Our Story

Our Story הסיפור שלנו

It is a tree of life for those who cling to it.

עֵץ-חַיִּים הִיא, לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר

Proverbs 3:18

etz chayim

Our Etz Chayim logo aptly depicts the name of our community: an עץ החיים, Etz Chayim, a ‘Tree of Life’, a profound Jewish symbol representing wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty and hope.

Firmly planted on the landscape we have created, our Etz Chayim logo speaks of connection generation to generation; warmth and acceptance; inclusiveness and strength.

Our roots, deep and strongly embedded in our people, history and heritage, provide the grounding for our robust trunk which branches out to a wider community and vision of life as we continue to grow.

And just like this vigorous, healthy tree provides shelter and sustenance to those in need, so too does our community regardless of whether that need is physical, emotional, social or spiritual.

The fresh blossoms on our tree’s logo signify new hope and opportunity, and the ripe pomegranates, lessons and gifts from the past, are ready to be plucked and enjoyed by new generations.

We welcome everyone, including:

Our History

View Our Journey

Southern Liberal Congregation (SLC) was established to provide education for the area's Jewish Children
SLC's first religious service was held in the Murrumbeen Bowling Club hall.
An old weatherboard home was purchased in Lillimur Street as a new 'Temple'.
The first all female aliyah was called up at SLC's first bar mitzvah
The current property in Centre Road was purchased. SLC's first High Holyday Services were conducted.
The foundation stone of our current synagogue was laid
SLC became self-administrated. A kinder was opened
SLC was elevated to the equal status with Temple Beth Israel and the Leo Baeck Centre leading to the establishment of the Victorian Union of Progressive Judaism (now Progressive Judaism Victoria)
A new Torah scroll was purchased and dedicated
SLC, colloquially known as Bentleigh Progressive Synagogue is officially renamed as Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue