Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery in Worrigee was briefly enlivened on Sunday, December 1 by Hebrew prayer and the plaintive calls of several Shofars (ram's horns), the traditional Jewish trumpet.
A number of grave sites were formally consecrated for future Jewish burials.
Set among the tall gum trees and other graves, the grave sites were dedicated in a ceremony which reflects some 4000 years of biblical history since the time of the Patriarch Abraham and his wife the Matriarch Sarah.
The dedication service was conducted by the distinguished Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Senior Rabbi of the Sydney Beth Din, the senior Rabbinic Authority in New South Wales, and assisted by two other Rabbis. Special guests were Mr and Mrs Foster.
George Foster is the past president of the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants.
David Knoll AM past president of NSW Jewish Board of Deputies officiated on behalf of the Board of Deputies and conveyed the warm wishes and support of the Sydney Chevra Kadisha, which is a charitable organisation established to facilitate Jewish burials.
Also attending were 33 other people, from J.O.S.H. (Jews of The Shoalhaven), the Jewish groups in both Wollongong (KEVA) and the Southern Highlands, and from Sydney.
The joyous event was followed by afternoon tea and community chat in the small cafeteria at the cemetery.
The consecration of grave sites has been a project of J.O.S.H., the local Jewish community led by Deanne Rosenthal, for many years.
The necessary formal arrangements were given a boost during 2019 by the present Shoalhaven Council's manager of the cemetery, Pamela Green, who realised the grave sites previously identified for Jewish burials were almost all taken.
Pamela has been responsible for most of the planning and implementation needed to establish the new sites, in consultation with (primarily) David Knoll.
Rabbi Ulman acknowledged Pamela's important contribution in a brief address after the main ceremony.
Rabbi Ulman reflected upon the ancient traditions of Judaism and emphasised the rites associated with an observant burial remain a vital part of the life cycle.
It was a proud and joyful day for the Jewish community.
J.O.S.H (Jews of The Shoalhaven) is a social group of Jews, their spouses and children, which meets from time to time to celebrate Jewish festivals in private homes.
Current J.O.S.H. members reside in the area between Batemans Bay and Bomaderry. For further information, contact Deanne Rosenthal at email@example.com.