NEW Perth Jewish Community’s Historic Find
JewishCare WA recently found a number of cartons containing documents dating back to the early days of the Perth Jewish community. Realising their historic and social significance, a grant was obtained for an experienced heritage consultant to write a full report on the significance of these documents The report provides a rare glimpse into the amazing history of the Jewish Community in Western Australia. It covers the time from the foundation in 1898 of the Perth Hebrew Philanthropic Society through many name changes to JewishCare WA today. For more information ring JewishCare on 9275 6743
A Brief History of Jewish Welfare in WA
Ongoing Support to People in Need
The Perth Jewish Community has always supported people in need. JewishCare WA is proud to be part of an unbroken chain of Jewish organisations that have provided valuable assistance to people who require support.
The Beginning – The Arrival of Rabbi Freedman
The Perth Hebrew Congregation was established in 1892. 5 years later, David Isaac Freedman became the congregation’s first Rabbi. After forming a Ladies Benevolent Society, Rabbi Freedman established the Perth Hebrew Philanthropic Society. The organisation’s welfare work focused on assisting new migrants and people in the community.
The 1930’s – The Rise of Nazism
With the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s, the Council for German Jewry called upon communities across the world for support. Within the year, Australia formed the German Jewish Refugees Fund. The Australian Jewish Welfare Society was formed to provide support to those affected by the war. The Society also helped to alleviate other important issues in the community. Rabbi Freedman became the Society’s inaugural President in 1937. The Perth Hebrew Philanthropic Society and the WA branch of the Australian Jewish Welfare Society worked side by side until the 1970’s.
The 1970’s – The Australian Jewish Welfare & Philanthropic Society
In 1974 The Perth Hebrew Philanthropic Society and the WA branch of the Australian Jewish Welfare Society merged. Under the leadership and guidance of the 2 organisations became the Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society (now known as JewishCare WA). Roy’s impressive contribution to the Western Australian Jewish Community spanned 60 years.
Mid 1970’s – Rae Lenny OAM Joins the Organisation
Coinciding with an influx of immigrants from Russia, Rae Lenny joined the Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society in 1974. Rae became president in 1984, holding office for 8 years. Rae Lenny and other volunteers from the Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society provided critical support and assistance to people in the Perth Jewish Community for 14 years.
1980’s – Rae Lenny Shalom House is Established
In the 1980’s, Rae Lenny played an instrumental role in securing a 99 year lease on a 3 bedroom house from the State Housing Commission. The home was established to help migrant families and people who needed emergency short-term accommodation was named as a tribute to Rae Lenny’s outstanding contribution to the Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society (now JewishCare WA). The house continues to be run by JewishCare WA. Families and individuals from throughout the world regularly stay at Rae Lenny Shalom House whilst they get settled in Western Australia.
Mid 1980’s – 1st Social Worker Employed by the Australian Jewish Welfare & Philanthropic Society
The Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society employed Vida Kamien as its first social worker in 1986. Vida replaced Rae Lenny who had been providing support on a volunteer basis until then. Social work services continue to be provided to the Perth Jewish community.
2000 – JewishCare WA (inc)
The Australian Jewish Welfare and Philanthropic Society adopted its present name, JewishCare WA (inc) in 2000. Backed by an extraordinary history of passionate president individuals and support organisations, JewishCare WA continues to build and develop valuable support services in the Western Australian Jewish Community. JewishCare WA gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dr Keith Shilkin AM and Mrs Rae Lenny OAM in compiling this abbreviated history.