Archive for February, 2021

From The Rabbi – Parshat Terumah / Zachor 5781

Today is the birthday of Moshe Rabeinu (Moses), it is also the date on which he passed on.

According to Jewish tradition, being aware that the month of Adar marked the passing of Moshe, the wicked Haman was elated when he discovered that the lots (Purim) he had cast to determine which Jewish month to exterminate the Jewish people, fell out in month of Adar. Little did he know that Adar also marked the month in which Moshe was born. As a result, Haman’s plans were turned upside down and, rather than causing our destruction, he and his family were annihilated and one of the most joyous Jewish festivals was introduced into the Jewish calendar.

Haman saw only Moses’ death; he perceived only the end of a golden era in our history. He was blind to our national rebirth, one that Haman himself helped bring about.

This Shabbat we will again remove an additional Torah from the Ark, as we read Parshat Zachor – which recalls the brazen attack against the Jewish people, by the infamous nation of Amalek, who are the forerunners of all anti-Semites throughout history, including Haman.

Amalek is not merely a historic external enemy, which challenged the Jewish people as they journeyed towards Sinai rather, as our sages point out, the Hebrew word Amalek, numerically equals Safek (doubt), and represents the internal voice of doubt and apathy that often cools down our enthusiasm towards our observance of Torah and Mitzvot and the service of Hashem. Zachor (remember), is an eternal reminder to be aware and on guard from such negative influences in our lives.

May we merit to witness the ultimate transformation of all negativity and struggle, into openly revealed goodness and peace throughout the world.

Please join us next Thursday evening and Friday, as we celebrate Purim and we remind ourselves of the power to transform all adversity and challenge into opportunity and growth.

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach (Happy Purim)

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe

From The Rabbi – Parshat Mishpatim / Shekalim 5781

Last Shabbat was emotionally, spiritually, and socially uplifting, as we read Parshat Yitro, from the restored 1824 Czech Torah, and paid tribute to all the benefactors and supporters, past and present, of our beautiful Synagogue and congregation. .

There was a festive spirit among the many people who attended the Synagogue service and the elegantly set up delicious Kiddush which followed the service. A speech was presented by Dr Michael OAM Briner, who organised the restoration of the Torah and, together with his wife Linda, sponsored the lovely Kiddush. Dr John Skala who, along with his brother Steven, sponsored the Czech Torah restoration, presented a talk about their late parents, the late Elizabeth and Robert Skala OBM, in the memory of whom the restoration of the Torah was dedicated. The talks of both Michael and John are included below at the conclusion of this newsletter.

Kol Hakavod to Leah Phillips and her amazing team of helpers for the magnificent job they have done in preparing the hall and the Kiddush, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

A dear member of our congregation sent to me a moving email, expressing how much she was enjoying our current JLI course, ‘Journey of the Soul’, and how it has evoked within her the desire to learn more about her rich heritage, bemoaning the fact that throughout her busy and colorful life, she realizes how much she had neglected to delve more deeply into her Jewish heritage, ending off with “Perhaps I have left this thinking too late in my life”.

In response to the email from our member above, when visiting our distinguished ninety nine year old senior member, Dr Bert Klug, who had requested of me that he wished to study Chumash (Torah text), which he had recalled studying as a young child, in his hometown of Sered, Slovakia, prior to the second World War, I was completely blown away when he began reciting, even before we opened the Chumash, by heart, the first two pesukim (verses) of the Torah, which he remembered from his Jewish primary schooling, ninety years ago! This wonderfully moving experience emphasizes that no matter what stage in life, it’s never too late to learn and to connect more deeply with our Yiddishkeit, and the incredible impact early childhood education has on our minds and our hearts.         

This Shabbat is one of those unique occasions when we will remove three Torah scrolls from the ark as, in addition to the usual Parsha reading, we will read two additional sections of the Torah for Rosh.Chodesh (new month) and Parshat Shekalim – the first in a series of four special shabbatot over the next couple of months

Please mark Purim celebrations in your calendar, on Thursday, February 25, at 6.30pm at the Shul. and Purim Day on Friday, February 26, Shacharit and Megillah reading at the Brisbane 6am, and Sinai College Purim celebrations at 10.30am.

With the upcoming five-day Covid lockdown in Melbourne, please see important message below from our Medical advisor, Dr Gerry Kaye, regarding vigilance in continuing to follow Government guidelines in this regard.

May we merit to witness the ultimate transformation of all negativity and struggle, into openly revealed goodness and peace, with the revelation of Moshiach speedily!

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

Levi and Dvorah Jaffe