Far from the established Jewish communities of Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra—the capital of Australia—doesn’t often see many visiting rabbis. It’s even rarer for there to be enough of them to form their own minyan, a quorum of 10 Jewish men needed for public prayer.

But that’s exactly what happened last week, when representatives of ORA (Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia) converged on the capital to meet the Australian prime minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP.

At the meeting, Rabbi Shmuel Feldman, co-director of Chabad Australian Capital Territory in Canberra, was joined by his colleagues from the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

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The president of ORA, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, thanked the prime minister for his ongoing and unwavering support of Israel and the Australian Jewish community. They also said a prayer with Abbott present.

As a token of appreciation for his support, the rabbis presented the premier with a menorah.

The rabbis then continued to the local Chabad headquarters for lunch, where they took the opportunity to discuss halachic issues—issues in Jewish law—facing their communities.

“It was heartwarming to witness firsthand the friendship and respect which the prime minister afforded the rabbis and, by extension, the communities which we represent,” remarked Feldman. “It was also a historic day to host such an esteemed gathering of rabbis here in Canberra and to have a minyan of rabbonim in our synagogue.”

Abbott sat down for a conversation with the rabbis, and was thanked for his ongoing and unwavering support of Israel and the Australian Jewish community. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
Abbott sat down for a conversation with the rabbis, and was thanked for his ongoing and unwavering support of Israel and the Australian Jewish community. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
The rabbis say a prayer with the prime minister present. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aun)
The rabbis say a prayer with the prime minister present. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aun)
Even leaders take the occasional selfie ... Rabbi Shmuel Feldman and Abbott. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
Even leaders take the occasional selfie ... Rabbi Shmuel Feldman and Abbott. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
A group photo taken outside the Parliament House in the Australian capital of Canberra. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
A group photo taken outside the Parliament House in the Australian capital of Canberra. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
The rabbis gather for lunch at Chabad ACT headquarters, taking the opportunity to discuss halachic issues facing their respective communities. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)
The rabbis gather for lunch at Chabad ACT headquarters, taking the opportunity to discuss halachic issues facing their respective communities. (Photo: Sithu Tin-Aung)