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Rabbi Shmuel Karnowsky became the Senior Rabbi of Elwood Shule in August 2015, after serving the Congregation as Outreach Rabbi since February 2008.

Born and raised in London, Rabbi Shmuel undertook his studies at Rabbinical Colleges in London, Israel and America. He received his Smicha (Rabbinical ordination) in 2004 from the West Coast Rabbinical Seminary in Los Angeles, California.

Rabbi Shmuel came to Elwood Shule with a wealth of experience in all facets of community life, from his 6 years of work as Outreach Rabbi and Program Director at the JCC Chabad in Manhattan Beach, California.

In addition to his rabbinic duties and studies, Rabbi Shmuel often participates in Personal Development courses, on leadership, counselling, pastoral care, Mental Health First Aid and responding to disclosures of family violence and sexual abuse.

Rabbi Shmuel is a Committee Member of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, a Victoria Police Chaplain since March 2017, assigned to the St Kilda and Caulfield Police Stations and to the Melbourne Prosecutions Unit and a Victoria Police Multifaith Council member.

Rabbi Shmuel is also a keen runner, ran a full marathon in 2021, and enjoys the outdoors.

Rabbi Shmuel and Rebbetzin Rivki met in California, married in 2004 and are blessed with 5 wonderful children – Yaakov, Mendy, Reuvi, Shaina and Menucha.

Rivki is a warm, outgoing and dedicated, wife, mother, friend and educator. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, she grew up in a home which was always open and welcoming. She completed her studies at Beth Rivkah and advanced her studies in Israel.

Besides for being a most loved Prep teacher at Yeshivah College, Rivki facilitates the Sisterhood and Bat Mitzvah programming at our Shule, guides Kallahs (brides) in preparation for their wedding and offers a listening ear and support to those in need.

Together, Rabbi Shmuel and Rivki and their beautiful children are the driving force behind the growth, warmth and energy of our Shule community.

Contact Rabbi Shmuel

Contact Rebbetzin Rivki


Rabbi Mordechai & Rebbetzin Sara Gutnick led and served our congregation with distinction from 2002 until 2015.

Over the years they guided, educated, counselled and nurtured this community, with integrity and wisdom, and with compassion and sensitivity.

In 2015 they handed over the position of Senior Rabbi & Rebbetzin to Rabbi Shmuel & Rivki Karnowsky and upon his retirement in 2017 Rabbi Gutnick assumed the position of Rabbi Emeritus.

Aside from his Elwood Shule role, Rabbi Gutnick has served the Australian rabbinate for almost 40 years in a number of leadership roles, including President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia as well as of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria. He is currently Senior Dayan of the Melbourne Beth Din and rabbinic administrator of Kosher Australia.

Rebbetzin Gutnick founded the very successful Rosh Chodesh Women Circle, which she ran for a number of years at the Shule.

Rabbi Chaim Gutnick ob’m led and served our congregation with absolute devotion from 1957 until 2002.

He is remembered fondly and with reverence not only for his brilliant and inspirational oratory, but also for his sensitivity and care, his passionate love of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, and for devoting his life to comfort and strengthen those who survived the horrors of the holocaust and their families – Families who not only went on to rebuild their personal lives, but went on to build our Shule and community.

May his memory always be for a blessing.

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