From the President

The Hon. Justice Stephen Rothman AM

Dear Friends,


We have so many positive initiatives happening at The Great that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. There are lecture series, events and increased attendance on Shabbat. Yet many members never see it. And that’s most unfortunate for them and those of us working for the changes.

We have firmly halted the slide in membership that occurred over the 7 years to 2014, yet we suffer the problem that many are unaware of it. This year, you would have noticed the increased attendance on Rosh Hashanah, but haven’t realised that, albeit in smaller numbers, that has translated into better overall attendance at all services.  

Of course, there are Shabbatot where the numbers are down and we’re coming to a period, during the holidays, where that may occur. But, look at the comparisons. We are one of the only Shules where membership has grown in net terms.  

Our services have also grown. We now have a far more developed pastoral care facility. We have regular afternoon Minchah during the week; have greater attendance on Friday night and Shabbat morning; and regular Shacharit services on weekdays. Most of these improvements are a direct result of the greater focus on community; the friendlier, less stuffy style; and are a tribute, in particular to the work of Rabbi Elton and Hinda and Cantor Josh Weinberger and Gila.

But it’s also a tribute to all those volunteers, on the Board and generally, who put so much into the Shule. As one of them said to me, they also get back in multiples for what they put in! Try it. Contribute and join your enlivened community, even if only by attending.

This year we celebrate the 140th Anniversary of The Great and we are taking the steps to ensure that the next 140 years are even more successful. We need your participation and support. We have to have financial stability before we embark on our plans, which we will put to the community before we proceed.

This week we celebrate the 45th Wedding Anniversaries of Max & Barbara Freedman; and Anna & Michael Joel; the Bar Mitzvah Anniversaries of Joe Kensell, and Roger Selby; and the Birthdays of Ken Gresham and (once more) Herman Eisenberg. We also wish a happy birthday to Hinda and many more years of good health and happiness spent with us!

Steve & Sharon Schach will be sponsoring the Kiddush in honour of his 70th birthday; his Jewish 70th birthday; and his 57th Bar Mitzvah Anniversary. Steve, thanks go to you for your hard work as one of our most important volunteers.

To all those celebrating Simchas, we extend prayers for the blessings of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity over many more years. 

I would, once more, like to remind all of you that The Great and its staff and officers are here for you, if you need us. If you’re feeling down or having issues, call us and, if we are able to assist, we will be glad to be of assistance.

I would also like to pay tribute, once more, to Rabbi Elton, Cantor Josh Weinberger, the Choir and the Women’s Auxiliary for all their work on our behalf.

To all those commemorating a Yahrzeit, or who have recently suffered a loss, we wish you a long and good life, full of Simchas.

Warmest Regards