All posts by Ben Hoch

President Weekly Message 15th June 2018

President’s Message:

This week marked the first meeting of the board and I am delighted to report that progress is already underway for a number of exciting projects.  As these projects commence, I have come to appreciate the unique and diverse range of skills and experience that are based within our own community.  It has also made me think, are there hidden experts in the community that I am not aware of.

Is this you?

Do you have experience in digital media? Are you a website superstar? Are you a photographer or videographer, a designer or musician? Whatever you may be an expert at, I would love to hear from you!

You can always reach me by email ( or, why not stop by shule this Shabbat and say hello in person?

I hope you have all had a great week,

Shabbat Shalom


President Weekly Message 8th June 2018

President’s Message:

This week has been a busy one, with Rabbi Chaim and I enjoying our first official planning meeting. After almost three hours of intense discussion, I left with a note pad full of exciting ideas and events that we hope to bring to the community later this year.  Stay tuned and make sure you regularly check our Facebook page and website for some exciting updates coming soon.

In other news, why not come and celebrate with us this Shabbat?

This coming Shabbat is sure to be a party, as we celebrate Garry Hyman’s Barmtizvah anniversary.  I always enjoy special days like this – you can feel the warmth, positivity and energy in the air and I have no doubt this Shabbat will be the same.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you for all of the kind messages and emails I have received over the past week.  I am so grateful for your support and look forward to exceeding your expectations over the coming months.

Until next time,

Shabbat shalom

President Weekly Message 1st June 2018

President’s Message:

Following on from last Sunday’s AGM, this week’s newsletter update will be my first as President and as such, I thought I would take this opportunity to say a few words.

Firstly I must acknowledge John and Jane for their leadership of our community over the past two years. As it was reported at our AGM, the shule is in a strong position and I believe this is a testament to the structure encouraged by John, as well as, the work of the Board and Rabbi over the past twelve months. Thank you John for all of your hard work and I wish you nothing but the safest of travels for your upcoming road trip.

I think it is equally important to acknowledge some changes occurring at board level with Garry Hyman and Simon Zelas stepping down and Sarah Ginges stepping up.  Both Garry and Simon have been a core part of the board over many years and although they are stepping down, both have agreed to assist with ongoing projects.

With Matt Zwi and I both commencing new executive roles, we are not naive in acknowledging there is much work ahead.  I can honestly say rather than feeling daunted or overwhelmed, we are both so excited to get started and look forward to what the future holds for our community.  Together with the support of an experienced board, we will endeavour to push the boundaries on what is possible.

Personally, I feel honoured to join the list of some of the most inspirational and dedicated members of our shule.  I hope like them, I am able to leave a memorable mark on this community. I really hope you all feel comfortable to approach me with ideas, concerns, questions (or jokes) as my digital door is always open.

Until next week,


Weekly Message 22nd June 2018

Rabbi’s Message:

Is there room for “positive irrationality” in our lives?

Whenever you meet someone who thinks or feels different to you, you are likely to feel that some of the things they want are irrational to you.

Often in a marriage spouses get annoyed at each other thinking; ‘why does he/she like doing that?! Or ‘why does he/she care to have in that specific way?!

These frustrating situations can either tear you apart, or become a tremendous opportunity to bond with your spouse. When you do something for someone else just because THEY like it, it will bring you closer together in a way that nothing else will, precisely because you did it purely for them (providing you did it willingly).

This is the purpose of the ‘irrational’ Mitzvahs in the Torah like the Red Heifer that appears in this week’s reading.

Hashem provided them for this reason so we can do something for him that in our world doesn’t make sense but in Hashem’s world it does, we can reject it because of the irrationality, or we can do it purely because for Hashem it is meaningful and real.

Things that seem irrational to you, might be the best glue for your relationship!

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Chaim

Weekly Message 15th June 2018

Rabbi’s Message:

Dina and I wish blessings of comfort and good health to Bessie Stein on the passing of her Husband Ellie who was a regular at our Shul for three decades.

We also wish a long and healthy life to Ellie’s daughter Gillian Heller, her husband Steven, and to her sisters Debbie and Sharon and their families.

We will be welcoming them to Shul this Friday evening.

This week we read about a massive argument that broke out in the Jewish community. This argument didn’t just ‘break out’ as much as it was instigated and skillfully led by a very ‘clever’ man named Korach – Moses first cousin.

If you examine the global community today, you will find that there is a lot divisiveness and strong disagreements particularly around leadership and political issues. It seems very difficult to have a civil discussion about important issues without offending someone or causing unpleasant feelings. People seem to get easily upset when they hear a contrary view.

What is the way to resolve this and make a more pleasant climate?

Perhaps the solution is to focus on things that we can actually change as individuals. Having an opinion on a major global issue that we don’t have the power to change can put us on edge, feeling vulnerable if we are challenged.

There is a famous saying:

“Men like to solve the ‘big issues’ like the global trade and peace between countries and the like, and woman like to solve ‘smaller issues’ like making sure the family doesn’t starve and that they have clothes to wear…”

Perhaps our perception of big and small is distorted, we get very hyped up about matters that are out of our control but don’t consider too important matters that we can actually solve, and solve quickly; like being a better person, reducing anger, fear, being more generous and giving, being more forgiving, improving our relationship with Hashem and the like, things that may seem small but which make us bigger people.

Dina and I wish you a peaceful (pun intended) Shabbat!

Weekly Message 8th June 2018

You probably heard this week that the National Argentinian football team cancelled a scheduled game vs the Israeli national team that was to be played in Israel.
For Israel this game was considered an opportunity to host, and play against Lionel Messi who is a legend of the game and is considered one of the greatest to ever play football. For Argentina, this was an opportunity to pocket some 6-7 million dollars during a financially difficult period, as well as to gain a ‘spiritual blessing’ for the World Cup that begins in just a few weeks time. Apparently, the two world cups in which Argentina did well were preceded by a visit to the holy land, so they believe it provided them with good luck.
The reason for this cancellation was threats made to the Argentinian players by BDS activists and others.
This cancellation and concession to these threats has potentially created a dangerous precedent for BDS to continue intimidating others from associating with Israel.
Interestingly, the central theme of this weeks Torah portion is about the Jewish nation overtaken by a terrible fear about entering Israel for the first time and conquering the land.
The 12 spies intimidated everyone by saying; “It is a scary and complicated land… a lot of people are dying there…”
The nation was terribly frightened.
I will talk about the nature of fear on Shabbat morning in Shul.
Let us examine how much we allow unfounded fear to dictate our own behaviour, do we act out of fear of others or do we Pursue what is right for us?
Conceding to fear shouldn’t be an option.

Dina & I wish you Shabbat Shalom!