From Australia’s Jewish Past:
1839 – Yom Kippur in Hobart Tasmania
First published in J-Wire October 4, 2022
The following is an extract from the article “The Jews” published in The Tasmanian, 20th September 1839.
The White Fast, or day of Atonement, was celebrated by the Jewish nation on Wednesday last, that day being the tenth of the first month of the Jewish year 5600 from the creation of the world. About thirty persons met for the purpose of Tuesday evening, and continued in the performance of their devotional exercises, as directed in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, commencing 27th verse, until the evening of the following day. There being no Tabernacle, the meeting was held at Mr Hyams’, in Elizabeth Street, the four services being performed, in the absence of a Rabbi, by the persons present.
Connected with our notice of this ceremony, we have great pleasure in recording the following fact, which is highly honorable and creditable to the mind and heart of Mr Gunn, the Principal Superintendent of Convicts:- Previous to the Hebrew Meeting, it was considered probable, that amongst the prisoners in the Barracks, there might be several Jews: an application was, therefore, made to Mr Gunn for permission, that these men might attend the Fast, or day of prayer and atonement; this request was instantly granted: but amongst the prisoners there proved to be only one Jew. That man attended, and although the only one so situated, he was a sufficient evidence of the Principal Superintendent’s liberality of mind, and for it, we have been requested to offer him the thanks of the Jewish people who were present on the occasion. We do so with great satisfaction, because these acts are worth a thousand promises and professions, evincing as they do, clear proofs, not only of the increased intelligence of the age, but that the system of prison discipline is also gradually improving.
“To the Editor of the Tasmanian.” The Tasmanian (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1827 – 1839) 20 September 1839: <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article232803970> A letter to the editor that describes the night when approximately thirty people gathered at Israel Hyams’ place (presumably the Rose and Crown Inn) on Elizabeth Street.