THE NEJC STORY
1962 – The story begins. Jewish families from around the North Eastern suburbs (primarily from North Balwyn) join together to form the nucleus of what will eventually grow to become the NEJC community. Initially, there was no permanent premises. Families would convene at each other’s homes.
1963 – These families begin to hire the Frances Barkman House, a temporary premises located in Balwyn, to conduct shul services.
1965 – The community gathers the funds to secure the purchase of a house located at 14 Sevenoaks Street in Balwyn. The house is renovated into a small shul and is known as the “Sevenoaks” shul. There is no permanent Rabbi yet and the services are run by members of the community.
1968 – Funds are raised and a large property is purchased on the corner of High Street and Doncaster Road. The property’s grounds are uneven and unfit for construction. Meanwhile, a large shopping centre is under construction further up Doncaster Road. Its owner agrees to donate 30,000 square meters of soil from his development to the shul grounds. Further fundraising begins for the building’s construction.
1971 – Building commences under the guidance of Mr Ben Alexander, the shul’s Architect and one of the founding members of the Centre.
1972 – The shul’s construction is complete and is officially opened in the presence of the honourable Mr Andrew Peacock, the then Minister for External Affairs (currently - “Foreign Affairs Minister”). Several years later, at the completion of additional construction, the Centre was officially opened again by the then Prime Minister of Australia, the honourable Mr Malcom Fraser.
In the last 35 years the NEJC has had a fascinating journey and is today a vibrant and growing Jewish community.