Sydney rabbi to officiate at Pratt funeral

April 29, 2009 by J-Wire
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Rabbi Levi Wolff  of Sydney’s Central Synagogue will fly to Melbourne this afternoon to officiate at tomorrow’s funeral of billionaire cardboard king Richard Pratt.

Richard Pratt

Richard Pratt

Pratt’s own rabbi retired last year from Kew Synagogue and his close personal friend Frank Lowy will fly to Melbourne for the funeral along with Rabbi Wolff who is the spiritual leader of the congregation to which Lowy belongs.

Rabbi Wolff told J-Wire: “It is a great honour to farewell a great Australian citizen and a very special Jew who was never slow in expressing his love for Israel and of Jewry in general.”

The funeral ceremony will take place at a new family plot at Lyndhurst, a relatively new cemetery. Pratt had requested to be buried in Melbourne’s main Jewish cemetery at Springvale but it is 99% full and could not accommodate the number of plots the Pratt family wished.

When asked why a Sydney Rabbi was being flown down for the funeral, John Searle, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said: “If that is the family’s wish then it is more than appropriate.”

Rabbi Wolff will remain in Melbourne for the first minyan following the burial before returning to Sydney.

This is not the first time Rabbi Wolff has been involved with the Pratt family. In February he conducted a service at the Pratt family home Raheen marking the Australian celebration of Pratt’s grandson Ben. The barmitzvah itself is scheduled to be held at the Kotel in Jerusalem. Rabbi Wolff told J-Wire: “The family members are no strangers to me. I know the children quite well and they are close friends with many in the same age group in my own congregation so we have developed a friendship over the years.”

Lyndhurst is very new and not yet complete. There are no amenities and the service will be held in a tent. It is the resting place of Australian soldier Private Gregory Sher who was killed earlier this year in Afghanistan.

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