The Progressive Movement in Victoria

Progressive Judaism in Australia began in Melbourne 85 years ago. There are now four congregations in Melbourne with a new community near Bendigo. The largest congregation in Australia is Temple Beth Israel in Alma Road St Kilda, from which the thriving congregation in Kew, the Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism began some 65 years ago. Bentleigh Progressive Synagogue, now known as Etz Chayim Synagogue, is going through a rejuvenation and services the Jewish community around Bentleigh and the southern suburbs. Kedem, our fourth congregation in Melbourne, began some 20 years ago and is based at The King David School. All of them are distinct and reflect their own history and community.

Some 35 years ago our hugely successful Progressive day school began in Armadale and now covers four campuses and has around 750 students from kindergarten to year 12. The King David School plays a major role in Jewish education in Melbourne. The school is recognised as a leader in science and the arts with many students winning major awards in these areas.

Also some 35 years ago our Zionist youth group, Netzer began, having developed from the Temple youth group. Netzer is an ideological education-based youth-lead movement, where young people learn leadership skills based on Progressive Zionist Jewish values. Each year many of our Netzer young people spend a year in Israel studying, volunteering and working on our Progressive kibbutzim and return home to lead the movement for the following two years.

ARZA Victoria is our Progressive Zionist political organisation whose main aim is to develop strong links with Israel and our Zionist movements around the world. ARZA is very involved in fundraising through the Progressive Trust of the United Israel Appeal fund for refugee work by our Progressive movement in Israel.

The Progressive movement’s funeral service is called Bet Olam and provides a warm and caring Jewish service to the bereaved. Bet Olam caters to members of the Progressive congregations and to non-members. Most of Bet Olam’s internments are in the Jewish Memorial Rose Gardens in Springvale. The staff of Bet Olam provide a sensitive service where funerals and the following minyan are organised efficiently and with the utmost respect for all concerned.

All of the congregations together with Netzer, ARZA, and The Kind David School are all affiliated with Progressive Judaism Victoria Inc. (PJV).

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