About Us

Allow Us To Introduce Ourselves

We are a traditional shule, centrally located in Southern Sydney.  We draw our membership from the St. George, Sutherland Shire and adjacent areas whose combined population is approximately half a million. Our congregation is diverse and includes Australian, English, South African, Middle Eastern and Russian Jews.

Your Voice Will Be Heard

We are a warm, friendly and growing community and newcomers are welcome to participate in that growth.  At our synagogue the opportunity still exists to make a significant and recognised contribution to the running of the shule.  Our places are not all filled and your voice will be heard.

You will have the opportunity to participate in a full spiritual and community life.

 We are a synagogue large enough to be fully functional but small enough not to be impersonal.  Our members are not anonymous; they are valued persons.

 To new members whether from Sydney, interstate or overseas, we offer the opportunity to live in an area less financially and physically pressured than elsewhere, while still participating in a full Jewish life, but not sacrificing anything by way of quality of life—housing, services and facilities.

Activities and Facilities Include:

Shabbat Services

Friday evenings and Saturday mornings as well as services on all festivals and Yom Tovim. (Traditional kiddish follows Shabbat services).

Cheder

Classes are conducted on Sunday morning.  The children enjoy a broad curriculum of Jewish Education which includes reading, religious instruction, and excursions to places of Jewish interest.  Despite stiff competition from other communities, Southern Sydney Synagogue has won its share of prizes including the Harold and Olga Nagley Trophy for being the best Hebrew School in Sydney.

Day Schools

These exist in the nearby Eastern Suburbs, an easy distance on the excellent Southern Cross Drive and the Eastern Distributor.  A number of children from the congregation attend these schools.

Social Activities

Our committee conducts many and varied functions throughout the year not only to entertain and stimulate us but also to raise funds.  Recent activities have included trivia quiz nights, progressive dinners, movie nights, Red Faces Revue and Anniversary Balls.

Friendship Club

This group meets every Wednesday in the shule hall to socialize, have fun and games and quizzes. The club is especially well attended by our senior members.  Jewish and non-Jewish speakers provide talks on a range of interesting subjects and lunch is served at a minimal cost.  Outings occur regularly such as bus trips, walks.

Or Hadash

Our regular newsletter is circulated to all members' homes.  It carries items of religious, social and practical interest.  Contributions are always welcome.

Minister

Our minister and spiritual leader is Rabbi Yosef Feldman, who attends to all pastoral activities expected of a minister.  He is ably assisted by his wife, Shaina, who is Head Teacher of the Cheder, teaches Cheder classes and conducts Batmitzvah lessons as well as teaching our Yiddish class.

About Our Area

We choose Southern Sydney — the St. George-Sutherland area, a slice of Sydney directly south and slightly west of the CBD.  The area borders parts of the Eastern Suburbs, Hurstville, and the inner west.  A designated growth region it also possesses a complex of well-established parts.

Rockdale-Brighton and Bayside Suburbs

This area is fringed by the stately Jack pines and blue waters of historic Botany Bay.  But also contain commercial, residential and industrial areas.

Numbering 100,000 residents, whose major language is English, baysiders are, nevertheless, a vibrant cosmopolitan group.  Many parts are undergoing urban regeneration.

Close proximity to the city attracts new residents.  The home of Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith Airport, the district has built a strong tourist industry with its hotels and restaurants. Bayside beaches manifest various water activities.  The area also contains interesting wetland and bushland tracts.

This region contains good commercial centres and three well-serviced industrial sections.

Kogarah

Kogarah provides great living areas on the Georges River towards southern Botany Bay, while inland there are substantial residential blocks and residences set on hilly terrain, studded with parks.  The eastern half is revitalizing with a renovation boom. Residents enjoy the choice of two large regional shopping centres at Hurstville and Miranda. Light industrial areas lie on Kogarah’s northern and eastern sides.

Sutherland Shire

Known to locals as Sydney’s best kept secret, this leafy area contains two of Sydney’s major waterways---the Georges River and Port Hacking. The latter borders Sydney’s famous Royal National Park. On the Shire’s eastern rim are the Cronulla beaches which lead to Kurnell — the Birthplace of the Nation.

The Shire accommodates 215,000 residents in housing, ranging from spectacular waterfronts to comfortable units. Half the households comprise of families with children. The area’s twenty percent singles enjoy a variety of dwellings.

The area has 900 organisations and 80 services. Its major language is English followed by Greek and Italian.

Business opportunities are encouraged by local council. The area offers two modern industrial complexes while Miranda Fair is one of the largest shopping centres in the Southern Hemisphere

 

Advantages of Living in Southern Sydney

City Access and Northern Suburbs One of the most easily accessible areas in Sydney.  Travelling times to the city, north shore and eastern suburbs have been drastically cut — twenty to thirty minutes for most residents.  Access is quicker and driving conditions better than from most of the North Shore and Western Suburbs.  Both St. George and Sutherland Shire are linked to the city by commuter rail — the Illawarra line which continues to the Eastern Suburbs and Bondi.

Airport — Located in Southern Sydney it is close enough to be convenient without creating environmental problems.  No crossing the crowded Harbour Bridge or fighting congested city traffic to make business or holiday trips.

Park and Beaches — Consistently among the cleanest in Sydney.  We are surrounded by more water and our area is defined by its sense of space.

Accommodation/Housing — Excellent accommodation is readily available at much lower prices compared to the Northern & Eastern suburbs.  

Parking — is not a problem in our area.

Population — The population density is low but the population is large.

Employment — We have a lower unemployment rate and a lower crime rate than other parts of the city.

Our History

The Southern Sydney Synagogue, first known as the Illawarra Hebrew Congregation, later became Illawarra Synagogue, was founded in 1943 by the late Mr Nathan Haneman.  It originally comprised of Australian and British Jews together with European Jews who escaped Europe before the Second World War.

We originally hired a small hall or "shtiebel", acquiring in the mid 1950's, a house in Carlton and obtaining the services of a reader and cheder headmaster.  Soon we outgrew the little house and acquired a hall in Allawah which served us for the next 18 years.

The congregation engaged its first ordained Minister, Reverend Gerald Blaivas, in May 1967.  Older members passed away and younger members with families came to live in the area.   The congregation again outgrew its home and purchased a close-by Mormon Church, our present premises, which we converted to a modern shule with a roomy function hall, pleasant classrooms and well-appointed kitchen. The shule was consecrated in March 1981.  In 1991 we rebuilt after a devastating fire.  In 1993 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary and in 2003 our 60th year.