The following article by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple first appeared as a chapter in Feasts and Fasts: A Festschrift in Honour of Alan David Crown, Mandelbaum Studies in Judaica No. 11, published by Mandelbaum House, 2005.
To conduct research into the life and career of AB Davis is rendered difficult because when he came to Sydney in 1862 there was no regular Jewish periodical, so one cannot go to newspaper files for information on his career – at least not until almost the end of the nineteenth century, towards the end of his ministry. On the other hand, some moments of his life are accessible to the student by reason of letters held in the archives of the Australian Jewish Historical Society and the Great Synagogue. Some of this material was made available over the years by descendants of Davis, most of them no longer part of the Jewish community.
The 1860s were a difficult decade for Sydney Jewry. A furore in 1859 – the ostensible issue was the circumcision of the child of a non-Jewish mother, but there were other factors too – had split the community, resulting in the establishment of a second synagogue, occupying a former Baptist chapel in Macquarie Street, earlier known as Burdekin House, opposite Parliament House. The new congregation took away part of the membership of the parent community in York Street. York Street itself was without a minister and needed a man of stature able to strengthen the synagogue and possibly reunite the community. An approach was made to Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler in London, who was asked to recommend a suitable person for the position; his choice of Alexander Barnard (Pinchas ben Baruch) Davis was endorsed by a London committee comprising former residents of NSW and a selection of London communal workers. Arriving in Sydney on 17 August 1862, aged thirty-four, Davis remained in office until 1903, bringing stability, achieving unity, and moulding the religious tradition of the congregation.
Davis was born in London on fifteenth August 1828. His parents died about the time of his bar-mitzvah and like other orphans who became ministers he was taken under the wing of some of the religious leaders of the community. He was educated in the private schools run by Rev Henry Abraham Henry and Rev MH Myers. There was no ministerial training college: Jews’ College did not come into being until 1855; so like other boys with an aptitude for the ministry, he was given private tutoring in Hebrew subjects. There was also no teacher training facility, and like other potential educators Davis began as a pupil teacher.
His career took off early. By the age of nineteen he was already a headmaster, at the Westminster Jews’ School in Prince Street, Soho. Unusually for the time, it was co-educational. The one hundred pupils included two children who later, as Sir Phillip and Lady Magnus, themselves made a significant contribution to religion, education and literature. At age twenty or twenty-one, Davis was already officiating at major services at the Westminster Synagogue and elsewhere (in 1849 he conducted a service there to mark the end of a cholera plague). In 1852, aged twenty-four, he was recommended by the Chief Rabbi for a ministerial post in Portsmouth where the congregation, dating back to 1747, had suffered a split and needed a minister loyal to the rabbinate.
Whilst in office in Portsmouth, Davis married on 20 July 1853, Blanche Annie Harris, daughter of Bartholomew Harris of 66 Hatton Garden, Holborn, a stationer. She bore him eleven children of whom nine – six sons and three daughters – survived him. Mrs Davis died on 6 June 1892. The Hebrew Standard said about her, “She assisted him with marked success to carry out the good work which was ever a labour of love to both of them”.
After leaving Portsmouth, Davis became in 1854 the minister at Kingston, Jamaica, where he is said to have re-united the Ashkenazi and Sephardi segments of the community – probably only temporarily.
The chief rabbi, writing to Davis on 27 February 1861, comments on internal problems of the Jamaican community and then remarks that he has learnt “with much regret” that the climate does not agree with Mrs Davis. He has obviously heard that Davis had his eye on a London appointment at Bayswater, a prestigious part of west London, where local residents hoped to erect a synagogue to obviate the need to walk long distances to the then newly opened Central Synagogue or the long established synagogue in the City of London. Adler tells Davis, “I can not give you much hope regarding the Bayswater Synagogue”. He points out that even if Davis makes application for the Bayswater pulpit, there would be many candidates and there was no certainty as to when the new synagogue would be built (in fact, the synagogue opened in 1863, and, though this has no bearing on the Davis story, I was minister there one hundred years later, in the early 1960s).
Adler informs Davis in his letter that Rev MB Levy of the Western Synagogue had withdrawn his resignation and would not be going to Sydney. Levy had apparently been appointed to York Street; one wonders whether Australian Jewish history would have been different had he taken up the position. Adler is willing to recommend Davis for Sydney, but does not want Jamaica to lose him. However, if Davis himself takes the initiative the chief rabbi would assist, adding that the climate in Australia, “being generally speaking very healthy would doubtless agree with Mrs Davis”. Davis did apply for the position, was duly recommended by the chief rabbi, and left Jamaica amidst good wishes for himself and his “dear and amiable lady”.
The Davis family left for NSW on the ship “Canaan”, and Davis’s induction on 14 September 1862, coincided with the reconsecration after eighteen years of the York Street Synagogue. Forty-one years in Sydney made Davis a well-known public figure. He was colloquially referred to as “Rabbi” Davis, although he lacked rabbinic ordination, a fact that caused some grief when his credentials were challenged by Isidore Bramson, a confrontationalist East European rabbi. We shall return to Bramson later on.
Arriving in a small community still suffering from the effects of a bitter secession, Davis constantly advocated unity. Both York Street and Macquarie Street congregations went through periods of weakness – Macquarie Street in particular; they sometimes had no minyan on Shabbat whereas York Street had an attendance of 200, but residual pride made unification difficult. Davis, however, engaged in constant diplomacy, which finally achieved results.
At a meeting on 13 March 1871 chaired by Saul (later Sir Saul) Samuel, Davis felt confident enough to propose building a new “great” synagogue large enough to accommodate both factions. His proposal was received with enthusiasm. The subsequent acquisition of the Elizabeth Street site is a separate story, as is the fundraising campaign which involved the women of the congregation in organising a massive fancy fair in Martin Place.By 1877, Macquarie Street disbanded and on 5 March 1878, the Great Synagogue was consecrated – a glorious moment of fulfilment for Davis. Not only did the Great Synagogue bear the name of the historic parent congregation in Duke’s Place in the City of London, but its ethos, ritual and tradition were all modelled on what became known as Minhag Anglia, “the English usage”, which had its headquarters at Duke’s Place, though certain other congregations became in time even more anglicised still. Minhag Anglia was Jewish with an evident English tinge. To be Jewish in the Anglo-Jewish way was a mark of pride, an expression of social and cultural integration. It believed in English-type dignity and decorum in the synagogue, quasi-Anglican titles and roles for clergy and lay leaders, a Jewish version of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Book of Common Prayer, and structured English-language preaching. The emphasis on preaching was also very English. In the first part of the nineteenth century, Christian pulpit oratory was strong and popular, and in the Jewish community there was growing agitation for lecturers’ capable of advancing Jewish values amongst the Jews but also enhancing the Jewish name amongst the gentiles.
Chief Rabbi JH Hertz said in 1931 that there was not only an English style of Judaism but also what he called an “Anglo-Jewish position in theology” which he defined as “progressive conservatism, i.e. religious advance without loss of traditional Jewish values and without estrangement from the collective consciousness of the House of Israel”. Whatever he meant by these words, they certainly reflected the feeling of the proponents of Minhag Anglia that to be a Jew in England or the British Empire at same time upheld tradition and welcomed the ways of modernity. In line with this philosophy, Davis created a congregation that was certain that English-style Judaism was superior to any other kind.
Over the course of forty-one years, Davis lived in quite a number of Sydney locations. Probably in the late 1860s, he was living in Phillip Street, in an area very close to the original Government House. In 1871, he was in William Street and, as we will discover in a moment, it was a house with a washhouse and chicken coop, which will have its own relevance as we proceed with the story. In 1880, he wrote from Roslyn Terrace, Macleay Street, seeking funds from members of the community for “a Jewish home for the aged and afflicted poor”.
His salary at the time the synagogue was consecrated was the then remarkable amount of one thousand pounds a year (his assistants received very much less: Rev. AA Levi received two hundred and fifty pounds, the shochet one hundred and fifty-six pounds and the shomer fifty-four pounds per annum). Davis’s salary was reduced twice in the 1890s because of the depression and the financial problems of the synagogue, but it still ended up as the handsome sum of six hundred pounds (in 1905 Rabbi FL Cohen began with eight hundred pounds a year; Rabbi Porush began in 1940 with one thousand pounds).
Why is it relevant that Davis lived in a house with a washhouse and chicken coop? In 1871, when he was forty-three, a case against him was heard at the Water Police Court; the plaintiff Letitia (otherwise Lizzie) Cockburn, aged fourteen, claimed that on 21 September 1871, Davis “did commit an assault of an indecent nature on the said Letitia Cockburn”. Davis pleaded not guilty. The girl had been employed as a nurse by the Davis family and had lived in the house for eighteen months. At 10pm one Saturday evening, apparently the evening before Kol Nidrei night, Davis told her to take a chicken from the washhouse and return it to the chicken coop because Mrs Davis had told him that there was no need to kill that chicken for soup as enough soup had been left from the previous day. When the girl was putting the chicken in the coop, according to her story, Davis committed the alleged assault. She told him to be quiet, and then Mrs Davis’s steps were heard on the stairs so he desisted. She told the court that this was not the first time that he had attempted something with her, but she had been ashamed to tell her mother. She denied to the court that she was in the habit of telling lies, and members of her family attested to her truthfulness. However, three other servants in the house said that Lizzie was “systematically untruthful”. A number of eminent citizens gave evidence as to Davis’s unimpeachable character. The case was dismissed; the newspapers reported that it was likely that the plaintiff would be charged with perjury. On 16 October, a few weeks later, there was a public meeting of Jews and non-Jews in support of Davis. On 18 October, a deputation led by Saul Samuel proceeded to Davis’s house to present an address expressing their sympathy. Davis thanked them for their support in “the foul matter of which I was made a victim” (when I read this I did not know whether to spell the word fowl or foul).
In March 1878, when the Great Synagogue opened, the community was ready to be reconciled, as seen in the fact that in 1875, Davis inducted Rev Israel Morris Goldreich (later minister in Ballarat) at Macquarie Street. This was the moment when it was clear that the two congregations could live together. It may well be that Davis’s dream of reunification was helped by his experience in Jamaica where he exerted himself to achieve unity between Ashkenazi and Sephardi segments of the community. His efforts were acknowledged in a letter dated 11 February 1875, signed by David Cohen, secretary of the York Street Synagogue:
Rev AB Davis, William Street.
Rev and Dear Sir, I am desired by the committee of the new synagogue fund to express to you their sincere thanks for the kind and valuable services rendered on the occasion of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Central Arches of the Great Synagogue, Hyde Park, and to assure you of their fullest appreciation of the labours so generously accorded.
In the 1878 annual report, the board stated that “the labours and zeal of the reverend gentleman in initiating and furthering the erection and completion of the new building, a cause in which all heartily and generously co-operated, are deserving of the warmest thanks of the community”.
The formal consecration of the synagogue was conducted by Davis, together with Rev AA Levi and Rev R Benjamin of Melbourne, thus inaugurating the tradition of impressive, stately services on special occasions. Queen Victoria’s jubilee service in 1887, for example, was stated in the annual report to have been “pronounced one of the grandest services ever held in the Metropolis”. Such events were also part of Minhag Anglia because they allowed the Jewish community to showcase its patriotism, its pride in itself and its capacity to do things well. As we have stated, this became a normative feeling in Sydney, largely because Davis’s long incumbency gave the community a sense of stability and the opportunity to develop a visible and palpable tradition.
Davis was reported in the London Jewish Chronicle in 1898 as “a good Hebraist, a fine Chazan, a correct and punctilious Baal Koreh, an eloquent preacher and finished elocutionist”. It added, “[h]e officiates at the almemma (the reading desk) and the pulpit with equal excellence and acceptableness”. Other sources speak of the impeccable manner in which “the venerable and popular Rabbi Davis” conducted services (“he thinks the Hebrew he is reading”) and his emphasis on decorum in the synagogue. The Australasian Hebrew in 1895 reported “Rabbi Davis’s surprised look of indignation at the slightest noise or movement”; in his presence no one would dare disturb the peace of the synagogue.
He felt secure enough to introduce several liturgical modifications. On his seventieth birthday, he stated:
In the various objects which I have been successful in achieving and in the modifications introduced into our liturgy, which have, in so eminent a degree, contributed I am bound to confess that much of the merit of their accomplishment is due to the Executive and the Boards of Management of our House of Worship past and present who generously, actively and cordially seconded my several efforts.
Davis’s modifications included reciting the haftarah on Shabbat and festivals in English – generally declaimed by himself. He apparently had second thoughts and after many years wanted to reintroduce the Hebrew haftarah, but the board insisted on keeping the English reading.
He introduced a mixed choir of men and women – perhaps the first in the British Empire – and encouraged women to take part in congregational singing. The make-up of the choir fluctuated – sometimes male, sometimes mixed – but it settled down as a mixed choir and remained so for many decades. Congregational reports often combined praised both “the excellence of the Choral accompaniments” and “the sermons regularly delivered by the Rev AB Davis”.
He introduced the saying of the prayer for the Royal Family in English in 1871 – in those days quite an innovation. In 1899, he introduced the reading of the Ten Commandments in English once a month. For the sake of decorum, he introduced or endorsed the abolition of the announcement of pledges by those called to the Torah, replacing it with one omnibus prayer said at the end of the Torah reading acknowledging those who made offerings.
But despite all Davis’s attempts and endeavours, the synagogue was not always well attended. In 1890, the annual report referred to “the decline in attendance at divine worship and the absence of a proper religious spirit in the community, which if left unchecked must prove injurious to the future of Judaism”. A letter from Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler dated 25 March 1895, suggests that as in Britain there should be a Yom Kippur sermon on the subject as well as “direct personal persuasion”. Davis did give sermons on the subject, some being printed and published for the sake of those who did not or could not attend. Adler tells Davis in the same letter about organisations set up in the United Kingdom to help Jews who had lost their employment because they would not work on Shabbat, which suggests that it was Saturday work which kept some people from coming to services.
Davis must have read or supplied this particular letter to the board, because when the chief rabbi expressed the hope “that your exertions will crowned with success”, a few words have been added to the letter in Davis’s own handwriting. After the words “your exertions”, he had added “and the efforts of the executive”, which indicates a man of tact and diplomacy.
Now a brief section on Davis as an educator. Unimpressed at the educational facilities which he found in 1862, he worked to have girls admitted into existing classes and held special classes for them at his home. In 1863 he created the Sabbath School, again largely for the sake of girls. Despite keen opposition to the creation of the Sabbath School, the school soon became so popular that before long it was co-educational and continued for many years – though there were times, such as in 1897, when the attendance was “disappointingly meagre”.
He founded the “Society for the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge” in association with a London Society of the same name, and set up as adjuncts a lending library and a children’s saving bank. He was proud that the Sabbath School was staffed by former pupils, although some girl teachers from poor families had problems when it came to a dowry at the time of their marriage, so he set up a fund to help them. He further advanced Jewish education for girls through confirmation and consecration services, although they attracted only sporadic support and were eventually abandoned until Rabbi Cohen reintroduced them in 1907.
With the closing of denominational schools the emphasis moved to part-time classes. By means of a combination of Sabbath School, synagogue classes and classes in a number of public schools, Sydney Jewry somehow continued to educate its children until in 1909 the various organisations merged to form the NSW Board of Jewish Education. Davis had some notable successes with his pupils; one was Joseph Jacobs, the historian and folklorist, who gave the Jewish Encyclopedia much of its academic standing.
To fill a gap in the lack of textbooks for Jewish children, 1869 saw the publication of Davis’s little book called “Jewish Rites Explained“, which went into several editions and continued to be used for many decades. Other publications included: “Questions on Judaism” for pupils of the girls’ confirmation classes, and a book of devotions for children and their families.
As a fundraiser, Davis was considered to be unparalleled: “the community’s most effective beggar”, he has been called. It was he who really established the Montefiore Home. He began a campaign in 1880 and solicited funds. The Hon LW Levy promised a thousand pounds if others gave four thousand. Davis even raised money in London, when in 1883 when he undertook a twelve months’ visit to England and approached former colonists for funds. The Home opened in South Dowling Street in 1889, and Davis visited regularly. According to a report from someone who accompanied him on a visit, Davis even in his late sixties ran up the steps energetically and ran the bell briskly. Some Great Synagogue activities were transferred there, for example the sukkah and the Saturday night havdalah.
Davis also urged a Jewish hospice so that the poor could “lie down and die” under Jewish auspices instead of having to go to the Liverpool Asylum, but the hospice never eventuated.
He took a special interest in St Vincent’s Hospital. In 1901, he was called “a faithful friend of St Vincent’s” and its ancillary charities. In 1903, a Catholic paper said “that while the Irish pulse continues to beat in Australia”, Davis’s work for the Irish Family Relief Fund “will not be forgotten”. St Vincent’s agreed to designate a special room for Jewish last rites in consideration of an annual subsidy.
He established a Sydney branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association to help Jews in many lands to have their human rights recognised. The board of management endorsed the plan and it became a significant feature of the Sydney Jewish community.
Davis was said to be an eloquent preacher and a fine elocutionist. Rabbi Porush reported in the name of people who remembered Davis:
As a preacher he was bent towards the dramatic, walking to and fro astride the steps in front of the Ark and gesticulating vividly. In those days the bimah was still in the centre of the synagogue – there was no pulpit as such – and so it was possible of the preacher to make full use of the area in front of the Ark and to ensure that he secured the attention and often the sympathy of the congregation.
As a child of his time, his language was flowery and his sentences complicated, but it was his achievement to establish in Sydney the permanent place of the sermon; no one thereafter would ever question whether a sermon had a place in the service. After his death, the board paid tribute to “the inspiring fervour of his pulpit utterances”. Some of his sermons survive in manuscript form in exercise books; others were printed and distributed widely.
Davis had no formal rabbinical qualifications, despite being known as “Rabbi” Davis. His sermons reveal an acquaintance with the Bible and some rabbinic works, but it is not certain whether he had any deep Hebraic knowledge. As a result, he was unable to conduct a fully competent Beth Din. Nathan Marcus Adler, after much agitation from Sydney, allowed a Beth Din in Sydney with limited powers. Conversion applications had to be forwarded to London; divorces had to be processed by Dr Abrahams of the Melbourne Beth Din, who was Davis’s son-in-law. By the late 1890s, the congregation greatly resented what they perceived as a stigma on Sydney Jewry in that they did not have their own Beth Din. The crisis which led to a change, was the arrival at the end of the century of a foreign rabbi, Isidore Bramson, who constantly questioned Davis’s authority and capacity. Davis did not remain silent; he in turn criticised Bramson and his supporters – “foreign Jews” who sought to change the direction of the community. When Bramson formed his own Beth Din in 1901, Davis complained to London. The chief rabbi backed Davis, and before long Bramson left Sydney.
When Davis retired, the congregation decided that his successor had to be a fully qualified rabbi, able to set up a fully functioning Beth Din. Hence the then Rev Francis Lyon Cohen had to complete rabbinic studies before leaving London, and one of his first official acts in Sydney was to disband the existing Beth Din and replace it with a new body constituted with sanction from the chief rabbi.
Let me return to Davis’s attitudes. He certainly stood for Orthodoxy. He set up committees and called meetings from time to time to try and secure more support for kashrut, with very little result, even though the board subsidised shechitah and kept kosher meat prices low. He urged wider observance on Shabbat, with little response. Strict Shabbat observance was honoured in the breach, and even regular synagogue attendees took it for granted that how one arrived at the synagogue and what one did after the service was nobody else’s concern. Hardly anything changed even when Rev JH Landau was appointed as Davis’s assistant and brought new energy to the community’s religious leadership.
Davis supported appeals for the Jews of the Holy Land but did not favour Herzlian Zionism. It concerned him that many political Zionists were neither orthodox nor often believers at all, and was uncertain whether political Zionism was even compatible with messianic concepts. He was criticised for this by Percy J Marks and the Hebrew Standard, although within a few years, in the days of Rabbi Cohen, the Standard assumed a much more critical attitude to Zionism, reflecting the views of the Great Synagogue leadership, from whom the paper received a weekly subsidy.
He encouraged the community to be sympathetic towards Russian Jewish immigration. As early as 1860, in Jamaica, he had written to the Jews in England requesting support for Moroccan refugees. A letter signed personally by Sir Moses Montefiore thanks Davis for “his eloquent and successful advocacy of the cause of our suffering brethren”. So, Davis, perhaps unusually, was not opposed to Russian Jewish immigration, though some others were. Despite the depression, the congregation raised one thousand and ninety-six pounds for “our unfortunate and terribly persecuted co-religionists in Russia” in 1892 as the result of a special synagogue service.
Whilst considering Davis’s attitude to other modern problems, “modern” for that time, one needs to peruse the short-lived Australasian Hebrew for which he wrote a number of articles in 1895, but this material still needs to be researched.
His twenty-fifth anniversary was marked in October 1887. According to the Sydney newspapers, the synagogue was crowded for a solemn service conducted at 7pm by Davis and Rev. AD Wolinski, “the choral parts being well rendered by an efficient choir”. With Davis standing at the foot of the steps to the Ark, he was presented by SA Joseph with an address and a cheque for five hundred pounds. Several influential fellow citizens had made donations. In August 1898, his seventieth birthday, he was presented amongst other things with a portrait of him which had been painted twenty-three years earlier in 1875.
In 1903, when he retired, it was decided that the occasion had to be marked appropriately. A plaque was erected on the right hand wall of the synagogue vestibule. In the early 1950s, it was moved to the centre of the vestibule to allow space for a memorial to the Jews of New South Wales who died in the Second World War.
The relationship between Davis and the community was generally cordial, but it had its difficult moments. In 1882, the board criticised him for making personal remarks from the pulpit; Davis resigned and said the board had allowed him to be publicly insulted, but subsequently peace was restored and the resignation was withdrawn.
The general view of Davis is reflected in a description in the Australasian Hebrew in 1895 of his “ever active benevolence and wide sympathy … a benignant wisdom, courtesy and tact … respected for his sincerity and learning, admired for his ability and wisdom, liked for his geniality and tactfulness, and loved for his real goodness and sympathy.” Another tribute calls him “a gentle yet energetic peacemaker, held in universal affection and respect”.
Already in 1870, the Jewish Chronicle said that Davis “seems never to weary in his efforts to do good”.
This was AB Davis, Colonial Clergyman, who established the Great Synagogue and the Great Synagogue tradition. A child of his time, he would possibly have been unable to meet the congregational requirements of a later age. But his name deserves to be remembered and his pioneering work acknowledged.
1. These newspapers were the Australasian Hebrew, the Australian Israelite, and the Hebrew Standard of Australasia. See source list at the end of this article for reference material used throughout the article.
2. For a brief summary of AB Davis’s life see “Rev AB Davis and His Era”, Great Synagogue Journal (Sep. 1992), pp. 10-11. Refer to the sources listed under the Australian Jewish Historical Society Archives for fuller references.
Australian Jewish Historical Society Archives, Mandelbaum House, University of Sydney
– Sporadic correspondence to and from AB Davis
– AB Davis’s manuscript sermon books covering sporadic periods (partly illegible)
– Davis family papers re: his genealogy and descendants
– Press cuttings, particularly re: Cockburn case, 1871
Archives of The Great Synagogue, Sydney
– Printed sermons delivered by AB Davis on special occasions
– Orders of service for special occasions
– Annual reports
– Minute books
Australian Jewish Press
– Australasian Hebrew, passim, particularly 22 Nov., 6 Dec. 1895; 22 May 1896
– Australian Israelite, passim, particularly 20 July; 4, 25 Aug.; 17 Oct. 1871
– Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, passim, particularly vol. 11, part 2 (Nov. 1991) re: Cockburn case
– Hebrew Standard of Australasia, passim, particularly obituary of AB Davis, 29 Dec, 1913
– The Great Synagogue Journal, passim, particularly May 1946; Feb., 1953; March 1968; Sept., 1992
– Jewish Chronicle, passim
– Jewish World, obituary of AB Davis, 28 Jan. 1914
– Sydney Morning Herald, particularly 14, 17, 18, 19 Oct., 1871 re Cockburn case
– Daily Telegraph, particularly 11 Oct. 1887; 8, 16 Aug. 1898
– Table Talk (Melbourne), particularly 28 Oct. 1892
– Jewish Rites Explained, 1869 (several editions)
– Questions on the Principles and Duties of the Jewish Religion, 1866
– Devotions for Children and Jewish Families, 1869
– Printed sermons
– Articles in Australasian Hebrew, 1895
– Kellerman, Maurice H. New South Wales Board of Jewish Education: Background Summary 1863-1909. Sydney, New South Wales Board of Jewish Education, .
– Porush, Israel. The House of Israel: A Study of Sydney Jewry From Its Foundation (1788) And A History of The Great Synagogue of Sydney, The Mother Congregation of Australian Jewry, Compiled on the Occasion of Its Centenary (1878-1978). Melbourne, Hawthorn Press, 1977, particularly chapter 4.
– Rutland, Suzanne D. Seventy-Five Years: The History of a Jewish Newspaper. Sydney, The Australian Jewish Historical Society, 1970.
– Pages of History: A Century of the Australian Jewish Press. Sydney, Australian Jewish News, 1995.
– Edge of the Diaspora: Two Centuries of Jewish Settlement in Australia. 2nd edition, Sydney, Brandl & Schlesinger, 1995.