Archive for September, 2018

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayelech 5779

As usual, the Brisbane Synagogue was abuzz with activity over Rosh Hashanah, which was ushered in with a healthy attendance of members and visitors, including many who joined us in the Memorial Hall following the service for a delicious Rosh Hashanah dinner, which was graciously prepared by Chef Aron Kahn. We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Aron for his great help and we extend our condolences to him for the defeat of the Broncos in the grand final!

We extend our deep thanks and sincere appreciation to Phillip Zavelsky for his great help during the services and to Rebbetzen Dvorah, Shternie Jaffe, and Natanya Meyers for conducting the children’s program. A special thank you to all our dedicated volunteers from CSG (human Mezuzot), who stand outside on Security duty.

A fitting story comes to mind of an innocent Jew thrown into prison with a life sentence at the hands of a heartless feudal baron. Inexplicably, the baron decided to show the incarcerated man a modicum of mercy. He said, “You are my prisoner for life, but hear this: I will grant you one day of freedom annually. You can decide what day that will be and how you spend it.”

The Jewish captive was perplexed, what’s the ideal time? Should he choose Rosh Hashanah to hear the Shofar? Or Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar? Passover? His wedding anniversary?

Unable to decide, he sought advice from one of the great halachic scholars of that era, known as the Radbaz. And this was his concise reply, “The day you should choose is the very first day available. Whatever it is, grab it now, don’t wait!”

It’s a wise reply and it speaks to us too. Most of us are prisoners of bad habits from which we wish to break free. But we say to ourselves, “Not just yet. I will change tomorrow.”

And yet, what do we do to create that change? Usually nothing. We are stuck in the inertia of our status quo, the comfort zone of our conventions and routines.

The rule is: Nothing changes if nothing changes.

The only way to break free from the prison of the past is to consciously, bravely decide to change here and now! Today!

Please see information below regarding Yom Kippur services next week, including our legendary Yom Kippur kids program, to be conducted by Dr Michael Briner, Dr Gillian Shar, and David Paratz’s traditional interactive story of Jonah.

Shabbat Shalom and חתימה טובה גמר  you be sealed for a good and sweet new year.

From The Rabbi – Parshat Nitzavim 5778

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) begins this Sunday evening and, as hectic as it is in the lead up, the opportunity for Cheshbon Hanefesh, spiritual stocktaking of our most personal inventories, is a welcome blessing for us all, allowing us to reflect on successes and shortcomings in our relationships with G-d and our fellow humans.

These Days of Awe are designed to jolt us out of the tedious treadmill of the everyday. They compel us to think about life, about ourselves, about our families and to make amends for the past and prepare for the future.

The Kotzker Rebbe, known for his sharp wit, once asked an unfamiliar worshipper, “Why have you come to Shule?” The man replied, “I came here to find G-d.” The Rebbe continued, “You came here to find G-d? You could have found Him in your own home!” The out-of-towner respectfully retorted, “So tell me Rebbe, why did I come here?” The Rebbe paused and then answered, “I will tell you why … you came here to find yourself!”

Yes, a synagogue is the perfect place to connect with G-d (and friends too!) Perhaps above all, it is the zone within which we are given the space to connect with ourselves and our intrinsic purpose.

We are grateful to the Almighty for being part of this wonderful Kehillah (community) and we have had a fairly productive year at The Brisbane Synagogue. Dvorah and I feel privileged to work alongside a dedicated team of board members and communal volunteers and we look forward to greeting each of you in Shule over Yom Tov.

This week will be Shabbat Mevarchim Tishrei – during which Hashem himself will bless us for the coming month and year ahead. We will gather at 7.30am, prior to the Shacharit service tomorrow for the recital of Psalms, as we have done in previous months.

Shabbat Shalom and כתיבה וחתימה טובה, לשנה טובה ומתוק
May you to be inscribed and sealed for a good and sweet new year.

Rabbi Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times


Fri  May 3rd: Light Candles 4.57pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 4th 5.50pm


Fri  May 10th: Light Candles 4.52pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 11th 5.46pm


Fri  May 17th: Light Candles 4.48pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 18th 5.43pm


Fri  May 24th: Light Candles 4.45pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 25th 5.40pm


Fri  May 31st: Light Candles 4.43pm

Shabbat ends: Sat 1st 5.39pm