The founder of the College, Mrs Rachel Lipton (née Mandelbaum) died in March 1978, aged 81. In 1918, she graduated with a BA from the University of Sydney, where she read Latin, English, History, Philosophy and Chemistry. She then taught Latin and English at several schools and subsequently obtained her MA in Latin from the University of Sydney in 1934.

She had been a remarkable woman for her time; a highly articulate, individualistic, forceful non-conformist who valued education and Judaic scholarship.

Mrs Lipton bequeathed her estate for the construction of a college at the University of Sydney, which would be named Mandelbaum House. The college was established in memory of her parents, the Reverend Zalel and Freda Mandelbaum, who had provided spiritual leadership to a number of Australian congregations over many decades. Her second husband, Mr Harry Lipton, subsequently bequeathed his estate for Mandelbaum House as well.

Mandelbaum House opened on 18 February 1996 on a site donated by The University of Sydney, with accommodation for 30 residents from all over the world, including visiting academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students. Under the terms of Mrs Lipton’s bequest, the college is intended not merely to be a place of residence for students and scholars, but also to be a focal point for Jewish studies in Australia, and for the study of the vast riches of Judaic thought throughout the ages to the present day.

In 2009, former Mandelbaum House residents set up an official Alumni Chapter. A festive Alumni dinner was held at the College in November 2009, bringing together friends and staff from the past 13 years. This was followed in November 2010 by a very successful Alumni BBQ at Bronte Beach.

On 2nd November 2010, Mandelbaum’s chairman and founding father, Emeritus Professor Alan Crown AM, passed away after a short illness. His loss is  profound for Mandelbaum House and the whole Mandelbaum community. For more information about Professor Crown please click here.  He will be remembered as a great scholar, visionary, mentor and friend.