Restaurant to host breaking of fast

Posted: 10 September 2017

Following the success of last year’s group meal after the end of Yom Kippur at the Urban Greek restaurant, the same venue has been chosen to break the fast this year.

A vegetarian banquet meal costing $50 per head has been booked to start at 7:30pm on Saturday, September 30. The Urban Greek restaurant is one of Hobart’s highest-rated eateries, and is located at 103 Murray St (near the corner of Bathurst St, and an easy walk from the shul).

If you’d like to wind down after the Yom Kippur fast by sharing in a delicious vegetarian meal, you must notify the shul by email to this address no later than 5pm on Wednesday, September 27.

Whether you’re a member of the community or a visitor to Hobart, you’re most welcome to come along and enjoy the atmosphere and food of this once-a-year occasion.

When emailing your acceptance, please indicate how many people you’re booking for, and if you have any special dietary requirements. The management of the Urban Greek is happy to accommodate dietary requests, provided these are specified at the time final numbers for the shul’s group booking are confirmed on September 27.

Other points to bear in mind

  • Because the restaurant is always fully booked on Saturday nights and has to turn prospective diners away, it won’t be possible to take late bookings or to refund cancellations after September 27.
  • If circumstances force you to cancel once we’ve given final numbers for the group to the restaurant, we regret we’ll have no choice but to ask you for payment in full regardless.
  • The Urban Greek only offers fixed-price banquets to groups of 6 or more on Saturday nights, so ordering a la carte won’t be an option.
  • The $50 price per head doesn’t include alcohol or other drinks.

Homeless drive for High Holydays

Posted: 05 September 2017

Members and friends of the congregation have been asked to support a communal charity project for homeless people in Tasmania in honour of the High Holydays.

Tzedakah, or charity, has always been emphasised during the period around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in recognition of the seasonal focus on repentance, prayer, and charity.

This year’s homelessness project has been organised in association with Colony 47, a non-religious charity based in Hobart that supports needy and disadvantaged people.

The aim is for every member of the community to donate at least one bag of toiletries containing items tailored for either homeless men or women directly to Colony 47’s head office at 432 Elizabeth St, North Hobart.

The bags of toiletries should include the following basic items as a minimum:

  • For men: Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, comb, razor blades
  • For women: Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, hairbrush, sanitary pads

Other items which can also be provided include face flannels, skin cream, cotton buds, and sanitising hand gel.

The tzedakah toiletry bags for the homeless should be dropped off with Colony 47 before Yom Kippur on September 30.

The congregation isn’t in a position to deliver the toiletry bags on behalf of the community, so please don’t leave them at the synagogue.

Orthodox services over the High Holydays

Posted: 01 September 2017

There will be a number of Orthodox services during the High Holydays at which all members of the community are welcome.

An Orthodox service will be conducted in Hobart Synagogue on the second morning of Rosh Hashanah (Friday, September 22), after a shofar-sounding gathering at Battery Point Community Hall the evening before.

There will also be an Orthodox morning service at shul on Saturday, September 23 for Shabbat Shuvah (the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).

To find out more about any Orthodox services in Hobart, please send an email here.

Orthodox Yom Kippur services for Tasmania will be held in Launceston under the auspices of the Chabad movement. There will be also be Orthodox services during Rosh Hashanah in Launceston. More information about Orthodox events in Launceston over the High Holydays is available by emailing this address.

You can find details of all Progressive and Orthodox services scheduled at Hobart Synagogue over the High Holydays on this page of our calendar.

AGM brings Board changes

Posted: 28 August 2017

There have been some major changes to Hobart Hebrew Congregation’s Board of Management after the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the congregation held on Sunday, August 27.

Two long-standing members of the Board and holders of executive positions announced they were standing down:

  • Daniel Albert was President from 2006 to 2016 and an ordinary Board member both before and afterwards.
  • Beginning in 1983, Stephen Graetzer served as the shul’s Treasurer for a total of 28 years in two separate terms.

The AGM voted unanimously to thank Daniel and Stephen for their many years of tireless unpaid work on behalf of our community. Daniel commented later that when he started on the Board he was nominated without his knowledge and had no inkling he would stay on for so long.

John Rosenbloom, who had been an ordinary Board member since 2014, also stepped down at the AGM.

Stephen has been replaced as Treasurer by Kalanit Mayer, who had previously been the Secretary of the congregation and is a book-keeper in her day-job.

The new Secretary of the congregation is Louise Knopman. Louise was formerly a professional social worker with users of Australian Sign Language, and has been a member of the shul for many years. She was on the Board for a period several years ago and is excited to be returning to it.

The two vacancies for ordinary Board members have been filled by Lev Fridgant and Jeff Schneider.

Lev lives in Launceston with his wife Maxine Glanger and works as a psychiatrist. He’s the first representative of our growing Northern Tasmanian membership to take a seat on the Board.

Jeff is one of our younger members and together with his wife Lisa Eckstein is the proud parent of two young children. A professional web developer, he’s already made important contributions to the congregation’s well-being through setting up and administering the new shul website launched in October 2016.

Continuing in their existing roles are Jordana Schmidt as President, David Clark as Vice-President, and Susan Steenbergen as an ordinary member.

You can read more about Jordana and the make-up of the new Board here.

High Holyday services to feature new leader

Posted: 28 August 2017

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Progressive services at Hobart Synagogue this year will see a fresh face on the bimah.

Ruth Gross, from the Kedem Progressive congregation in Melbourne, will be joining us for the first time to help lead our High Holyday services.

The shul has traditionally sought assistance from the mainland for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with their distinctive liturgy and extended services.

Ruth Gross

Ruth Gross

For some time, this role has been filled by Geoff Garber, but a family illness meant Geoff couldn’t guarantee his availability this year. We’re therefore delighted that Ruth has accepted our invitation to take on the responsibility.

Ruth is a founding member of Kedem—Melbourne’s lay-led Progressive community based at The King David School in suburban Armadale. During her long association with Kedem, she has served as the Chair of the Ritual Committee, Vice-President and President.

She regularly leads services, reads Torah, and acts as gabbai. Ruth has a passion for Progressive Judaism, a love of singing, and a professional background in early childhood education.

She says she’s looking forward to spending the High Holydays with the Hobart Hebrew Congregation, meeting everyone, and sharing in a spirit of gratitude, reflection and renewal.

Please make sure you welcome Ruth when you see her in shul, and help make her stay with us a memorable one.

Details of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the shul this year are available on the services calendar here.

Long-time Welfare Coordinator steps down

Posted: 28 August 2017

Along with a major change in Board personnel, the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the congregation held on August 27 also saw the retirement of Sandy Graetzer as Welfare Coordinator, a role she had filled for many years.

Shul President Jordana Schmidt took the opportunity in her report to the AGM to thank Sandy publicly, and offer the congregation’s best wishes to her.

Sandy received a Ner Tamid award from the Union for Progressive Judaism in September last year in recognition of her work for the community over more than four decades, including as Welfare Coordinator.

Welfare Coordinators have the task of providing help to members of the congregation and community who are unwell or otherwise in need of support.

The coming year will be the first in a long time without a member of the Graetzer family acting in a voluntary position on behalf of the shul. After a total of 28 years in the role, Sandy’s husband Stephen has retired as Treasurer.

Louise Knopman has been appointed as the new Welfare Coordinator, working in collaboration with Pnina Clark.

Next year’s membership fees approved

Posted: 27 August 2017

Membership (or more officially, seat hire) fees for the next financial year starting in July 2018 have been decided.

The latest Annual General Meeting of the congregation held on 27 August 2017 approved the new scale of fees, which represents the first increase in membership charges since 2015-16.

The new membership fees to apply in 2018-19 are:

  • Couples and Families: $300 ($280 currently and for the last three years)
  • Singles: $190 (currently $175)
  • Full-Time Students: $45 (currently $40)

The congregation’s President, Jordana Schmidt, explained to the AGM that the Board was seeking approval for next year’s membership fees in advance so that renewal notices could be sent out as soon as the new financial year began in July 2018. She said that the congregation relied on membership fees to fund a large part of its recurrent spending, and could not afford to delay issuing renewal notices.

Jordana emphasised that even after the increases, costs of belonging to the shul compared more than favourably with the rates for mainland congregations, including those with similar memberships.

As always, any member who feels unable to pay their seat hire fee in full during 2018-19 will be able to apply for all or part of the fee to be waived.

If you’re Jewish, live in Tasmania, and are interested in becoming a member of our congregation, you can find out about the benefits of joining and how to do it here.

New Consulting Rabbi for shul

Posted: 19 July 2017

Rabbi Allison Conyer has started her tenure as the Progressive Consulting Rabbi in support of the congregation.

She replaces Jonathan Keren-Black, whose role as the shul’s Consulting Rabbi since 2010 came to an end when he officiated at the aufruf of Maxine Glanger and Lev Fridgant on May 6 this year.

Rabbi Conyer’s day-job—apart from helping to raise four children alongside husband Bryan—is at Etz Chayim synagogue in the south-eastern Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh, where she became the spiritual leader at the beginning of 2014.

Allison Conyer

Allison Conyer

Originally, she hails from Los Angeles, and was ordained in New York in 1998. However, Rabbi Conyer has spent a large part of her life in Australia in two separate stints.

The first was at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney, where she was the Associate Rabbi for nearly eight years as well as the first female rabbi in NSW.

After some time back in California directing a campus branch of the Hillel Jewish student organisation, she returned to Sydney in 2009 to teach at the Emanuel School. Later, she moved to Melbourne with her family to take up the post at Etz Chayim.

Progressive consulting rabbis have the task of providing support to smaller communities like Hobart’s that lack the resources to employ a rabbi of their own. They are appointed by the Moetzah, the council of Progressive Rabbis in the Asia-Pacific region, in conjunction with the host congregation.

As we know from Rabbi Keren-Black’s regular visits to Hobart, the most public duty performed by consulting rabbis is to lead services and educational sessions in their host communities over at least one frenetic weekend every year.

But they also help behind the scenes by giving advice on ritual, liturgical, and halachic questions, and by passing on their knowledge of people and resources in the wider Jewish world.

Rabbi Keren-Black was an outstanding mentor in all these areas, and was a popular visitor throughout his tenure. He is now serving as the consulting rabbi to the Progressive congregations of New Zealand.

We will shortly have a chance to welcome Rabbi Conyer to Hobart during her first stay as our Consulting Rabbi.  Dates for the visit will be announced soon.



Membership fees unchanged for third year

Posted: 17 July 2017

Membership (or more formally, seat hire) fees for the congregation covering the period 1 July 2017-30 June 2018 are now payable.

The Annual General Meeting held in August 2016 set fees for the current 2017-18 financial year at the same levels applying in 2016-17.

In fact, unusually for any organisation in today’s world, membership fees have been unchanged for the last three years:

  • Couples and Families: $280
  • Singles: $175
  • Full-Time Students: $40

Existing members should already have been issued with a renewal notice. New members receive a fee invoice once their application has been approved by the Board of the congregation.

However, any member who feels unable to pay their seat hire fee in full can apply for all or part of the fee to be waived. All applications for fee concessions are considered in the strictest confidence, and should be directed to the President or Treasurer of the congregation.

If you’re Jewish, live in Tasmania, and are interested in becoming a member of our congregation, you can find out about the benefits of joining and how to do it here.


Volunteers sought to head new social groups

Posted: 04 April 2017

The shul is looking to set up new activity and affinity groups open to all who would enjoy connecting with other community members around a shared interest.

The new social groups aren’t intended to meet in the synagogue, but rather in the homes of participants or other outside venues.

People have already made suggestions for activities that include photography, book reading, films, bushwalking, wine appreciation, and crafts.

Affinity groups might involve parents of young children, singles, or inter-faith couples.

As with any initiative, success will depend on committed leaders who are willing to take on the responsibility for forming and running the new groups.

Leaders can choose the shared interest for the group, including ones not yet suggested, and decide on the frequency of meetings. Schedules could range from a few times a year to monthly, depending on the group.

The shul can help with publicity to its mailing list, but won’t otherwise be directly involved.

If you’d like to set up one of the new social groups, or discuss the possibility, contact our Events Coordinator here.