Newly elected Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd toasted Sydney's Yeshiva Centre at the Chabad-Lubavitch school's annual gala dinner on Thursday, which was attended by some 1,350 people.

Rudd, who spoke at the organization's dinner last year as the then-leader of the parliamentary opposition, singled out the center's humanitarian initiatives for special praise and called attention to the opening of its newly-accredited Yeshiva College.

"The Yeshiva Centre makes a wonderful contribution to our nation," said Rudd, who delivered his speech by closed-circuit television. "It reflects core values of Australia and beliefs that we share: a strong commitment to faith, family and community, a belief in the value of education and opportunity for everyone, and a willingness to extend special care and compassion to those who need it most."

The prime minister also took the opportunity to pledge his support for the nation's Jewish community and reiterated his call for a $20 million program to increase security at Australian schools.

The Yeshiva Centre is led by Rabbi Pinchus and Pnina Feldman.