Who We Are
The Central Synagogue is a lively place of worship on a daily basis. Within our holy walls.
Many enthusiastically study and participate in a myriad of activities, thus comprising the rich tapestry of our congregation. The Central Synagogue prides itself in being a modern, orthodox Zionist Synagogue.With a goal of ensuring continuity, education is key. In this vein, we host many shiurim and talks, frequently inviting notable guests to impart their wisdom at contemporary social events on a variety of thought provoking topics.
We welcome guests from all corners of the globe who seek to see our beautiful spiritual sanctuary and simultaneously share our unique experience. Our growth and love of Torah continues to spread as we nurture and care for every single valued member. We strive to ensure that each day there is a greater and deeper understanding of Jewish life, with a spotlight on the youth of our shul – undoubtedly the life and soul of every community.
In November 1913, on the corner of Dowling and Napier Streets in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, the first Central Synagogue was founded with 150 members. In 1921, the synagogue was moved to Bondi and the foundation stone was laid at the corner of Grosvenor and Grafton Streets.
decades until one fateful day, September 25th, 1994, when an electrical fault caused a devastating fire … rendering the shul completely gutted. The building (and contents) was largely reduced to rubble – irreplaceable memorabilia and many Sifrei Torah were lost as well.
Out of the ashes, the community took a deep breath and resolved to draft plans and ideas for a newly built shul. The dreams of many devoted communal members became a reality in May 1998, with the moving dedication of the new synagogue. Today, this modern marvel stands proudly as a symbol of true Jewish spirit, perseverance and determination.
Our Mission Statement
Modern Orthodox Judaism
- A joyful and proud celebration of our traditions.
- Living Jewish values and observing the Torah within the modern world.
- Finding a personal and meaningful connection to Hashem
- Search for meaning in life
- Expressing Ahavat Yisrael – Love of our fellow Jew
- Creating a warm and welcoming Home for the Jewish community
- Being seen as the Central Communal Hub
- Encouraging meaningful Human Connections
- Love and support of The State and People of Israel.
poetry’.Strong and powerful, the structure encompasses the heart and soul of our congregation. Intentionally created as a light-filled sanctuary, an
oculus in the ceiling floods the Bimah below with natural light, effortlessly tracking the sun as it moves in the heavens above.
The design features subtle yet significant links to Israel. The building is orientated to position the Ark in a direct line with Jerusalem. In addition, Jerusalem Stone adorns the Aron haKodesh and its surrounds. All who participate in our services stand with their feet symbolically facing the hills of our Holy City.
Forty-nine veils of glass form the four magnificent windows within the shul, designed by renowned glass artist, Janet Laurence. Each window represents a Kabbalistic World, with hues depicting the symbolic colours of the sephirot, or guiding principles.
Additionally, the number 49 represents the highest possible level of spirituality. With seven days of creation (the number seven represents perfection). Therefore, seven multiplied by itself is regarded as the ultimate attainment of excellence, as expressed by the number of days between Pesach, a festival commemorating our physical freedom and Shavuot, representing our spiritual redemption upon receiving the Torah.
The Central Synagogue pre-September 1984
The Central Synagogue, Sydney, is one of the great centres of Jewish life in the Diaspora, and I remember with great warmth and vividness the visit my wife and I paid there some years ago. Just as we grieved with you at the tragic loss of the Synagogue by fire, we rejoice with you now at its rebuilding and rededication. May your new building be a place where the community “renews its days of Old” and my the Shekhinah always be present in the work of your hands.
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks