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CHABAD OF MELBOURNE CBD
celebrates its 10th Anniversary
Since its establishment in 1998 by Rabbi Chaim Dov Ber Herzog, Chabad of Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) has grown tremendously, reaching out to Jewish business people and young professionals who live and work in Melbourne’s city-centre. "Down Under" Melbourne, a quiet city where the weather changes three times a day hosts a fast growing Jewish community. As you walk past the tall skyscrapers, that is where you will find Chabad of Melbourne CBD. Chabad's home in downtown Melbourne, Australia
While the popularity of city-living has surged in recent years, many Jewish people – including students, young professionals and businesspeople – have made the move into Melbourne’s city area. There may be as many as 600 Jews currently living in Melbourne’s CBD.
Enter Chabad of Melbourne CBD – the most central Jewish organization providing spirituality, guidance and support to these Jewish souls. And it all started with a Purim Luncheon in 1997…
The sound of ‘graggers’ reached far and wide as the Megillah was read to an enthusiastic crowd that was led by ministers of parliament, who brought us greetings from the Premier of Victoria. Being new to the community and not knowing what to expect, since it was the first formal function, the organizers were overwhelmed by the crowd that materialized; not realizing how many Jewish people were working in the city area. Being that the entire Jewish population numbers 50,000 throughout the state of Victoria, the turnout of over 200 attendees was phenomenal. This function proved so successful that Chabad of Melbourne CBD was founded to serve this fast growing Jewish community. Rabbi Chaim Herzog was appointed as the Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD by Australia’s Head-Shliach Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner.
Ten years later, our events draw even larger crowds of interested Jews from all walks of life and more prominent guests from political and business circles. Our attendees praise and acknowledge the work of Chabad of Melbourne CBD and our efforts in bringing Judaism to ‘downtown’ Melbourne. Our events draw sponsorship from Melbourne’s finest businesses and organizations.
Our regular ‘lunch ‘n’ learn’ lectures enable local professionals and businessmen to share their views and get in touch with their roots. The lectures have large attendances and have drawn an extensive list of prominent speakers, which have included federal, state and local members of parliament and Melbourne’s Lord Mayor. Our attendees have also been addressed by prominent local and international Jewish guest speakers.
Every Friday a co-ordinated group of students from the local Rabbinical Colleges and seminaries go visiting the businessmen and professionals who include Barristers, Queen’s Councils, solicitors, doctors, accountants, stockbrokers, computer analysts and others in the City district. Amongst other things, the students distribute weekly newsletters, put on Tefillin with people and install Mezuzos, as well as dealing with Shabbos and Kashrus related issues. The response from the ‘city’-Jews is overwhelming – many of them having limited time to experience Judaism – they greatly appreciate our outreach as we bring a bit of Yiddishkeit to their homes or offices.
Chabad of Melbourne CBD hosts major events for Jewish festivals. Our Purim luncheon has become a ‘tradition’ hosting hundreds of people, continuing to provide them with the Purim experience and great entertainment. Before Pesach, Chabad of Melbourne CBD distributes Shmurah Matzah to its growing network of ‘city’-Jews. On Sukkot, Chabad of Melbourne CBD provides the largest Sukkah open to the public in Melbourne’s City Square – the centre of downtown Melbourne. This year a Simchas Beis Hashoevah was held at the ‘Sukkah in the City’ drawing huge crowds from all over Melbourne for a night of music, dancing, entertainment and great food. Chanukah is celebrated in the City with public Menorah lightings and festivities.
Chabad of Melbourne CBD acts as the ‘first point of call’ for the hundreds of Jewish tourists visiting Melbourne who seek out ‘Jewish Melbourne’. We also network with Shluchim worldwide, helping them or their community members with locating missing persons or those relocating to Melbourne and needing assistance.
Our pastoral care includes home and hospital visits and crisis and grief counseling to those in need. Servicing Melbourne’s central hospitals, Chabad of Melbourne CBD provides services for those who require Jewish pastoral care.
The true results of Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s success are evident in the establishment of its branch in suburban Melbourne. Members who attend our programs in the city wanted the same warm environment for Jewish learning after-hours. Australian Friends of Lubavitch was founded in 2006 to provide Adult Jewish Education to Melbourne’s Jewish community in a ‘close-to-home’ location. Regular lectures for men and women on a variety of Jewish and contemporary topics are popular and the women’s Shmooze & Shpiel social evening is enjoyed by women from diverse backgrounds. A growing crowd enjoys our uplifting Friday Night services and Kiddush each week – and keep coming back for more inspiration.
These two centers of Jewish learning, education and social opportunities enrich the Jewish experience for Jewish souls in Melbourne looking to explore their heritage. We are proud of our achievements to date and look forward to a future of shared growth for our organization and Melbourne’s Jewish life.
Rabbi Chaim Herzog and Melbourne’s Mayor Cr John So
Costello press conference at Treasury Place Melbourne
Rabbi Tzvi Telsner guest speaker at the Sukkah in the City Luncheon
Purim in the City Luncheon at Melbourne Town Hall
Chanukah in the City Public Menorah Lighting
Rabbi Chaim Herzog and visiting students from Mount Scopus Memorial College at Chabad of Melbourne CBD
Leading Melbourne businessman Morry Fraid at a lunch lecture in the CBD.
Leading dignitaries and politicians at our Purim in the City Luncheon