Author Archive

President Weekly Message 27th July 2018

Posted on: July 26th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

President’s Report:

Shabbat shalom,

As some of you will be aware, last week we were notified of the IGA at St Ives closing its doors to make way for a new store and the Coles at Chatswood will no longer stock kosher meat.  For the local Jewish community and the staff that were employed by IGA this is of course a shock and inconvenience.  If you would like to join us in contacting Coles and raising awareness of this issue – please complete the follow steps.


1. Please copy and paste the text below in italics either on the facebook page or in the Feedback form for Coles and then send it to them.

2. Facebook Link and  website listed below:

Facebook link is

Coles website is and scroll down to fill in the Feedback form. Choose the Chatswood Chase store.

To the NSW Manager,

It has come to my attention that Coles has purchased the IGA St Ives NSW store and the store will be closed for refurbishment at the end of Aug 2018 for around 2 months. I understand that the existing staff will end working at this time. 

This store closure will result in the fantastic kosher product range and in-house kosher bakery not being available for the local Jewish community and in fact, those on the North Shore of Sydney who use this facility. This is a major issue and inconvenience to those who observe kosher laws in order to practice their Judaism. 

Can you advise if the kosher facilities like the bakery and other processed goods including kosher meat will be available once the new store reopens? 

I urge you to consider keeping this kosher facility and its associated product range open for the greater Jewish community. Our local Synagogue uses this facility every week with orders for cakes, bread, sushi, processed goods to name a few items ordered regularly.

I look forward to your positive response, can you please advise me within the next week of what Coles expects to be doing with this current kosher facility.

It has also come to our attention that the Coles Chatswood Chase store will no longer be stocking kosher meat as of 24/7/2018. As a consumer and regular customer, I request you consider reinstating this important service at this store for those kosher consumers. If this cannot be done as a regular line then perhaps, the opportunity for kosher consumers to order online with the store or as an alternative, they could ring the meat manager and order directly on a regular basis for pickup instore. If you are receiving stock locally or from interstate then surely there is no reason why kosher meat cannot be included on a regular basis too. Please advise re this request and the meat closure at this store.

Weekly Message 27th July

Posted on: July 26th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

Rabbi’s Message:

This Thursday night/Friday is the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av, in Hebrew it’s called – Tu B’Av.
This day has been called the Jewish Valentines Day because it was set aside since Talmudic times, and even before, as a national matchmaking day.
The Talmud equates the greatness of this day with Yom Kippur.
Tu B’Av is considered a day of good luck and spiritual strength because the moon shines full (as it does on every 15th of the Jewish month), however, in this month it comes right after the sad day of Tisha B’Av and therefore it is the light that comes after the darkness. The happiness & joy experienced after sadness is a lot stronger.

Much of of life’s greatest experiences and successes are set up in this way.

First comes a temporary downfall or a seeming failure or breakdown, but when we persevere through it, we come out a lot stronger. It’s almost like the downfall brought about the success, just like a seed needs to first rot in the ground in order to produce growth.

This is life’s greatest secret, to allow our emotions to flow and even experience temporary difficulty in order for infinitely greater happiness and success to follow.

Have a peaceful Shabbos!

Rabbi Chaim & Dina

Weekly Message 20th July

Posted on: July 20th, 2018 by Ben Hoch
Rabbi’s Message:

Dina and I wish a hearty Mazal Tov to Richard and Penelope Winston on the birth of a baby boy! May they have tremendous Nachat from him and may he bring many blessings into their home and into their life!

We also wish a hearty Mazal Tov to Michelle Zwi  on the birth of a grandson – Ian Hersch Cummins. A big Mazal Tov to her daughter Jolyn, great grandmother – Helga Zwi and the entire Zwi family!


This Saturday night and Sunday is TishaB’av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

We have services on Saturday evening after Shabbat – 6:30 pm with the reading of ‘Eicha’ a vivid description of the destruction of Jerusalem. There are also services on Sunday morning 8 am
(without Tefilin) and Sunday afternoon 4:30 pm (with Tefilin) to end of the Fast.

Even if you are not fasting it is meaningful to participate in a Tisha B’av service.


This week I discovered a great initiative headed by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks which is about to be launched called 929. The number corresponds to the amount of chapters in the bible and they are creating a website, a platform, with classes and insights on the bible (Hebrew and English) to encourage people all over the world to study one chapter of Tanach a day.

We have our own class on the bible (coffee with prophets) going on for a couple of months now which has taken off nicely. It runs every Wednesday at 11:30 am at Shul. We have very stimulating and robust discussions and everyone enjoys participating. The events recorded in the bible are fascinating and controversial. It is uncanny how closely they relate to modern day events.

We are currently more than half way through the book of Joshua and it will be very satisfactory when we celebrate the conclusion of one whole book.

I encourage you to jump along if you have the time!

Dina and I wish you a peaceful and relaxing Shabbat.

President Weekly Message 20th July 2018

Posted on: July 20th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

President’s Report:

Shabbat Shalom

Next week looks like it’s going to be a busy one with much happening within our shule.

Starting on Wednesday 25th July will be our first training evening with CSG and I invite you all to join me in building an understanding of safety and security within our local community. The program will be facilitated by CSG starting at 6.30pm running for approximately 1 hour. This will be part one of a six week program, with the remaining sessions occurring weekly on a Thursday at Masada College.  All sessions are free, and open to anyone involved in our Community (aged over 18), and no prior knowledge is required. To register for the free program please send an email to me:, providing your full name, date of birth and contact number.

The other big event is of course our famous whisky night! next Thursday evening, why not join us for some delicious whisky and some great company as we learn about whiskies from across the world.  The evening will be hosted by a whisky connoisseur who has promised some very special and different tastes from across the world. Jump on the website for more information and to book one of the last remaining seats!

If you can’t make either of these events, don’t stress! Our regular Shabbat services will kick off from Friday evening for your weekly dose of spiritual uplifting!

I look forward to seeing you at shule,


President Weekly Message 13th July 2018

Posted on: July 20th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

President’s Report:

Shabbat Shalom!

Two weeks ago Matt Zwi and I attended a meeting with representatives from synagogues across the North Shore, to review security and safety procedures.  The meeting was organised by the Community Security Group (CSG) who is responsible for the safety and security of the NSW Jewish Community and for providing advice and any necessary protection to the NSW Jewish Community, its synagogues, schools, events and institutions. Cremorne Synagogue works closely with CSG and its volunteers who you may have met when attending services.

In partnership with CSG, Masada College and all Synagogues on the North Shore, the board has decided to support a security training program to ensure that our members, families and friends are briefed, understand the current threat environment, are resilient and share responsibility for the safety and security of our community. The program will be facilitated by highly trained and experienced instructors from the CSG and will cover basic areas of security awareness, self-defence, personal safety, emergency procedures and much more.

Training sessions will occur once a week for a total of 6 weeks, beginning on Wednesday 25th July 2018 at 7.30pm at Cremorne Synagogue, with the remaining sessions occurring weekly on a Thursday at Masada College (for the remaining five weeks) –all sessions are free, and open to anyone involved in our Community (aged over 18), and no prior knowledge is required.

To register for the free program please send an email to me:, providing your full name, date of birth and contact number.

I hope you have all had a great week and look forward to seeing you this Shabbat.


Weekly Message 13th July

Posted on: July 20th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

Rabbi’s Message:

This evening we enter the ‘Nine Days’. During this time the traditional mourning intensifies as we don’t eat meat or drink wine (except for on Shabbat).

Many tragedies occurred during this time on the Jewish calendar, but we mourn primarily for the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. This is because we believe that those tragedies are the source and cause of all other tragedies, namely, the separation between heaven and earth, between Hashem and Jerusalem.

The Temple was a symbol of this harmony.

Jerusalem has been rebuilt but the place in which Hashem dwelt openly – the Temple, hasn’t.

Every time we perform an act of goodness we draw G-dliness, the source of life, into the world.

We don’t know why some have a life which seems more blessed than others because we are not privy to the details of how Hashem runs the world. We do know, however, that every act of goodness and kindness brings the world closer to the time when suffering will no longer be part of life’s experiences. This is what we are encouraged to think about during these Nine Days.

Recently, the whole world was transfixed on the scary predicament of the 12 teenage boys and their coach trapped in a cave because our hearts go out for other people’s suffering, whether we know them, or whether they are Jewish or not. Thank G-d they are all fine, but unfortunately one diver, a hero, died trying to save them. His name was Saman Gunan. He will be immensely rewarded by Hashem for his heroism and self sacrifice.

May Hashem put an end to all suffering Amen!

Shabbat Shalom

Chaim & Dina

Weekly Message 6th July

Posted on: July 6th, 2018 by Ben Hoch
Rabbi’s Message:

In this week’s reading we encounter a ‘zealot’, what you might call a ‘passionate enthusiast’, an individual by the name of Pinchas who saw an unjust behaviour which had no clear Jewish law how to respond to. He took the matter into his own hands and acted bravely to eradicate it, and for this he was rewarded. (see portion Pinchas)

In addition to the obvious lesson about standing up for what’s right even when others don’t, there is an equally important lesson here.

Having zeal or enthusiasm to fix a problem could be very dangerous too, it all depends where it is coming from.

For example; We all get passionate about our children’s development, about the skills they’re acquiring, we only want the best of the best for them. Sometimes we get too passionate and drown them in our expectations or we get angry with them. Our passion toward something has to come from a place of calm, it has to be thought out and deliberate. Ask yourself; Is my passion justified or am I just frustrated? Am I overenthusiastic about everything? Could it be a form of selfishness that we are imposing on others?

Pinchas was a calm and peaceful man, he did what he did because it was the right thing, not because he had an anger problem or because he had a bad night’s sleep.

Impulsive excitement could be damaging, but thought out enthusiasm is a powerful force for good.

Good Shabbos!

President Weekly Message 30th June 2018

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

President’s Message:

Well the special day has finally arrived for Jack and Thomas with a double barmitzvah celebration happening this Shabbat! Join us this week in shule, as we call both boys up to the Torah and honour one of the most special traditions in our faith.  I look forward to celebrating alongside both sets of parents and hope to see you there!

This week is also your last chance to vote Dina in the Westfield Local Heroes campaign.  If you haven’t voted yet, please make sure you do before Sunday to ensure we give Dina the best chance possible to win!

Finally, registrations are now open for our annual Whisky tasting evening.  If you have not been to one of these events before, then you are truly missing out! This is hands down, my favourite event of the year and this time will be bigger and better than ever. I can promise a range of delicious whisky, some tasty cheeses and some awesome company.  Visit our website now for details on how to book and secure your place at the tasting table.

Until next time,

Shabbat Shalom


Weekly Message 30th 2018

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Ben Hoch

Rabbi’s Message:

This Sunday is the fast of the 17 of Tammuz. This is the start of the Three week mourning period which concludes with Tisha B’av – the 9th day of Av.


Don’t forget to vote for Dina as the local hero for the Chatswood Westfield program!

Link to vote:


We are in the midst of the soccer world cup. Even people who don’t usually follow soccer enjoy following this competition which is the greatest stage for the sport. Winning the world cup is the dream of every soccer player and it brings great pride to the winning country.

Soccer is a beautiful game and during my two and half years in Brazil I developed a passion for the game.

One memory I have from that time is when Ronaldinho was asked whether he watches the matches when Brazil play, and his answer was no! He doesn’t like watching soccer, he would check the results but has no interest in watching the games. Obviously he enjoys playing it. He was the best in the world for quite some time!

At first I couldn’t make sense of it, but then I realised that he enjoys making the difference in a match but doesn’t enjoy watching something he can’t do anything about. He is driven when he is involved but not to watch from the side lines.

A player on the field cannot walk away from the game when it’s not going the way they like it, they have to keep on fighting for the team because they are “IN IT”. Fans on the other hand are not as involved, they can, and often do walk away when the team is losing.

Life is not a game but there’s is a lot we can learn from sport.

Do you see yourself as a player on the field, or a fan? To you fight and persist for important matters, or do you walk away when it is no longer exciting?

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Chaim

President Weekly Message 22nd June 2018

Posted on: June 21st, 2018 by Ben Hoch

President’s Message:

What a busy and exciting week for our shule and in particular Chaim and Dina!

I am sure by now you have heard of the fantastic news surrounding our Rebbetzin Dina who has been nominated and shortlisted as a ‘Westfield Local Hero’ and now we need your help to secure first place! We are all very aware of the HUGE contribution that Dina makes to the spirit of our synagogue, as well as to the general community.  Voting lines are now officially open for the ‘Westfield Local Hero’ and close on 1st July.

How to vote:

Select: Chastwood
Enter: Your name and email then click Submit
Share: Far and wide (the more votes the better)

And finally this week is of course Chaim’s birthday celebration. I invite you all to attend and share in the celebrations this Shabbat. I have been privy to some of the planning and have no doubt you are in for a special treat this weekend.

I hope you have all had a great week,

Shabbat Shalom