Welcome to our new website!

Posted: 28 September 2016

After many pleas going back a long time, and nearly two years of planning and preparation, we’re very pleased to announce the successful delivery of our new, much more attractive, much more informative, shul website.

Make sure you have a good browse through the various options on the menu bar, try out some of the links, and check out the photo gallery. It may look like a straightforward production, but a lot of work is involved in designing a website and putting it together.

We’re grateful to everyone involved in this effort, but especially to Jeff Schneider, without whose contribution the new site wouldn’t have been possible.

Jeff made the fatal mistake when joining the congregation a few years ago of letting us know that he was a professional web developer. He barely survived the rush of enthusiasm that greeted this news, and has since dealt with all our requests and frequently-changing requirements with patience and unceasing helpfulness.

What’s more, Jeff took on this workload on an entirely voluntary basis, despite having a full-time job and a new-born son to look after as well.

Yasher koach, Jeff—we hope you have more opportunity to enjoy your limited spare time from now on!

Reaching out to the North

Posted: 27 September 2016

Although our official name is the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, the shul has had members from other parts of the state throughout its history.

In fact, our rules say any Tasmanian Jew is eligible to apply for membership, and the ECAJ (Executive Council of Australian Jewry) regards us as representing all Jews in Tasmania.

So it’s been a particularly pleasing trend lately that a number of Launceston-based Jews have taken out membership, despite the obvious limitations on how often they can attend services and other events.

They’ve joined Maxine Glanger (formerly Manifold), our Progressive lay service leader and longstanding member from Launceston.

In recognition of the increased importance of our Northern membership group, the Board has appointed Maxine to a new voluntary position as Northern Coordinator for the congregation.

As part of the new role, she’ll represent us in northern Tasmania and act as an advocate for the interests of Northern members. As well, she’ll be looking out for prospective members from the North and helping out those who’ve already joined.

And not least importantly, she’s authorised to run services and other events in Launceston on behalf of the congregation, which members from anywhere in the state are welcome to attend.

Maxine held her first Friday night service in Launceston shul representing the congregation on August 19, and it drew five Southern-based members in addition to the locals. She also put on a sumptuous feast at her home afterwards, perhaps to encourage others to come in future!

As well, her status as Northern Coordinator allowed her to arrange for Jonathan Keren-Black, the congregation’s Progressive consulting rabbi, to hold a session with Launceston Jews after his visit to Hobart over the Shabbat of September 2-3.

So if you know of anyone in the North who might want to become involved with the congregation, our Membership Officer will be glad to point them in Maxine’s direction. You can email her from here.

Change of guard on the board

Posted: 27 September 2016

The last AGM of the congregation held on Sunday, August 28 this year saw significant changes in the leadership of the congregation.

Our president since 2006, Daniel Albert, announced he was stepping down. Daniel was joined in relinquishing office by Susan Steenbergen, who had served as secretary for almost eight years.

Both Daniel and Susan have devoted enormous effort and time—in fact, a large part of their lives—to their honorary work for our community, and they’ve left behind big shoes to fill. We owe each of them a huge debt of gratitude.

Our new president, elected at the AGM, is Jordana Schmidt. Jordana is a senior teacher at a regional school, and has been a board member since 2014. She becomes the second female president in the congregation’s history.

Kalanit Mayer replaces Susan as secretary. Kalanit hasn’t been on the board before, but has been actively involved in synagogue life for many years.

Another change saw Lin Amoore retire from the board, after a one-year tenure during which her lively contributions often stimulated new thinking.

You can read more about Jordana and the make-up of the current board here.

Daniel and Susan can’t completely relax yet, though. They’ve stayed on the board as ordinary members, where their experience and advice will be greatly valued.

Shul stalwart awarded Progressive honour

Posted: 23 September 2016

Sandy Graetzer’s unstinting efforts over many years as a voluntary contributor to the shul and the wider community were recognised in a festive Erev Shabbat service at Hobart Synagogue on September 2.

Roger Mendelson as president of the Union for Progressive Judaism—the roof body for the Progressive movement throughout the Asia-Pacific region—paid a special visit to our congregation to confer the prestigious Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) Award on Sandy.

The Ner Tamid Award honours members of Progressive congregations other than current or past presidents who have performed exceptional service to their congregations, community—both Progressive and Jewish—and the wider society.

Sandy was one of only four people from the 27 congregations and organisations served by the UPJ to win the award in 2015.

Her husband Stephen was full of pride as he recounted Sandy’s decades-long contributions to the WIZO movement in Hobart while at the same time taking a lead role in organising shul events such as the communal Seder and Hannukah picnic, and hosting numerous social gatherings for the congregation in their home.

Sadly, illness has curtailed Sandy’s involvement in recent times, but she remains the congregation’s Welfare Coordinator, as always  helping to look after members who are unwell or in need.

The buoyant atmosphere for Sandy’s award was heightened by the presence of three other distinguished interstate visitors. Roger Mendelson was accompanied by his wife Sue, while the service was ably conducted by Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black whose wife Sue was also in attendance.

Congratulations, Sandy—may we continue to benefit from your unselfish labours for many years to come.

Membership payment rule changed

Posted: 22 September 2016

At the AGM of the congregation for the 2016-17 year that was held on August 28, members approved an important change to the rule setting out when membership lapses if fees remain unpaid.

Previously, a person’s membership was only regarded as having lapsed if their fees were in arrears for two full years.

The almost unanimous approval of the rule change means that anyone still in arrears on July 1 each year for the previous financial year will be treated as having ended their membership.

This means that members should attend to their seat hire (membership) fees on receipt of the first notice usually sent in August or September. Anyone who still hasn’t done so by the end of the financial year will lose their membership.

The Board recommended the rule change because late payment and non-payment of membership fees has been putting pressure on the shul’s finances.

However, the rule change doesn’t affect the right of any member who feels unable to pay their seat hire fee in full to apply for all or part of the fee to be waived. All applications for fee waivers are considered in the strictest confidence. Members granted a waiver who then satisfy their reduced fee liability retain all the rights and benefits of membership.

The AGM also approved keeping seat hire fee levels unchanged for the next two financial years. For instance, the family membership rate of $280 annually that was first charged in 2015-16 remains in force for both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

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