During Rev. Phillip (Pinchas) Berliner’s term as one of the Chazanim at St Kilda Shule the After-Shule Kiddush for the congregation on second day Succot was held in his home in Crimea Street, St Kilda.
Mrs Berliner and their daughters cooked for weeks prior, making pastries, meringues and cakes at their home for this occasion as it was such an honour to entertain the whole congregation in their Succah.
Crimea Street was but five minutes walk from St Kilda Shule and the congregants would, at the conclusion of the service, march down into Alma Road and then into the Berliners’ home and cram into their tiny Succah, taking it in turns to sit under the open roof.
The children had spent hours decorating the Succah, days prior the commencement of this festival including collecting tin cans for weeks, drilling small holes in each side to string them up onto the cross beams of the Succah. In these cans they placed flowers including lilac from their garden. Hours were spent making coloured chains for more decorations and hanging up fruits.
Mrs Berliner would lay out the platters of food early in the morning and then they would all go to Shule and proudly walk back with the congregants, with Rabbi Danglow leading the throng.
Rabbi Danglow, Rev Kowadlo and Rev Berliner would enter the Succah and it was Rabbi Danglow who would make the Kiddush. Congregants would then file in and out to partake of the refreshments and to mingle with fellow congregants.
The first Bat Mitzvah ceremony in St Kilda Shule was held on Shavuot in 1959 and it was Reverend Phillip Berliner who trained the participants.
The honour to address the sermon to these girls was given to Rev. Berliner as he mounted the pulpit for the first and only time that he had that honour in St Kilda Shule. Rev. Berliner died but a few months later.