My memories of this Congregation go back more than 50 years, to when I would visit with my father for the high holydays. These are my earliest memories of my connection to my Jewish roots.
Even in those days, the Synagogue felt musty, full of ancient tradition and awe. I can still recall the smell of woollen suits and the silky tallith tickling my youthful cheeks. The foreign babble (to me) of people at prayer, the rocking back and forth of the men, the friendly greetings and the sense of companionship.
Our family’s connection to East Melbourne is very strong. My father migrated from England in the earliest part of the 2Oth Century, and my mother arrived in 1935, fleeing Hitler. Each family lived at different ends of Drummond Street, but the East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation was a centre of their worlds.
In 1936, my parents, Esther and Morry Bardas were married in Albert Street, and so were my in-laws, Victor and Loti Smorgon
The earliest members of the Shule came from old Europe– Poland, Russia and the Ukraine. They came with hope, seeking freedom. They were looking for a new life of opportunity, as far as they could from the persecution and pogroms of eastern Europee