After several years of a Covid-enforced hiatus, the Shlichim, Rabbinic and lay leaders of Australia’s Mizrachi communities joined in Perth from 16-20 February 2023 for their annual conference. 

The occasion was combined with a number of anniversaries for the small but vibrant Mizrachi community of Perth including the 30 year anniversary since the establishment of the Beit Midrash of Western Australia, the 25 year anniversary of Dianella Shule in its current location, and the 40th anniversary of Bnei Akiva Perth.


Learning Program

A community learning program featured amongst the event embracing topics such as conversion, surrogacy, Purim, and “cancel culture”.  The conference was spearheaded by 12 visiting Rabbis, educators and senior representatives from Mizrachi institutions along with a local contingent of participants. 

A highlight of the program was a Panel discussion on the topic of “Israel from 75 to 100:  What is the judicial reform in Israel and is it the end of democracy?”  The panel was chaired by Rabbi Justice Marcus Solomon, founder and Senior Rabbi of Mizrachi Perth and Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.  The panel embraced a range of local and international perspectives, including other members of the Western Australian judiciary.  Whilst not resolving the tension currently polarising Israeli society, the Panel discussion assisted to inform and educate on the legal complexities and comparative governance structures between Israel and other democracies.  

Further contributions to the learning activity were made by local educators alongside interstate visitors including Dr Michal Kaufman, Ms Talya Wiseman, Rabbi Jonny Brull, and Rabbi Davy Blackman.   



A professional development stream for Religious Zionist Shlichim brought together dozens of young Israelis currently serving across the communities of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.  In addition to their affiliation to the Mizrachi communities of Australia, the Shlichim also contribute to Jewish education within schools including Moriah College, Yavneh College, Mt Scopus Memorial College and Carmel School.    

The critical educational infrastructure represented by these teams are amongst the strongest contribution of the Mizrachi movement to Jewish education in Australia, with the profound longer-term impact clear to see. 

The high-quality cohorts of Israeli leaders within our community come from organisations including Torah MiTzion, Bnei Akiva and the national service programs of Hesder and Sherut Leumi.  The conference was particularly inspired by Zeev Schwartz, Director of Torah MiTzion and Efrat Metzler, Deputy Director of World Bnei Akiva.  With indefatigable dedication, Zeev and Efrat have worked tirelessly to sustain religious Zionist shlichut to Australia and around the world. 

Shilichim, with a particular strength in the area of informal education, deliver a real taste of modern Israel and Zionist identity into Australia. This interaction can be seen on a daily basis within Jewish day schools, Shules and community centres. 

Bringing the young Shlichim together provided professional development opportunities, networking and the ability to share comparative experiences.  The group also attended a session presented by Rebbitzen Deborah Blackman on the topic of “Child Protection in Informal Education.”    

No doubt a highlight of the Shlichim’s conference weekend was the social engagement and interaction of the large group of combined Shlichim on campus at Carmel School (Perth’s only Jewish day school) and within Dianella Mizrachi Shule, which one young student called “an indescribable vibe that has to be experienced”.  In particular the Shabbat activity was very energetic, comparable to that experienced in the strong and dynamic Religious Zionist communities across Israel.



To celebrate the various anniversaries Dianella Shule was transformed into a museum with photo and video memorabilia, stories and publications, recounting many of the communal and educational initiatives undertaken.  A feature of the display was a pictorial wall of married couples who met through the Perth Mizrachi Dianella Shule.  A proportionally high number of shidduchim have resulted from the Torah Mitzion and Bnei Akiva shlichim’s presence in Perth over the past 17 years.  

Rabbi Shua Solomon of Mizrachi Sydney delivered a keynote address, encapsulating the journey that he and his colleagues enjoyed as children growing up in the early years of the Perth community, and the strength of the educational infrastructure that they benefitted from.  Many of his peers also contribute to the leadership of Jewish communities, including Rabbi Ari Posner, also proudly a product of the Perth Mizrachi community who qualified into his local leadership role.  Rav Ari has been a Rabbi of the Mizrachi Perth community since 2015, a role in which he answers Halachic questions, delivers regular shiurim and serves as Rosh Kollel for Torah Mitzion.


Planning for the Future

Planning was advanced under the inspired leadership of Dr Danny Lamm AM, President of Mizrachi Australia and Deputy Chairman World Mizrachi.  Within this track, the Presidents and administrators of Mizrachi communities discussed a vision for enhanced collaboration. 

A groundswell of religious Zionist development across Diaspora communities has occurred worldwide, spearheaded by Rabbi Doron Perez, CEO and Rabbi Danny Mirvis, Deputy CEO of World Mizrachi.  In his address, Rabbi Mirvis attested that Australia is very much a part of this phenomenon. 

Amongst the plenary were discussions to enhance youth leadership participation, Israel programs, intrastate events for young adults, further development of educational programming, and the enhancement of Jewish literacy.   

Locally, the conference was a milestone moment for the Perth Jewish community.  Local Shlichim Shivi and Shira Himelstein, and Simon Lawrence, Director of Jewish Studies, Carmel School provided the impetus and extraordinary logistical support to an event that will have a lasting impact on all those who participated.

(Photo credit: Donnay Zulberg Photography)