Brisbane’s non-orthodox Jewish communities merge to become Beit Or v’Shalom
Brisbane’s two major non-orthodox communities have reunited.
Beit Knesset Shalom and Brisbane Progressive Jewish Congregation (Beit Or) officially joined hands after putting a merger agreement to their two congregations in late August. The new congregation will be known as Beit Or v’Shalom, and will be based at the original Progressive shul (Temple Shalom) in Koolatah Street, Carina (previously Camp Hill).
Jason Steinberg, president of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies, the roof body of Queensland Jewry, said he was delighted to hear the two congregations had merged. “The efforts shown by the two congregations and their leadership to merge is a great outcome for our relatively small Jewish community in Brisbane,” he said. “The new merged progressive congregation demonstrates the importance of having a harmonious community with shared values.”
Beit Or president Hila Jacobi, who will serve as president of the reunified congregation until a new board is elected mid next year, said, “The reunification has come about after years of hard work. The will of the two congregations is there and the time is right. We look forward to a strong, inclusive and growing centre of Progressive Jewish learning and worship.” BKS president Matt Goldman, who recently made Aliyah to Israel, and who with Ms Jacobi was instrumental in bringing about the reunification, said, “The merger will create a strong progressive community centre in Brisbane which will further strengthen the wider Brisbane Jewish community. We can now look forward to a lively, united and growing congregation.”
The split came about nearly 10 years ago because of ideological differences. Said Union of Progressive Judaism president Roger Mendelson, “The UPJ is delighted that after 10 difficult years, Beit Or and Beit Knesset Shalom have agreed to merge. This is wonderful news for the Jewish community in Brisbane, including the Orthodox, as it will strengthen the whole community.” He said the UPJ “especially acknowledges the wisdom and drive shown by both boards and their presidents.”
Brisbane has one of the largest concentrations of Jews in the UPJ region, which covers Australia, NZ and Asia. A cheder has already started meeting at the Carina shul grounds with around 30 children involved. The merging communities are now awaiting final approval from the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, which is expected in the next few weeks.
Shalom and Welcome to Beit Knesset Shalom Synagogue Brisbane (BKS)
Founded in 1973, Beit Knesset Shalom is located in the state capital of Queensland, Brisbane. We are an egalitarian synagogue, with total equality for men and women, believing that Jewish law does not remain static and that it does not always carry the same value for Jews in different ages. BKS is involved in the broader Brisbane Jewish community with members active in many communal organisations. We welcome new members and visitors, with services held every first and third Saturday of the month. We celebrate all major Jewish festivals and encourage families and visitors to attend.
The Congregation is managed by a Board of Directors consisting of honorary office bearers, comprising a President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer and a Secretary and the Immediate Past President and a number of ordinary members including a representative of the Guild of the Congregation. The members of this Board of Directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting.
For more information, please browse our website and feel free to get in touch.