A Vice-Regal Shabbat

November 25, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Following yesterday’s story about the fire which destroyed the Feldman family kitchen last Shabbat, a reader told us it was as well it was not the previous Shabbat…the evening the Governor-General was Rabbi Feldman’s special Friday night guest!

Governor-General Quentic Bryce watches challa being prepared pic: Ingrid Shakenovsky

In July, Governor-General Quentin Bryce made an official visit to the Sydney Yeshivah which included a tour of Our Big Kitchen in which she prepared challah. During the course of the proceedings, Rabbi Feldman asked her if she had had much contact with Jews or experienced a Shabbat dinner. The Governor-General answered ‘no’ to both questions resulting in Rabbi Feldman making the necessary arrangements to invite her and her husband Michael to his Bondi home for dinner two weeks ago.

Rabbi Feldman told J-Wire: “She was fascinated by the whole experience which she and her husband shared with about twenty of my family. I explained the kiddush, hamotze, zmirot and the bensching.” We asked Rabbi Feldman how the Governor-General and her husband enjoyed the food. Rabbi Feldman said: “Her husband said it was the best meal he had since last Christmas.”

The Governor-General receives a Menorah from Rebbetzin Feldman pic: Henry Benjamin

In a hand-written note to the Feldmans, Governor-General Quentin Bryce thanked Rabbi Feldman for his gentle teaching and “reminding us of things that matter and things we need to know.”

Rabbi Feldman added: “I hope she remembers the evening for a long time…I know I will”

For the Governor-General it was her first Shabbat dinner. For the Feldman family, it was to be the last one for some time to come as the damage caused by last week’s fire may mean several months before the family can use the same room, table and chairs which hosted the nation’s Governor-General.

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