From the President

 Justice Stephen Rothman AM

Dear Friends




It is a sad day for The Great family in noting the passing of Simon Marks-Isaacs, whom I and many on the Executive considered a friend and who worked so diligently for The Great in the Sackville Committee. We wish his family a long life and for them to celebrate only simchas in the future.  It is always tragic to lose a person of such a young age.  He will be missed sorely by all of us.


This Shabbat we celebrate the wedding anniversaries of Dagmar & Brian Ackerman, Stephanie & David Hilton and Marilyn & John Jackson. 


We wish Mazal Tov to Ilana & Daniel Leibman on the birth of a baby girl, Ava Poppy, and Mazal Tov to proud grandparents and the whole family. The baby naming will take place at Shacharit on Thursday morning, 19 January. 


We also extend Mazal tov to Rev David and Stephanie Hilton on the birth of two nephews. 


To all celebrating Simchas, we pray for blessings of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity and that you enjoy only s’machot!


In this quiet period particularly, I would like to commend to all to come to Shule, if you're in town and to thank everyone who comes week in and week out which allows us to continue services. 


Remember the forthcoming events, particularly the Law Service, to which you are all invited and for which we are seeking a more communal input.


To those commemorating a Yahrzeit or who have recently suffered a loss, we wish you a long and good life!


See you in Shule!


Warmest Regards










1 July 2015/14 Tammuz 5775

 Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

The Great Synagogue has appointed a new Senior Rabbi to head up the Ministerial team and lead the congregation into the future. Last Monday (29 June 2015), the congregation, at an Extraordinary General Meeting, unanimously approved the recommendation of the Board to appoint Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton. 


Rabbi Elton will take up his position on 14 July 2015 and, after a brief trip back to New York in August, will return to Sydney, with his wife Hinda, before the coming High Holy Days. 


President of The Great Synagogue, Justice Stephen Rothman AM, said the Board of the Shule was delighted with the appointment and looked forward to Rabbi Elton’s commencement. “We conducted a worldwide search for the right person for the Senior Rabbi position. There were ultimately a handful of Rabbis that were able to fill our unique requirements and we have appointed a young, personable, liberal, intelligent and modern Rabbi who can continue the modern orthodox traditions of The Great, whilst attending to the important and necessary changes to rejuvenate the Synagogue and prioritise service to its members, all of which will form part of the process, already commenced, of making The Great the centre of Jewish activity in the CBD.” 


Rabbi Elton is 34 years of age and is currently working as a Rabbinic Fellow and Director of Education at Lincoln Square Synagogue, Manhattan. He originates from Manchester, studied History at Cambridge University, has a doctorate (in Jewish History) from the University of London and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His Rabbinical ordination initially came from Rabbi Chaim Rappaport in London and his latest s’micha was from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. Rabbi Elton had a stellar career in the civil service while pursuing his doctoral work, before he began to study for the rabbinate. 


“I am honoured, delighted and humbled that The Great has chosen me to be their spiritual leader. I dedicate myself to the community and its religious and communal flourishing. Hinda and I are so excited to be joining this beautiful congregation. We hope that we can make a contribution towards further strengthening one of the great Jewish communities of the world”, Rabbi Elton said.


Rabbi Elton also acknowledged his distinguished predecessors, the late Rabbis Falk and Porush, and Rabbis Apple and Lawrence, paying tribute to their work and example, aiming to live up to their tradition of service and scholarship.


“The task of a Jewish religious leader is to increase our connection to our faith, our traditions and our communities to make Torah exciting and relevant and bring the sacred into our everyday lives. That is what I am committed to doing, to lead The Great Synagogue and all associated with it from strength to strength.”


In the time between the recommendation of the Board and the vote of the members to approve the appointment, Rabbi Elton has already been involved in organising the future reintroduction of a Cheder for Primary School students not attending Jewish Day Schools, the introduction of extensive shiurim and the resumption of weekday services every morning. 


There will be a formal installation and inauguration ceremony on 10 September 2015, followed by Ma’ariv, to which the community is and will be invited.