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Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal


Carlton, the gritty inner-city section of Melbourne, served as a first point of entry for many new immigrants to Australia, my father among them. It also was a center of intellectual activity emblematic of the emerging Jewish culture in Australia in the 1930s and 40s. Its cheap rents and proximity to public transit and the city center made it a logical place for immigrants to cluster as they strove to secure their footing in Australia. The immigrants stuck together for support, companionship, and common language, as the cultural gap yawned between new Polish and German immigrants and most established Australian Jews. The Kadimah center, located in Carlton, was an important focal point of this community – founded as it was by European immigrants and oriented toward Yiddish secular culture. For a brief period, Carlton was the epicenter of this burgeoning immigrant Jewish life in Australia. My father's childhood home was one of many stars in the constellation of vibrant Yiddish cultural life there.

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