocaust studies at Yad Vashem, his work with Courage to Care, his advocacy on discrimination and inclusiveness in Australia, and his hopes for the future.


The Dead Still Cry Out delivered by Dr Helen Lewis.

Helen's illustrated talk was based on her award winning book about her father's experiences as a combat cameraman during WWII. Mike Lewis' records of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and Nazi atrocities provide powerful evidence against Holocaust denial.

2018 Past Events & Speakers


Excursion to Old Linton and Yass Jewish Cemetery

Yass, NSW
Old Linton is the gracious colonial home built in 1857 by the ex-convict turned successful and respected businessman Moses Moses. The tour was led by the current owner Stephe Jitts. The group then visited the nearby Yass cemetery where Rabbi Shimon Eddi consecrated the small Jewish cemetery and recited memorial prayers over the graves. He also explained the history and significance of the consecration of land for Jewish burials.


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Dr Avril Alba, consulting lead curator for the Sydney Jewish Museum’s Holocaust exhibition
Avril spoke on the topic Transmitting the survivor’s Voice:  Redeveloping the Sydney Jewish Museum, which focused on the process of exhibition development, and connections to Australia and human rights.


Tell Your Story

Delivered by Leonie Webb (AJHS (ACT) Vice-President) and Dr Merrilyn Sernack
At a winter afternoon event two long standing members of the ACTJC each recounted illustrated stories of a member of their family. 
Leonie told the moving story of her aunt Elizabeth Friedman (1909-2001).  Elizabeth survived two brutal years in concentration camps, eventually arriving in Australia to live out a long and happy life. 
Merrilyn told the story of her father Sidney Sernack (1918-2016) who served as an army officer if WWII, and afterwards worked in the fashion industry in Sydney for the next five decades bringing the bikini and Mary Quant labels to Australia.


Lessons in Leadership – the life of Sir John Monash

Delivered by Mr Rolfe Hartley, former President of Engineers Australia and volunteer guide at the Australian War Memorial
Coinciding with the week of the centennial Remembrance Day, and following the centenary of the knighthood of General Sir John Monash, Rolfe presented a ‘warts and all’ discussion of Monash the engineer, the soldier, and the man…..a complex man, an outsider who had failures and human weaknesses but who is regarded by most historians as the greatest general of WWI and an extraordinary Australian.

2017 Past Events & Speakers


Earle Hoffman Memorial Lecture in Australian History

Delivered by Adele Rosalky, President AJHS(ACT)
Adele gave an illustrated talk entitled A Jewish cultural landscape in the Goulburn area which presented Goulburn’s prominence in Australian Jewish history, the 1861 census showing that Goulburn was the third largest Jewish community in Australia at the time outside of Sydney and Melbourne.  The talk focuses on the ‘Jewish synagogue’ located on the Lansdowne Park estate and the Jewish cemetery in Long St.


Combating antisemitism in the school playground: an Australian case study

Delivered by Dr Suzanne Rutland, Emerita Professor, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at The University of Sydney
Suzanne analysed the problem of anti-Semitic bullying in contemporary Australian state schools through interviews conducted in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.



Jewish and Israeli identities in contemporary Israel

Delivered by Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod, Roth Lecturer from the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at The University of Sydney
Michael charted the complex evolution of a uniquely Israeli identity, exploring issues of religious observance, role of the IDF, secular-religious divide, relations between Israeli and diaspora Jews, the absorption process of new immigrants, and other issues and challenges.


Last Post ceremony for Sergeant Morris Solomon 

Australian War Memorial
ACT branch member Judith Eisner and members of her family laid wreaths beside the Pool of Reflection in a Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in honour of her uncle, Sergeant Morris Solomon, who died in a flying accident in 1942, aged 23 years.  Many members of the ACT Jewish Community and AJHS (ACT) attended this moving ceremony.
Thu, 13 June 2024 7 Sivan 5784