Mathew Murphy and Catie McLeod
September 7, 2021
Dozens of Jewish worshippers illegally gathered at a Melbourne synagogue have been issued with $5452 fines after attending an all-day Jewish New Year celebration.
An estimated 100 people attended the celebrations at the orthodox Adass Israel Synagogue in Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea, with Victoria Police dispersing the group around 9pm on Tuesday.
Police had been in the area since the early hours of Tuesday morning. Eyewitnesses said some of those gathered chanted, pushed cameras and yelled insults at media and police as well as climbed onto a nearby building.
A second, smaller illegal prayer group assembled for Jewish New Year was also dispersed by police from an apartment above the Ripponlea IGA supermarket, also on Glen Eira Avenue.
Members of the local Orthodox community allegedly broke stay-at-home orders to observe the holy day Rosh Hashana, which marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
Police are also investigating witness reports of groups of men and children gathering at a Ripponlea synagogue after curfew on Monday night.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday morning urged the community to do the right thing after video footage of an alleged illegal gathering was leaked.
“I understand this has been a difficult year for lots of people … if you break the rules we will be in lockdown longer,” he said.
“I have not seen the footage and I do not want to cast aspersions on any groups or any section of our community.
“The Jewish community called out that behaviour and were very quick to do it and I am very grateful to Jewish leaders for doing that.”