Perth Hebrew Congregation welcomes new rabbi

February 26, 2018 Agencies
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Rabbi Daniel Lieberman has led his first service in Perth, just three days after his appointment took effect.

Rabbi Daniel Lieberman

The privilege of being appointed PHC’s chief rabbi and following in, “the very big shoes” of Rabbi Freilich,the 31-yr-old Rabbi Lieberman likens to, “having to follow in the footsteps of a world-famous football coach … daunting … but all that can be done is to be yourself.”

 In 2017 Rabbi Lieberman capped his counselling and psychotherapy diplomas with a Masters in Psychology (Mental Health).  He received his Smicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and his early rabbinic journey included being chaplain to ‘troubled’ youth – mainly boys.

As a youth rabbi he served as university Jewish chaplain for the entire north-west of England; participated and “enjoyed” informal public multi-faith university debates. Working with youth remains a passion for Rabbi Lieberman.

He is aware of the need for fresh ideas to meet today’s youth saying interacting with people includes a “relaxing, friendly and enjoyable shule,” but also social media. “Kids today don’t want to talk, they don’t want face to face. They want to tweet.” So PHC has “joined Donald” and the world of twitter.

Commenting on his rabbinic journey, he credits his wife Liat, saying, “I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She doesn’t like half measures and keeps me on my toes.  She’s creative and a fantastic teacher.”

While Rabbanit Liat is a renowned hostess for the Lieberman’s popular Shabbat table, Rabbi Lieberman explained he also contributes, “I always cook the cholent … using my secret recipe … even Liat doesn’t know it.”

Their four young children, Eli, Gavi, Tamara and baby Eliana are exceeding his expectations and are adapting well to the lifestyle changes between Manchester and Perth. To his delight his young sons have already asked for surfing lessons. In the short term at PHC he plans to do a lot of listening and a lot of observing and describes the whole experience as one of “exciting opportunity and potential.”

Following the service, PHC President Michael Sebbag delivered a welcome address to the Liebermans where he spoke about this exciting time of change and transition. “While things change and move, as they should,” he said, “The great values and important identity of the PHC remain true and constant. We are a community of warmth, openness, tolerance and inclusivity; a community deeply committed to orthodoxy but also to modernity; a community that has an unswerving love of the State of Israel; a community that serves the wider Perth Jewish community by providing the majority of its religious infrastructure; a community that is a beacon of Judaism to the other faiths and cultures of WA. Above all, we are a community that enjoys the company, friendship and support of each other, all while serving Hashem.”

Michael said that both Rabbi and Rebbetzin Lieberman “had hit the ground running,” and will “build on the wonderful foundations of Rabbi Freilich and Aviva and take our shule and community to even greater heights.”

He said, “We have a shule that is always here for you, and a Rabbi and Rebbetzin that are always here for you,” and he called on the community to reconnect with, and become true members of the PHC. “It’s time for you to be here for your shule,” he said.

Rabbi Lieberman joined the Perth Hebrew Congregation after serving as the Rabbi of Allerton Hebrew Congregation in Liverpool for five years.  Prior to this, he served as Associate Rabbi at South Manchester Synagogue in Bowdon UK where he focused on youth and family development.  ​

He studied at Gateshead Yeshiva Gedolah in the UK and Yeshiva Pri Eitz Chaim in South Africa before attaining Semicha from Rabbi Zalman Nechemya Goldberg in Jerusalem.

Outside of working life, Rabbi Lieberman enjoys playing the guitar, participating in soccer, cricket and boxing and is a lifelong fan of Manchester United.  Rabbi Lieberman speaks several languages including Yiddish and Hebrew and is looking forward to picking up some ‘Aussie’.

He said: “At its most sublime, Judaism is a complete and fulfilling way of life from cradle to grave.  Part of its beauty is the partnership between home and shule, in living a Jewish life.  The Shule is at the heart of the community.”

​Rabbi Lieberman’s wife, Rebbetzin Liat hails from Johannesburg, South Africa,. They have four  children Gavi, Eli, Tamar and Elianna.

Charmaine Ryan,of The Maccabean contributed to this report.


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