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From the President
JUSTICE STEPHEN ROTHMAN AM

PRESIDENT
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear Friends,

SHABBAT SHALOM!

Last week we had a wonderful Bar Mitzvah and Kiddush to follow and our congratulations to Zach on the occasion.  If you were not in attendance, you also missed a masterful leining of the Sedra by Greg Einfeld on his Bar Mitzvah Anniversary and the return of Rev Josh and the Choir in top form.

This week we celebrate the 94th Birthday of Wesley Browne OAM, in celebration of which offerings have been made by his wife, Sari Browne OAM, Garry & Robyn Browne, Joshua & Sam Browne, Roland & Kate Browne & Tim, Asher & Miranda Browne, Meryl Dinte & Clive Israel. The family has also sponsored the Kiddush.

We also wish Happy Birthday to Eugenia Langley on her 70th Birthday and Mazal Tov to Shirley & Bernard Maybloom on their 62nd Wedding Anniversary! Special birthday wishes go to Gus Cassim on his 9th Birthday and love from his Grandmama Johanna Nicholls and family who have made an offering on the occasion.

To all those celebrating Simchas, we extend prayers for the blessings of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity over many more years. We thank all who have made donations/offerings this week for the mentioned celebrations and for other reasons. 

In the coming weeks, there are a number of functions that seem extremely interesting and about which you should know. 

First, on Tuesday 30 October 2018, there is a lunch at The Great to hear an extremely interesting talk on the state of the Jewish community following the fall of the Soviet Union.  The talk by Asher Ostrin, who has worked in this area for decades, has been organised by The Joint and is worth making time to hear.

Secondly, on 3 November, we have our monthly Communal Shabbat Lunch, at which Professor Colin Shindler, author of the famous History of Modern Israel will participate in an interview by Rabbi Elton.

Thirdly, on 8 November, there is the Sydney Jewish Community’s commemoration of Kristallnacht, organised by the Board of Deputies, and hosted by The Great.  It is the 80th Anniversary.  That commences at 6:30pm in the Shule.

Fourthly, on Shabbat, 10 November, The Great commemorates the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day and on Shabbat, 24 November, is The Great’s commemoration and function for World Kindertransport Day.  It is the 80th Anniversary of that fateful occurrence.

Lastly, for the time being, Tot Shabbat returns on 17 November, so bring along your 1 – 4 year old children and grandchildren.

To all those commemorating a Yahrzeit, or who have recently suffered a loss, we wish you a long and good life, full of Simchas.

Warmest Regards,

Justice Stephen Rothman AM


 

From the Rabbi
RABBI DR BENJAMIN ELTON

e: rabbi@gretsynagogue.org.au

Lech Lecha 5779

Hinda, Lizzie and I are back in Manchester for Shabbat, after visits to London, Cambridge and Birmingham. We send you best wishes for a Shabbat shalom and we are looking forward to being back with you, in our own shule, we hope next week.

Parashat Lech Lecha is really the beginning of the Jewish story, as we meet the first of the Patriarchs, Abraham, and we see the covenant made between him and God.

One of the promises God made to Abraham is that his descendants will be like the stars in the sky. Undoubtedly that refers to great numbers, but there may be other implications as well. The great Spanish commentator and statesman, Don Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508), suggests five further ways in which the Jewish People resemble the stars.

First, the Jewish People will produce people who are as magnificent as the stars, not in terms of wealth or power, but through their ethics and instruction, as the verse in the Book of Daniel states ‘those who teach righteousness to the multitude will shine like the stars’.

Secondly, just as the stars don’t move by themselves but are only moved by God, so too the fate and fortune of the Jewish People is determined by God. There is a special providence and connection between us and the Almighty.

Thirdly, the stars honour God simply by existing. Their beauty and grandeur pays tribute to God who created them. The very fact that the Jewish People still exists and still maintains its commitment to one God and His Torah, brings honour to God.

Fourthly, there are times when a star burns more brightly, or at least appears to, and other times when it is more subdued. Its fortunes ebb and flow. That is also true of the Jewish People. We have good times and we have bad times, but we know that even during a tough period better times are ahead of us. And of course, we now know that the star doesn’t really change, only appearances alter. Similarly, the Jewish always remains essentially the same, even if our external condition varies.

Fifthly and finally, although the stars were created at a certain point, just as the Jewish People came into existence at a particular time in history, the stars are eternal, and so are we. We will never disappear. We could add that while individual stars do come to the end of their life, just as individual Jews and even communities do, there will always be a mass of stars in the sky, and that is true of the Jewish People as a whole. No individual is eternal, but the collective is.

May we see the fulfilment of this promise to Abraham which likened us to the stars. May we be numerous, be conscious of God’s oversight of our national life, may we be a source of honour to God, may we know that the bad times will always pass and that we will always be here to lead the world towards ethical living and the knowledge of the one God.

Shabbat Shalom!

Mon, 22 October 2018 13 Cheshvan 5779