As President of the National Council of Jewish Women of Victoria from 1933 to 1936, Lilian “Leah” Kloot was closely involved with all that the organisation stood for and was a role model for many.
In 1903 Constance “Connie” Ellis became the first woman to graduate from the University of Melbourne Medical School.
Gertrude Bodenwieser revolutionised the modern dance scene in Australia. Fleeing the horrors of the Nazi assault on Europe, she made Australia her home in 1939 and the ballet company she founded has been described as “the first truly influential modern dance company in Australia”.
The stereotype of the Jewish mother has bedevilled society for generations. This post honours seven extraordinary Jewish Australian women who, as well as having children, contributed to Australian society in other siginifcant ways.
Ida Cohen was renowned for her commitment to a wide range of charitable and community causes in Tamworth right up until her final years. Not one to ‘stay home and wipe marks off mirrors’, she found lifelong employment in such work.
Julia Levi, known as the “Grand Woman of Sydney Jewry” gave to every worthy cause and whilst she supported so many institutions, her greatest love was the New South Wales Board of Jewish Education. Even when her husband, Lewis, passed away, Julia continued her philanthropic work and gave over half the income left to her.
Florence Anderson was born in 1871. Her claim to fame was becoming the first female trade union secretary in Victoria, and the only female trade union secretary in Australia.
Ballarat-born Rose Shappere, had a serious taste for adventure. The young Jewish nurse resigned her position at Adelaide Hospital, made her way to South farica and attached herself first to a Boer commando unit, and then to the British volunteers, travelling alone throughout the country by rail and steamer to reach the front lines at Ladysmith.
Her persistence paid off, and whilst she saw many nurses being turned away by the British authorities, she was determined to serve and her efforts to do so were rewarded with success.
The Jewish Ladies’ Benevolent Loan and Visiting Society formed a committee that eventually became the Jewish Emigration Society. Donations came in, and in June of 1853, an advertisement was printed announcing the Society’s intention of sending 20 single Jewish female emigrants to Australia. What happened next was quite unexpected!