Canberra Chabad Centre Opens

March 2, 2009 by J-Wire
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Rabbi Dan Avital has become the first Jewish religious leader to settle permanently in Australia’s capital city in recent years.

Anita Shroot

Anita Shroot

In his early 20s, the Melbourne-born rabbi moved into his new home 20 minutes from Canberra’s city centre with his wife Naomi last week. Immediate plans include the construction of a mikvah. The Avitals have long-term aspirations for the Capital, including the city’s first Jewish day-school.

Anita Shroot, president of the Jewish National Centre in Canberra which hosts both an orthodox and a progressive minyan, told J-Wire: “We welcome Chabad to our community…and we welcome the news that we will at last have a mikvah. We look forward to working together with them especially in the area of outreach work.”

The Centre does not have a permanent rabbi, but Shroot told J-Wire that they have ten members who can conduct a service and who can lain Torah.

J-Wire has learned that Canberra has had a full-time Rabbi in residence….Rabbi Schlesinger lived and worked in the Capital in the 1970s.


3 Responses to “Canberra Chabad Centre Opens”
  1. ben gershon says:

    it is a fact that a letter to the editor correcting the misleading article in A.J.N .so far has not been published .

    they seem to censor anything the has a go at the religious establishment by delay. .published a long time after the that it loses relevance.

    so your site is appreciated

  2. ben gershon says:

    it is a pity that the Avitals have taken up the mission to Canberra on behalf of the guru of Hotham st
    Canberra has 1200 jews according to the census but only about 1/3 are formally connected with the act jewish community therefore the community has worked hard to meet the needs of those that joined

    When a mikva was offered by Mekoz for the few potential users in Canberra it seemed like a long held wish was fulfilled

    As negotiations got going Mekoz reneged on the original conditions and the actjc found it could not accept the mikva with the new conditions

    So Merkoz bought a house to setup an alternat community in the act build a mikva and bring the message from the guru

    Canberra has a working jewish community and is not bereft of jiddishkite like Hobart the mikva will be built and 3 visitors a year and 2 locals will use it

    Ben Gershon

  3. Athol Morris says:

    The article about the Avital family is misleading. Whilst Mr Avital may claim to be a leader, he is not a “rabbi”; at this point he is only a student. He has neither completed his studies, nor obtained smicha. It is also doubtful as to of what he lays claim to be a “leader”. There is no Chabad movement in Canberra, and he has not elected to join the existing Community. He has no current standing as a “leader” of any group in Canberra.

    The ACT Jewish Community is more than welcoming of any Jew that chooses to affiliate with it. But it is concerned by those that come to the ACT, elect to set up their own kehila and not affiliate with the ACT Jewish Community as members.

    I believe that a Community chooses a Rabbi, not that a Rabbi blows into town and the Community rolls over to be tickled. If I were choosing a Rabbi, I would probably want to interview him, and find out what he thinks on issues, and whether he is a “fit” for our Community’s particular needs. Mr Avital amy or not be such a person. But we have not had any chance to interview him before he arrived here. I hope he loves Canberra, and prospers here. I welcome him as a Jew. But he is not the community’s – or anyone else’s – “Rabbi” until he is appointed.

    I would also point out that in the past there have been other Rabbis (real ones!) who have lived in Canberra and who have worked within the Community. Other than Rabbi Schlesinger, another name that comes to mind is that of Rabbi Themal. In addition, the Community retains ties with other Rabbis who visit regularly.

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