The history of the Jewish people in Australia began with eight Jewish convicts from England, who arrived at Sydney Cove with the First Fleet in 1788. In the years that followed, the British transported a total of 800 Jews to the Australian colonies from the United Kingdom. Australia now has a growing population of Jewish people, which is estimated to be about approximately 120,000 people out of a total population of almost 20 million.
In 1999, Chosen People Ministries partnered with Celebrate Messiah Australia, which was established in 1995 and operates under the direction of founder Lawrence Hirsch.
Celebrate Messiah has been involved in various forms of Jewish evangelism, such as street work and personal ministry. Two Messianic congregations-one for English speakers and one for Russian speakers- also have been planted to meet the needs of the Jewish people who have come to faith through their ministry. Celebrate Messiah’s vision is to expand their ministry to reach Jewish people living in all of Australia’s major cities.
Celebrate Messiah’s Russian Jewish work began in 1997 when Hirsch started a Bible study with one or two Russian Jewish believers. The group grew, and a total of 27 Russian Jews came to faith that year. This encouraging start set the stage for more to come.
Most recently, Celebrate Messiah has also pioneered a new work amongst the Jews of Far East Russia in the region of Birobidzhan, also known as the Jewish Autonomous Region.