Led by one of Sydney’s most imaginative and dynamic Rabbis, Chaim Koncepolski, with his wife Dina, Cremorne Synagogue enjoys the support and membership of a wide range of Jews from the lower North Shore. Apart from our religious services, we offer an imaginative variety of Jewish, Israeli, secular and communal activities, from community meals to celebrate a festival, to religious and secular talks, the Melton program, fascinating speeches on a wide range of topics, Friday night activities, and so much more.
Ours is a story of growth, and proof that a shul is a lot more than its building. We began in the late 1950’s when group of men and women got together to hold Shabbat evening and morning services in a private home, conducted by members who were refugees from war-ravaged Europe and well-versed in Hebrew and Yiddishkeit. People were attracted to the homely services, conducted by one of our founders, Yossi Weiss, whose good humour, geniality and welcoming demeanour soon became the foundations on which our community is built. Others such as Hemmi Freeman and Harry Farbenblum were instrumental in its early success.
As numbers grew, we needed a building with real foundations, as well as walls and a ceiling, and so over several years, money was raised and in August 1959 the Chief Rabbi of Sydney, Rabbi Porush was able to dedicate our Shul building.
Our first Barmitzvah in the new shul was held only three months after our consecration in May, 1960 and in that first year, our first baby congregant, Ruth Gould, was named. Also in that first year, we celebrated an astounding 20 Barmitzvahs and a wedding. Every year, we increased our membership, and consequently we celebrated more and more simchot, and supported our members through joy and those times when they needed the comfort which only faith and community can provide.
One of those times had a marked effect on the congregation as a whole. On the first night Pesach 1970, our founder and president for all years but that one, Yossi Weiss, aged only 49, passed away suddenly, sending our kehilla into shock and sadness.
Like all strong communities, the Shul rallied and in 1980 we purchased the house next door, which has served as the Rabbi’s and Rebbitzen’s home ever since, and which is where our succah is situated; it is a welcoming space for members of the congregation and visitors. From its earliest days, Cremorne Shul has celebrated Bar- and Bat-Mitzvot, weddings, namings of children, all of the chaggim, the donations of Torahs, libraries and so much more. We have welcomed a number of Rabbonim as our community leaders, guides and teachers, who have graced us with their knowledge, wisdom and have made their own distinct contributions to the culture of the congregation.
In 2000, thanks to the architectural insights of one of our members, we extensively remodelled the shul to include air conditioning, a new kitchen and many more facilities and a rededication service was held attended by past and present members of the community
In 2019, thanks to the generosity of our members, funds were raised to extend and refurbish the Rabbi’s residence and succah.
Today, we still consider ourselves young at 60 years of age, but mature enough to weather these challenging times with a verve and freshness which will comfort those who seek it, and excite those who come to Cremorne looking for spiritual, intellectual and social stimulation.