Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to attend shiurim by a number of prominent visitors to Perth.
Visitors have included Rabbi’s Menachem Glukowsky from Rechovot, Rabbi Moshe Aberman from Yeshivat Har Etzion and Rabbi David Milston from Midreshet Harova.
The quality of their shiurim and the inspiration of their presentations on each occasion was very impressive. Rabbi Glukosky talked about loving relationships and parenting. Rabbi Aberman talked about tefillah and the halachic basis of shacharit, mincha and maariv. Rabbi Milston made a number of presentations, highlighted by an address on a Torah view of modern Israel.
Whilst there were reasonable attendances at the shiurim, it seems that more than ever the attandances at events are more than ever oriented towards shule affiliation. Despite fairly good coverage and advertising, there are still so many people who are missing out on world class presentations about Judaism.
If you put up a speaker to talk about politics and pessimistic views about how the world is coming to an end, and that the world is full of anti-Semitism, you can fill a room. If you badge a presentation as Jewish culture and host it outside of a shule, people will queue at the door. However the moment a Jewish perspective that involves a bit of Torah is put forward, the attendance is limited to the membership of the host shule. This is indicative of a systemic faultline within the Perth Jewish community.
That speakers of the calibre of our recent visitors have made an effort to visit Perth is impressive enough. That hundreds, if not thousands, of people missed out on the opportunity to benefit from their orations is a great shame.
Greater intershule communication and cooperation, as well as more motivation from our Rabbinic leadership is needed to give more prominence to events of this nature.