AUCKLAND, largest city in *New Zealand, situated in the North Island. The Auckland community was founded by David Nathan (a Londoner who removed from northern Kororareka in 1840) with the assistance of other Jewish traders. By 1842 a crown grant of land had been obtained for a cemetery, and in 1855 the congregation, now called Beth Israel, leased a wooden synagogue building. A breakaway congregation called "Gates of Hope," with Rev. J.E. Myers of London as minister, existed briefly in 1859. The congregation developed vigorously under the lay leadership of P.S. Solomon (later an outstanding Fijian lawyer and legislator) and Rev. Moses Elkin (1864–79). From 1880 to 1934, the Auckland community was under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi S.A. Goldstein. He was assisted until 1931 by Rabbi Solomon Katz, and then by Rabbi Alexander Astor (d. 1988). David Nathan, by then a business magnate, lived to open the Prince's St. Synagogue in 1885. He and his sons, L.D. and N.A. Nathan, were the community's lay leaders almost continuously during the period that Goldstein served as minister. The present synagogue and community center were dedicated in 1968.
The Auckland community is vigorous and prosperous. It provides many Jewish educational, cultural, social, and welfare amenities. Strong support has always been in evidence for Zionism and Israel, and Jewish education fostered. A Liberal community was formed in 1959. Auckland Jews have played a notable part in the city's banking, commercial, and industrial life as well as in the legal and medical professions. The many Jewish benefactors include members of the Myers, Davis, and Nathan families. There have been six Jewish mayors of Auckland, including P.A. Philips, H. Isaacs, Sir Arthur *Myers, Sir E.H. Davis, and D.M. Robinson. In 1967 the Jewish population numbered about 2,000 but by 2004 it had grown to about 3,100 (of a total population of 1.1 million), thanks to immigration from Russia, South Africa, and elsewhere.
L.M. Goldman, History of the Jews in New Zealand (1958), index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. & L. Gluckman, Auckland Jewry Past and Present (1994).
[Maurice S. Pitt]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.