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BENJAMIN, DAVID:

Communal worker; born in London in 1815; died there June 25, 1893. In 1835 he emigrated to Australia; and, while in Tasmania, assisted in founding a synagogue. Soon afterward he settled in Melbourne, joining his brother Solomon, who is justly regarded as the founder of the Melbourne Jewish community. The firm of Benjamin Bros. was among the early pioneers of the British settlement in the colony of Victoria. The firm prospered greatly, buying crude gold direct from the aborigines, and making large purchases on which the banks were reluctant to venture. Benjamin had also a large interest in the Bank of New South Wales. He endeavored to maintain the Jewish spirit of observance in the colony, and personally attended the Jewish sick in Melbourne. In 1854 he returned to England, where he devoted himself entirely to the community, becoming connected with the Jewish Board of Guardians, the Bayswater Synagogue, and the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum. Benjamin was treasurer of the Bayswater Synagogue from 1865 to 1871, and warden from 1871 to 1875. He was a life member of the council of the United Synagogue from its foundation, and was one of the seven elders of the United Synagogue. He was a prominent worker on behalf of the Jewish Board of Guardians, labored untiringly in its cause, and was very munificent in his donations to charity.

Bibliography:
  • Jewish Chronicle and Jewish World, June 30, 1893.
J. G. L.
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