Bus tour to Jewish Museum of Australia & Temple Beth Israel

On Wednesday 29 April 2015, twenty nine people departed Frankston Visitor Information centre for a bus tour to the Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda and the Progressive Synagogue of Temple Beth Israel, St Kilda followed by a kosher lunch in Elsternwick.

The first stop was the Jewish Museum where we were met by two marvellously informative tour guides who showed us through some of the exhibitions which portray Jewish culture, history, traditions and beliefs, including the history of Jewish life in Australia.  Unfortunately, with time constraints we had to limit ourselves to a 90 minute visit which could only provide us with a small taste of the wealth of information the Jewish Museum has to offer. With regret we had to leave after enjoying a delicious morning tea provided by the Jewish Museum.

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Our next stop was the Progressive Temple Beth Israel where we were welcomed by Cantor Michel Laloum. We had been booked into the temple for a half hour tour but Michel held us spellbound with answers to our questions and his chat of what Progressive Judaism is about - interspersed with humour!  Half an hour quickly spread into an hour.

A few of his comments:

  • “Call God whatever name we like but it’s the same entity. We’re all scaling the same mountain but can’t see the others. The thing in our way is our own religion(s).”
  • “We’re all seeking enlightenment. What is the structure through which we receive enlightenment?  Prayer, Meditation.”
  • (on how to find one’s own personal belief) – “Study then comprehend then that will bring you to make a choice - not doctrine.”
  • (on the essence of Judaism) - "Love your neighbour as yourself then go and learn it."

We regretfully had to leave Temple Beth Israel and Cantor Michel.

Time was flying and our delicious kosher lunch for all with the compliments of Frankston Interfaith Network was a little rushed. Spirits high, we arrived back at Frankston Visitor Centre where everyone agreed the tour was a great experience.

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