$500,000 Victorian government grant to Melbourne’s oldest Shul

May 4, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Melbourne’s oldest Synagogue, the iconic East Melbourne Synagogue, has received a significant boost to its ambitious vision for a significant restoration and expansion after receiving a $500,000 grant from the Victorian government to help restore the Synagogue and old school hall to its former glory.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs,  Ros Spence announced the funding at the Synagogue.

In thanking the Minister, Rabbi Dovid Gutnick said:  “We are so grateful to Minister Spence, and the State government for this meaningful support. The beautiful East Melbourne Synagogue was built in 1877. Its story is the story of the origins of Melbourne Jewry, the Synagogue of Sir Isaac Isaacs and Sir John Monash, and the place where thousands have come to pray, to connect, to celebrate life cycle events or to receive pastoral care. We are the Jewish community’s open door to the world – a place where everyone is welcome.”

With a growing number of families moving to the North, the funding will assist with the refurbishment of the heritage Synagogue and the transformation of the old schoolroom into a Judaic library and learning centre – a vibrant cultural hub for performance and screenings, a home for writers and thinkers. The restoration works are being overseen by Romy Peterfreund and her team from heritage consultants Trethowan Architects.

Plans are also well advanced for a modern new building designed by Australia’s premier architects Denton Corker Marshall, consisting of a community hall and kitchen, a recreating space for youth, a boutique mikvah, a roof top terrace and an onsite residence for the Rabbi and his family with an adjoining guest suite.

Synagogue President, Danny Segal reflected on the enormous difference that the grant will make for the community.  “ He said: “The State funding, as well as the generous support of our donors and corporate sponsors, will assist with critical repairs to our iconic Synagogue, improving safety, access and environmental sustainability for our members and many visitors. Our Synagogue is a place of tolerance, understanding and inclusion. We host multifaith groups, historical societies, school group tours and the annual opening of the legal year. The grant will assist us to continue to foster the preservation and celebration of Jewish cultural and interfaith life, in the heart of the CBD.”

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