Rabbi Rabin takes the reins

Rabbi Daniel Rabin speaks from his new pulpit. Photo: Dean Schmideg

“PEOPLE need a leader – but no less than a leader needs his people,” proclaimed Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn to more than 360 guests at the induction of South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation’s (SCHC) new rabbi, Daniel Rabin on Sunday.

Only the third rabbi to serve the shule in its 70-year history, Rabbi Rabin has officially taken the helm after his appointment was announced in September last year.

“It is a most significant and distinctive moment in South Caulfield Shule,” noted Rabbi Heilbrunn, hailing Rabbi Rabin as a “rabbinic leader who is greatly loved and admired in our community for his qualities and talents … his menschlichkeit, innate intelligence, wisdom, passion, care and sensitivity”.

Rabbi Rabin followed with a rousing acceptance sermon, offering his thanks to shule president David Boyar, chazan Yossi Aron, the board and the community. With anecdotes, thought and humour he shared his ideas on what makes a good rabbi.

He also honoured his “dear wife” and “partner in life”, Rebbetzin Sarah Rabin for her wisdom and support, and their “darling children”, Aaron, Shaina and Eli, for their enthusiasm at joining the new community.

Rabbi Rabin concluded with a commitment to the community which received a standing ovation: “Each day I will get older, and hopefully wiser, but we give a commitment, Sarah and I, that we will serve this community to the best of our capacity – living, breathing, eating and sleeping, taking care of you in the way that we can – and opening our home in the hope that you will open your homes and your hearts to us.”

Speaking to The AJN after the event, Rabbi Rabin said that he and his wife felt “humbled, overwhelmed, honoured and grateful for the incredibly warm and welcoming reception.”

“It was wonderful and encouraging …[and we] are excited by the many events and programs we plan to bring to South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation.”

The shule went through a rocky period in 2016 when the board clashed with their former rabbi, Yaacov Barber.
Boyar told The AJN that Sunday’s induction marked a moment where it reset the perception of the future potential at SCHC.

“We want to honour the long term members of the shule who continued to stay loyal during tough times. But we are also keen to provide a special focus upon families and young adults, offering a space that is both modern-Orthodox and inclusive.”

With several events already planned, kicking off with a Jumanji-themed Purim, Boyar said it is testament to what can happen when you get the right team together.

“We are reinvigorated. Now it is up to us to make it all happen.”

REBECCA DAVIS