Kaddish recited for bushfire victims

February 15, 2009 by J-Wire
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Temple Beth Israel hosted a community-wide service  to pray for the victims of the Victorian bushfiresPhilip Bliss reports…

Friday 13th saw a thick haze over Melbourne from the bushfires about an hour away.

About 350-400 members from the Melbourne Jewish community came together to pray for all the victims of the horrific Victorian Bushfires that had started just a week ago.

The service was led by Rabbi Fred Morgan, senior rabbi at TBI and Rabbi Gersch Zylberman. The community welcomed Mr John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria who addressed the congregation from the bima. John spoke about how the whole Jewish community had rallied together to raise money and goods for the bushfire victims. He mentioned how some people had survived but had nothing to prove their own identity, all they had was the shirt on their back. Rabbi Morgan spoke about the total devastation at Marysville that had for decades been a favourite spot for retreats for a number of Jewish groups. He urged the TBI community to give and give again as much was needed over the coming weeks and months.Truckloads of goods had already left TBI and there was much more yet to be sent.

Brian Samuel, president of TBI, at the conclusion of the service read a long and passionate message from the premier Mr John Brumby who praised the fire-fighters and emergency service workers as well as the Jewish Community for organising themselves so quickly so they could help others.

Helen Shardy the local State member of parliament spoke on her own behalf and then read a heartfelt message from Ted Ballieau on behalf of the State Liberal opposition.

As kaddish was read for those who had died a great sadness enveloped those present.

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