Honouring her heritage

Jewish genealogical historian and Noranda resident Michelle Urban.
Jewish genealogical historian and Noranda resident Michelle Urban.

The 62-year-old is proud of her Jewish heritage and wanted to preserve it with her father, who was a Holocaust survivor, in mind.

Mrs Urban grew up in the WA Jewish community and said she always had a connection to her heritage.

‘I am fourth generation Australian-Jewish on my mother’s side too, and my husband John and sons have belonged to the Perth Hebrew Congregation synagogue for many years,’ she said.

Mrs Urban established the Jewish Genealogical Society of Western Australia in 1998 with her husband.

The pair incorporated the WA Jewish Historical Society with the Jewish Genealogical Society in 2003, creating the Jewish Historical and Genealogical Society of WA.

Mrs Urban said serving the community gave her the satisfaction of helping people and keeping the heritage and cultural history of the Jewish community in WA alive.

‘It’s being able to nurture, preserve, educate the cultural and heritage of the history of Perth and WA Jewish history and to help people in their research and to find their family history,’ she said.

‘I originally wished to do research into my own family and especially my maternal grandfather who was a very well-known Perth book maker and to learn family history.

‘As there was no Jewish Genealogical help in WA at the time, this interest expanded to helping other people which led to the formation of the society.

‘As we are a small community, the idea of helping is important and unless there are volunteers who are willing to give their time and energy to serve, many existing organisations and amenities just would not exist and would not be able to survive,’ Mrs Urban said.