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From the President


Dear Friends,


Shabbat and Other Happenings:

We continue to have a busy time. This Shabbat is our Communal Lunch, with guest speaker Ori Danieli from Technion Australia. The lunch is generously sponsored by Daniel & Mauri Abbott in honour of their son Austin’s bris.

Just before the lunch, there will be a presentation to The Great of a silver cup that belonged to Rev. A B Davis, and was given to him by his ministerial colleagues in 1898 on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The cup has been most generously donated to The Great by the family of the late Dr Isaac Segal z”l (1919 – 2005).

This Shabbat, we celebrate the Baby Naming of the baby girl recently born to Ilana Lazar and Albert Gammer. We extend a Mazal Tov to all the family.

We are also celebrating Joel Werman’s and his father Leonard’s Bar Mitzvah Anniversaries.  Joel will recite his Bar Mitzvah Haftarah.

We celebrate the Birthdays of Mimi Josef, Vanda Phillips, Bernard Maybloom and Brigitte Zeitler.  We wish Mimi Josef a special Mazal Tov on her 99th birthday!  And wish her good health until 120! 

Two Offerings have been made to mark her 99th birthday and offerings have been made by Helen Bloom on the occasion of her husband Kenneth's 85th Birthday this past week and by Caroline, Charlotte, Juliet and David Lewis on the occasion of the election of David Lewis as Vice President of TGS (see below).

For all those celebrating a Simcha, we pray that you have many more years of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity and enjoy your celebrations.

To all those in our community who are suffering some minor or major illness, we wish you a Refu’ah Shaleima – a complete and speedy recovery; and to all those commemorating a Yahrzeit, or who have recently suffered a loss, we wish you a long and good life, full of Simchas.

The New Board and Executive:

At the AGM new Board members were elected and some replaced.  The Executive lost both Ken Gresham and Caroline Lewis as Treasurer and Vice President respectively.  Each will be missed greatly.  As my Report detailed, Ken Gresham pared back the expenditure of The Great, while providing for funds that allowed us to continue our core activities and improve the quality and quantity of the services on offer and the events held. 

Caroline Lewis was instrumental in expanding and organising the events and services and was always able to bring forward creative ideas for the future of The Great and the events we could hold.

Simon Havas, who has been on the Board for a couple of years, has moved into the Treasurer’s position.  David Lewis is our new Vice President. 

Further, we have lost David Hartstein from the Board.  As explained at the AGM, David was an important part of the Board and was Chair of the Services Committee.  He kept all of us on our toes and ensured we focussed on the job at hand in improving the Shule, while also keeping those parts of our tradition and culture that still serve a useful purpose.  He has been on the Board for many years and, on behalf of all of us, I thank him for his commitment and hard work.

The 4 new members of the Board replace the lost skills and add to the skill-set in a way that will improve the operation of the Shule and ensure continuity and succession is managed appropriately.  David Lewis has been a member of The Great for decades (and I think is related to half the Shule!).  He was educated as a lawyer and still maintains his practising certificate as a solicitor, but had the good sense to leave full-time practice.  David is in international business and has over 30 years’ experience.  He has a background in IT and is CEO of the DLA Group, a software company.  He is involved with several Charities and has a passion for football (soccer to the uninitiated), and referees games as well as being Chair of the Disciplinary tribunal for Football NSW.  He is married with 2 adult children.

Fay Frischer is married with 2 adult children; has been connected to TGS since her teenage years attending services and GSY dances; is admitted as a solicitor and has been for over 44 years, having conducted her own legal practice for the past 28 years; is undertaking volunteer positions generally, and within Jewish organisations, being, for example, a volunteer guide at Sydney Jewish Museum for 12.5 years until 2018, served as a member of the Board of North Shore Temple Emanuel, on committees at Montefiore at Hunters Hill, and is also on the Pastoral Committee at TGS.

Morris Symonds has been connected to the Shule for his whole life. His great grandfather was Chazzan Marcus Einfeld and he currently sits in the seat that was his father’s before him. He is a founder and partner of the investment company, the Alceon Group. He is a long standing professional investor with substantial experience in equities, commodities, mergers & acquisitions and corporate restructuring. For over seven years Morris was employed by Macquarie Bank holding positions of Director, Bullion & Commodities Division and subsequently Director, Macquarie Equities. In 1989 Morris left Macquarie Bank to pursue private business interests.  Morris is the Chairman and shareholder of a number of private equity entities spanning property, retail and wholesale distribution.

Benjamin Hansen is a successful HR professional, who has been successful in developing HR strategy aligned to business goals as well as significant expertise in the core HRM competencies. He has experience gained in manufacturing, corporate and hospitality industries. His specialties include Talent Management, Policies and Procedures, Coaching/Counselling, Performance Management, International Recruitment & Selection, Industrial Relations, Enterprise Agreement negotiations, Culture, and Work Health & Safety.  He is currently the Director of Human Resources at The Fresh Collective, which is involved in catering and venue management.

Warmest Regards, Have a Happy and Sweet New Year and I’ll see you in Shule,

Justice Stephen Rothman AM


From Rabbi Phil Kaplan

Ki Tavo 5779

As the High Holidays approach, the shule is bustling and there is much news to share.


We are still taking reservations for Holiday tickets, and orders for Koren-Sacks machzorim. This Shabbat we will have our monthly communal lunch featuring guest speaker Ori Danieli, Executive Director of Technion Australia. Thank you to Daniel and Mauri Abbott for sponsoring the lunch in honour of Austin’s bris, and mazal tov once again to the entire family!


The third and final session of my High Holiday series will take place next Thursday, September 26th at our home. The first class focused on Rosh Hashanah and the mitzvah of shofar and the second class on Yom Kippur and the mitzvah of fasting. This third class will take a look at one of the mitzvot of Sukkot - come to find out which one! There is no need to have attended the previous two sessions to attend the last - all are welcome! Contact the office or use the link to register.


In this week’s parasha, Ki Tavo, Moses recounts the curses that will befall the people should they not faithfully uphold their covenant with God. Earlier, in Leviticus, we were also told of similar curses - so what sets these curses apart?


Rashi explains that the curses in our parasha were spoken from Moses’ mouth, while the curses from Leviticus, given at Mount Sinai, were directly from God’s mouth. Given the context of who is speaking, the subtle differences are even more interesting.


Rashi explains a few ways in which Moses’ curses are milder than those of God. Unlike God’s curses in Leviticus which are in the plural, Moses’ curses in Deuteronomy are in the singular. While the language of Leviticus implies collective liability and punishment, in our parasha, responsibility rests on the individual.


One verse in particular stands out. While in Leviticus we read,


“I will make your skies like iron and your earth like copper.”


Moses says in Ki Tavo,


“The skies above your head shall be copper and the earth under you iron.”


Why is the language reversed? God’s curse in Leviticus suggests the heavens would not give off moisture, just as iron does not give off any liquid, and there would therefore be drought in the world, but the earth would exude moisture, just as copper sweats, and would therefore rot the fruits. Conversely, the verse in Moses’ voice suggests that the heavens would emit some moisture. Even though they might not pour with rain there would be no ruinous drought in the world. At the same time, the earth would not exude moisture, and consequently the fruits would not be destroyed. While this remains a curse, it is a much milder curse.


I think the minor adjustments that Moses makes in the curses are a demonstration of his profound love for the Jewish people. Moses cannot do away with the curses, but he also struggles with speaking so harshly to the people he loves so dearly. He therefore scales back the language, as much as God will allow him.


As we near the most holy days on the Jewish calendar, we should all learn from the lesson on Ahavat Yisrael, love of our fellow Jews, that Moses teaches us in Ki Tavo.

Shabbat shalom!

Tue, 24 September 2019 24 Ellul 5779