MELBOURNE HEBREW CONGREGATION TODAY

The current building in Toorak Road, South Yarra, dating back to 1930, is a splendid, ornate building often referred to as the “Cathedral Synagogue” of Melbourne.

With a membership of some 1300 people in addition to extended families, the 1300-seat Synagogue runs regular services on Thursday mornings in addition to all other Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, and Festival services. The Thursday early-morning minyan in particular is a very enjoyable and intimate gathering held in the Herscu or “minor” Synagogue, and followed routinely by a catered breakfast in the Synagogue Boardroom. As with all services, all are welcome. The Synagogue also regularly plays host to communal and high-profile events.

MHC publishes the high-quality glossy magazine, Destiny, on a quarterly basis, regularly runs Bar-Mitzvah and Bat-Mitzvah classes, and a Rabbinical Shiur, and also variably runs Lecture series and other cultural and sporting events. Regular historical exhibitions highlighting Melbourne Jewry have been curated using extensive MHC archival material, and are often displayed in the Synagogue foyer. At various times, high-quality media productions including DVD’s, celebrating important events such as the 75th Anniversary building celebrations, the “Helfgott meets Helfgot” concert, and the recent publication of the splendid coffee-table book on the Architecture and Stained-Glass Windows, are created and forwarded gratis to members.

MHC’s membership is diverse, spanning families of many generations’ standing with descendants of its earliest members and leaders, through the post-war migration and newer generations, and with a wide occupation base, from business people, through professionals and semi-professionals, and lists many well-known and prominent figures amongst its members. Most importantly, it is highly inclusive, with attendants whether regular or not, always acknowledged and involved whether by way of call-ups / aliyahs or acknowledgement, and with a very reasonable seat fee structure.

The Synagogue’s intrinsic beauty and grandeur, its proximity to St Kilda Road, with its increasing residential profile, and the central business district for those who work there or stay in hotels there or nearby as tourists, as well as the south-eastern suburbs, in which much of the Jewish community resides, make it an attractive and logistical choice for membership and attendance.