The Melbourne chareidi Kehilla Adass Yisroel celebrated 50
years since the official establishment of its mosdos
hachinuch in 1952. It is the first time in the Kehilla's
history that the members have allowed themselves such a `pat
on the back' and it was a step taken only after much thought
The desire to publicly show hakoras hatov to the
founders and pioneers of the community (both departed and
those still with us) won over the concerns of the doubters.
Indeed a beautiful and memorable evening was enjoyed by
Many visitors from overseas comment that the Melbourne Adass
is the last of the true prewar-style kehillos anywhere
today. This may be a slight exaggeration, but there is no
doubt that communities like ours are not common.
Historically the Adass shul is a continuation of the
Beis Hamedrash Beis Efrayim which was established around 1941
by ehrliche immigrants who were unhappy with the
standards of the shuls they found in Melbourne at the
time. In fact the constitution of Beis Efrayim, dated 1945,
states that it is a constituent member of the Union of
Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (Kedassia).
However as we all know, a kehilla that is only a
shul does not have much of a future. So when the post-
Holocaust survivors began arriving in larger numbers, mainly
Hungarian Jews whose background was the kehillos
kedoshos where the uncompromising derech of the
Chasam Sofer and his talmidim were the order of the
day, they immediately took to reconstructing an independent
kehilla with all the mosdos and services.
They soon purchased a house which was not only the shul,
but also initially the talmud Torah and school,
whilst in the back yard a mikveh taharoh was
It took great sacrifice for them to pay for this -- as well
as for a shochet, a melamed for their children
and very shortly afterwards a rov to lead them.
Adass Yisroel today proudly boasts a shul complex with
a large major beis haknesses, several botei
midroshim, a beautiful large men's mikveh, a
simchas hall which is also used every morning for a
cheder boys' minyan. Shiurim -- including two
Daf Yomi's -- are held there. A Kollel Baalei Batim
for retired and elderly men has been operational for about 25
years. A weekly senior ladies group meets there every
Tuesday. The highly successful Ovos Ubonim program which
began a year ago takes place in the main shul every
week with approximately 100 father and son pairs.
The mosdos hachinuch, now with over 500 children, are
educating the third generation since their inception. The
Kollel Beis Yosef, in the first floor of the shul
complex, has been operational for well over a decade.
The Adass community was the first to build a mikveh
taharoh south of the Yarra river where the vast majority
of the Melbourne Jewish population moved after the war. To
this day, all kosher milk in Australia is under Adass
The Kehilla established its own chevra kadisha almost
immediately and a few years later purchased its own -- and
the city's first totally Jewish -- cemetery.
The 480-page journal published in honor of the occasion has
many articles, photographs and interesting documents of all
eras. (Extra copies of the journal were printed and are
available for a nominal fee.)
The demand for tickets for Wednesday night's celebration was
quite overwhelming and unexpected and unfortunately many
could not be accommodated. A total of 500 people enjoyed an
evening reminiscing and listening to speakers talk about the
history, as well as future, of Adass Yisroel.
Mr. Alex Rosenbaum, probably the oldest yungerman in
the kehilla (having arrived here as a young boy)
chaired the proceedings and spoke about his father, Reb Moshe
Shmuel, who for decades was shochet, mohel, ba'al
tefillah, baal koreh and filled half a dozen other
positions, as required. Unfortunately, due to his health, he
couldn't attend the evening. Rav Shimon Opman, former
menahel of the chinuch mosdos and deputy
rosh kollel gave an overview of both Melbourne Jewish
and Adass history. He said that the desire for non-publicity
of the kehilla and its activities was probably the
cause for its success and noted that in a recently- published
two volume history of Australian Jewry, our kehilla
and all its associated institutions and decades of
achievements merited a mere three-line mention!
The moro de'asra HaRav Beck then gave a short
drosho where he mentioned that although the askonim
who built the kehilla deserve much praise, we
shouldn't forget the Yidden who simply came to shul
daily and daven and learn Torah there, who also
have a big zechus in the kiyum of the
Presentations were made to a number of outstanding supporters
of the Mosdos and short speeches were made by Mr. Y.
Benedikt and Mr. N Koppel.
The guest speaker, HaRav Chaim Kaufman, a rosh yeshiva of the
Gateshead Yeshiva Ketana, electrified the audience with his
masterful drosho. He mentioned the similarities of the
Gateshead Kehilloh in the UK and the Melbourne Adass Yisroel
kehillos, in that they both include only shomrei
Torah umitzvos and are run under the authority of a
single Rov. HaRav Kaufman stressed the importance of
submitting oneself to the guidance and leadership of the
gedolim, and specifically the moro de'asra.
Following bentching, a professionally produced
presentation showing historical scenes and current Kehilla
establishments was screened.
Following the presentation, divrei brocho were
delivered via a video hookup by the kehilla's first
rov, HaRav Y. Y. Neumann, now rov of Belz in Montreal, and
the previous Adass Rov, HaRav E. Ashkenazi, now rov of
It was an evening of true Kiddush Hashem, of
heimishe Yidden in this far corner of the world proud
of being part of the worldwide network of Toradike
Kehillos, rebuilt from scratch by a group of