Archive for December, 2019

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayishlach 5780

This past week has been a sad one, with the tragic natural disaster occurring in our neighboring country of New Zealand, with the tragic eruption of the Whakaari / White Island volcano, and yet another attack on Jews in Jersey City, USA, this time in a Kosher supermarket. We express our horror and pray for the bereaved families of the victims. may they be comforted and may we share good news in the coming week.

Speaking of good news, we are pleased to hear the latest news from the UK that the Conservatives have won the UK election with a significant majority. With many family members and friends living in London and Manchester, we have been closely watching  developments in this regard, in light of the deep concern articulated by Chief Rabbi Mirvis in his statement about  “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root” in the British Labour Party which went viral and was endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other faith leaders there.

The school year is coming to an end. It’s an exciting time with concerts, graduations, assemblies and prize giving. What an absolute pleasure it was for us to attend the Sinai College awards night and graduation, at which the students excelled with their beautiful Chanukah presentations and songs. Our community is indeed blessed to boast such a lovely institution in our midst, which provides a high level of secular and Jewish education in a warm, loving, and nurturing atmosphere. Kol Hakavod to all the staff and members of the board for their selfless commitment and dedication.

We extend our Mazal Tov wishes to all of our students and their teachers, who are concluding the school year, or graduating to other schools and institutions of higher learning and wish them a restful summer break and much hatzlachah (success) for the future.

Chanukah commences next Sunday evening, December 22. Please see information regarding communal Chanukah celebrations below. Further information regarding Chanukah has been mailed out to you and will be distributed via email next week.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Vayeitzei 5780

This past week I was very moved by the response of our community to attend the funeral of someone who had passed on in Longreach and was not known to our community. For a total stranger, more than a Minyan of people came together in order to afford a fellow Jew the opportunity to receive a proper Jewish buried. Kol Hakavod to all those selfless people who attended and to the dedicated members of  Brisbane Chevra Kaddisha (Jewish burial society) for their ongoing incredible honorary Chesed Shel Emet (kindness of truth)   service to our community.

What I found quite fascinating was that in the evening, following the funeral, we were conducting our second last lesson of the current JLI course, ‘Worrier to Warrior’, on the subject of achieving happiness in life and one of the questions presented to the students was,”‘List 3 experiences in your life that brought you considerable happiness and one of the students who had attended the funeral earlier that day cited his attendance at the funeral as such an example.

This exercise helped us discover how, contrary to conventional wisdom, true and lasting happiness is not derived from the accumulation of  material possessions or selfish indulgences, but rather from experiencing selfless giving to others and meaningful relationships based on sharing in the joy of others.

The above concept is expressed in this week’s parsha (Torah portion), in which we read the stroy of our Patriarch Jacob, who was forced to escape the wrath of his brother Eisav, to Charan, a rough and corrupt place.

To make matters worse, Jacob lived in his uncle Lavan’s house. Lavan was renowned for his dishonest and corrupt behaviour. Yet the Midrash teaches us that Jacob sang certain psalms (120-134) throughout the 20 years he lived there.

Does that make sense? Jacob was in a precarious position, in an unfriendly and disgusting city, and he walks around as if he is starring in a Broadway musical?

Although Jacob was going through a tough and difficult moment in his life, he refused to allow himself to become depressed or lose hope. He recognized that G‑d’s hand had guided him there. He knew he was in Charan for a purpose and upon completion of that goal, he would return home.

Therefore, even during the challenging moments in Charan he remained joyous, for he knew he was where he needed to be, doing what had to be done—and he was right. Twenty years later he left Charan with his entire family and substantial wealth. Retroactively, he proved that all of his singing was justified and not the product of being blind to the reality of the world.

We all have much to learn from Jacob’s example. Rather than focusing on his own problems and  needs, Jacob recognized his purpose in Charan and worked towards actualizing his goals and fulfilling his mission in life, and thus he was able to do so with joy.

Shabbat Shalom 

Rabbi Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

Candle Lighting Times Brisbane

Fri Oct 1st: Light Candles 5.30pm
Shabbat ends: Sat 2nd 6.23pm

Fri Oct 8th : Light Candles 5.34pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.27pm

Fri Oct 15th: Light Candles 5.38pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.32pm

Fri Oct 22nd: Light Candles 5.42pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.36pm

Fri Oct 29th: Light Candles 5.46pm
Shabbat ends: Sat  6.41pm