Archive for March, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Tzav 5779

We enjoyed a most exciting and uplifting Purim experience at the Brisbane Synagogue and around the community over the last couple of days and we extend our deep thanks and sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed to its success. Please see more details below regarding Purim at the Brisbane Synagogue.

In particular, we extend our thanks to Yeshivah student Shmuel Lesches, who graciously traveled up to Brisbane from Melbourne to assist with the reading of the Megillah, which he conducted competently on nine occasions, bringing the joy of Purim to hundreds of members of our community, young and old, in hospitals, homes and correctional centres around Brisbane.

This time last week, we received the tragic news of the senseless and barbaric attack in New Zealand, which sent shock waves throughout the Southern hemisphere and the world. In the aftermath of such an event we are left shaking our heads in disbelief, wondering what could have been done to prevent such a tragedy and how can a human being become so depraved to commit such a horrific attack on innocent people.

It was for me heartwarming to attend the prayer service held last Sunday at the Islamic College of Brisbane, which was attended by hundreds of people from all walk of life and religious beliefs, reinforcing the concept that our response to such acts of evil and terror must be our stronger commitment to boundless love and unity. As our fellow citizens in the Muslim community are in pain, we too share in that pain. One could feel a genuine sense of gratitude and comfort by the Islamic community towards the community for their support, which engenders friendship and understanding for each other, as fellow human beings created in the image of Hashem.

May we soon merit the ultimate blessing of peace and harmony throughout the world, when ”nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more”. (Isaiah 2:4). and “May He swallow up death forever and may Hashem wipe away tears from every face”. (Isaiah 25.8).

Shabbat Shalom 

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayikra 5779

I have just heard the shocking news out of New Zealand regarding an attack on a Mosque during prayer. Our hearts and prayers are extended towards the victims and their families of this brutal attack on innocent worshippers. May Hashem comfort the families and send healing and strength to all who have been affected by this horrific act of terror.          

This week we begin a new book in the Torah, Vayikra, (literally translated as ‘and He called), commonly referred to as the book of Leviticus, as it discusses the calling of Hashem to the Levites and the Kohanim (priests), and by extension, all of us, to take on our unique calling and life’s mission to sanctify our lives and promote holiness and goodness in the world. 

This commencement of this book coincides with the final week of one of our most fascinating and contemporary relevant JLI courses, ‘Crime and Consequence’, attended by over 30 people from all walks of life, including many from the legal fraternity, who have greatly enhanced the course through their unique contributions and insight into this important topic.

Several participants have shared various newspaper articles and online information regarding current criminal cases, which highlight the immense wisdom and progressive approach of Torah and Halachah (Jewish law) towards the Criminal Justice system and, this week, in our final lesson we will be discussing a different angle to this topic, namely the concept of Crime as a a Consequence, rather than Crime and Consequence, and the responsibility that we all have, particularly parents, teachers, and those in positions of influence, to contribute towards the prevention of crime and improving society.

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Zachor. The Torah reading includes an important section, which is read from an additional Torah, outlining the commandment to remember how the wicked nation of Amalek attacked our People as we left Egypt. In the first terrorist attack of recorded history, Amalek exploited the shaky confidence of the Israelites, attacking them from behind, undermining the nascent self-confidence of the newly liberated slaves and their fragile reliance on G-d, causing them to wonder “Is G-d with us or not?”

Amalek thus sowed doubt in the cosmic fabric of human psyche. In fact the numerical value of the Hebrew word ‘Amalek‘ is the same as the word ‘Safek‘ meaning doubt. So it is no accident that Amalek represents doubt and uncertainty, and this is what we are reminded to obliterate from under the heavens.

Haman, the villain of the Purim story, was a direct descendant of Amalek; hence the connection to Purim. It’s a special mitzvah to hear this reading in Shul – so please join us tomorrow in Shul for this special reading!

Please see Purim information below, including Purim Megillah reading at the Brisbane Synagogue, followed by Hamantachen and our annual fancy-dress competition in the Memorial Hall. The students of the UBHE Cheder will present a Purim play.  The festivities will continue on Purim day at Sinai College, and conclude with a Purim Seudah – Festive meal towards the end of the day.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach – Happy Purim!

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Shabbat and Festival Times


Fri  Jan 4th: Light Candles 6.29pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 5th 7.27pm

Fri  Jan 11th: Light Candles 6.30pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 12th 7.27pm

Fri  Jan 18th: Light Candles 6.29pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 19th 7.26pm

Fri  Jan 25th: Light Candles 6.28pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 26th 7.23pm

Fri  Feb 1st: Light Candles 6.24pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 2nd 7.19pm

Fri  Feb 8th: Light Candles 6.20pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 9th 7.14pm

Fri  Feb 15th: Light Candles 6.15pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 16th 7.08pm

Fri  Feb 22nd: Light Candles 6.09pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 23rd 7.02pm

Fri  March 1st: Light Candles 6.02pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 2nd 6.54pm

Fri  March 8th: Light Candles 5.55pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 9th 6.47pm

Fri  March 15th: Light Candles 5.47pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 16th 6.39pm

Thurs March 21st: Purim

Fri  March 22nd: Light Candles 5.40pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 23rd 6.31pm

Fri  March 29th: Light Candles 5.32pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 30th 6.23pm

Fri  April 5th: Light Candles 5.24pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 6th 6.16pm

Fri  April 12th: Light Candles 5.17pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 13th 6.08pm

Fri  April 19th: Passover Eve, First Seder: Light Candles 5.10pm
Sat 20th: Second Seder: Light candles after 6.02pm

Fri  April 26th: Light Candles 5.03pm
Shabbat/Passover ends: Sat 27th 5.56pm