From Sydney’s West to Melbourne’s Bayside

PARRAMATTA Synagogue’s Rabbi Yossi Wernick will be sorely missed as he heads south to start in a new role at Chabad Frankston and Mornington Peninsula, the shul’s president Motty Tenenboim said this week.

Rabbi Wernick will take up the post of education director at Chabad Frankston after six-and-a-half years at Parramatta.

He said he would miss the shul, describing it as “one big family”.

“It was very difficult to make the decision, and it’s really leaving with mixed emotions. And I think we’ve made some wonderful, wonderful friends,” Rabbi Wernick said.

During his time as spiritual leader in Parramatta, Rabbi Wernick said he was proud of the establishment of the B’nai Yacov School and seeing to the diverse needs of the congregation.

With his father and sister living in Melbourne, Rabbi Wernick said family was the main reason for the move.

It would also be more convenient for his high-school aged children, he said, with his son currently having to board at the Yeshiva Centre in Bondi during the week.

The rabbi said he was looking forward to his new role at Frankston, which will be mainly centred around adult education.

“It’s very exciting, I think probably the part of being a rabbi I like the best is adult education, and that’s something that we really develop here. And so I get to specialise rather than being the jack of all trades,” he said.

Tenenboim said Rabbi Wernick’s departure would leave a void in the Parramatta community.

“It is sad to see him go,” he said.

“He’s led the community, he’s helped it grow in the past six-and-a-half years, and he’s done so much that now that he’s going, it feels like we’re all missing something. But on the other hand, we do understand that he’s going for his own personal reasons and we respect that.”

Tenenboim said in the short term, congregants would step in to lead services and continue the rabbi’s work in the community.

“Hopefully in the near future we will be advertising for a rabbi, once the synagogue sits down and works out what we’d like in a rabbi.”

“[But] the community still will be going strong. Everything will still be running as per normal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chabad Frankston and Mornington Peninsula’s Rabbi Levi Bondar said he was excited about Rabbi Wernick’s arrival.

“We think it’s a great development for our community that he can share his talents and his knowledge with the local Jewish community,” he said.

GARETH NARUNSKY

Rabbi Yossi Wernick