7 July 2019
On 7 July 2019, Jewish Care's Gary Smorgon House celebrated 10 years of enriching lives for Elders in the Victorian Jewish community.
Located at 4-8 Freeman Street, Caulfield, Gary Smorgon House was opened in 2009 by then Federal Minster for Ageing, The Hon. Justine Elliot MP. The site was purchased by Jewish Care in 2006 under the direction of then President, Alan Schwartz AM, and construction commenced in September the following year.
For the past decade, the 120-bed House has not only provided Elders in the Victorian Jewish community with a heimish, caring and culturally sensitive home, but has also become a vibrant hub for the community.
At the heart of the hub is Beit Shlomo Shul, which welcomes Elders, their loved ones, and members of the Victorian Jewish community for Shabbat prayer services and Jewish holidays, ensuring Jewish culture and tradition remains at the heart of Gary Smorgon House.
The 10th anniversary was celebrated at Beit Shlomo, with Elders, family and shul members gathering for the the Annual Family Shabbaton on 29 June, which included a special gala Kiddush.
“Since its inception in 2009, the Shul has opened its doors to family members and locals of all ages and backgrounds, inviting them to pray with the Elders and become part of the Gary Smorgon House Kehilla,” said Rabbi Yoseph Nerenberg. “The community has warmed to Gary Smorgon House and Elders so much that they are often found dropping in during the week for a coffee and chat, and are commonly seen attending various events at Gary Smorgon House despite not having any family members here.”
A keepsake issue of the shul newsletter was developed to mark the special milestone, and included picture collages and reflections from Elders, family and shul members on a decade of Gary Smorgon House and Beit Shlomo Shul.
A special photo shoot was also held to recognise the five Elders who have called Gary Smorgon House home since its opening and the six staff, including Rabbi Yoseph Nerenberg and Lifestyle Coordinator Tamara Zeltzman, who have been integral members of the Gary Smorgon House team since its opening.
Since its inception, Gary Smorgon House has been a beneficiary of strong community support, with construction on the $27 million home made possible, in large part, by the generosity of the Victorian Jewish community.
In 2008, the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation generously gifted $2 million to Jewish Care for the project, which was named in honour of their late brother. And in 2016, the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation committed $2 million to the Anne & Eric Smorgon Active Living Centre project, located adjacent to Gary Smorgon House, which is being built as part of the Growing. For our Community. Capital Campaign.
As part of construction on the Active Living Centre, due for completion in early 2020, the entrance to the House and ground floor community spaces will be refurbished, enabling Gary Smorgon House to continue to provide premier aged care to Elders in our community for many years to come.