Multi-national service for Order of Australia recipients

September 8, 2009 by Susan Bures
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The Great Synagogue played host to the Order of Australia Association Multi-faith observance at which a Buddhist nun, various Christian representatives and a Wiradjuri elder participated with rabbonim.

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An annual event held in different places of worship, the service drew holders (religious and secular) of Australian honours from the Jewish and general communities, resplendent in their medals.

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New president Michael Gold with Sister Jude Doyle of the Order of Australia Association                     Pic: Nadine Saacks

Organised by Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence and Sr St Jude Doyle of the Order of Australia Association, the observance reflected readings on peace, harmony charity and good deeds drawn from the various faith traditions and read by their representatives.

Great Synagogue Chazan Rev David Hilton and The Great Synagogue choir with the NSW University Regimental Army Band provided the music.

A specifically Jewish touch was provided not only with music but a parade of Torah scrolls around the synagogue and certain prayers from the Shabbat and other services.

Rabbi Lawrence spoke of the Jewish sources which deal with the subject of honour and honours. Ben Zoma said that it is not merely the honouring of one’s fellow that accrues honour: rather it is the honouring of creation.

Rabbi Kook wrote: “The highest position in the love of people must be taken by the love of humanity and it must extend to all mankind, despite all differences of opinion, religion and faith, despite all distinctions of race and climate …”

Rabbi Lawrence said that although this service “with its diverse faith readings and pageant might at first blush seem removed from the normal and Judaic business of a synagogue, how fitting it is to join in the home of these teachings of Ben Zoma and Rabbi Kook to celebrate those who honour humanity, honour creation, honour creativity and honour our Creator”.

Guests were welcomed by The Great’s incoming president Michael Gold OAM.  The procession into the synagogue, to a stirring brass band rendition of the famous march from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, was led by The Great’s outgoing president Rosalind Fischl and the Order of Australia Association (NSW) president Bill Galvin OAM.

To read Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence’s address….click here

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