Rabbi Sacks dedicates Torahs in Melbourne


SYDNEY, Australia—Two Torah scrolls were dedicated in Victoria’s state parliament before being led through the streets by the Commonwealth’s Chief Rabbi,Lord Jonathan Sacks, to Melbourne’s oldest functioning synagogue.

Sunday morning’s service celebrated the 155th anniversary of East Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, the only synagogue in the city center.

Rabbi Sacks told more than 400 people packed into the historic sanctuary that even the Koran refers to Jews as the People of the Book.

The chief rabbi’s last official visit to Australia before he steps down in September from the post he has held for two decades has already included whistle-stop tours of Perth and Sydney.

At Sydney’s Great Synagogue last week he spoke of the world becoming more religious.

”But obviously within certain areas of faith, the momentum is with those who are hostile to the contemporary world and I think that is bad news for all of us,” he said during a public conversation broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

He urged people to have ”unflinching self-confidence” in their belief.