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From the Vice President


LAUREN RYDER
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear Friends,

Shabbat Shalom!  

This Shabbat we are pleased to welcome Multicultural leaders from across Sydney to our Shabbat morning service where we honour His Royal Highness Prince Philip. A memorial prayer will be recited, and Rabbi Elton will make a sermon in memory of the Duke.  We look forward to having you there.  

In the spirit of the mitzvot of kindness and giving, we now have a “Chesed Box” located in the TGS office, where anyone can drop off donations of canned goods, non-perishable pantry items and personal hygiene items. Please consider bringing in a few items next time you visit the Shule to help those who are less fortunate.

This week we wish a very special Mazal Tov to Eddie Jaku OAM who is celebrating both his 101st birthday and his and Flore's 75th Wedding Anniversary! We send many happy wishes to the entire Jaku family.

Mazal tov to those celebrating birthdays:  Eli Green, Ruth Jurke, David Herrman and Hilda Herrman. We wish Mazal Tov to Ilana Moddel on her birthday and thank her for all the amazing work she does for us in the office. 

This week we celebrate Bar Mitzvah Anniversaries for Stephen Kopp, Joshua Abulafia, David Corrick and Eli Green. Mazal Tov!

We wish Mazal Tov to those celebrating Wedding Anniversaries: Darryl & Simone Green on their 6th Anniversary and Joe & Avril Symon on their 35th Anniversary

Thank you to everyone who has made offerings this week, including Johanna Nicholls who has made an offering in honour of the lifetime of Prince Philip.

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.  

Wishing all of you a Shabbat Shalom.

Warm regards,

Lauren Ryder

Vice President

 

 

From the Rabbi


RABBI DR BENJAMIN ELTON
e: rabbielton@greatsynagogue.org.au

Tazria-Metzora 5781

This Shabbat we expect to be joined by communal and faith leaders as we recite a memorial prayer for Prince Philip. I will be dedicating my sermon in his memory, and especially what we can take into our own lives from his example.

We have some exciting events coming up. On Sunday evening 9 May at 6pm we will hold a special choral service for Yom Yerushalayim, with Maariv, psalms from Hallel, prayers for the State of Israel and the IDF and for the Counting of the Omer. We will be joined again by Chazan Menachem Feldman who will be accompanied by the Great Synagogue Choir. Our service on the seventh night of Pesach was so well-received we wanted to find an opportunity for those who couldn’t attend that evening to come to a similar service on a weeknight.

Shavuot will also be busy. On first day we invite all children to parade with flags to the bimah for the Ten Commandments, followed by an ice cream party. On the second day we are trying something new. The service will run from 8am to approximately 10:30am, followed by a dairy brunch in the Israel Green Auditorium. We hope this earlier time will be attractive to people who don’t want to be in shule until noon or later.

The first of the two parshiyot we will read this week discusses ritual impurity that comes to a woman after she gives birth, which requires her to separate from her husband. Normally ritual impurity is associated with death. The classic example is contact with a dead body, which transmits the most serious type of ritual impurity. But even the regular monthly case of female ritual impurity happens because a woman has not conceived that month, and therefore although there has been no death, there has at least been an absence of new life. The case of a woman who has just given birth seems to break this pattern. There can be no greater demonstration of life than a new child being born! Why, then, does it bring with it a bout of ritual impurity?

Generally speaking I am against explanations of mitzvot that point to practical benefits, for example pork or shellfish being non-kosher because they are unhealthy. However, in this case I am tempted to make an exception. A woman after childbirth needs time to recuperate, and she certainly doesn’t want to be concerned with looking after her husband’s physical needs. The period of ritual impurity after a birth gives her that space and places her physically out of bounds. We would hope that men would not need that external restraint, but that is not always the case.

If this is indeed a good explanation then it demonstrates that the Torah is interested in every aspect of human life, including that a women gets enough time to rest and recuperate after childbirth, and is able to use religious practices to promote personal health and wellbeing, and above all that it is realistic. If we can also be realistic and be concerned with physical welfare as we go about our religious lives, that would be a major benefit for us all.

Sat, 17 April 2021 5 Iyar 5781