About Us > History
The Early Years
It all began in 1940. World War II was raging on its fiery path across Europe, and the Jewish families living across Sydney Harbour on the North Shore felt an urgent need to consolidate and belong to an established community. The seed was sown, and after much organisation, the Northern Sydney Hebrew Congregation was born, holding its religious services in the Warringah Hall, Yeo Street, Neutral Bay.
As the community grew, it stretched to include Roseville, Lindfield and beyond, with Services taking place in private homes. Numbers continued to grow and the need for a community centre became more pressing. Funds were duly raised, and in 1951 a large house was purchased in Treatts Road, Lindfield, to be known from then on as ‘the Garden Synagogue’. And thus the Northern Sydney Hebrew Congregation found a new home and a new name – The North Shore Synagogue.
The original house remains an integral part of our Shul, accommodating The Rev Katz Library, Sid and Nona Rosenbaum Kitchen, Bernard and Lily Wilson Hall and administration.
A New Sanctuary is Built
On 16 March 1952 the foundation stone of a new house of worship was laid in the company of the Very Reverend Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
The consecration of the new North Shore Synagogue, took place on 15 September 1957. The procession was led by Dr Israel Porush, Chief Minister of the Great Synagogue Sydney. As one enters the building one responds to a feeling of calm and tranquillity to induce prayer. Services are conducted with decorum and dignity.
In the late 1980’s, a wave of Jewish immigration from South Africa brought many newcomers to The North Shore Synagogue, to a community like-minded in its dedication to Judaism and Jewish values.
The Reverend Katz Memorial Windows - 1989
These beautiful windows, representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel were installed as tribute to our Founding Minister, Reverend William Katz MBE on 17 September 1989. Rev Katz was a driving force to bring the community together and establish Jewish life on the North Shore.
The David Blitz Memorial Windows - 2003
The windows immediately above the Shul entry door were sponsored by friends of David Blitz in recognition of his deep love of education, Jewish knowledge, life and heritage and his thirty year dedication and commitment to the congregation and Hebrew School of The North Shore Synagogue.
In more recent years, our newly enlarged Choir Room was dedicated to the memory of Clinton Coppel, a former Choirmaster, by his parents, Ron and Valerie Coppel. In the early 2000’s our renowned Synagogue garden was remodelled, and named the “Lucy Olsen Memorial Garden”, by the Olsen family in memory of wife and mother, Lucy Olsen. Our kitchen, refurbished in celebration of our 75th anniversary, was donated in part by the Rosenbaum family in honour of Sid and Nona Rosenbaum, foundation members of our congregation.
Today, the synagogue is the hub of the Jewish community of Lindfield and its surrounds. It stands witness to the cycle of generations, with its accompanying joys, celebrations and sadness. It is a sanctuary for religious, spiritual reflection and prayer, a haven of peace and tranquillity, a place to meet, greet and enjoy social activities.
But a synagogue is much more than the sum of its parts – it is, above all, a standing memorial to the many people throughout the years who have devoted their time and expertise to serve the community under its auspices.