Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Sydney's Yeshiva Centre, his second-such appearance at the Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in New South Wales and his first since addressing its annual dinner by video.

More than 600 people showed up for the Friday afternoon event, which also featured the presentation of silver menorah to Rudd.

"The menorah is a symbol of light," said the prime minister after receiving the gift from Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, dean and spiritual leader of the Yeshiva Centre. "It is about the Jewish people's tradition, in the words of the biblical prophet Isaiah, of being 'a light unto the nations' and illuminating this world with acts of goodness and kindness. … The yeshiva epitomizes those acts of goodness and kindness that serve as a force for good in the world."

As he's done in the past – Rudd's first visit to the Yeshiva Centre was as the opposition leader in 2007 – the politician lauded the Yeshiva Centre's social justice and welfare initiatives, including the Yeshiva Welfare Fund, its bone marrow registry program and its network of chaplains in the Australian Army, as well as in police forces, ambulance services, hospitals, airports and correctional institutions. Rudd made special mention of the center's central soup kitchen.

For his part, Feldman bestowed the Priestly Blessing on Rudd. Reciting the words from the Torah, Feldman, a member of Judaism's priestly class, told Rudd: "May the Almighty bless you and safeguard you. May the Almighty illuminate his countenance to you and be gracious to you. May the Almighty raise his face to you and grant you peace."