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SSC Newspaper : February 2012
Strathfield Scene 3 news www.ourstrathfield.com.au I will not be moved, rabbi says By Bernadette Chua A Strathfield rabbi is continuing to refuse to leave his Strathfield synagogue after a new board of directors ordered him out more than a year ago. The board says only 10 members of the congregation are attend services. The saga returned to the Supreme Court this week but was deferred again after the old board’s barrister failed to appear. The hearing has been postponed to a date at the end of February, and will be presented before a judge. Rabbi Samuel Tov-Lev and several members of the Florence Street syn- agogue have taken the directors of the Strathfield and District Hebrew Synagogue to court in an attempt to keep it open. Tov-Lev told the Scene: “ We just want to issue resolved. We want to keep our synagogue open.” No-one from the new board of di- rectors attended the hearing. But president Eddy Newman told The Australian Jewish News earlier this year the synagogue attracts fewer than 10 members for the weekly shabbat. “We can’t get a minyan and it is no longer viable as an ordinary function- ing synagogue,” he said. “The rabbi will not leave voluntarily, and so we will need to get an enforcement so that he will leave.” Tov-Lev appealed to Fair Work Australia but withdrew his appeal and then took the action to the Su- preme Court. In the synagogue’s heyday, about 200 families attended weekly services. But the exodus of the Jewish commu- nity to the east and north means few come back to visit nowadays. “ When the children grow up, some Jewish families want to send their children to Jewish school,” Tov-Lev told the Scene last August. “And be- cause all of the schools are in the east- ern suburbs, one family moves, they then tell another family about the school – and they move away as well.” Numbers have been dwindling since the 1960s. Regardless, Tov-Lev said attendance alone should not de- ter-mine the synagogue’s fate. “Even when I first started work at the Strathfield Synagogue, the con- gregation was quite small,” he said. “I stay here for the congregation. It doesn’t matter how many members there are. It shouldn’t matter.” Tov-Lev said he is afraid that if he is dismissed the synagogue, which houses memorials of founding mem- bers and Holocaust victims, will be sold. “The board cannot close the synagogue, because the memorial in here is very important. It’s disrespect- ful. The memorial commemorates some of our past members who had family in the Holocaust and members who survived the Holocaust.” But Newman told the Australian Jewish News in January the new board had absolutely no plans to sell. “The kindergarten, which is on site, is pay- ing us rent and that can keep us going.” Blocked-in residents step up university parking war Tragic house up for sale Digging his heels in: rabbi Samuel Tov-Lev at the synagogue in Florence Street. ALmoST 18 moNTHS after their eldest daughter’s death and four years after losing their youngest daughter, John and maureen Worrall have put their mosely Street home on the market. The Worralls have lived in Strathfield for about 20 years. Both girls attended mLC Burwood. The couple’s eldest daughter, Kathleen, was a 20-year-old student at the Australian Catholic University when she killed her sister, Susan, 18, at the home. The four-bedroom house, which has been advertised by Richardson and Wrench Strathfield, is described as close to the station and shops, and a short walk to schools. The government tightened regulations in 2003 after it was found some real estate agents were not disclosing information to would-be buyers that might influence their decision to purchase. Richardson and Wrench’s John Attneave says agents must now tell prospective buyers about “any incidents and circumstances of the property ’s history. And it will be the same for the future buyer who wishes to sell the property.” By Bernadette Chua Irate residents are planning a protest meeting after a draft plan showed the Australian Catholic University plans to increase student numbers by 1200. Parking at the site has long been a source of friction between local drivers and the university, with residents complaining that students park cars across driveways and block access to bays close to their homes. At one point local mP Charles Casuscelli made representations to the Transport Department to change the law so cars parked across driveways could be towed away. Ironically, it ACU’s plans to build additional parking spots that appear to have sparked the latest round of protests. A $55 million development at the ACU campus in Barker Road, Strathfield, will include an additional 298 on-site parking spots, which should have eased residents’ concerns. Instead, they say the university did not give them enough information about the upgrade, which also includes accommodation for an additional 1200 students in the next four years, a basement car park and ground-level parking spaces. But residents say an extra 298 spaces would leave 900 students without parking. Barker Road resident Jane Pistolese says the problem has got out of hand, and the new development will mean the parking situation will get even worse. “Residents on Barker Road have already been parked out, but the fact that ACU want to increase their student population by an additional 30% is outrageous,” she said. “This means less street parking for us and the increase will start to affect residents in surrounding streets such as South Street, Firth Avenue and maybe even further.” About 20 residents attended a meeting with the architects and ACU officials in August. Pistolese says ACU gave no indication then that it planned to increase student numbers. “only 20 people showed up at the meeting and no one there realised ACU planned to bring in more students. ” But an ACU spokeswoman said residents were kept informed at the meeting and advised to view the full development plans on the Department of Planning website. “Details of the increase in student numbers were given at the community consultation sessions outlined clearly on the display boards, and explained to the residents who attended.” Dawn morante, of merley Road, says she and her family have been blocked in repeatedly. “It’s been a nightmare. We can’t park anywhere near our house during uni hours. I’ve left notes but I watched the culprit just read the note, scrunch it up and throw it on my driveway.” the new acu Underground carpark Ground-level carpark Accommodation for 1200 extra students Two new buildings, including one for Science and Arts