(photo credit: Courtesy)
SYDNEY – The first Jewish funeral in an Australian Outback town since 1943
was held with the aid of a Facebook and Twitter campaign.
On Sunday, more
than 20 Jews came to the cemetery in the rural town of Goulbourn, about 125
miles south of Sydney, for the funeral of Wayne Robinson, whose dying wish was
to receive a Jewish burial.
Since there is no active Jewish cemetery in
Goulburn, Rabbi Shmueli Feldman had to seek approval from the local council for
an area of the general cemetery to be allocated to Jews, even though there has
been no Jewish community there since the gold rush in the 1800s.
the son of Chabad’s American-born chief rabbi in New South Wales, had been
called to Robinson’s bedside last week.
He also had to find 10 Jewish men
willing to travel from Canberra, where Feldman operates in the small Jewish
community, or Sydney to cleanse the land and consecrate it according to Jewish
law. The word was sent out on Facebook and Twitter.
“The story highlights
the incredible unity and interconnectedness of the Jewish people,” Feldman, who
had never consecrated a Jewish burial ground, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Radio. ”It was the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever witnessed.”
group who came for the funeral included four or five previously unknown Jews
from Goulburn. One of the men told Feldman he had never officially become a bar
Hours after the funeral, in front of his wife, daughters and the
traveling minyan, the man put on tefillin and had what Feldman described as “a
mini-bar mitzvah” some 50 years after his 13th birthday.