First Jewish burial in Goulburn in 70 years…and a Barmitzvah at 63

May 28, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Rabbi Shmueli Feldman officiated at a funeral in Goulburn on the weekend…the first the NSW country town has seen in 70 years.

From Rabbi Shmueli Feldman:


Funeral in Goulburn

Funeral in Goulburn

I was called to Goulburn hospital this week to pray with a dying Jewish patient – Wayne Robinson.

Wayne’s final request was to receive a Jewish burial in Goulburn.

Goulburn has a historic Jewish cemetery that has not been used for 70 years and is unfortunately not in a condition to enable more burials to take place there. I approached Goulburn council to dedicate a new Jewish section in their general cemetery. Goulburn council subsequently voted this week in favor of gazetting a new section for Jewish burials.

Wayne passed away last Thursday night and was buried in the newly consecrated Jewish section on Sunday afternoon. The funeral took place within one hour of the consecration. It is appropriate for a cemetery consecration and Jewish funeral that there be a minyan of men present.
An urgent appeal on Facebook and Twitter for men to come to Goulburn to make up the minyan was initiated by freelance journalist Kathryn Crosby on Saturday night. She had heard about the need of the minyan at the Young Adult Synagouge Friday night service.
It was incredibly heartwarming to see so many volunteers come to help make up with the numbers – we had at least two
minyanim of men accompanied by women and children who also came to pay their respects.

By late Sunday morning I was able to let people from Sydney know that they didn’t need to shlep as we had the numbers.

Rabbi Shmueli Feldman and Goulburn locas celebrating the Barmitzvah. The 63-yr-old "Barmitzva boy" has requested anonymity

Rabbi Shmueli Feldman and Goulburn locals celebrating the Barmitzvah. The 63-yr-old “Barmitzvah boy” has requested anonymity

After the funeral service a local non-practising Goulburn-based Jew invited everyone back to the South Hill Art Gallery – where we gave one of the Goulburn local Jews a barmitzvah 50 years after the traditionally celebrated age of 13.

To see so many give up their Sunday last minute to travel to Goulburn and meet a Jewish man’s final wish was truly inspirational and uplifiting for not just
all who attended and for those who became aware of the story. Not one person participating in the service had known Wayne Robinson.

Other Jews presently living or who had lived in Goulburn were tracked down and told about the pending ceremony attended the funeral making contact with their Jewish heritage for the first time in many years. Many resolved to establish ties with the Jewish community and reignite their connection to their faith.

Rabbi Shmueli Feldman, the only Rabbi in the ACT, is the Chabad representative to Canberra and provides spiritual leadership for Canberra ACT and the region. Rabbi Feldman serves out of the Northern Canberra Chabad Jewish Community Centre and Synagouge


One Response to “First Jewish burial in Goulburn in 70 years…and a Barmitzvah at 63”
  1. Tzippy says:

    Missing the word ‘town’ in the first line. Pretty sure there’s been a funeral or two in NSW in that time.

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