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From the President
JUSTICE STEPHEN ROTHMAN AM

PRESIDENT
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear Friends,

SHABBAT SHALOM!

We have a number of interesting events coming up: Rabbi is giving a talk on the interesting architecture of 6 iconic Synagogues in Australia, including The Great (Yom Limmud, Sunday, 17 June, i.e. this Sunday); next Shabbat, 23 June, we celebrate Montefiore Shabbat (which is also the next Tot Shabbat); the monthly Communal Lunch is on Shabbat 30 June; and a much anticipated and exciting WOW (Women of Worth) Shabbat on 28 – 29 July. 

The WOW weekend initiative has an extremely interesting programme of events and speakers and is well worth attending.  My thanks go to Lauren Ryder and Caroline Lewis and the staff for their efforts in that regard.  All events are under "What's On" on the Website with a link in this Bulletin.  Tickets may be purchased online.

This week, we celebrate the 80th Birthday and 67th Bar Mitzvah Anniversary of Paul Drexler in celebration of which Paul and Diane invite everyone to the Kiddush and a number of offerings from friends and family have been made.

We also celebrate the Birthdays of Harris (Harry) Lewis AM (91st) and Adele Lehrer (88th).

To all those celebrating Simchas, we extend prayers for the blessings of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity over many more years.

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@greatsynagogue.org.au

Korach 5778

The distinctive aspect of Korach’s revolt was that he posed as a man of the people. He was obsessed by his own status and wanted to replace Moses. Yet he had the nerve to declare to Moses: ‘the entire assembly – all of them – are holy…why do you exalt yourself?’ Rather like the pigs in Animal Farm, this was a ruse to disguise his personal ambition. This rebellion seems to have come as a terrible shock to Moses. The verse says that when Moses heard what was happening he ‘fell on his face’, and Rashi explains that he literally became weak. Maybe he collapsed with the shock and the distress.

However, Moses soon rallied and called on Korach to take part in a test, which would indicate whether God wanted Moses and Aaron to lead the people, or Korach. For me, the decisive moment in Moses’ recovery comes when he bypasses Korach and speaks directly to Korach’s followers. The verse says: “Moses said to Korach, ‘now listen, you Levites!’.” It seems at first as though Moses will continue his dialogue with Korach, but then he doesn’t bother, and turns his attention to the masses directly.

This is always the way with rabblerousers and demagogues, especially if they claim to speak in the name of the people. We shouldn’t believe the claims they make for themselves, or that the people have as much confidence in them as they claim. I learned in British history at school that Oliver Cromwell never called a parliament based on free elections because he knew it would vote to restore the monarchy. We have to be particularly suspicious of those who claim to be democrats but then arrogate power to themselves. Truly serving the people, and using them as a springboard to power are two very different processes, and we should always look for leaders who follow the first path and not the second.

This Friday night we have the second Jewish Enrichment Program Shabbaton. If you are able to join us, please come along to see the kids and their parents. We are looking forward to a series of JEP Bar and Bat Mitzvahs over the next few months, which we will all enjoy. On Shabbat morning the Drexler family are holding a special celebration and Kiddush for Paul’s 80th birthday and 67th bar mitzvah anniversary. I want to wish Paul many more healthy years and the whole family every happiness.

 As well as being Tot Shabbat next week (23 June), we will also welcome the Board and friends of the Montefiore Home, for a special Montefiore Shabbat. The week after (30 June), Lesli Berger, Acting President of the Board of Deputies will address our Communal Lunch. I hope you will be with us for both of those events.

Shabbat shalom!

Mon, 18 June 2018 5 Tammuz 5778