“What IS Rosh Hashanah?”… Hidden deeper than the usual translation of “New Year”, the words “Rosh” and “HaShanah” convey a gentle, yet firm encouragement for this season of fresh starts. “Rosh” literally translates as “head”; “shanah” translates literally as both “year” and as “change”. The new you can emerge in this New Year through a single small change. Moving a grain of sand, in a sense, changes an entire beach; what will you move or change in yourself as the new year nears?
Nefesh, an expanding Chavurah South of the River will host a broad range of Holiday Celebrations appealing to a wide variety of interests and age groups. In addition to egalitarian, inclusive, spiritual services, the Shuel will host Meditation, Israeli Dance, a Rosh Hashanah Art History Lecture and Rosh Hashanah Rivka’s Bookshelf Playgroup. Communal meals are also planned for the entire holiday period, including prior to Kol Nidre and following the Fast. A full day of Yom Kippur services, study and
exploration will take place in the Shuel. Sukkah Building and celebration at Nefesh’s traditional St. James location will follow on Wednesday, 18 September.
Celebrations South of the City
Old Shuel, New Year…Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with Nefesh! For the first time in 100 years, the Old Fremantle Synagogue will resound with song, study and the sound of the Shofar. Thanks to the generosity of redeveloper Roger McKimm, the Shuel has hosted a Jewish wedding and a community event in the last six months, but it has not yet been open for communal Jewish prayer until now…and you could be part of a truly Historic Celebration! Thanks to the generosity of its developer, Roger McKimm, the Synagogue has been open for numerous Fremantle Jewish Heritage Walks, organised and guided by Ari Antonovsky. Mr. McKimm (who is redeveloping the space as an eatery with a
boutique hotel in the back) holds the site’s Jewish Heritage in high regard. He has re-installed the Judaic stained glass and installed large glass panels in the roof allowing visitors to see the Old Shuel’s shining white Magan David from inside the building. The Shuel has hosted both a Jewish wedding and a community event in the last eight months, but it has not yet been open for communal Jewish prayer until now. This Rosh Hashanah will be a truly historic event as Rosh Hashanah Celebrations return to Western
Australia’s Oldest standing Synagogue.
“I’m very much looking forward to the variety of celebrations that is going to be offered in the Old Synagogue in Freo” commented Simon Blond. “I think it will be really inclusive for a lot of people.” Many of those people may be less connected to the Jewish Community of the “corridor” and might particularly appreciate the communal meals on offer, including prior to Kol Nidre and following the Fast. A full day of Yom Kippur services, study and exploration will take place in the Shuel as well. For the third year running, the group will celebrate Sukkot in lush and lovely gardens in Simon’s neighbourhood.
Years before Nefesh emerged, Simcha Freo was established not as a “Jewish congregation” but as a social and cultural hub for those with Jewish roots living around Fremantle and the Southern suburbs. Simcha Freo continues to be a thriving group, gathering to exchange ideas (particularly through its Book Club and Film Club), promote Fremantle’s Jewish Heritage, and celebrate at various times though the year. The group will come together next in September for its annual New Year Sea Side Gathering.
Well over a decade before Simcha Freo, emerged, a small group of Israeli Dance Devotees in Fremantle began Hora Shalom. Through nearly 20 years of growth, Hora Shalom has evolved into “large group of keen dancers and friends who attend … classes, performances and other events.” The group offers sessions three times weekly, with classes ranging from beginners’ lessons to advanced workshops. The dancers are of varied background; some originated in Orthodox homes, some consider themselves “traditional” while not Shomer Shabbat, and some are not Jewish. Dancers of diverse backgrounds share a sense of the spirit of the Israeli Dance music and movement, and
appreciate the natural, interfaith-multicultural mix.
Western Australian Jewry can be proud of its diversity. We are Chabad and Progressive, Sefardic and Modern Orthodox, Dati and Israeli Chilonie (non-orthodox) and all one family. We are Jews by birth and Jews by conversion, Zionists and Atheists. We live in walking distance of our Shules and we live in Denmark WA, and we are each, in our own way, touched by the sound of the sound of the Shofar.
Nearly 200 years ago, in August 1829, Brothers Lionel and William Solomon arrived in Fremantle as its first Jews. By 1842, Fanny Levy married Lionel became Fremantle first Jewish Bride, wife, and eventually mother of six. Can you imagine what Lionel, Fanny and William would say if they saw the extraordinary, multifaceted Jewish life of Fremantle and Perth today? No doubt, it would give them cause to bless and celebrate!