Parramatta Synagogue History
Menorah on Victoria Road, Parramatta
In 1949 in a house at 471 Western Road Pendle Hill, Morry, Alf and Mark Borman, Lou Klein , Sidney Sinclair and their families met for the purpose of establishing a Synagogue and for commencing formal Jewish Education for their children. Other people to be contacted to assist in the establishment of a new congregation were: Milo Zipkis, Eric Hurst, Arthur Weisinger and Les Shields. These people contacted Myer Blashki who ran a P.D.F. store in Parramatta and who was well known in the area, requesting he stand as the first president of the new community.
The original board consisted of: Myer Blashki (pres.), Oscar Munz (religious co-ordinator), Alf Borman (function organiser and fund-raising co-ordinator), Arthur Weisinger (secretary) and the inaugural meeting of the new congregation was chaired by Rabbi Porush. Alf Borman and the committee, with names supplied by the Jewish Welfare Society contacted all persons in the region as far afield as Springwood to ensure the success of establishing the new Jewish Community. The first meeting of all those contacted was held in the CWA meeting room in a shop opposite the Parramatta Town Hall.
Parramatta Jewish Community, 1943 to 1949
In these early years Shabbat Services were held in members’ homes and the original Ark was transported in a truck to various locations for the services. The orriginal Ark was donated by Myer Blashki and is still on the premises at Parramatta Syngogue to this day. The original High Holy Day Services were held principally in the Red Cross Hall in Harris Park and the School of Arts Hall in Parramatta. It’s been recalled that on more than one occasion the services ran overtime and the local community who also used the hall were vocally preturbed at this. Services were later held in the Parramatta Town Hall.
Establishing the Parramatta Synagogue at Victoria Road, 1952 to present
A memorial plaque at Parrramatta Synagogue
In 1952 the land being the current site of the Synagogue was purchased and the Synagogue was built and occupied in 1955.
One of the earliest committees to manage the Synagogue once the new site was occupied was: Lou Klein, Sidney Sinclair, Alf & Morry Borman, Milo Zipkis, Hans Newman, Hans Fa
ber, Arnold Hyman, Les Sheilds and others. Services in the early years were conducted by Oscar Munz.
The original two Sefar Torahs were donated by The Great Synagogue in Sydney and a third was dontaed by Sidney Sinclair. The original pulpit was donated by Lou Klein. The interior upholstery of the original Ark was prepared by Sidney Lipman.
Bimah fringe detail Parramatta Synagogue
The First Ministers
In 1965 the first minister Rev. H.Harkaway was appointed.
Rev Harkaway served the community for 14 years during which time the Jewish community in Parramatta consolidated itself. The original purpose of providing Jewish education for the children was realised on many occasions culminating in Barmitzvahs, Batmitzvahs and many Simchas for the families of those original founding members and the new members atrracted to the area.
Following the untimely passing of Reverend Harkaway, services were conducted by the membership once again until the appointment of Rev. S.Goldberg, and later, Rabbi A.Blasenstein. The departure of Rabbi Blasenstein saw the appointment Rev.G.Blavis.
Subsequently until 2012, the position of Minister was held by Rabbi Yossi Wernick, followed by Motty Tenenboim.
In 2014 we welcomed Rabbi Roni Cohavi who is the current minister.
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