The current building in Toorak Road, South Yarra, is a splendid, ornate building often referred to as the “Cathedral Synagogue” of Melbourne.
With a membership of some 1000 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 followed routinely by a catered breakfast in the Synagogue Boardroom, and as with all services, all are welcome. The Synagogue also has over the years played host to many communal and high-profile events.
MHC publishes the high-quality glossy magazine, Destiny, on a twice yearly basis, regularly runs Bar-Mitzvah and Bat-Mitzvah classes, and a Rabbinical Shiur, and has also variably run Lecture series and other cultural and sporting events.
Its 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, including business people, a broad spectrum of professionals, students, and retired members.
Its 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.
Rabbi Dovid Rubinfeld –Chief Minister of MHC since 2002, Rabbi Rubinfeld has actually been with the Congregation since 1989,when he assumed the position of Cantor, remaining in that position until his assumption of the Chief Rabbinical role in 2002. Born in Belgium, but raised and educated initially in the USA (New York City), with further studies in Israel, Rabbi Rubinfeld settled in Australia in 1973. Renowned for both his wonderful operatic voice, as well as his irreverent sense of humour, Rabbi Rubinfeld, who has substantial religious knowledge, has endeared himself to the Congregation and the wider community, and still retains his Cantorial status while Chief Minister, ably assisted by the team of the Chazan Sheni, Baal Koreh, and Choir. The Rabbi and his wife Miriam, whilst fixtures here, frequently visit the USA and Israel where their children, and now grandchildren, reside.
Rabbi Nathanson has over 15 years of experience in community services. He has been involved in establishing communities, and assisting existing communities throughout America, Russia, Romania, and Australia. As Rabbi in the Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Docklands areas, he has developed meaningful relationships with the different sectors of the community. In this role he has an intimate awareness of the diverse needs of the community members. His personal encounters with social isolation and poverty during his work servicing the Melbourne community, has given him the drive and determination to establish “C Care” in order to address these problems. Since moving to Port Melbourne, Rabbi Nathanson frequently visits MHC and has been participating in programs and services. He is enthusiastic about joining the team at MHC and contributing to, and expanding upon, the services the Shule offers its members.
Members wishing greater involvement in the Synagogue and its organisation are encouraged to make themselves known to The President or any of the Board to ensure ongoing generational evolution of the management of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation.
NORMAN A FAIFER
ERIC M. COHEN OAM
GRAHAM SMORGON AM
DOTAN BEN MEIR
Anthony Swingler – Anthony has been the caretaker of the Shule since 2004 after leaving his previous employment with the National Australia Bank. He can be relied on at all hours for Synagogue maintenance, opening up, and general help. Anthony is married with 2 daughters.