Lifecycle Events

Kehilat Kesher offers an intimate and personal approach to all lifecycle events. The emphasis is on the individuality of the participants and catering to their unique life event in a way that is meaningful to them, their family, friends and acquaintances. This is achieved by sitting together and listening to their stories and then articulating this through words, rituals and actions to craft a relevant ceremony which reflects the best of Jewish wisdom and contemporary, inclusive Modern Orthodox practise.


Facilitation of the ceremony in consultation with the parents and providing advice regarding the brit milah , baby naming and Simchat Ha bat or Celebration of the birth of a girl. The brit or naming ceremony for a girl will be framed by beautiful and appropriate readings about the wonder of birth, the gift of a child and the challenges of parenthood. The ceremony will be inclusive and accessible to all with brief explanations. The speech of Rabbi Ralph will tie these themes together as well as a providing  a personal tribute to the baalei simcha/host family.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

With over thirty years of experience in education (as College Rabbi of Mt Scopus College) and as a congregational rabbi of both small, medium size (Auckland) and large communities (including 14 years as Senior Rabbi to Melbourne’s largest shul), Rabbi Ralph is uniquely posed to offer a wise and wide perspective to the celebration of the key coming of age ceremony of Judaism –the Bar or Bat Mitzvah. In his long career as a Youth Director, leader of Bnei Akiva, and Advisor to Scopus and Caulfield Shul Bar and Bat Mitzvah programmes, he has inspired countless families to create a meaningful and memorable celebration of their child’s entre into Jewish adulthood. He has a passion for and the capacity to engage with young people regardless of age.

As rabbi to Kesher, he has curated a Bnei Mitzvah learning programme and/or celebration of smachot at a pop-up shul at home, reception centres and at Jewish Care’s beautiful and contemporary state-of-the-art shuls.

Rabbi Ralph only accepts  a limited number of Bnei Mitzvah events in a year so your celebration will be highly individualised non- institutional and tailor made .


Over his long career, Rabbi Ralph has performed close to a thousand weddings ranging from the strictly traditional to the cutting-edge contemporary. Anyone who has attended a chupah of his will know its focus is on the couple, not on the Rabbi. Rabbi Ralph’s ceremonies are informal but respectful, substantive but playful, meaningful, and personal. This is a result of the time that the rabbi devotes to each couple meeting several times before the wedding.

As a trained counsellor and expert in pre-marriage education, Rabbi Ralph prepares a couple not only for the wedding ceremony but for a life of marriage by taking them through the ‘Prepare Enrich Course’ – Yad Be Yad Pre-Marriage Program (YBY). The Prepare-Enrich Course is well- researched and evidence-based program that has stood the test of time and has proven to improve the longevity of a marriage.

Rabbi Ralph also offers a group meeting for couples to explore the meaning of marriage in Jewish Tradition, to improve their communication skills, and to compare notes with others on their marriage journey. This is a fun evening with important information and practices to deepen relationships based on the world famous relationship guru Gottman’s  Sound Relationship Home.

Rabbi Ralph only officiates at a limited number weddings in a year so your celebration will be highly individualised non- institutional and tailor made .

Mixed Blessings-For Couples where one partner is non-Jewish

While Judaism prefers legislates and advocates that Jews marry only other Jews, many young Jews today are marrying or living with non-Jewish partners. Very often they have also delayed or rejected the path of conversion to Judaism. This however does not mean they are rejecting Judaism or their Jewish identity. In fact, many are passionate about Israel and being Jewish and seeking ways of staying connected to their Jewish families and community. Often these couples feel they have no place within the Jewish community and particularly in Orthodox shuls

As a new initiative, Rabbi Ralph is making himself available to counsel mixed couples on the challenges of creating a home that respects the religious and/or cultural backgrounds of each partner. Using his extensive experience in the area of Multifaith and multicultural relationships, he will help them navigate the issues they may face with their parents, the decisions around observances of holidays, the dilemmas around Pesach and Easter, Chanuka and Christmas, and raising kids with dual identities. He is also available to counsel their parents.

Rabbi Genende is also available for group discussions on these issues.

Funerals, consecrations and Grief Counselling

Rabbi Genende has had the sad privilege of conducting hundreds of funerals and consecrations over his long career as a community rabbi. He is well known for his eloquent and evocative eulogies in which he strives to capture the essence and spirit of the lives he is memorialising. Some of these tributes can be read in his book Living in an Upside-down world. As a trained counsellor and communal rabbi, he has both studied and provided bereavement counselling to countless individuals and families. He is passionate about supporting people on the challenging journey of grief and mourning. He is available for short-term assistance and grief therapy.

Kehilat Kesher

Rabbi Ralph Genende:

Lisa Wainbergas: