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.

UIA1 2018

UIA2 2018

UIA3 2018

UIA4 2018

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.






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

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



BHC 17DEC17.pdf









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. 


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.



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.



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.

BHC Heritage 5 BHC Heritage 2

BHC Heritage 3

 BHC Heritage 1BHC Heritage 4



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.

BHC 12mar17


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.

JA 12mar17

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.

BHC3 12mar17BHC2 12mar17



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.



Avi and Lauren and their new mezuzzah.












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




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


The ceiling


  • President

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

  • Secretary

    Bernard Stone
    Tel: 03 5332 1271

  • Chazan

    Max Lasky
    Mob: 0418 335 446

    Alan Jacobs
    (Rosh Hashanah leader)

  • Ba’alei Koreh

    Ami Even-Chaim
    Shimshon Marom






  • Treasurer

    Harry Cook

  • Website administrator

    Gary Mallin
    Mob: 0430 043 706


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