An impromtu Rosh Service

October 3, 2019 by J-Wire Staff
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It was Rosh Hashanah in the Sydney suburb of Randwick and NSW Volunteer of the Year Philip Feinstein was waiting to see his local MP to discuss Burundi refugee…and then came along a rabbi.

Philip Feinstein

Philip tells his story:

I was sitting on a street bench outside the office of Marjorie O’Neill MP on Monday prior to our Burundi appointment with her when a Rabbi and a few of his young congregants walked by.

Sitting there with my Burundian T-shirt and a Burundi guy next to me, I didn’t exactly pass for Jewish.

So when I said to him “Shana Tova” he was quite surprised. All my conversation with him was in Hebrew which shocked him further.

When he discovered that I had not been to Shul that morning, he suggested he does a mini-service right there and then, on Frenchman’s Road in Randwick.

He passed me a kippah and said I should read his prayer book with him. When I told him (in Hebrew) that I couldn’t read Hebrew very well, he said: “Well, just follow me word-by-word.”

To his and my amazement,  whenever he said a leading word, I automatically completed the sentence. I was flabbergasted on my Hebrew memory of over 40 years ago.  When the short ceremony was over, he blew the Shofar in the appropriate way  –  this stopped the traffic and passersby instantaneously. And I just sat there grinning from ear to ear. An amazing experience for us all.


One Response to “An impromtu Rosh Service”
  1. Robert Weil says:

    Just goes to prove the ‘pintele yid, little Jewish spark is always present, just waiting to be kindled.

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