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From the President



Dear Friends,


Last week we celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of Tamar Goodman with the full 100 permitted family and friends in attendance! Proud parents Anna & Joel Goodman, sister Jordana, grandparents and long standing TGS members Paul & Helen Goodman with David & Helen Romain, thoroughly enjoyed the event. Tamar gave an outstanding D’var Torah. We look forward to the family joining us for all future simchas.

This Shabbat we have a shorter albeit no less significant group of friends to congratulate:

Birthdays for:

Jody Glasser, Benjamin Hansen, David Lewis (Me!), Linda Jaku, Sandra Rothman, Heinz Salzberger, and Adam Wasiel.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Anniversaries for:

Jody Glasser

Wedding Anniversaries for:

Lianne & Michael Graf on their 32nd Anniversary

Numbers Restricted

At this stage we are still limited to 100 attendees at each service. My initial representations to the Minister for Health have been unsuccessful and whilst I am pressing the point, I am not optimistic that TGS will be granted any special consideration. I will of course keep the community advised.

Masks remain compulsory at TGS for all services.

To all those in our community who are suffering an illness, we wish you a Refu’ah Shleima — 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.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything you would like to discuss.

With best wishes,

David Lewis

From the Rabbi


Vaera 5781

There are some exciting educational opportunities coming up over the next few weeks. I will be leading the book club discussion on 20 January about Rabbi Sacks’ last book, Morality and on 28 January I will be speaking at our joint program with the Italian Cultural Institute for Holocaust Memorial Day on the Italian hero Georgio Perlasca, who saved 5218 Hungarian Jews in 1944 and 1945. Both of those events are via Zoom. From the beginning of February until mid-March I will be teaching a six-part Talmud class, covering the whole of the tenth chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin, which deals with crime and punishment. At the end of February, Rabbi Phil is launching a class for conversion candidates and their partners which already looks very popular. His Biblical Hebrew class on Wednesday lunchtimes is continuing in person and via Zoom. I hope you will join for one or more of these classes.

Even though Aaron was older than Moses, we usually think of them as ‘Moses and Aaron’ and that is the order that the Torah most often describes them. However, this week’s parasha contains an exception. After describing Aaron’s family, the Torah says “it was this Aaron and Moses, to whom the Lord said: 'Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt in their divisions.’” But immediately after Aaron is mentioned first, in the next verse it says “They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt—this same Moses and Aaron”, restoring the regular order.

Rabbi Shimon says that the placing of Aaron before Moses, at least occasionally, demonstrates their basic equality. Even though Moses was the primary leader, and Aaron had the auxiliary role of spokesman, and later High Priest, that did not mean that there was any essential hierarchy, any more than Aaron being the older established a hierarchy.

Although the claim that different people have different roles can sometimes be used as a cover and an excuse for unfair or unequal treatment, it is not always the case. There is a brilliant exchange in A Man For All Seasons between Richard Rich, a young and ambitious man, and Sir Thomas More, then a senior courtier who Rich asks to help him find a high profile position to help his public career. More sees that Rich will not be an honest politician and so urges him to become a teacher. Rich objects that this will lead to a life in obscurity, but More replies that if he is a good teacher, there would be people who knew: ‘You; your pupils; your friends; God. Not a bad public, that’.

In a Hassidic context, it has been said that a Rebbe is not judged by the number of his followers. The greatest Rebbe in the world can have just a handful of Hassidim. All depends on what he says and how he inspires them.

Moses was the appointed leader and Aaron was the adjunct, but that had nothing to do with their fundamental worth or the impact they could have. Whatever role we take we should remember that too.

Shabbat Shalom!

Sat, 16 January 2021 3 Shevat 5781