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Temple Beth Israel

The first Australian Temple Beth Israel was founded in Melbourne in 1930 by Ada Phillips, who was motivated by a desire to stem the tide of Jewish people drifting away from the religion. The congregation practised a progressive form of Judaism that originated in Berlin in 1810. The synagogue moved to its Alma Road, St Kilda, site in 1937, shortly after Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger arrived from Berlin. He successfully led the congregation until 1974, succeeded by Rabbi John Levi, who served until 1997. Both were excellent orators and well-respected community leaders. Temple Beth Israel gained a large following throughout Australia. Locally it spawned progressive congregations in Bentleigh, Kew and Armadale, as well as the King David School.

Jayne Josem