The past 25 years has been a dynamic period for the Jewish community, highlighted by such significant developments as the opening of the Jewish day school, Massada College, the community’s growing involvement in intra-communal programs and the desecration of Jewish gravestones at West Terrace Cemetery.
Massada College opened its doors in February 1976. It was co-located with the Victor Ades Memorial Kindergarten at Fuller Street, Walkerville. In April 1990, Massada College (54 students) and the kindergarten (25 children) moved to the new Glenside complex.
As part of its strong commitment to its young people, the Jewish community has continued to support such active youth groups as Habonim, the Australian Union of Jewish Students, and the sporting organization Maccabi South Australia. The community has also continued the work of the early Benevolent Society by creating Jewish Community Services in the 1990s to care for the aged, disabled and socially disadvantaged.
The Jewish community has worked hard to promote racial and religious tolerance in South Australia through its membership in such intra-communal organizations as the Multi-faith Association SA Inc, the Multicultural Communities Council of SA and the Council of Christians and Jews, SA. In addition, the Jewish half-hour program on local ethnic radio station 5EBI-FM has been a window on Jewish life in Adelaide. The program can be heard every Sunday morning at 11am.
The 1995 West Terrace Cemetery desecration stunned the community when they learnt of the vandalizing of 62 graves in the Jewish section on Friday 7 July. A memorial service was held at the cemetery the following Sunday and attracted 200 people. A week later more than 1000 people, including state and federal politicians, religious leaders and representatives from diverse ethnic groups, attended a memorial service of solidarity against racism at the cemetery. The gravestones were later restored with the assistance of federal, state and Adelaide City Council grants.
Today the Jewish community has put that sad period behind and is looking to the future with a sustained commitment both to its members and the greater community of South Australia.
Two young students at the Menorah Gates at the entrance to Massada College.
Children reading the siddur (prayer book) in the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation synagogue next door to the school.
An end-of-year concert of ‘Joseph and his Technicolour Coat’ involving the whole Massada School.
Students planting a fern in the school rainforest — a project they planned, designed and for which they raised the necessary funds.
A competitor in action at the 66th Australian Maccabi Sports Carnival held in Adelaide from December 1998 to January 1999. The sportsfest attracted 180 participants and is held annually in different capital cities.
Members of the Habonim youth group at a camp in Normanville.
Community interaction: Adelaide’s Progressive Beit Shalom Congregation hosts the Council of Christians and Jews at a celebration of Succoth — the Jewish harvest festival. Left, Co-Chair of the council Dr Evan Zuesse, Reverend Margaret Polinghorne from the Uniting Church, and lecturer at the Adelaide College of Divinity, Dr Vicky Balabanski, with her husband Reverend Peter Balabanski, and their children.
Cemetery desecration: State Jewish Community Council president, Norman Schueler, at the vandalized graves at West Terrace Cemetery. Photo from The Advertiser. Photographer Dean Martin.
Shine: The 1995 movie ‘Shine’ was produced and directed by Adelaide’s Scott Hicks about Australian-Jewish prodigy pianist David Helfgott. The movie was filmed in Adelaide with a few members of the Adelaide Jewish community having walk-on roles. Pictured on the film set in Bonython Hall at the University of Adelaide are (from left): Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl; Attorney General Trevor Griffin; Director Scott Hicks; Actor Noah Taylor; Minister for Arts Diana Laidlaw; Industry Minister John Olsen; Actor Beverley Vaughan, and Rabbi Ronnie Figdor, formerly headmaster of Massada College from 1994 to 1997. Photo from The Advertiser. Photographer Dean Martin.
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