(lubavitch.com) The Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Ms. Quentin Bryce AC, paid a visit last week to The Yeshiva Centre – Chabad NSW Headquarters in Sydney.
The highest office-bearer in the land, Ms Bryce performed the vice-regal tasks of unveiling a plaque and greeting the local community. The Governor toured the Centre’s “Our Big Kitchen” where directors Rabbi Dovid and Laya Slavin showed her the secrets of Challah-making.
Complimenting the Yeshiva Centre for its contribution to society, the Governor General singled out “Our Big Kitchen” for particular praise. In the presence of some 500 guests, she thanked the Centre for inviting her to see this “rich and valuable contribution” revealing her observations that “the enthusiasm of the young people shines through”.
Yeshiva’s dean and spiritual leader,Rabbi Pinchus Feldman OAM, recited both the blessing for the Head of State and the traditional Priestly Blessing. Rabbi Feldman also gave the Governor General a copy of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s book Towards a Meaningful Life.
The deputy mayor of Waverley, Dominic Wy Kanak, a native Australian, invoked the Aboriginal owners in his brief words of “welcome to country”.
Yeshiva College principal, Rebbetzin Pnina Feldman, presented the Governor-General with an elaborate silver Menorah handcrafted in Israel, describing it as "a Jewish symbol of warmth and light".
In response, a visibly moved Governor-General said “I look forward to showing the Menorah to the thousands of visitors that come to Government House in Canberra and telling them of my unforgettable visit to the Yeshiva Centre.”
The ceremony concluded with a spirited rendition of Am Yisrael Chai by the Yeshiva College choir, led by Chazan Yehoshua Niasoff.
The Governor-General’s visit capped a memorable couple of years during which the Centre and Kitchen have hosted the Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yonah Metzger, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull.