Rabbi Dr David Hailperin – A Colourful Life

Among the many colourful Jewish figures to appear in the annals of Australia’s early history, David Hailperin remains unique. He was an ‘’old world’’ rabbinic scholar-turned-Kabbalist mystic and ‘’quack’’ physician. He lived in Australia for only five years, but in that short time, he managed to establish an enduring legacy.

1894 Rosh Hashanah in Coolgardie

Possibly one of the most unique High Holiday services ever held in Australia took place in 1894 in Coolgardie WA for Rosh Hashana. The services were not held in a synagogue, nor in a home — in fact, not even in a building. The service, in which eleven men participated, just surpassing the bare minimum required, was held in a tent during the time of the WA’s gold rush period.

Jewish Divorce in the colony

As far back as 1831, the London Beit Din was confronted with issues surrounding granting divorces, when one or other of the parties had been transported to Australia, which did not have a formal Jewish legal body. The first Beit Din, or religious Jewish court, was convened in Australia in 1864, for the sole purpose of effecting a divorce and arranging a gett, for a Jewish couple that wished to legally separate.