Visit us

Title Goes hereGo back in time to the golden era

The historic Ballarat synagogue, built in 1861 during the Victorian gold rush, has been kept in its original condition for more than 150 years and is of museum quality and interest.

The synagogue welcomes visitors on its open-to-the-public days and also arranges individual and group visits.

Open days

The synagogue will be open on Sundays from 11am to 2pm (subject to change because of religious and other holidays).

Individual and group visits

To arrange a date and time, please contact Bernard Stone on 5332 1271

Visitors will be guided through the history of the synagogue by expert guides who will show you around the synagogue and its historic out-buildings, as well as the thriving Bernstein Canary Island pine tree, planted on 22 July, 1867, near the synagogue’s entrance.

Important notice

Unfortunately, visits have been curtailed from 20 July, 2020:

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions

No visits allowed during this time, or during building conservation works, until further notice.

 

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Documents

To download a copy of the Ballarat Heberew Congregation’s proxy form click the following link.

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To download a copy of the Ballarat Heberew Congregation’s constitution click the following link.

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Scheduled Services 2021

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Tours of historic Ballarat synagogue

If you, your friends or one of your social groups would like to tour Ballarat synagogue, built in 1861, and absorb its rich history, please contact John Abraham on 0414 714 851 or Bernard Stone on 5332 1271 to arrange a time and date. Tours are free.

 

 

 

 

 

All services start at 10.30am, unless otherwise specified, followed by a kiddush in the Paul Simon Hall. (Subject to COVID-19 regulations.)

 

Saturday, 9 January

Shemot

Saturday, 6 February

Yitro

Saturday 6 March

Shabbat Parah; Sidrah Ki Tissa

Saturday,  3  April

Pesach, 7th day

Saturday, 8 May

Behar-Bechukotai

Saturday, 12 June

Korach

Saturday, 10 July

Rosh Chodesh Av; Sidrah Matot- Massei

Saturday, 7 August

Re’eh

Monday, 6 September

Erev Rosh Hashanah, evening service 7pm

Tuesday, 7 September

First day Rosh Hashanah

Wednesday, 15 September

Kol Nidrei, starts 7pm

Thursday, 16 September

Yom Kippur and Yizkor

 

 

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Bernstein tree: planted 22 July 1867

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Memberships & Donations

Financial and spiritual contributions are much appreciated, especially for mainland Australia’s oldest functioning synagogue.

If you would like to support the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, full membership fees for one year are:

To make a payment, please advise how many membership types you want and send your remittance to:

Harry Cook

25 Pine Grove, Leopold, Victoria, 3224

Or, if you would like to make an electronic transfer please use the details below:

Account Ballarat Hebrew Congregation Inc.

Bank Westpac

BSB 033-275

Account number 156523

Payment reference Use your surname


 

formulaforsurvival

If you want to buy the book Formula for Survival by
Newman Rosenthal, please contact us to make an order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To download a copy of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation’s proxy form click the following link.

PROXY FORM_SGM_Jul2019-images

To download a copy of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation’s rules click the following link.

ABL Model Rules-7034652-2-BALLARAT HEBREW CONGREGATION INC_FINAL_V2_Compressed_Aug2019-images

Events

Ballarat to celebrate 160th

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From The Australian Jewish News, 26 February, 2021

Read The Australian Jewish News story, 12 March, 2021, about Ballarat’s 160th anniversary here

 

 

 

Annual general meeting 2020

The annual general meeting of Ballarat Hebrew Congregation Inc, on Sunday, 22 November, 2020, resulted in the election of:
John Abraham, president; Carol  Hughes, vice-president; Harry Cook, treasurer; Michelle Challis, secretary; board members Bernard Stone, Patrice Braun, and Malcolm Brown.

A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JOHN ABRAHAM 17 April 2020

Greetings to all

I do hope everyone is keeping good health and wellbeing, and that somehow you were able to celebrate Pesach.

The very first stages of our restoration project have happened. The geotechnical report, and the arborist’s activities have been completed.

Our beautiful Canary Island pine has been carefully pruned and looks fantastic. The arborist reports that it is in excellent condition, and good for at least another 50 years.

The plaque on the Canary Island pine tree.

The plaque on the Canary Island pine tree.

This tree has been heritage listed for a number of years, but right now it has been nominated as a finalist in the National Trust’s “Tree of the Year”.

 You can vote for our tree by going to the website of Victorian National Trust “Tree of the Year”  https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/treeoftheyear/ and vote for it on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/NationalTrustVictoria/ and spread the word to your friends.

I have Spanish friends in isolation and, because this is a Canary Island pine, they are also going to vote for us online.

Stay positive and well.

Regards

John Abraham

A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT JOHN ABRAHAM April 2020

Greetings to all

Times are difficult for all of us individually and the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation as a whole.

We needed to cancel our last Shabbat service, and we will not be able hold services in April and May. Please check our website for further news.

Our special general meeting on 29 March was postponed to 5 April and will be held online for the first time. Big adjustments for all of us.

I want to wish everyone good health, and considering our demographic, ask you all to be kind to yourselves, make good safe decisions, and look after yourselves wisely and well.

Our nurses and doctors go to work to keep you safe. Stay at home to keep us all safe.

We will return to shul as soon as it is safe for our community.

Regards
John Abraham
President

Refurbishment at Ballarat

The Australian Jewish News
March 2, 2020

BALLARAT Shule has been awarded a matching grant of $107,000 by the Victorian government for repairs and maintenance to preserve the structural, aesthetic and cultural integrity and values of the historic synagogue.
Synagogue president John Abraham said that apart from matching the grant amount, the shule plans to raise a total of $500,000 for the conservation project.
The grant is part of the state government’s Living Heritage program overseen by the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning, to fund the exterior works, including maintenance works on a 150-year-old Canary pine at the front of the shule.
“Furthermore, BHC Inc will need to raise funds required for the interior works to the shule, as well as a contingency amount to invest for ongoing and future repair and maintenance, and also ultimately the Paul Simon Hall, which in due course will become the subject of a heritage listing application,” said Abraham.
Ballarat Shule, which was built and consecrated in 1861, underwent major renovations in 1866, 1878 and 1903. Extensive restoration work was done in the centennial year of 1961, then in the 1970s, and the shule was recognised by the National Trust in 1974. Further restoration occurred on the 150th anniversary in 2011.
Former Labor MP Marsha Thomson tweeted: “This is great news. It is the oldest functioning synagogue on mainland Australia and should be restored.”

See the story at this link.

Notice of annual general meeting

The annual meeting of Ballarat Hebrew Congregation Inc. will be held on Sunday, 3 November, 2019, at 10.30am in the Paul Simon Hall, Princes and Barkly streets, Ballarat.
All are welcome but only financial members are entitled to vote.
For more information, contact president John Abraham on 0414 714 851.

Nathan Mond (Natan Meir)

It is with deep regret we express our condolences to the Mond family at the untimely passing of Ballarat Hebrew Congregation member and J-AIR station presenter Nathan Mond.

Nathan was passionate supporter of the BHC and often led shul services under the guidance of Max Lasky. He was co-host with Gary Mallin and Max Lasky on J-AIR’s TenKradius, and other programs.

Nathan was always available for the road trip to Ballarat for Shabbos or yomim tovim, and he passionately advocated Yiddishkeit in the goldfields and Melbourne. He was dedicated to J-AIR and forged relationships with Israeli and North America radio presenters.

May his memory be a blessing.

A video of his eulogy, delivered by his niece, Ilana Weinman, can be seen here

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Nathan Mond.


Mond honour

J-AIR has presented Morris Mond with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of the exceptional, unsung work his late brother Nathan did over many years for Australia’s only Jewish radio station J-AIR. Morris is pictured receiving the certificate from his co-hosts on the TenKradius program Gary Mallin and Max Lasky. Nathan is sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues at J-AIR.

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Nathan’s community involvement has been recognised at many Melbourne functions: a band concert and the dedication of plaques in his honour, for example. For more details, click on this link to the Facebook group, J-Air.

 

 

 

International recognition

“The gold is long gone, but here at the far fringes of the diaspora, on a recent Shabbat morning, the two dozen worshippers who sit shoulder to shoulder in the pews of Shearith Yisroel seem determined to live up to their synagogue’s name: ‘Remnant of Israel.’ “

 

These words form part of a splendid story about Ballarat synagogue published on 24 January on Moment, a US internet site about Jews and Judaism founded by Elie Wiesel and Leonoard Fein.

Moment writer Mark Pinsky visited Ballarat last year and penned this story about “A Gold Rush Synagogue Hangs On Down Under”. You can read the full version here.

Pinsky is an Orlando-based journalist who writes about diaspora communities around the world.

UIA visit 2018

Bernard Stone and Avi Gurion were on hand recently to give a big group from the UIA a guided tour of the synagogue. BHC extends its thanks UIA members for their support.

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Succoth 2018

BHC Succoth 2018

About 25 worshippers attended Shabbos chol hamoed Succoth at the shul, followed by a kiddush and shiur in the succah.

 

 

 

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Annual general meeting

Ballarat Hebrew Congregation will hold its 2018 annual general meeting on Sunday, 25 November, 2018. The meeting, in the Paul Simon Hall, will start at 10.45am.

Office-holder reports will be presented along with general business, shul maintenance and arrangements for services.

All are welcome but only financial members are entitled to vote.

 

rodalsRodals ride into town

On the last leg of his goldfields trek from Bendigo and surrounding towns, Rabbi Yossi Rodal and his family spent last Shabbat (13 & 14 July) in Ballarat.
Rabbi Rodal and Cairns-based Rabbi Ari Rubin recently featured in the acclaimed and
fascinating documentary Outback Rabbis on SBS.
Commencing with a communal Shabbat dinner on Friday evening in Golden Point, the Rodals next morning visited the historic Ballarat shul, where about 35 worshippers had assembled for the monthly Oneg Shabbat service.
We were honoured with Kriyat HaTorah by Rabbi Rodal, in addition to his talk about his shaliach experiences.
Rebbetzin Malki Rodal later spoke at the kiddush and said she had a warm, friendly, heimishe feeling as soon as she stepped into the shul.
We were delighted to hear from her about some of the quirky and interesting aspects in the making of the documentary.
Kol Hakavod to the Rodals and to all shluchim of Chabad of RARA.
They do great work ,”digging deep” in the goldfields and the outback, reconnecting Jews and rekindling their Yiddishkeit.
Hazak boruch.
May you be strong and blessed.
Max Lasky
Carnegie

Above: Rabbi Yossi Rodal and Rebbetzin Malki Rodal. Photo courtesy The Australian.

 

CHANUKAH LIGHTS THE GOLDFIELDS

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Nitza and Shimshon Marom, of Melbourne, were given the honour of lighting the Menorah on the sixth night of Chanukah at the Ballarat shul on Sunday (17 December). Some 30 people attended the shul’s mincha service, candle lighting and festive meal in the Paul Simon Hall. Visitors included people from Ballarat, Clunes, Colac and Melbourne. 

ANNUAL MEETING

The following were office-bearers were re-elected at the annual meeting on 12 November 2017:

John Abraham, president
Bernard Stone, secretary
Harry Cook, treasurer

Elected to the board were Lauren and Avi Gurion, Carol Hepner and Max Lasky. The board will be responsible for general and succession planning.
Mark Schatz will continue his role of promoting the BHC, fund-raising and future planning.
More than 20 people attended the meeting in the Paul Simon Hall and took part in morning tea and cake before the meeting.

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MARK PINSKY

At our monthly Oneg Shabbat service on Saturday, 11 November, we were privileged to have Mark Pinsky, an American Jewish journalist/author, as guest speaker.

Pinsky often writes about his explorations of fringe Jewish communities in the diaspora, for The Jewish Daily Forward in New York, The Tablet and Moment magazine.

Pinsky was a civilian volunteer in the 1967 Six-Day War with the IDF, in El Arish, Sinai. He served with Jewish Australian volunteers.

His website can be reached here.

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Ballarat Heritage Weekend, 27-28 May

See the Ballarat Courier’s coverage of events at the shul at this link (and a lovely photo of Bernard Stone and John Abraham).

About 350 people visited the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation shul during the Ballarat Heritage weekend.  The shul was open from 10am to 3.30pm on Sunday. President John Abraham gave talks to visitors at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. A big shout out to Avi Gurion, Jono Vandor and Max Lasky who helped out with security during the day. The temperature hovered around nine degrees during the talks, but John’s words of wisdom helped cheer and warm the audiences.

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The Australian Jewish News, 12 May 2017

Ballarat and St Kilda shuls held a joint Shabbat service on 29 April. The service was featured in a picture-story, Around the Shuls, in the Jewish News in early May. Pictured below are Ballarat ba’al koreh Max Lasky and St Kilda rabbi Yaakov Glasman. Ballarat and St Kilda celebrated the “Ballarat Shabbat” (Parshah Tazria-Metzora) at Charnwood Grove, St Kilda, shul. The service featured chazzan Brett Kaye and the St Kilda Shul choir.

Max Lasky and Rabbi Yaakov Glasman

 

Purim: Sunday, 12 March, 2017

Some 65 people attended Ballarat Hebrew Congregation’s reading of the Megillah on Sunday, 12 March. The reading was held in conjunction with Jewish radio station J-AIR and interfaith program Tikkun Olam, hosted by Abe.

Visitors in their fancy dress came from as far away as Torquay, Melbourne, Ballarat, Hepburn Springs and Clunes.

The reading of the Megillah by Ami Even-Chaim was broadcast live on J-AIR and streamed on the internet from 5.30pm to 6pm.

Later, in the evening (from 9pm to 10pm), Abe broadcast Tikkun Olam live from the Paul Simon Hall.

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Guests, members and visitors were addressed by BHC president John Abraham (pictured, below), who invited all to take part in a sumptuous Purim seudah in the Paul Simon Hall.

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As part of the Purim celebrations, the Australasian Guild of Town Criers publicly acknowledged David Goldman, of Hepburn Springs, who is believed to be the first Jewish town crier in Australia. David is the deputy town crier for the Hepburn Shire.

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Monday, 26 December, 2016

Ballarat Hebrew Congregation’s Chanukah soiree was held at the home of the Gurions of Gordon and coincided with the affixing of a mezuzzah on their new home. Mazeltov to the Gurions. The mezzuzah service was led by Alan Jacobs. Max Lasky led the lighting of the candles and Chanukah service.
Some 40 friends of BHC from the Ballarat district and Melbourne were in attendance.
Great company, great food, great time.

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Avi and Lauren and their new mezuzzah.

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Max and the menorah. Avi and neighbour Inna light the menorah.

 

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Avi and Alan; and David, of Hepburn Springs, with his Chanukah cabaret.

 

John Abraham, Max Lasky and Bernard Stone during 2015's Chanukah service.

John Abraham, Max Lasky and Bernard Stone at 2015’s Chanukah service.

Watch video of 2015’s Menorah lighting in the Paul Simon Hall here

 

Gallery

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 Ballarat will soon celebrate its 160th year. For more details click here. See the Events page for Jewish press coverage.

Ballarat Synagogue: built on gold

Ballarat Synagogue is closely linked with the history and growth of the district. Gold, found in Ballarat in 1851, lured young men of the Jewish faith from around the world.

The synagogue is one of the most precious buildings associated with Australian Jewry. Its first president was Charles Dyte, a leading member of the community, who took a prominent part with Peter Lalor in obtaining justice for miners following the Eureka rebellion in 1854.

Dyte laid the foundation stone of the present synagogue in 1861.

Historic importance

The synagogue is classified by the National Trust of Australia and has been recorded as a historic building that must be retained.

About Us

Read John Abraham’s COVID-19 message on the Events page

SYNAGOGUE BUILT ON GOLD

The Ballarat Synagogue is closely connected with the history and growth of Ballarat. Gold was found in Ballarat in 1851 and lured young men of the Jewish faith from around the world to “golden Ballarat”.

The new citizens involved themselves in the business, professional and public life of the young town. Many became prominent and esteemed citizens in civic affairs serving as councillors and mayors of Ballarat East and the City of Ballarat, and played a prominent role in moulding the history of Australia.

The present synagogue, the oldest on the mainland of Australia, is undoubtedly the most historic, and one of the most precious buildings associated with Australian Jewry.

In 1854 came the “Affair of Eureka” and Charles Dyte, a leading member of the community and later MLA for Ballarat, took a prominent part with Peter Lalor in obtaining justice for the miners.

When he was president of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation, Dyte laid the foundation stone of the present synagogue in 1861.

HISTORIC IMPORTANCE

The Ballarat Synagogue is classified by the National Trust of Australia and has been recorded as a historic building that must be retained. Although this gives us no monetary help, it recognises the importance of this sacred edifice and the part played by pioneers of the congregation in Ballarat’s history.

MandelbaumRABBI ZALEL MANDELBAUM

Part of the rich history of the Ballarat Hebrew Congregation is the story of its many officer bearers, particularly Rabbi Zalel Mandelbaum (left, with his wife, Freda) in the early to mid-20th century.

Read more about Rabbi Mandelbaum in this address given by Rabbi Raymond Apple to the Australian Jewish Historical Society in November 2015. This was published on OzTorah.

Supporters

We thank the following supporters.

Photographer: Jono David, of Jewish Photo Library.
All images are © Jono David/HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library.

St Kilda Hebrew Congregation

Digital Advocates

J-AIR Radio

Check Ballarat Synagogue’s Facebook page here

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Contact Us

contacts


President

John Abraham
Mob: 0414 714 851
Tel: 03 5333 4941

 

Secretary

Michelle Challis

 

Chazan

Our services are all lay-led except for a Shabbaton with a visiting rabbi.

Ba’alei Tefillot                                                               Ba’alei Koreth
Max Lasky                                                                     Ami Even-Chaim
Mob: 0418 335 446                                                Shimshon Marom
Email: maxhsj@gmail.com
Alan Jacobs

 

 

Treasurer

Harry Cook

Board members

Bernard Stone, Patrice Braun, Malcolm Brown.

Website administrator

Gary Mallin
Mob: 0430 043 706
Email: gmallin@iinet.net.au

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