Archive for January, 2024

From The Rabbi – Parshat Beshalach 5784

We were overwhelmed and deeply touched by the many kind and thoughtful messages and blessings we have received over the past week, since we discovered last Friday that we had contracted Covid and were unable to come into the city to attend and lead the Synagogue services. We feel truly blessed to be part of such a thoughtful and caring congregation and community, and heartily reciprocate our blessings to you all for good health, happiness, prosperity and Nachas.

We extend our sincere appreciation to Noga Erlbaum and Phillip Zavelsky, who stepped up, at short notice, to lead the services and conduct the reading of the Torah.

When speaking with one of our elderly members this past week, we were reminded that we do have a number of dear members and friends, who are more isolated from the congregation and community as, for various reasons,they are unable to participate in community programs and services in person, as this individual commented “Thank you for the call, lately, I am starting to feel like I am becoming invisible”. In light of the above, we are appealing to our readers to think of possible lonely, or elderly fellow community members, who may be experiencing similar feelings of loneliness and isolation, and to reach out to them with a phone call or a visit, so that they know that someone is looking out for them. A simple phone call can make the world of a difference in uplifting the lives of such individuals, particularly if they are elderly and without close family to care for them.

With the juicy taste and atmosphere of Tu Bishvat – New Year for the trees still in the air, we are reminded of the great gift of trees and the vital lessons we derive from them, such as the importance of continual growth, materially and spiritually, and to maintain strong roots, so that we remain firm and steadfast in the face of the stormy winds of challenge and adversity.

The above message of the trees, is reinforced by the central theme of this week’s Parsha, and Shabbat Shirah – namely, the miraculous splitting of the Reed Sea, before the advancing ancient Egyptian army, and the salvation of the Jewish people, followed by jubilant song and dance, led by Moses and his sister Miriam.

In our current modern era, when we are being faced with many challenges which threaten to engulf us, the above message, provides much added strength, fortitude and optimism, to enable us to withstand and overcome these trials and tribulations.

Just as the Jewish people were miraculously saved from their impossible situation, so too, with the help Hashem, we will witness the ultimate salvation and transformation of all darkness into light with the long-awaited arrival of Moshiach! 

If you have not registered, please consider joining our upcoming course, which is a ‘Jewish Self-Help’ guide, to assist in navigating through life, and infusing it with meaning and purpose. If you wish, you are welcome to attend the first lesson, as a no-obligation free trial. Please respond to this email, if you would like to trial the first lesson, or register online for the entire course.

Click here to watch the promo video of this life-changing and uplifting course:

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom, 

From The Rabbi – Parshat Bo 5784

It is encouraging to know that, in our absence, services were conducted with a good Minyan of locals and visitors and we extend our deep thanks and sincere appreciation to Yossi White for his kind assistance in leading the service and reading the Torah.

It was lovely spending quality time last Shabbat at the Cremorne Synagogue in Sydney, where we attended the Bar Mitzvah of our nephew together with family and friends, who converged from interstate and overseas upon their lovely little, air-conditioned Synagogue. It was particularly special to catch up with some of our old Brisbane friends and their families, including their current President, who attended our Synagogue a few weeks ago, while visiting his family in Brisbane.

Several of our members have commented about their birthdays or anniversaries being included in this newsletter on the ‘incorrect’ date. Please be aware that we include the Jewish dates in the newsletter, which vary each year, earlier or later than the English date, as the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle. Please see the fascinating article below entitled ‘The Nineteen-Year Marriage’, which explains this concept.

It has come to our attention that, not all of our members’ birthdays, anniversaries and Yahrtzeits, are being included and, for some reason some are not receiving this newsletter. Please let us know if we are missing your details in this regard, or if you, or someone you know, is not receiving the newsletter and would like to be added to our weekly distribution list, by responding to this email.

As we continue to read the book of Shemot – Exodus with the conclusion of the last three of the Ten Plagues, which were brought upon the ancient Egyptians, we are again reminded, particularly in the face of the mounting ‘case’ against Israel that, regardless of the power and evil intentions of those who attempt to destroy and vilify us, ultimately “Hashem will save and protect us from their hands”, and we will prevail.

This Shabbat is Yud Shevat – the 10th of Shevat, which marks the momentous day, in 1951, when the Lubavitcher Rebbe assumed the leadership of the Chabad movement, initiating what is arguably one of the greatest revolutions in history, transforming the landscape of the Jewish world, and rebuilding Yiddishkeit from the ashes of the Shoah, in every corner of the world, for the purpose of preparing the world for the ultimate manifestation of the Shechina – Divine revelation of Hashem down here in our physical reality, Bimherah Beyamenu – Speedily in our days!

Next Thursday we celebrate Tu BiShvat, the new year for trees, a day on which we customarily enjoy various fruits, particularly those of which the land of Israel is blessed, such as grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates, and many have adopted the practice of planting trees, particularly in Israel. We also utilize this day to reflect on some of the lessons we learn from trees, such as planting seeds for the future, keeping our roots strong, and being aware of the various negative elements, which threaten to destroy our lives, and to continuously grow, materially and spiritually. 

Kol Hakavod and thank you to everyone who is making a special effort to attend services, especially during the holiday period, as it has been a struggle for us to secure a Minyan. 

Shabbat Shalom and may we share good news.

Rabbi Levi & Dvorah Jaffe