Carmel School, Perth

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Carmel School
Carmel School, Perth
123 Cresswell Road

, ,

Coordinates 31°53′59″S115°51′47″E / 31.8998°S 115.863°E / -31.8998; 115.863 Coordinates: 31°53′59″S115°51′47″E / 31.8998°S 115.863°E / -31.8998; 115.863
MottoFaith & Knowledge
PrincipalShula Lazar
Colour(s)Blue and white   
Carmel School, Perth

Carmel School is a private Modern Orthodox Zionist Jewish school in Perth, Western Australia which was founded in 1959. It offers Jewish religious and cultural education as well as conventional secular education for students from Kindergarten to Year 12 though its two school components: "a full-time primary school", [1] and high school. It is the only Jewish day school in WA. [2]


Notable students include singer Troye Sivan and his brother and musician Tyde Levi. [3]


The Perth Hebrew School, housed by The Perth Hebrew Congregation was the forerunner to Carmel School.

In 1957 a Jewish kindergarten was opened with 17 pupils, which led to the creation of Carmel School in 1959. Its first location was adjacent to the Brisbane Street synagogue, before moving to the current location in Yokine in 1962. The junior high school was opened in 1974 and in 1978 the senior high school was completed. [4]

In November 2006 it opened an Early Learning Centre which houses students from Kindergarten to Year 1.

Since 2008, the school has hosted annual meetings by The Australian Association for Religious Education entitled "Common History – Shared Future", which are "about Judaism [and] featuring some eminent Jewish educators and speakers from around the world". [5]

In 2009, on the 80th birthday of Carmel School Life Member Harry Hoffman OAM, the school published a book about his life entitled Hate Never Sat at My Table. The author was then-principal Christina Dullard. In honour of Hoffman's (and the Korsunski's) philanthropic contributions to Carmel, in the same year the school was renamed H & S Hoffman and G Korsunski Carmel School. [6]

On 13 September 2009 the Kadima Performing Arts Centre, a state-of-the-art building for drama and arts and media was opened. [7] It also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009. [8] In 2012, the drama theatre was named the Nassim Family Theatre, in lovely memory of Gladys Nassim at a cocktail evening. In 2017, the School hosted its first High School musical Little Shop of Horrors, in the Nassim Theatre to sell-out crowds.

The school has officially adopted The Jewish War Memorial (located on Fraser Avenue, Kings Park). It seeks to do research into the military servicemen. The school has also adopted the Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust. [9]

In 2010, the Ishioka and Lara Hana Brady, the subjects of the book Hana's Suitcase were invited to visit Carmel and speak about the Holocaust. [10]

In 2011, the school officially opened its new gym.

In 2011, "in commemoration of Gilad Shalit’s captivity, members of the executive went into Carmel School, and delivered a presentation in honour of Gilad Shalit". They gave out yellow ribbons to students, and encouraged them to sign the "'hands for hope' banner, which was sent to Gilad Shalit's tent in Jerusalem".

The school holds annual Jewish camps for students, which are hosted by Israeli madrichim.

Relationship with community

Carmel School is at the heart of the Perth Jewish community and is situated in the same area as the Jewish Centre, Maccabi Grounds, The Maurice Zeffert Home, and other Jewish facilities. It upholds a relationship with all these places, as well as the synagogues located in Perth.

Due to the Maurice Zeffert Home's close proximity to Carmel School, the residents at the aged care facility are entertained with performances by and visits from Carmel School Students at regular intervals.

Motto and vision

Carmel School's motto is Emunah V'da’at (English: Faith and Knowledge) and is the philosophy of the school. This motto is displayed on the school crest. The vision of the school is Am Yisrael Chai. [11]

The Carmel experience is empathetic, academically rigorous, of high quality and grounded within the practices and traditions of Modern Orthodox Judaism and Zionism. Students benefit from a stimulating academic environment, while being simultaneously encouraged to delve deeply into their faith and culture, thereby understanding themselves and their potential. This is the School motto 'Faith and Knowledge' in practice.


Hebrew and Jewish Studies are both WACE subjects which are taught to high school students, while various Judaica topics are taught to the younger students. Praying is compulsory every morning before school commences.

Debbie Posner is the Torah enrichment teacher, and Debbi Benn is the Head of Primary School Hebrew and Jewish Studies. [12] Simon Lawrence is the Director of Jewish Studies for the School

The entire campus has a No Meat Policy and all food on site is encouraged to be in accordance with the kashrut laws.


The school has no enrolment fee and a fee schedule for the School is available on request. The School's goal is for all Jewish children to be able to access a Carmel education and so it offers fee assistance where possible, on application. [13]

In Australian Jewish high schools, Holocaust education is taught as part of the Jewish Studies curriculum under Contemporary Jewish History. A study of Jewish schools in Australia by Sophie E. Gelski entitled The Missing Paradigm, cited Dr Judith Berman's research Berman's 1998 and 2001 research, which focused on "the Jewish day school experience in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, over a fifty year period". She noted that "although the time devoted to teaching the Holocaust had increased, it did vary between a one semester course at Carmel School". [14]

The School offers a range of WACE subjects including English and English Literature, Mathematics Specialist, Mathematics Methods, Mathematics Applications, Visual Arts, Drama, Music, Media Production and Analysis, Human Biology, Physics, Physical Education Studies, Chemistry, Politics and Law, Finance and Accounting, Business Management, Modern History, Religion and Life and Hebrew.

In January 2009, the school had 67 computers but with the explosion of IT in both the community and the education sector, the School has rapidly expanded its fleet of computers. Carmel now supports over 500 devices on its wired network, and 3000 devices on its wireless networks.

School leaders

Debbie Silbert has been President of the Board since 2016. Prior to that, Larry Rudman was the Board President.


Directors of Jewish studies

Statistics and achievements

In 2017, the class of 2017 achieved some standout results in the Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR): [21]

The school has also received other academic achievements:


In 1996, there was a case in which a mother who was a Reform Convert sought to have the Orthodox school accept her son for enrolment. A court case ensued in after "the [family] was handed a letter stating specific religious restrictions which would be placed on their son because he was not Jewish according to Orthodox definitions, and therefore prohibited by halacha from participating in some school programs. The Equal Opportunity Tribunal handed down a 46-page document in which it dismissed the family's complaint." [27] The result of the Goldberg vs. Korsunski Carmel School case, delivered in 1999, was significant for all religious schools, as it effectively allowed "such school to discriminate in favour of members of that particular religion or creed, as long as the discrimination is in 'good faith'". The Equal Opportunity Tribunal defined 'good faith' as "in accordance with practices or beliefs of that religion or creed", and added that it was not required of the school to have to justify those practises or beliefs to "the outside world". [28] [29]

In 2008, a Carmel School science teacher committed suicide after being "linked to child sex-offense allegations". The 15-year-old was not a Carmel student. The lawyers involved in the case said he had been led to believe the youth was 17, when in reality he was underage. The then Carmel School Board President told newspaper JTA "the school board had [already] decided to suspend him because of the allegations". He was not able to be formally notified as he "died the next day". His funeral was attended by over 500 people, including many Carmel students and teachers. [30] [31]

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