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.

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.