Archive for October, 2020

From The Rabbi – Parshat Lech Lecha 5781

Last Shabbat we spoke about that fact that in Israel they commence prayers for rain this past week and that we commented that it would be good for us here in Australia to be the recipients of some rain too, but not the the destructive rain experienced by the generation of Noach and the flood but, rather Gishmei Bracha – rains of blessing. We have indeed been the recipient of much needed rain over the past couple of days, let us hope and pray that the rain will continue to fall gently and softly in a manner which serves only as a blessing for us all and, in particular for our farmers and their families.

This week we read of the very first communication to the very first Jew, Avraham Avinu, Abraham our father, with which he was instructed to leave his home, his father’s house, his birthplace, and his land, yet strangely the wording in the Torah is not in the correct order, “From your land, your birthplace and your father’s house”.

Among the powerful messages being conveyed to Avram, and by extension to all of us, is that the Torah is not merely discussing a geographical journey, in which the order would be to first leave home, then our birthplace – city and lastly our country, but rather it is referring to our spiritual and psychological journeys, as we progress and move forward in life, requiring of us to go out of our comfort zones, to dig deeper into ourselves to discover the inner resources that we posses to grow and confront life’s challenges, materially and spiritually. In this regard, the ‘journey’ is reversed, as it is easier for us to leave the influences of our country, more challenging are the influences of our cities and communities, and then come the most challenging of all, the unhealthy habits and influences we have picked up from our family and upbringing.

With all the excitement and activities over the previous festive month of Tishrei, we omitted to extend our thanks and sincere appreciation to our amazing Kathy Gould who, even from her hospital room, was busy arranging Simchat Torah flags for the children on Simchat Torah. We extend our best wishes to  Kathy for a Refuah Shlemah Ukrova – a speedy and complete recovery!

If you have not yet voted for the upcoming Qld State Election, please visit one of approximately 200 early voting centres across Queensland. Search for your nearest early voting centre at:

Most early voting centres will be open from: 9.00am to 9.00pm today, and 9.00am to 6.00pm tomorrow, Friday.

Please see information below regarding upcoming events, including our fascinating JLI course – ‘Secrets of the Bible’, which commences this morning via Zoom or Monday evening in the CBD. It is not too late to book.

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Noach 5781

Last night, the Brisbane Synagogue was host to a most moving ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ ceremony, organised by the Embassy of Israel and the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies to honour the courageous acts of a Dutch couple, Jacob and Klaasje van der Haar, who saved the life of a young Jewish boy, Joseph Gokkes, during the Holocaust. An award was posthumously granted to Jacob and Klaasje, which was accepted by their family, who live in Queensland.

‘Righteous Among the Nations’ is an official title awarded by Yad Vashem on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis.

The ceremony was attended by His Excellency, Israel Ambassador Dr Tibor Shaelv-Schlosser, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and many other guests, including descendants of the late Jacob and Klaasje Van Der Haar, and the late Joseph Gokkes, who intended via live video hook-up from Israel.

A lovely boxed supper was served, following the Ceremony, in the elegantly decorated Memorial Hall, graciously prepared by Leah Phillips and the wonderful group of women from the Sunday morning cooking club. Kol Hakavod to all concerned for such a wonderful, uplifting, and meaningful event.

This week we read the well-known Biblical story of the raging flood waters of Noach, which engulfed the world, destroying all life, with the exception of Noach and his family and all the animals which entered the protective and tranquil atmosphere of the Ark. How appropriate that, during this week, we here in Brisbane, at our beautiful Synagogue, paid tribute to the memory of a courageous couple, who provided a tranquil and safe haven for an innocent Jewish child, while the raging waters of destruction were wreaking havoc around them.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for Ark is Tevah, which also means ‘Word’, which conveys to us an important message  about the great power contained within words, and that in order for us to protect ourselves from the negative influences of the secular society which often threaten to engulf us, it is necessary for us to immerse ourselves in the Tevot, the Holy and soothing words of Torah and prayer, which guide us and fortify us from within.

We Jews are known as the people of the book. Therefore we should take advantage of our heritage and increase our study of these Holy words, which were bestowed upon us by our Creator.

Please see information below about our upcoming fascinating JLI course – ‘Secrets of the Bible’ , for which spaces are filling quickly.
Levi and Dvorah Jaffe