Our Rabbis

Rabbi Gersh LazarowRabbi Gersh Lazarow 

Rabbi Gersh Lazarow is a passionate educator with a strong commitment to Progressive Jewish values, tradition and community. As a university student, he served as federal Director of Netzer Australia and as the Chairperson of the Zionist Youth Council of Victoria.

As a young professional, Rabbi Lazarow worked as the Youth and Program Director of the United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong and as the Education Director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles.

In 2009, Gersh returned to Melbourne to take up the position of Rabbi of The King David School where he directed the Department of Jewish Life and Learning and served on the school’s senior management team.  In 2010, Gersh also took on the rabbinic leadership role at Bentleigh Progressive Synagogue where he led the Congregation’s transformation to the renewed Etz Chayim Progressive Synagogue.

In 2013, Rabbi Lazarow was appointed as Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel, only the fourth person to serve in this role since the synagogues founding in 1935.

Since joining TBI, Gersh has led a remarkable transformation process ensuring that our community continues to be a place of meaning and purpose to those who choose to belong here. His leadership of Project Josiah lead to the transformation of our spiritual home at Alma Road, while his introduction of Pride Shabbat, POP-UP Shabbat and the live streaming of our services on TBITV have extended the reach of our community far beyond that which our founders could have ever imagined.

Beyond the congregation, Rabbi Lazarow has championed the cause of marriage equality, indigenous rights and climate action. He has fought to reduce the stigma associated with mental health that plagues our generation and has passionately shown us how to love Israel even when we don’t always like her politics.

Rabbi Lazarow is married to Michelle and they are the proud parents of Livia and Sam and a loveable fluff ball named Dyson.

Click Here To Contact Gersh

TBI_RABBIS_46Rabbi Kim Ettlinger

Rabbi Ettlinger was ordained at Hebrew Union College (HUC) in May 2005, where she earned two Master of Arts Degrees, one in Jewish Education and one in Hebrew Letters. In 1997 she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Politics, Philosophy and Sociology from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rabbi Ettlinger moved with her family to Perth, WA in 1988. While in Perth she was an active member of Temple David. At the time Netzer did not exist in Perth so she joined Habonim Dror and went to Israel on the Machon program.

Rabbi Ettlinger first worked at Peninsula Temple Sholom in San Francisco and then joined Temple Beth Israel in 2010.

Over the years at TBI Rabbi Ettlinger has focused on developing meaningful relationships with members, and supporting them through various life-cycle events.

Recently Rabbi Ettlinger also took on the Directorship of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Education.

Click Here To Contact Kim

Cantor Michel LaloumTBI_RABBIS_43

Cantor Michel Laloum was born in Belgium, raised in Australia, and worked and studied for 15 years in Israel, New York and France.

Having attended Shalom Aleichem College, Michel was raised with a strong Yiddishist/Bundist influence on his maternal side, and a traditionalist Sephardic influence on his paternal side. The resulting mix of gefilte fish and couscous is reflected in Michel’s ongoing love of mixing Yiddish folk songs and culture with a liberal sprinkling of Ladino and Judeo-Arabic repertoire.

Michel has undertaken a Bachelors of Music performance, a Bachelors of Arts in psychology and philosophy, studies in orthodox yeshivot (seminaries) in Jerusalem’s Old City, then to the progressive Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, where he was ordained as a Cantor (Hazzan) in 2001. He also completed Rabbinic studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion, with classes at the Jewish theological seminary and New York University.

Michel has performed and lectured extensively. He was a scholar in residence while presenting a series of lectures and concerts on the intersection of Jewish Music and Jewish Mysticism in the USA and in France. Serving with the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Michel has presented workshops, lecture tours and concerts in the Former Soviet Union, White Russia, and Siberia, and most recently in Hong Kong. While working in Lyon France, Michel’s community, the Communauté Juive Liberal more than quadrupled in size, and became a major proponent of progressive Judaism outside of the Parisian context. Michel’s passion for interfaith dialogue brought about ever closer relationships, workshops, shared classes, conferences and services between Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Dominicans, Buddhists, and Freemasons.

Since his return to Melbourne in 2010, Michel has worked with the Union for Progressive Judaism, Etz Chayim (Bentleigh), Bet Olam and before rejoining  Temple Beth Israel.

Click Here To Contact Michel

Rabbi Fred Morgan

Emeritus Rabbi Fred Morgan AM

Rabbi Fred Morgan has lived in America, England and Australia and spent extended periods in India, Hungary and Israel. For several years he was a lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Bristol in the U.K., specialising in the religions of India, before entering Leo Baeck College in London to study for the rabbinate.

Ordained as rabbi in 1984, Rabbi Morgan served North West Surrey Synagogue in England for 13 years before taking up the position as Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne. He has also held a number of other positions in the Jewish and wider communities, including Hon Associate Rabbi of Sim Shalom Congregation in Budapest, Hon President of the Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria), and Hon Fellow in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Australian Catholic University.

His main rabbinic interests are the ways of Midrash, Jewish thought through the ages, social justice and interfaith dialogue. He also delights in leading Jewish-themed tours and has introduced groups to Central and Eastern Europe, India, and Spain and Morocco.

After 16 years as Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Morgan took up the position as Emeritus Rabbi in August 2013.

Rabbi Morgan is married to Sue, a pastoral care coordinator, and they have three children and one grandchild.



Emeritus Rabbi Dr John S Levi AM

Rabbi Levi was the first Australian to be ordained as a rabbi and to return to work in the land of his birth. He was named Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Israel in 1997 following 37 years of distinguished leadership in our congregation.

Rabbi Levi was elected Deputy President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry in 2005 and is a Patron of the Council of Christians and Jews (Australia), an organisation he helped found in 1985. He was a Vice President of the governing body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism from 1974-1998. Rabbi Levi was one of the founders of The King David School and he has written several publications including Australian Genesis (1974), Rabbi Jacob Danglow (1995), A Passover Haggadah (2002), These Are the Names (2006) and, most recently, My Dear Friends: the biography of Rabbi Dr Herman Sanger.

Monash University awarded Rabbi Levi the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) for his contribution to the community and to Australian Jewish history in 2006, and he is a Member of the Order of Australia. In 2008 Rabbi Levi accepted an appointment as adjunct professor to the Australian Catholic University’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue, based in Melbourne.