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Subject: Cultural Studies »

Lionel Sharpe on Jewish culture

Lionel Sharpe.

Genealogist Lionel Sharpe describes Jewish culture in Melbourne in the 1930s



Date Added:

06 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

4.5 MB






It was very much – it was very much tied to religious practice. I think that if you weren’t interested in belonging to a synagogue or participating in the Jewish festivals and things, there wasn’t much going for you except the – if you spoke Yiddish and you wanted to engage, there was a Yiddish newspaper, there was a Yiddish theatre as I said, there were Yiddish youth groups, but it was either one or the other: either you were a secular Yiddishist or the follower of the Bund, which was the socialist tradition from Poland, or you were part of what was called traditional orthodoxy. It wasn’t orthodoxy in the sense of observing 613 commandments, but rather orthodoxy in the sense of at least paying membership to a synagogue, at least getting married in a synagogue – attending bar mitzvahs and other sorts of ceremonies.


The –that was the sort of Judaism that I was exposed to as a child, you were – you really saw it as a religion, there were Catholics and there were Christians and the Protestants and there were Jews and you were part of that collective. I didn’t have a sense of being part of a separate culture, it was just a sense of being part of a group of people who had to learn Hebrew when they were kids and went to Sunday school and sort of followed in the footsteps of the grandparents.


End transcript