About us

We, in Australia, are very blessed to be living in such a wonderfully free and fortunate society especially considering so much of humanity is still, or again, living in war, hunger, disease and poverty. But physical freedom, health and prosperity only goes so far. It is a matter of fact that mental health in our society is a real issue from eating disorders, depression, to alcoholism and violence.

Part of the reason for this, I believe, is the disconnectedness people feel from any sense of real community, social media notwithstanding. Add to this the grind of modern life and our hectic schedules, the blessing of technology has bestowed upon us and we easily find ourselves rundown physically and emotionally. Finally, with blessed liberal freedoms we seem to be more prone to a high level of sterility in our lives. Liberalism has ensured we don’t encroach on the rights of others to live the good life as they see fit so long as they are respectful of everyone’s right to the same freedom. But what it hasn’t given us is the story of what the good life is. According to the pre-eminent neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, when you have a ‘why’, a reason to live, then almost any ‘how’ is tolerable. Coming from a Holocaust survivor of one of the most notorious death camps this surely carries some weight.

At ARK Centre we are looking to address these issues. First and foremost, we are building a dynamic community. Secondly, we are trying to establish a refuge from the pressures of life. And finally we would like to be an organisation that promotes the good life. How we do this is by creating a community, centred around a physical building, out of which an array of different classes, activities, programs and opportunities for spiritual engagement are available.

We aim to be a space where people of all ages and a myriad of different backgrounds come and be – hang out, eat, develop their minds and their souls.

The opportunities are endless. I look forward to bringing our vision to fruition together.

Rabbi Shneur

Through our openness and inclusive approach to Judaism, ARK Centre has redefined the 21st Century synagogue within the context of Modern Orthodoxy and with a greater focus on community needs, with our multi-purpose space, that provides a home for enrichment and engagement. The whole community is welcome to come together to participate in all we have on offer.

Over seven years in East Hawthorn, and three years at Cato St, ARK Centre has grown to be more than just a meeting place, or a shule – it is the centre of Jewish life in our area, stretching out to hundreds of Jewish families who are looking for somewhere to feel free to express their Jewishness in their own unique way.

Fundamentally, we’re delivering to a need / gap that exists in our community. We pride ourselves on not being like everyone else. Three core pillars underpin everything we do:

o Tikkun Olam – philanthropy with a broad range of organisations, domestic and international
o Spirituality – not just doing for the sake of it but engaging in a real, authentic, meaningful and enjoyable way
o Wellbeing – body, mind and soul…the whole person

If you walk into ARK Centre on a typical Friday night, you will see around eighty to a hundred people of all ages from small children to seniors. They are praying, singing, talking, eating, drinking. The remarkable aspect of this is that before ARK Centre was founded, only a handful of them would have been doing anything like that.

Why are they here? ARK Centre gives them a social, spiritual and gastronomic experience that is engaging and attractive, and allows them to connect to their Judaism in a way that is Modern Orthodox, interesting and relevant to them, while still being based on our ancient traditions.

Coming on a Friday night opens the way to a host of other Jewish experiences – an occasional Shabbat morning, coming along to a chag to be part of the service, or to join in one of the many events that ARK Centre has become renowned for, such as Purim, Pesach, Sukkot or Channukah. Maybe they might now choose to have a bar or bat mitzvah for their child, or join in Rabbi Shneur’s discussion groups. Or join a one of our many class and programs, or become one of our vital volunteers who ensure that every event we hold is well run and successful. There are so many possibilities and more being added all the time.