A Walk of Jewish Sydney app launched

November 4, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Over 80 guests attended the delayed and COVID-19 restricted launch by the Australian Jewish Historical Society of the Walk of Jewish Sydney App at The Great Synagogue.

The app is a 2020 update of Helen Bersten’s 1995 book Jewish Sydney – the First 100 years 1788-1888.

Official guests included six representatives of Federal, State and Local Government: Tanya Plibersek, Julian Leeser, Ron Hoenig, Walt Secord, Leon Goltsman, Jess Miller and Linda Scott.

To open the event, a film version of Schehecheyanu, the prayer to celebrate new and unusual experiences was screened followed by a Welcome to Country given by Paul Teerman.

Peter Philippsohn, president of AJHS welcomed guests and gave a brief outline of past and current activities of AJHS mentioning of the Society’s online Journal and comprehensive databases of Jewish Marriages, Burials and Military history.

The role of Peter Keeda in bringing this project together was recognised.

Representing the City of Sydney, funders the development of the App, Councillor Jess Miller addressed the guests.

Jess Miller, Linda Scott, Ron Hoening, Tanya Plibersek and Leo Goltsman             Photo: Mark Zworestine

Federal Liberal MP Julian Leeser spoke of his family’s Jewish history. He mentioned the digitization of all Jewish newspapers in a joint project between the National Libraries of Australia and Israel in conjunction with AJHS.

Rabbi Benjamin Elton closed the formalities highlighting about the proud role of The Great as “the mother” of Australian synagogues.

In its first public showing, a 15-minute film depicting the Great Synagogue and the history of Australian Jewry was warmly received.

Some guests braved the heavy rain and participated in three walks with Gary Luke leading a group of six in the half-hour walk, Keith Masnick leading the hour-walk with a similar number of hardy souls and Peter Keeda led the three-hour walk. Fourteen set off on the longest walk but due to the rain, the numbers were reduced to eight intrepid walkers who went the distance.

President of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Philippsohn said: “The app is an ideal portable guide for locals and overseas visitors. It covers 45 points of Jewish interest around the centre of Sydney and may be downloaded for Apple and Android smartphones.”

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