Shabbat Ha'azinu

Thank you South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation for a Yom Kippur to remember!

I would like to extend a huge thank you to our Chazzanim Chaver Yossi Aron and Chazan Greg Hurvitz ,the gabaim, madrichim and madrichot who led the children’s programs, our president David Boyar and the board, the CSG volunteers & Victoria Police members who came past to check on our safety. Most importantly I would like to thank each and everyone of you who joined us over the 25 or so hours to celebrate Yom Kippur together!

Shabbat Vayelech

Words cannot describe the energy that was felt in the Shule over Rosh Hashana, I was delighted to see so many people filling every part of the Shule and to enjoy a most beautiful davening together with you. A huge thanks to everyone who assisted in the planning, preparations and conducting of the services and thank you to everyone who attended!

Shabbat Nitzavim

It is difficult to believe that one year ago, Sarah, the kids and I were getting ready to experience our first Rosh Hashanah together with the South Caulfield Hebrew. Much has transpired since then and it has been a year full of excitement, activity and of course lots of positive energy. It is once again that we eagerly await to experience another beautiful High Holiday period together with all of you, our beloved community, and now extended family.

Shabbat Ki Tavo

I have had the great joy of being able to attend most of my son's footy matches over the past footy season. After Shacharit on Sunday mornings I would make my way to the different grounds and enjoy watching Aaron play for AJAX Football club.A few weeks ago was their semi-final match and unfortunately I was unable to be there due to a Simcha. They played well and fought hard but did not win the game.The boys were clearly disappointed but I believe the experience over the entire season was something that will hold them in good stead and something which I feel  has inspired me as well..

Shabbat Ki Tetze

This week we marked two very important days in the calendar. World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day, both strong reminders about the seriousness of mental health struggles and the pain that often comes along with these struggles.

I think it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be an expert to reach out to someone you know who might be suffering- just be a good friend and a great listener. You also don’t need to be a psychologist or GP to check-in with someone you are worried about

Shabbat Eikev

Jewish Care Victoria released an incredibly powerful family violence awareness campaign recently.

The campaign was developed in consultation with victim-survivors of family violence.

I find it very effective since at first glance the posters give you the impression that they are advertising something calm and playful.

After reading the words, however, a completely different picture emerges.

Shabbat Vaetchanan

I strongly believe that the theme for the 2019 International Youth Day (this past Tuesday) is incredibly relevant to the direction in which Shules, community organisations and the education system in general should be going. 

The theme this year is “transforming education”. 

It highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. 

Shabbat Devarim /Chazon

This past week was ‘Donate Life’ week. I recall a few years ago when a few of my colleagues and I registered for a “Halachik organ donor card” which was from an organisation based in the USA.

At the time I received many emails and messages saying that they thought organ donation was against Jewish law. Some even thought they couldn’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they donated an organ.

Shabbat Matot/Masei

You don’t need “likes” on Facebook or Instagram to determine your self-worth.

Interestingly Instagram is trialing hiding the 'likes' count on the app in several countries to remove social pressure on users. Not sure if that is their true altruistic reason but nonetheless it definitely highlights a growing issue or concern in our social media world today.

Shabbat Pinchas

Over 37 of my colleagues, Rabbis of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria, attended a two day conference in Geelong this past week. We focused on practical and professional Rabbinics.  Our guest lecturer, Rabbi Yossy Goldman from Sydenham Shule in Johannesburg, presented many sessions on innovative programs and pastoral care. The Rebbetzins also enjoyed their own seminar a few nights prior and appreciated learning from the experiences and wisdom of Rebbetzin Rochel Goldman.

Shabbat Balak

The Faceapp application (an app which uses neural network technology to automatically generate highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs) has again taken social media by storm with people posting images as to how they might look when they are older. It’s a fascinating concept and I think it’s intriguing to see a conceptualized older version of oneself.

Shabbat Chukat

I’d like to share something I posted this week on social media.

“There are generally two options or responses a person can have when they are upset at someone for something that they had done wrong to them. 

They can keep it inside and allow it to fester. This option often causes the upset to grow and become more toxic each day. It can start out small but it continues to grow in size. 

Shabbat Korach

“Are we almost there?” “Are we there yet??” Questions I am sure many of us asked on our family holidays or have heard or own children ask on the way to the family vacation. The thing is they are usually asked once the car has turned the first corner and only thirty seconds into the trip! The question is then repeated every five minutes until the destination is reached. Or rather till the test of impatience runs out.

Shabbat Shelach

Every few months I have the privilege to give a tour of the Shule and a talk about Judaism to the local public schools in the area. It always gives me joy to hear the different questions that are raised by the students and to see them embracing a different religion, even if it is just for an hour or so.

Shabbat Behaalotcha

In the lead up to officiating at a wedding there are numerous lessons and meetings that I have with the engaged couple. One of those meetings is facilitate looking at the results of a professionally designed pre-marriage questionnaire. This helps the couple look at the strengths and growth areas in their relationship. One of the sections covered in this assessment is to analyse how the couple might handle or react to disappointments and frustrations.

Shabbat Naso

I would like to share some reflections I wrote about after officiating a funeral this past week.

"The thud heard on the coffin as the gravesite begins to be filled is always a stark reminder of the fragility of life. Jewish tradition has those gathered at the gravesite assisting in this precious Mitzvah, doing one final act of kindness for the departed.

Shabbat Bamidbar

Some years ago I was working as a Rabbi in Atlanta, USA. It was my first role out of “rabbinic school” and my primary job was directing the adult education program for an already established Synagogue/Jewish Community centre. I had the opportunity to deliver a number of Torah classes during the week and also learning with individuals on topics of their choice. There was one guy with whom I learned on a weekly basis and we became quite close friends over my time in Atlanta. When I was getting ready to leave Atlanta I told him that I hoped to keep in touch with him in the future. He said something to me which I will never forget. He said that since we had spent time studying the Torah together we would always be connected since a a bond made through Torah is everlasting.

Shabbat Bechukotai

I receive a lot of emails from people who want to share interesting articles with me. A few week ago I received an email which immediately caught my attention. The subject heading was “How much are you worth?” The opening line in the email asked readers to take the quiz below and find out how much they are worth.

Shabbat Behar

This week in Australia is National Volunteer Week for 2019. The theme they have chosen for 2019 “Making a world of difference”.  I thought it was highly appropriate for our Shule and of course for our volunteers. One of the most tremendous things I have experienced in the relatively short time at South Caulfield Shule was the absolute dedication and support the volunteers offer to the community. I am always highly impressed and inspired by the time, effort and sincere love and care that the volunteers put in to make our community run smoothly. Over the weekend at our Charidy campaign and just yesterday at Lag B’Omer I watched a few of these dedicated volunteers helping me shlepp chairs, set up the fire, assist in the kitchen and all of this it is greatly appreciated. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their continued commitment to South Caulfield Shule!