Jewish Men’s Shed in Perth

June 29, 2016 by Henry Benjamin
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A Men’s Shed has been established within Perth’s Jewish community…a club environment where men get together, learn skills and work on general community projects.

Shedders Eddy Saunders, David Hayon, Wilfred Hirschfeld, Rob Schoenlank, Hymie Miller

Shedders Eddy Saunders, David Hayon, Wilfred Hirschfeld, Rob Schoenlank, Hymie Miller finishing work on a cubby house for a local primary school

The concept first surfaced in Australia in the 1990s as an encouragement for men of all ages to socialise with each other and be able to ventilate their problems especially those involving their health.

Following a conference in 1995 the first sheds were established immediately benefiting elderly men suffering from depression.

In Perth the idea of the Men’s Shed was presented to JewishCare by  committee member Phil Samuel in 2012 and was brought to reality by former JewishCare president Dr John Kessel and the CEO of the Maurice Zeffert Home Dr Michael Preece.

Phil Samuel told J-Wire: ” It has been a unique partnership between the Maurice Zeffert Home and JewishCare WA. The Home provided the area for the shed development.

He added that he did not believe there was a Jewish Men’s Shed anywhere else in Australia adding ” Someone in Victoria contacted me a while back but I have not heard anything else.”

So far 12 “shedders” have signed up but Samuels said that almost 40 had shown interest’ in the venture backed by Lotterywest.

Activities which take place in the shed include men making and fixing things and sharing their skills. Wood-work is popular but the men also restore furniture, refurbish old computers, repair bicycles and lawnmowers, make rocking horses and kids’ cubby houses for local charities, restore old cars, get involved in art and craft, cooking and IT activities. The men also try their hand at car and boat repairs and play board games.

According to the ideas behind the concept, the most important activity is not being alone and having someone “to have a yarn with”.

Phil Samuel added: “All those associated with the project are exceedingly proud of what will be, as we understand it, the first Jewish Men’s Shed in Australia.  Our Men’s Shed Steering Committee has been engaged in planning the project for over four years during which time our members have been participating in visits to places of interest (including other Sheds) as well as erecting a cubby house for a state school in the area..  We are now very busy preparing for the actual setting up of the operational Shed.  Lotterywest has awarded us a grant, which together with a significant  contribution from JewishCare WA, will enable us to buy all the necessary tools and equipment.

Any other community which is considering setting up a Shed is welcome to contact me for information and assistance.”

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