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From the President



Dear Friends,

Youth Shabbat

This Shabbat marks our inaugural Youth Shabbat Service and we welcome all our members participating in the service. After the service we are delighted to host what used to be one of our ‘regular’ Communal Lunches. This time it’s a welcome return to an event that was so well attended! I look forward to seeing you all there.

Our youth members are running much of the service this Shabbat and that is a fantastic initiative.


WOW Weekend

WOW (Women Of Worth) is back after the year that wasn't and Caroline and the WOW Team are excited to announce this special event celebrating International Friendship Day on Sunday August 1st at The Great Synagogue.

Put it in your diary NOW. Bring a friend, in fact, bring many friends, and enjoy a day surrounded by old and soon-to-be new friends at 'Women of Worth'. More details will soon be available on the Shule website.



CSG have been very busy working to protect the community over the past few months and we welcome their assistance. It has been tough for them to balance the security requirements against ease of access for the community to our Shules and other venues.

Rest assured that we are working with them to ensure that they are well briefed on the identity of all members of The Great as this will increase the speed of entry and thereby offer better protection for all.

Please help them to identify you and your family quickly as this will help all of us and result in faster entry to the Shule. Provided you have advised the office before Shabbat, all members marking a Yahrzeit or celebrating a mitzvah are on a list at the gate and CSG should be referred to this list.

As always, I wish all of you Shabbat Shalom and……


Congratulations to:
Stephen and Susie Kopp for having their first vaccinations!


Happy Birthday to:
Abra Kaplan and Lauren Ryder


Bar Mitzvah Anniversary
Adam Pisk and Simon Rubner


Wedding Anniversaries
Robyn and Garry Browne AM on their 33rd Anniversary

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.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything you would like to discuss.

Kindest regards,

David Lewis

From the Rabbi


Chukat 5781

I am very excited that this week we are holding our first Youth Shabbat, with young people leading as much of the service as possible, as well as having both a Children’s Service with Rabbi Richter and a Tot Shabbat with Hinda Young. It will be followed by a communal lunch for all. I hope we will see lots of children and their families in Shule. I want to thank Rabbi Phil for organising what should be a beautiful Shabbat morning.

Every Shabbat and Yom Tov morning the extended series of Psalms and other scriptural readings that begins the service includes Psalm 136, which has the repeated refrain ‘ki le’olam hasdo’ – ‘for His kindness endures for ever’. It recounts all of God’s support for the Jewish People. Two of the acts of kindness the Psalm mentions are alluded to with the words ‘for Sichon King of the Amorites’ and ‘for Og King of Bashan’, without elucidating on the events referred to.

The two relevant incidents occur in the parasha we read this week. When the Israelites wanted to pass through his land they asked permission and assured him that they would not enter any fields or vineyards and would not take water from his wells. Sichon refused to allow them to pass, met the Israelites in battle, was defeated and lost his territory. Og was the next to confront the Israelites. He was also defeated in battle and lost his lands too.

The actions of Sichon and Og, although grouped together in the Psalm and described in short succession in the Torah, actually came from very different motives. First Sichon. His own status and territory was in no danger, the Israelites merely wanted to pass through. Instead by refusing entry to his land and launching an attack Sichon lost everything. What possessed him to be so obstreperous?

The Midrash has to add a detail to the text, that Sichon had an agreement with the surrounding nations that no hostile force should be allowed to pass through his land to attack them. He was not acting to defend himself but to honour his treaty obligations.

The case of Og was different. Although Og himself was probably not a Canaanite, he did rule over part of Canaan and therefore he was in territory which the Israelites intended to conquer. He therefore was defending his own lands which were in danger of being taken from him. Given this difference why are Sichon and Og mentioned in the same breath in both the Torah and the Psalm, especially a Psalm giving praise to God for His kindness?

When we face challenges, or impediments standing in our way, they can come from a whole range of people acting from a series of different motivations. Some people might feel they have a personal quarrel with us. Others are acting out of a feeling of obligation to third parties. Whatever the case may be, we can always be supported by the kindness of God and help that comes from heaven. We should not concern ourselves too much in why we are meeting opposition, but instead trust in God to help us overcome it, and when He does, to recognise that and give thanks.

Mon, 21 June 2021 11 Tammuz 5781