By: D. I. Freedman
Capital city of South Australia. The history of the Jewish community of this city is closely connected with a pioneer settler, Jacob Montefiore, who took a prominent part in the foundation of both the colony and the community. The congregation, which now numbers about five hundred persons, dates from 1840. The synagogue on Rundle street was consecrated in 1871 and stands upon the site of a small hall that was used by the congregation in its early days.
The Jews of Adelaide have borne an honorable share in the service of the state. In the Legislative Council, Maurice Salem sat for nine years. In the Legislative Assembly, four Jews have occupied seats at various times: Judah Moss Solomon (1852-66), Emmanuel Solomon, Lewis Cohen (1887-93), and V. L. Solomon, who was elected in 1890 and who is still a member. The last named, who was one of the principal pioneers of the northern territory, has filled the highest office attainable by a citizen, having been chosen premier of the colony in November, 1899, though, owing to political combinations, he was in office only seven days. The highest civic office, that of mayor, has been held by three Jews; namely, J. Lazar (1855-58), J. M. Solomon (1869-71), and Lewis Cohen (1883-84). In trade also the Jews have received honors, M. Lazarus having been elected president of the Adelaide Chamber of Manufactures.
Since the community was established, Adelaide has known only one Jewish minister, the Rev. A. T. Boas, who has been associated with the congregation since 1871. Attached to the synagogue is a congregational school, which is attended by sixty children. There are four Jewish societies, of which the Hebrew Benefit and Medical Society is the most noteworthy. It was founded in 1877 by S. Saunders, a justice of the peace, and its assets now amount to over nine hundred pounds sterling (about $4,500). I. Asher has been its president for over fifteen years. The other three societies are the Jewish Philanthropic, the Ladies' Benevolent, and the Hebrew Literary and Social Society. Most of the Jewish public men have been connected, in one capacity or another, with the synagogue and these societies.