Posted: 12 October 2018
The congregation was pleased to welcome two visiting Progressive rabbis for Simchat Torah services this year.
Rabbis Kinneret Shiryon from Modi’in in Israel and JoEllen Duckor from Wellington in New Zealand led a joyous service filled with enthusiastic singing and dancing with the Torahs. As the service was geared towards children, the atmosphere in the synagogue was imbued with youthful excitement and curiosity.
After beginning with renditions of songs including Hevenu Shalom Aleichem and Kol Ha’Olam Kulo, the rabbis invited everyone onto the bimah to take a close look at the Torah scroll. The care and precision taken by sofrim (scribes) when writing scrolls was then explained. Attendees young and older then took turns dancing with the Torah in seven circuits around the shul accompanied by festive songs such as Hava Nagila.
An excellent turnout was on on hand to enjoy the special yomtov service. Rabbi JoEllen provided an apt summary of the night: “It was so beautiful to witness the young families and the older generation mix as we celebrated together the ongoing cycle of Torah in the historical Hobart Synagogue. We feel privileged to have been able to share this unique experience with the Hobart Jewish community.”
Posted: 2 July 2018
The shul has been honoured by a visit from the Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AC.
Accompanied by her husband Richard and an aide-de-camp, Professor Warner toured the shul for one hour on 20 June, 2018.
The tour was led by Daniel Albert, one of a group of three volunteer guides who introduce visitors to the synagogue and its history throughout the year.
The vice-regal party took particular interest in the precious historical objects on display in the shul. They marvelled at the ornate Victorian chandelier over the bimah as Daniel explained the various technologies used to generate light from it over the years. Daniel also shared his extensive knowledge of the Czechoslovak Torah scroll rescued from from the Nazis.
Professor Warner and her husband were interested to learn more about Judaism and were given a general overview of Jewish practices and customs, along with an overview of the congregation and Australian Jewry.
Some of the colourful personalities integral to the congregation’s history were discussed. Daniel explained the role of Judah Solomon, who first provided a venue for Jewish services in his home, Temple House, and then donated the land on which the synagogue was built. Isaac Friedman, the first Hungarian migrant to Australia, and Phineas Moss, who was a prominent 19th century science lecturer, were also covered.
Tours of the synagogue can be organised for all members of the public on request, subject to the availability of guides and provided at least 48 hours’ notice is given. More information including a link to an online tour booking form can be found here.
Posted: 1 July 2018
An issue of the Launceston Examiner earlier in 2018 carried an article on the history of Launceston’s synagogue, the second oldest still in use in Australia (with Hobart shul being the oldest).
The article was published on May 13. It has the unfortunate and slightly misleading headline ‘Spiritual heart now quiet’, but otherwise traces the history of the synagogue from when it was first proposed in the early 1840s, with a focus on the early years.
The controversy following Governor Franklin’s refusal of a land grant for the shul is covered, while illustrations accompanying the online version of the article show a range of photos and reports culled from the Examiner’s files.
The online story including the illustrations can be viewed here.
Anyone living in Launceston or the north of Tasmania who would like to belong to an inclusive Jewish community organisation is very welcome to apply to join the Hobart Hebrew Congregation.
A Northern Coordinator has been appointed to represent the interests of the group of members living in the northern part of the state.
More information on joining Hobart shul, including a link to the membership application form, is available on this page of the website.