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Our Ministers


Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

Chief Minister and Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton has been Chief Minister of The Great Synagogue since 2015. Born in Manchester, England, Rabbi Elton earned an MA in History at Queens’ College, Cambridge and a PhD in Jewish History at Birkbeck, University of London. For seven years he worked in the Ministry of Justice in London and then studied for four years at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT) in New York. There, he was editor of its journal, a member of its Advanced Kollel and winner of the prize for excellence in Talmudic study.

As part of his pastoral training Rabbi Elton undertook residencies as a hospital chaplain and leading a grief support group. He received Semicha from YCT in June 2015, and also has Semicha from Rabbi Chaim Rapoport of London. In addition to his 2014 book, Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the Religious Character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970, he has authored several articles on Anglo-Jewish and Australian Jewish religious history and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of London.

He is the Vice President of the Rabbinical Association of Australasia, sits on the Executive of the Rabbinical Council of New South Wales and is an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, Jewish Chaplain to the Returned Services League (NSW Branch) and Orthodox Rabbinic Consultant to the both the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. He is a former President of the New South Wales Council of Christians and Jews. Rabbi Elton is married to Hinda Young are they are proud parents of a daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and a son Solomon (Salo).

Rabbi Elton and Hinda are dedicated to nurturing a warm, beautiful and vibrant community at The Great Synagogue. Please feel free to contact Rabbi Elton via



Rabbi Menachem Feldman

Senior Chazzan and Assistant Rabbi

Rabbi Feldman was born in 1996 in Jerusalem and raised in Sydney. He studied in Sydney, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, New York, Jerusalem and Moscow where he received his semicha.

In 2017, he married Mushki in Moscow and they now have two children.

Menachem recently served as Young Adults Director, Co-Chazzan and Associate Rabbi at Dover Heights Shule where he and his wife Mushki have been successful in running dynamic programs and initiatives. He also has been teaching music at Kesser Torah.

He is passionate about Jewish communal service, pastoral work, Chazzanut, Jewish Music, Jewish education and outreach, and he brings warmth and dynamism in abundance. Together with Mushki, they have an open home to host the community.

He can be contacted on


Joseph Gluck

Chazzan Sheni – Honorary Second Reader

Joe leads weekday morning services, Shacharit on the High Holidays and deputises for the Chazzan on Shabbat as necessary. He is the son of Rev Isidor Gluck, Chazzan of The Great Synagogue 1964-1989.

He is married to Jacki, a granddaughter of Rabbi LA Falk, Second Rabbi of The Great Synagogue 1922-1957. Joe imbibed the nusach of his father and always delights the congregation whenever he leads services.



Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM

Rabbinic Fellow, Assistant Rabbi 1994-2008

Rabbi Mendel Kastel has been providing Rabbinic expertise to the Sydney community for over 20 years. He has taken a particular interest in social welfare, and has been the driving force behind various youth and welfare organisations such as Point Zero, WAYS (Waverley Action for Youth Service) and J Junction.

He is currently Chief Executive Officer of Jewish House, a leading Sydney Jewish charity, offering social services to the Jewish and wider community. After 15 years of service at the Great Synagogue, Rabbi Kastel joined the Jewish House at the beginning of 2008. His efforts have seen the Jewish House grow and develop, becoming an expert provider of crisis services in the Sydney community.

In 2015, he rejoined The Great as Rabbinic Fellow, offering consultancy and support to the Synagogue.



Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple AO RFD זצ״ל

1935- 2024, Emeritus Rabbi, Senior Rabbi 1973-2005

Rabbi Apple retired in 2005 after many years as Australia’s highest-profile rabbi and a leading spokesman for Judaism.

After heading London congregations at Bayswater and Hampstead, he was senior rabbi of the Great Synagogue from 1972-2005, and was the guide and mentor of other synagogues and organisations, including the Women’s Tefillah Group.

He was born and educated in Melbourne and also studied in London. He has degrees in arts, law, history, religion and education, a Doctorate of Laws honoris causa from NSW University and is an Honorary Fellow of Sydney University.

An army reserve chaplain for 15 years and from 1988-2006 Senior Rabbi to the Australian Defence Force. He had two terms of office as chairman of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services.

He has taught at Sydney and NSW Universities and is Master of Mandelbaum House at Sydney University. He has lectured at universities and seminaries in several countries. For 30 years he was judge/registrar of the Sydney Beth Din. He is life rabbinic governor of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australian and New Zealand, of which he had two terms as president. He held office in many public bodies.

He has had a long involvement in inter-faith dialogue and is joint president of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews and a life member and former chairman of the NSW Council. He was a founder of the Christian-Jewish Luncheon Club in Sydney and of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews.
In Freemasonry he is Past Junior Grand Warden and Past Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of NSW and the ACT.

He writes the weekly Oz Torah, with a world-wide email circulation. He has written articles, academic papers and books and has frequently appeared on radio and television.

An Officer of the Order of Australia, he holds the Reserve Force Decoration, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and the Centenary of Federation Medal. He and his wife Marian have four adult children and a number of grandchildren.

Take a look at the OzTorah website. It contains a searchable archive of Rabbi Apple's Torah essays, "Ask the Rabbi" pieces, and feature articles.

Rabbi Apple passed away in Jerusalem in Jan 2024




In honour of his fiftieth anniversary of being inducted as a Rabbi at The Great Synagogue, we have created a compilation of Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple's thoughts on the weekly parashah, taken from his writings. 

Click to download: Rabbi Apple on the Parashah


Thu, 30 May 2024 22 Iyar 5784