Stories connect us to our history, our traditions, and who we are.

Eat, Pray, Naches* is a way to showcase the stories of Waverley’s post-war Jewish migrants, and celebrate the contributions of these individuals and their families to the area as explored through the themes of food, faith and family.

Waves of Jewish migrants from Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, China, the former Soviet Union, Israel, and South Africa have shaped the dynamic Jewish community in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The region itself, with its beautiful beaches and relaxed attitude, has also played a central role in shaping the experiences of these new Australians.

Eat, Pray, Naches commenced as a Waverley Council motion to create a pilot project to document the post war migration of Jewish people to the area, with a specific focus on second generation migrants and their families. These ideas draw together important threads of the Jewish tradition as well as richly exploring concepts familiar for many Australians. The story of migration and starting a new life in a faraway place is common in Australia. Our diet has been influenced by an influx of people from a diversity of backgrounds has enriched all of our lives, in ways that we may not often contemplate deeply. The passing of traditions between generations is under increasing challenge as our lives speed up and we’re subject to the influence of an ever globalised culture. Despite these challenges, what brings us the most joy, how we find our naches*, seems is resistant to change. We hold onto a deep knowledge of what is really the most important to us.

More than 17% of Waverley’s population identify as Jewish, making Waverley Council home to the second largest Jewish community in the country. The name Waverley itself is drawn from the house built in 1827 by Australia’s first free Jewish settler, Barnett Levey. After World War II, many Jewish people came to Australia to flee discrimination and persecution. The Waverley area with the beautiful Bondi Beach and sunny weather was a haven for new migrants.

For this project, over 100 stories have been collected, uncovering tales of hardship, courage, optimism, and of course, naches*. This website features these stories in photos and videos and we hope you will enjoy the migration map, timelines, online exhibition, learning materials, share your story, what’s on and lots more. This project would not have been possible without the army of volunteers, of network experts and of course all of the participants. We thank you and please visit our acknowledgments.

*Naches is a Yiddish word referring to joy, love, and familial pride

Thank You

Thank you and acknowledgments

Eat, Pray, Naches commenced as a Waverley Council motion to create a pilot project to document the post war migration of Jewish people to the area, with a specific focus on second generation migrants and their families. The compilation of these stories in the exhibition, on the website, in the education kits and through public programs would not have been possible without the great assistance of many people. The army of volunteers including researchers, editors, proof readers, historians and interviewers have formed the backbone of this project. Thank you. To the very patient network of experts and supporters who were incredibly generous in their continued guidance in bringing this project together. Thank you.

To the team of professionals who undertook the detailed technical work have contributed more could have been reasonably expected. Thank you.

To the participants for sharing their stories, their homes, and their valuable memories. Thank you. Waverley Council would like to thank each and every person who has contributed to this project and wishes them all, great Naches!

Waverley Council
  • Simone Collins – Project Lead and Cultural Programs Producer
  • Matthew Fallon – Cultural Programs Manager
  • Joanna Dinning – Cultural Programs Producer
  • Sophia Smiley – Local Studies and Engagement Officer
  • Cultural Programs Team
  • Waverley Library
  • Communications and Media Unit

Special Mention
Waverley Councillors Miriam Guttman-Jones and Leon Golstman for making the motion and initiating the project. Professor Suzanne Rutland for ongoing support, advice and helping shape parts of the project.

Australian Government Funding
The Eat Pray Naches: Jewish Community Stories project is supported through funding from the Australian Governments’ Community Heritage and Icons Grants programme.

Waverley Council’s Multicultural Advisory Committee
  • Rozy Dorizas
  • Patrick Eyres
  • Dr Trish Jenkings
  • Frank Meoli
  • Amir Salem
  • Zimra Segall

This project wouldn’t be here without the weekly support from our volunteers.
This is what some of our volunteers had to say:
“Each and every one of the people I interviewed had a wonderful story to share. I was moved by their memories, comments and experiences which are all part of Australia’s rich multicultural fabric. It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to play a role in documenting their lives”. Kathy Kallos

‘Only a Waverley girl since 1979, first homesick for Melbourne, my appreciation of the area grew slowly over time. Since working on this project I have learnt so much, how each generation since the 40’s has given, innovated, sacrificed, enriched and loved this community and municipality so very much and proud and grateful to call it home.’ Di Kutchar

Thank you personally to the following volunteers:
  • Carol Alexander
  • Susan Bures AM
  • Barbara Grummels
  • Whoopi Huttman
  • Kathy Kallos
  • Judy Kater
  • Diane Kutchar
  • Yasemin Lockett
  • Alexandra McAlpin
  • Rita Nash
  • Sheila Pham
  • Subi Polat
  • Cathy Rodwell
  • Gwen Zeller
  • Mary Ziegler
Consulting Group
  • Simonne Brill
  • Eva Engel
  • Mark Franklin
  • Ernie Friendlander OAM
  • Beatie Pearlman
  • Helena Robinson
  • Prof Suzanne Rutland OAM
  • Isabella Shaprio OAM
  • Sophia Smiley
  • Dr Lucy Taksa
Photo CreditsPhoto ArchivesSuppliersResearchPublic Programs

Extensive Community Consultation
The local Jewish community such a communal organisations and schools have been extremely supportive in sharing their photos and information and promoting the project. ‘Call out for participant’s’ advertising photography Rose Fekete and her family

Film locations

Video Production Catering
Lox Stock & Barrel

Event Launch Catering
Our Big Kitchen