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From Lauren Ryder

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear Friends,

SHABBAT SHALOM!

Last Shabbat we celebrated Adam Guthrie's Bar Mitzvah. Adam read from the Torah and his Haftarah beautifully and we celebrated with a lovely kiddush.  Mazal Tov again to the entire family.

This Shabbat is our communal lunch, sponsored by David & Marilyn Wine, featuring guest speaker Yoni Strimber of Boys Town Jerusalem, an organisation that was set up to provide Israeli youth with a quality education to enable them to build the State of Israel with technological skill and Jewish idealism.

Mazal Tov and Happy Birthday to Lucille Rodney who celebrates her birthday this week! 

We have three Bar Mitzvah Anniversaries this week - Joe Symon, Jonathan Goodman and Jonathan Falk.  We wish you all Mazal Tov!

And a hearty Mazal Tov to David Hartstein & Judith Cowan on their 32nd Anniversary.  We wish you man more happy years together.

For all those celebrating a Simcha, we wish everyone Mazal tov and hope that you enjoy many more S’machot! We thank all who have donated for offerings this Shabbat!

We have lots of exciting events coming up in the next two weeks:

This Sunday 23/2 will be a Tu B'Shevat celebration for families with children up to 12 years old which will be hosted by Shalom and PJ Library. There are lots of fun gardening activities planned for the whole family!

We look forward to our first Women's Rosh Chodesh Experience on Tuesday 25 February, hosted by Abra Kaplan in her home.  This promises to be an intimate spiritual event as you will learn about Rosh Chodesh Adar. She will host the event each month and I've heard she has lots of special things planned! Spaces are limited so please RSVP to abrakaplan23@gmail.com

On Thursday our Lunch & Learn is all about Purim!  Come at 12:55 for Lunch and a Shiur, followed by Mincha. RSVP to daniel.a.yesgar@gmail.com

Purim is nearly here!  We have two days of fun activities planned for the entire family, including a Disney-themed Purim party for the kids on Tuesday 10 March which includes dinner and mishloach manot.

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.

Warm Regards,

Lauren Ryder

Executive Board Member


 

From the Rabbi
RABBI DR BENJAMIN ELTON

e: rabbielton@greatsynagogue.org.au

Mishpatim 5780

This week we welcome Yoni Strimber from Boys Town Jerusalem who is our guest speaker at the communal lunch. Boys Town does amazing work and I’m looking forward to hearing from him. I want to thank Marilyn and David Wine for kindly sponsoring the lunch.

It’s time to get ready for Purim. There will be readings of the Megillah in the evening of Purim (9 March at 7.45pm) in the morning (on 10 March Shacharit is at 6.45am) and in the afternoon (5.30pm). If you have kids or grandkids bring them to the Purim party at 4.30pm on 10 March, when we will serve a free kids supper. If you are 20-30, come to the Ramblin Rascal for drinks at 6.15pm on 10 March.

In Parashat Mishpatim amongst many laws there is an interesting pair. First, we are told to lend to the poor, and then instructed not to press a person for payment if they do not have the money. One might think that on a purely practical level of all the people to lend money to, the poor are the worst. They are the least likely to be able to repay you, and that is compounded by the prohibition on pressuring them to do so. Nudging someone to pay who cannot afford to might be futile in the moment, but at least it might help you towards the top of their list of creditors, to be repaid if and when they do find some money.

As always, however, the Torah has wisdom that goes beyond the superficial. When the better off lend to the less well off, even without much hope of repayment, everyone benefits. Research has found that high levels of income inequality are linked to financial crisis, debt and instability; children perform less well in school, crime increases, health deteriorates, there is less trust and social participation and people even say they are less happy.

When we lend other people money, or help them in other ways, the point is not what we get back directly. If we are looking for a return we might well be disappointed. But what we do achieve is the general improvement of the community. We are told to lend for the sake of everyone, ourselves included. I think we are told not to press a debtor for the same reason. The person who owes money won’t feel oppressed and harassed, but we too will be more content, having come to terms with the fact that the money will either make its way back to us, or it won’t, and either way we shouldn’t think about it too much.

The purpose of many of the laws of the Torah is not just to inculcate holiness and high moral values, but also to create a well-functioning and happy society and individuals. The way to achieve those goals might not always be the most intuitive, and may even grate against our natural instincts to look after our own assets, but if we think wider and deeper, as the Torah asks us to do, then everyone will be better off.

Shabbat shalom!

Sat, 22 February 2020 27 Shevat 5780