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TBI introduces Australia’s first synagogue streaming services

January 27, 2015 – 2:11 pm3 Comments

online shabbat image

Melbourne’s largest progressive synagogue Temple Beth Israel (TBI) has become the first Jewish community in Australia to stream Sabbath (Shabbat), High Holy Day, festival services and concerts live from its website tbi.org.au through ‘TBI TV.’

The initiative is being promoted as an example of TBI’s philosophy of respecting Jewish history and heritage, while engaging with the opportunities and challenges of the modern world.

TBI Rabbi Gersh Lazarow says he was determined to embark on this project when an elderly grandmother expressed disappointment at missing her grandson’s bar mitzvah.

“I realised that technology could facilitate one of our core functions – that is to provide members with relevant and accessible pathways for Jewish engagement.

“By streaming services we are providing access to services to those in remote areas, the elderly, the infirm and even those who simply want to lounge around home on a Saturday,” says Lazarow.

“While it is uncommon for synagogues to film services, I believe the benefit of enabling members and others to find meaning and engage with Judaism, far outways any initial discomfort people may have with the use of the technology.”

Since TBI began streaming services in January 2015, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Shepparton psychologist Glenda Jones makes the three-hour return journey to St Kilda for services each Saturday morning. Every Friday evening now TBI TV provides her with the opportunity to join a spiritually fulfilling communal experience in an area where no other Jewish services are available.

“It is very exciting,” says Ms Jones. “Because we live at such a distance it means we can have a Shabbat service at home and still participate in the community and connect to welcoming the Shabbat.”

Lior Rauchberger from Urban Intelligence remarks: “While other organisations have aspects of this technology such as hearing loops, video recording facilities and enhanced audio systems, as far as I am aware the system we installed for TBI is the first of its kind in any synagogue in Australia.”

View past or live services streamed through tbi.org.au.


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  • Ex-TBI member says:

    Once again, TBI misses the point of Shabbat. Whatever they’re doing, it’s not real Judaism.

    The Shabbat Project has exploded in popularity because Jews thirst for authentic Jewish experience that doesn’t compromise to modern fads.

    The Shabbat Project will grow and grow while TBI continues to lose their youth and fade into assimilated irrelevance.

  • Mishka says:

    TBI misses the point of Shabbat!!??
    You’re kidding, right?

    Is there even a single member of that group (including their clergy) who doesn’t desecrate most Shabbat Laws weekly??

  • letters in the age says:

    Fantastic. .

    It also allows the wider community to become more educated in judaism and hopefully combat
    anti-semitism that’s been prevalent in recent times.

    Being more open and inclusive is a step in the right direction

    Ethnocentric values need to be eradicated slowly from the community and sadly some of the comments above reflect that.

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