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From the President
JUSTICE STEPHEN ROTHMAN AM

PRESIDENT
e: admin@greatsynagogue.org.au

Dear Friends,

SHABBAT SHALOM!

The Yom Hashoah commemoration last Shabbat was moving and beautiful.  So too was the Israel Shabbat for the forthcoming Yom Ha’atzma’ut.  Ending the service with Hatikvah is always stirring and uplifting.

This week, we commemorate ANZAC Day and we also hold our regular Communal Lunch in honour of that occasion.  As always I expect it will be an appropriate mark of our thanks and respect for those who have given to ensure our freedom, particularly our own members.  It’s an historic coincidence that ANZAC Day and Yom Hazikaron occur about the same time and for the same fundamental reasons.  Roger Selby, President of NAJEX, will recite the Haftarah in honour of the ANZACs and ANZAC Day.

This week we also celebrate the birthdays of Anthony Goodman (75th), Hans Kaim (82nd), and Claude Hakim (82nd).  Happy Birthday to each of them; and may you each enjoy good health till 120!

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.

Don’t forget to attend one of the community’s Yom Ha’atzma’ut functions.

Warmest Regards,

Justice Stephen Rothman AM


 

From the Rabbi
RABBI DR BENJAMIN ELTON

e: rabbi@greatsynagogue.org.au

The concert last week with the Sydney Jewish Choral Society and Rev Weinberger was a terrific success. There was an excellent turn-out, high quality music and wonderful performances. I am delighted that The Great Synagogue could be such an appropriate venue, and I was moved to be one of those who lit a candle in memory of the fallen in the First World War.

This Shabbat we have three special events. Hinda will be running Tot Shabbat, which is now a firm favourite with the kids and families who attend. Bring your children and grandchildren to join the experience. After the main service we will be holding our traditional ANZAC Ceremony in the Mezzanine, with the laying of wreaths and roses. That will be followed by an ANZAC themed communal lunch. These are always well-attended and greatly enjoyed. Join us!

Tazria begins with the description of the offerings a woman brings to the Tabernacle when she gives birth. The miracle of bringing new life into the world led the Rabbis to create some of their most beautiful Midrashim.

Rabbi Levi made three statements about pregnancy and childbirth: If a person lends another an ounce of silver in private, they will be delighted to receive a pound of gold in public. So too with parents. They entrust to God a single cell, and nine months later they receive a fully formed person. If a person is trapped in a room, and someone kindles a lamp for them, they will feel grateful. The embryo is in the womb, and God causes a light to shine so it can see from one end of the earth to the other.  If someone is confined to a chamber, and another comes along and releases them, they will be happy. After forty weeks or so, God comes, releases the baby and brings it into the world.

These three statements call our attention to the miraculous aspects of creating a child, in the beginning, the middle and the end. The possibility of making new life is itself remarkable. Turning an ounce of silver into a pound of gold is a miracle in itself. The fact that a baby survives, grows and becomes viable is also extraordinary, and (I suggest) that is poetically attributed by R Levi to the womb being filled with an extraordinary Divine light. Finally, moving from totally dependent to at least somewhat independent life is an awesome transition, and also needs the help of Heaven.

When the Heavenly meets the earthly, as it does in pregnancy and childbirth, it is our religious duty to acknowledge that. That is why the new mother brought her offerings. Today, without offerings, the mother’s blessing in shule (haGomel) serves something of the same function, as does a Brit Milah for a boy and naming ceremony for a girl. Even when there aren’t such well-developed rituals, when we spot the miraculous or semi-miraculous at work, we should stop, recognise it and give thanks.

Shabbat shalom!

 

 

Tue, 24 April 2018 9 Iyar 5778