IT has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past three decades, but the mood at Kehillat Masada this Sunday will be one of celebration as the shul marks its 30th birthday.
Describing the achievement as a “phenomenal milestone of a community that started from literally nothing 30 years ago”, Rabbi Gad Krebs told The AJN this week Kehillat Masada is “very much the soul of the community”.
“It has been a place of connection for all Jews in the upper north shore, it’s been a place of enormous support,” Rabbi Krebs, who has been with the shul for 10 years, said.
Appointed as the shul’s full-time rabbi in 2007, Rabbi Krebs has seen the synagogue in times of light and dark.
“There have been various times where perhaps it hasn’t been smooth sailing,” he admitted, “but the community has been able to heal itself, and create an open policy where everybody is welcome and nobody is turned away.”
In 2011, on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, a fire severely damaged the synagogue. While no one was hurt or injured, it forced the congregation to davven in a tent for 18 months while the shul was being repaired.
“Even though we were in a tent for a year-and-a-half … people didn’t move elsewhere, they kept coming and they persevered,” Rabbi Krebs said.
Last year, as part of the Shabbat Project, the synagogue held a massive communal lunch which was an overwhelming success.
“There wasn’t a shul in Australia that compared,” he said. “We had over 650 people for lunch … people were very inspired.”
Kehillat Masada president Howard Sher, one of the shul’s earliest members, said reaching 30 years was a “fantastic achievement”.
He said one of the shul’s focuses now would be on young families.
“We’re seeing a move by young families, from the eastern suburbs and other areas, to the north shore … there’s been quite a large influx of young families with young children,” Sher said.
“We’ve got to now service that community in a way which develops, and which ensures that they become the future pillars of this community. This community has got good life in it still.”
Kehillat Masada is turning 30.