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Changes at Central Shule Chabad – The Australian Jewish News

Rabbi Yitzchok Riesenberg has made the decision to retire as rabbi of Central Shule after 23 years in the role, taking up a founding rabbi emeritus position.

Over the past few years and in common with many shules in Melbourne, Central Shule has felt the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect this has had on attendances.

The shule said the changing dynamics of shule attendances and how younger generations embrace their participation in Jewish communal life and express their Judaism highlighted a need to provide an environment for future rebuilding.

Rabbi Riesenberg said he is “honoured to have been involved in building one of the largest congregations in Melbourne”.

“COVID taught us that our shule needs to adapt to a new reality with a focus on the younger generations with younger rabbinic leadership,” he said.

“My role as rabbi emeritus will allow me and my wife to spend more time with our children and grandchildren and pursue other communal projects and will enable Central to make giant strides forward in ensuring that Central is here to be a place that its members can continue to call home.”

Recently retired shule president Phil Goldman shared, “This enables Central to attract the best rabbinic leadership to the congregation.

“We look forward to once again filling the shule timetable with smachot, events and a lively and engaged congregation,” he said. “Originally known as ‘the South African shule’ we are attracting members from the entire community thanks to our friendly and welcoming atmosphere.”

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