Henry Benjamin

“I always said to myself: If this dish existed between here and the moon, I could eat my way to the moon.”

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1941.
My wife and I arrived in Australia in April 1970. My wife was already an Australian citizen.

Friday nights are special

Within the Jewish tradition, it doesn’t matter what your background is – there’s something holy about Friday night. Traditionalism is very strong. I’ve always been a member of the synagogue. When I came to Australia in 1970, I joined the Yeshiva, which my father-in law had helped found in 1968.

The Glasgow diet

My mother made a dish called Krishlen en leibe. It was like liver with onions in a thick sauce. I always said to myself, ‘If this dish existed between here and the moon, I could eat my way to the moon.’ She was a great cook. I have memories of my mother sitting on the phone, talking to her friends and writing down recipes. This is how they did things in those days. The traditional food from Europe was very strong in the Glasgow diet, and not very healthy, either.

Key Migration Wave - British 10 Pounder

The British 10 pounder is a reference to British immigrants who arrived in Australia under the £10 assisted passage scheme between 1945 and 1960. Many of the £10 Poms, as they were known, were Jewish immigrants from London’s East End working-class.

Listen to Henry's Eat, Pray, Naches stories

Full Transcript available here

Henry talks about growing up in Glasgow, moving to London where he meets his Australian wife and their move to Sydney.


Henry recalls his Glasgow childhood and the way most Glasgow Jews, although not very religious, nonetheless kept kosher homes.


Henry’s family’s synagogue in Glasgow held a weekly children’s service which Henry learned to lead. It was the joy of singing the tunes and conducting the service which he loved more than the religious side.


Working in the community is very important to Henry.  He was on the Board of the Guardians back in Glasgow and in Australia he set up and runs the Jewish e-newspaper, J-Wire.