The story started many years ago, when FREE of Sydney, locally known as the “Russian Shul”, applied for permits to build a new Center after their current location was packed to capacity and unable to handle the hundreds of members who attended the Synagogue.
Months turned to years and rejection followed another rejection, it seemed that the plans for a new center would not come to fruition.
Nevertheless the Shluchim of FREE persevered. “Throughout the lengthy application process, we were encouraged by the positive answers that were received from the Rebbe via the Igros Kodesh,” one of the Shluchim tells ChabadInfo.com
Finally, after many years, what seemed to be a dark moment ended up being the light at the end of the tunnel.
The local council rejected the development plans citing a security risk.
Members of Sydney’s Jewish community were left stunned after they were refused permission to build the new synagogue – over terror and security fears.
The local Councillors cited a risk assessment, including consultation with a counter-terror expert.
The court’s refusal, based on concerns about security, came as a shock to the Jewish community.
“The decision is unprecedented. Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas,” said Shliach Rabbi Yehoram Ulman at the time.
The firestorm that followed forced the local council to re-examine the application and eventually grant the permit to build the campus.
This week, Russian Jews in Sydney celebrated as the first tractors were seen onsite beginning the construction of a center they hope to call home.