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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 86


Mr LEESER (Berowra) (10:51): As one of the six Jewish parliamentarians in this parliament, I'm delighted to wish members of the Jewish community shanah tovah for 5779. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, commenced on Sunday night, and it commences a period of 10 days of reflection—the Days of Awe, Yamim Noraim—that culminates on Yom Kippur next week. Over this period, we are supposed to ask people for forgiveness for wrongs that we've done to them over the last year, and on Yom Kippur we ask God for his forgiveness for the wrongs that we've done.

I spent the first two days of Rosh Hashana in two very different places. I spent the first day at Emanuel Synagogue, a synagogue that my grandparents founded. They were the third couple to be married in the synagogue. My late father served on its board. It is the shul I was bar mitzvahed in. It has a wonderful tradition. It combines the Reform tradition, the Masorti tradition and the Renewal tradition in one community. It is served by terrific rabbanim: Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, Rabbi Jacqui Ninio and Rabbi Rafi Kaiserblueth, the newest rabbi, who officiated at the brit milah of my son earlier this year. It was lovely to be in a synagogue that's meant so much to my family over succeeding generations.

On the second day I went to a very different synagogue that I want to talk a little about today. It's a synagogue on whose board I served prior to becoming a member of parliament: the Parramatta and District Synagogue. The Parramatta and District Synagogue in some respects is the little Jewish community that could. It has a very interesting history that reflects many of the migration patterns of the Jewish community in Australia. It was effectively founded as the synagogue of the Anthony Squires company. Lou Klein and Sidney Sinclair, who founded that company, brought tailors from Britain and Eastern Europe to Australia after the war, many of whom settled in the Parramatta area and looked to create a synagogue for that particular community. Next year, it will be 70 years since that community was founded by Lou Klein; Sidney Sinclair; Morry, Alf and Mark Borman; and my great-uncle, Philip Goldman, who was the third president there. Today the synagogue thrives under the leadership of Rabbi Roni Cohavi, a wonderfully welcoming and warm man who has brought a real sense of ruach to the community. He and his wonderful wife, Michal, operate a very welcoming environment, and their many children—Emanuel, Hodaya, Joseph, Mendi, Shmulli, Hannah, Shalom and Sarah—create a welcoming and orthodox Jewish environment for both members of the community and visitors.

The synagogue would not survive without the wonderful efforts of my constituents Michael and Sue Morris, who have been the backbone of that community for years and years. Michael has served several terms, unsung, as the president, and it's wonderful to be able to get up in the parliament today and to pay tribute to him and to Sue, as well as the other board members: Jacob Lipson, Yossi Cohen, Dennis Freede, Stephen Kopp, Itzik Mueller, Eve Spicer and Len Shelton, who for many years served as president of the shul. I want to take this opportunity to wish all the Jewish community members right across the country well over the fast for Yom Kippur.