Canberra rabbi inaugurated by the Chief Rabbi

November 26, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Rabbi Alon Meltzer has been inaugurated by the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth  Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as the first full-time spiritual head of the ACT National Jewish Memorial Centre.

 

Rebbitzin Valerie Mirvis, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi Alon Meltzer and Rebbetzin Linsay Meltzer   Photo: Adam Hyman

Rebbitzin Valerie Mirvis, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi Alon Meltzer and Rebbetzin Linsay Meltzer Photo: Adam Hyman

Rabbi Mirvis turns the first sod as Rabbi Meltzer looks on

Rabbi Mirvis turns the first sod as Rabbi Meltzer looks on

 

The New Zealand-born rabbi joined Rabbi Mirvis in turning the first sod on the ground earmarked for a planned extension of the centre.

The centre is the spiritual hub of the Canberra Jewish community and currently has almost 300 members.

Dignitaries from around the country attended the history-making ceremony.

Executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim said: “The inauguration of Rabbi Meltzer as full-time rabbi of the ACT Jewish community is a watershed for that community and also a wonderful positive development for the whole of Australian Jewry.”

He added: “The ACT Jewish community is a vital component of Australian Jewry for many reasons, not least of which is its strategic location in the nation’s capital, where my organisation – the peak body of Australian Jewry – does so much of its work. One cannot overstate the importance of having a Canberra Jewish community which has the capacity not only to explain Judaism and a Jewish perspective on many issues to our political leaders and public servants but also to give them a taste and personal experience of Jewish life.   With Rabbi Meltzer’s appointment, that capacity will be immeasurably enhanced.”

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis   Pic Adam Hyman

The president of the ACT community Rob Cussel added: “Rabbi Meltzer has demonstrated that he is a man of many talents and abilities. He has the inner fire to serve and lead Jewish community in a complex and changing world. In the short time that he has been with us, he has demonstrated that he possesses, the passion and the commitment to serve community and the inevitable challenges that this role will present. Our ACT Jewish Community has been a centre and home in Canberra for Jews for over 64 years. Our members come from many different walks of life and many different backgrounds. Amongst our members are survivors and refugees from the Holocaust, as well as children and grandchildren of those survivors.’

Announcing plans for the extension of facility, Cussel added: “Our building is 44 years old and it is now time for us to plan for the future, which will include renovations and extensions. Later this evening, the first ceremonial earth will be turned on our new building works. Also involved in our planning for the future is the initiative that comes with the appointment of Rabbi Meltzer.”

Rabbi Meltzer, whose great-grandfather was an ANZAC said: “This has been a journey in the making for the majority of my life, and so too, it has been a journey in the making for the majority of our community’s life.

It has been my sincere dream to become a Rabbi since I was just a young child; nothing has tugged at my soul more than engaging people with their Judaism; educating and sharing our rich faith, history, culture, and ultimately, our connection with God.”

The Chief Rabbi spoke of the virtues of four icons of Jewish history…Moses, Abraham, Joseph and Mordechai and advised Rabbi Meltzer that their examples were good to follow.

 

 

 

 

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