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Leah Corne and Hadas Kempner with Kangaroo at Wildlife Sanctuary in Sidney Harbour

Leah Corne and Hadas Kempner at Clarke's Beach

Lighthouse in Byron Bay
photo by Leah Corne

Near the beach in Byron Bay

Leah Corne at the Gold Coast

View of the Sydney Harbour
photo by Leah Corne

View of Sydney from the Westfield tower
photo by Leah Corne

Small blocked off Ocean area in Sydney
photo by Leah Corne

Leah Corne at the Blue Mountains
photo by Hadas Kempner

Leah Corne surfing at Bondi Beach


by Leah Corne, May 24, 2016

This past summer I  was lucky to travel to Australia  with a a very good friend, and we stayed with an Israeli family living in Sydney, who took us on a road trip to the Gold Coast. 






The Israeli Family we stayed with (we spoke both Hebrew and English together) used to live in Rose Bay, a Harbourside district that has been the centre of Sydney's Jewish community, which includes all over the Eastern Suburbs. The family moved to an apartment in the neighbourhood called Edgecliff. There are now about 15,000 Israelis who live  in Australia.




The Jewish community of Australia currently numbers 120,000 and traces its roots back to the 18th century. The first Jews to come to Australia were eight English convicts transported to Botony Bay along with other English convicts in 1788. By 1845 there were about 800 Jewish convicts,mostly male Londoners  who were of working-class background (with only 7% of female Jewish convicts)




Before World War II, Australian Jewry was, according to veteran community leader Isi Leibler, “a decaying Anglo-Jewish outpost.”But the massive influx of post-war European Holocaust survivors essentially doubled the size of the Jewish community, to over 50,000 by 1961. In fact, the Australian Jewish community absorbed more Holocaust survivors proportionately than any other Jewish community, with the obvious exception of Israel.




As Isi Leibler has written "The 'Lucky Country' enabled many penniless and crushed Holocaust survivors to work hard and prosper. While a significant Jewish underclass still remains, former Jewish refugees comprise an extraordinarily high proportion of Australia’s most successful and wealthy businessmen, of whom a notable number have become commercial and industrial giants in the nation." A wave of  Russian Jews and financially independent South African Jews  have also enriched the Jewish community, most of which live in Melbourne and Sydney.






The day that stands out the most of my visit to Sydney is the day I

learned how to surf for the first time in my life at the famous Bondi Beach, one of the most visited tourist sites in Australia. I took a group lesson with friends and managed to stand up a couple times. When we first got out onto the beach with our surf boards I thought it would be a lot easier, but surfing isn't as easy as it looks. It takes a lot of balance and patience. 





There is a Jewish connection to Bondi Beach as  after World War II, Bondi Beach and the Eastern Suburbs became home for Jewish migrants from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany. A stream of Jewish immigration continued into the 21st century and the area has a number of synagogues, kosher restaurants , a kosher  butcher, and Chabad of Bondi. In 2007, the Guinness World Record for the largest swimsuit photo shoot was set at Bondi Beach, with 1,010 women wearing bikinis. 





Although Antisemitism in Australia is relatively rare, I was taken aback to learn that the Yeshiva college in  Bondi in 2014  erected the concrete wall, and bomb proof windows after a spate of a

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