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From the President



Dear Friends,

Many Smachot at TGS!

In the leadup to Rosh Hashanah, we have many Smachot at the Shule and so it will be a time of wonderful celebration that is combined with a return to the Shule after years of disruption due to the pandemic.

This shabbat we have the Aufruf of Arthur Shariev & Samantha Khavin and the kiddush has been generously sponsored by the Shariev Family in honour of the wedding couple. Arthur and Samantha will be married at The Great this Sunday 21 August.

Closely following on their heels will be Asher Dinnen & Dominique Doyle who will be married at TGS later this month. After that we have a baby naming, multiple Bar & Bat Mitzvahs and another wedding so it really is party time at TGS!
We wish Mazal Tov to all their families and look forward to all these new members.

The Great Synagogue AGM Sunday 11 September
The Great Synagogue AGM will be held on Sunday 11 September at 5pm in the Israel Green Auditorium. We look forward to seeing many of you there so please mark your diaries so you may join us. All financial members (including Seat Holders) over the age of 18 years are entitled to vote and all financial members who have been financial for the previous two years may be nominated for election to the Board.

Mazal Tov to Jack Pinczewski
On Tuesday night at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, our Board member, Jack Pinczewski, was elected to the position of Director. The Great, together with all communal organisations, has “ordinary delegates” as a constituent organisation – our delegates are Toby Hammerman and Debbie Sleigh. Jack will now sit on the Board of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) thereby increasing our engagement. Of course, Rabbi Elton also serves as Rabbinic Adviser to the JBOD as well as the ECAJ.

This week we wish happy birthday to Shirley Ehrlich, Paul Kinney and Shirley Maybloom on her 88th.

Wedding Anniversaries
Mazal Tov to Simon and Kylie Freedman on their 14th, Ian and Anita Jacobi on their 46th and it is Caroline’s and my 37th late next week - Thank you Caroline for looking after me so well for all this time!

Bar & Bat Mitzvah Anniversaries
Samantha Green, celebrates her 43rd BMA whilst our past President and Life Member Norton Whitmont OAM, marks his 72nd BMA. Mazal Tov to you both.

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.

Kindest Regards,

David P. Lewis

From the Rabbi


Ekev 5782

This Shabbat we are delighted to celebrate the aufruf of Artur Shariev before his marriage to Sam Khavin. We wish the happy couple every happiness and a warm Mazal Tov to them and their families. We are looking forward to a series of semachot and special Shabbatot that will take us all the way to Rosh Hashanah, a beautiful way to end the year.

As the High Holidays draw very near, now is the time to make sure your membership is up to date, and for non-members to join. Tickets for the High Holidays will be available for purchasing in the coming week, so look out for that forthcoming email. It is going to be a wonderful Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at The Great and I am looking forward to seeing you and your families. The Office is there to help you and of course I am always available for a conversation about that or anything else.

Last week we read the first paragraph of the Shema and this week we read the second, which like the first we read twice every day. It must therefore be saying something very important. The themes of the second paragraph begin with the highest-level religious imperatives. The verses tell us to love and serve God and if we do so then we will receive rain in the proper amounts at the proper time, we will be able to harvest our crops, have pasture for our cattle and we will eat to satisfaction. But if we turn to other gods then God will withhold rain, there will be no food and we will perish.

Then there is an apparent change of subject.  We move from a general admonition to specific regulations. We are told to place God’s words on our hearts and souls and then to wear tefillin, to teach our children and affix mezuzot, all of which will secure the future of ourselves and our children. What is the connection between these two, apparently rather different, passages? The first is an overarching exhortation and the second is a list of particular instructions. And why these specific regulations, which seem to be ritual, rather than ethical.

One of Judaism’s principal claims is that spiritual aspirations are best translated into action through the medium of rituals that remind us of our religious commitments. It is not sufficient to think in general terms about loving and serving God and hope that will lead to good deeds. A person has to place God’s words – that is His instructions – on their heart and souls. That is carry out ceremonial actions which prompts us to appropriate religious behaviour. We must teach our children, men wear tefillin, our houses have a mezuzah on each doorpost. They act as reminders of the duties we owe to God. These actions are what the Torah means when it tell us to ‘place God’s words on our hearts and souls’.

We are not talking about essential religious duties themselves – prayer, charity, Shabbat rest – but rather active reminders of them. These practical actions are the bridge between intention and realisation, and they spring from the understanding that human nature requires this connective tissue for a life of good deeds to be achieved. This is one of the reasons Judaism is so rich in rituals and ceremonies. They are not simply for their own sake, but in order to encourage us to perform the essential actions that God wants from us. We put up mezuzot to we remember to behave well at home. Men wear tefillin on their arms so they aware they should use their hands kindly and not cruelly, and so forth. The second paragraph of the Shema is the mapping out of that system, and it is so central that we must say it twice a day.


Sat, 20 August 2022 23 Av 5782