Our Congregation

Hobart Synagogue was consecrated on July 4, 1845. It’s the oldest Jewish place of worship still in use in Australia, or anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. The next-oldest is our sister synagogue in Launceston, which dates to 1846. You can read more about our earlier history here.

The synagogue is controlled by the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, which was founded in 1842 and has had an unbroken existence since. The congregation became an incorporated body by an Act of the Tasmanian Parliament in 1958.

Members breaking the Yom Kippur fast

Members breaking the Yom Kippur fast

The governing body of the congregation is a seven-person Board, which in recent times has always included members of both sexes. The Board is headed by the President of the congregation, and is elected at an Annual General Meeting. Other office-holders are the Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

All financial members of the congregation are entitled to attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting, which is usually held in August or September.

The congregation was originally and for most of its existence affiliated to the Orthodox stream of Judaism. However, the immigration to Tasmania during and after the Second World War of a number of Jews previously active in the Progressive movement eventually led to a change of affiliation.

Although the congregation now formally belongs to the Union for Progressive Judaism, we are committed to representing and welcoming as members adherents of all Jewish religious streams. In fact, we’re one of only two Jewish religious communities in Australia to embrace both Orthodox and Progressive members, and to offer services for both.

If you’re interested in joining our congregation, we’d love to have you. You can find an application form and more information here.

Our Services

  • Orthodox services are held in the shul every Saturday morning at 10:30am, unless otherwise notified.
  • Progressive services take place in the shul on the second Friday night of every month at 6:15pm, and on the first and third Saturday mornings of every month at 9:30am, unless otherwise notified.
  • The shul is the venue for Progressive Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services every year. An Orthodox minyan for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur also normally gathers in another location.
  • A communal Pesach Seder takes place every year. Services are held in the shul for other festivals and yomtovim following both Orthodox and Progressive traditions.
  • Lay leaders from the congregation conduct all services, except when a rabbi from another congregation in Australia or overseas is visiting.
  • We cordially invite everyone with an interest in Judaism and Jewishness to attend our services and take part in congregational activities, whether or not they have a Jewish background.

 What We Stand For

  • The Hobart Hebrew Congregation is an inclusive congregation serving all Tasmanian Jews.
  • We promote Judaism and the interests of Jews in the wider Tasmanian community.
  • We take pride in and draw strength from our historic role as the custodians of the Hobart Synagogue, the oldest in Australia.
  • We are not exclusively aligned with any particular stream of Judaism—our Board and membership are made up of Jews who come from a variety of backgrounds and Jewish practice, in recognition of which we conduct both Orthodox and Progressive services.
  • The congregation welcomes this diversity and values the contribution of all its members equally.