The St Kilda Synagogue has played a leading role in Melbourne's Orthodox Jewish Community for over 140 years. When first established it was one of only three Congregations in Melbourne, all within 5 kms of the centre of the City and is situated within the Community Eruv. Since its inception in 1871 St Kilda Shule has been regarded as a Traditional Orthodox Congregation and has always been situated in this convenient location, within walking distance of the City, Beach and Community.
Under the inspired leadership of its long serving Rabbis - there have only been six in its long existence - St Kilda Shule provided Religious Services, Jewish Education, Youth Activities Pastoral Services as well as guidance and support through two World Wars, Economic Depressions and the vicissitudes of life 'down under'.
Generations of new waves of arrivals from Jewish communities around the globe have been sensitively and successfully embraced. Post-World War 2 development saw other Congregations established in Kew, Caulfield, Elwood, and later Doncaster, Moorabbin, Brighton and East St Kilda.
More recently smaller Congregations and Shtiblach have sprung up across these same areas catering to local or sectional interests within the wider Orthodox community. However St Kilda Shule continues to offer an enlightened welcoming general Orthodox approach, striving to engender a sense of belonging among all Jews. Its services are conducted in a 'worshipper-friendly' manner aspiring to high standards of inspiration, dignity and beauty by Cantor and Choir and sermons relevant to the challenges of contemporary Jewish life.
Morning services are conducted on weekdays and Sunday. Shabbat services are conducted on Friday evening, Saturday morning and afternoon. In addition, services are held on the evenings before, and on the days of all Chagim, as well as during S'lichot, Chol Hamoed and on Rosh Chodesh.
Life cycle events are a specialty of St Kilda Shul. Weddings, Aufruffs, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Births and Britot are conducted and acknowledged in a meaningful way seeking to achieve the very best for our congregants and members of the community.
Congregants' problems, challenges to their health, funerals and minyanim are treated with sensitivity, understanding and compassion. The Shule Board is very active and meets on a monthly basis, supplemented by regular meetings of a large variety of enthusiastic sub-committees.
The Hineni Youth movement was first established in Melbourne at St Kilda Shule in 1997.
St Kilda Shule maintains a close, active and cooperative relationship with its neighbour, the Jewish Museum of Australia whose members conduct regular Synagogue tours and the Congregation's facilities are a natural venue for its lectures, training sessions and grand openings. A cordial and constructive relationship also exists with Jewish Care, which is also a close neighbour.
Many groups and organisations from throughout the Jewish Community avail themselves of the Shule's facilities on an ongoing basis, and anyone who has visited our beautiful historical Synagoue edifice can only be moved by the inspirational beauty of its construction.
In 2004 the Synagogue Building was Heritage listed thus acknowledging its unique architecture and importance to Melbourne's historical past. In May, 2011 the Members voted to appoint Rabbi Yaakov Glasman as its next Chief Minister to commence duties at the end of July 2011, when Rabbi Heilbrunn retired.
Shortly thereafter the Congregation received its first heritage Grant and commenced the repair and refurbishment of the leadlight windows.
In October 2010 the Congregation entered its 140th year and commenced the search for a Chief Minister to replace Rabbi Heilbrunn who would be retiring in July 2011.
The Board have undertaken a complete review of the Congregation's activities to try to ensure that it becomes more relevant to the many young families who belong to the Shule.
As part of this process Rabbi Ronnie Figdor was appointed CEO and commenced work in January 2012, and is expected to assist Rabbi & Rebbetzin Glasman as key figures in this development.
Last updated 30/05/2012)