SYDNEY (JTA) — Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia attended a Shabbat service at the Great Synagogue of Sydney.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife were met at the gates by the synagogue’s chief minister, Rabbi Benjamin Elton. Following the service, the couple conversed with congregants.
“Their Excellencies had wanted to visit for some time, and the synagogue was honored to welcome them to the Shabbat service,” a spokesman for the synagogue said.
Elton said the visit “highlighted the good relations between the different faith groups in Australia.”
“For decades The Great Synagogue has welcomed the leaders of the nation,” the rabbi said. “We were honored to do so again. We understand the significance of this visit as a sign of respect for the Jewish community.”
The congregation dates back to 1828, 40 years after British colonists first came to Australia.