All posts by Rabbi Chaim Koncepolski

Weekly Message 26th May 2016

There is a figure in Jewish folklore who has been an inspiration to all those starting new ventures particularly very challenging ones.

His name is Akiva or as he was known later on his life as Rabbi Akiva. Akiva was a simple and unlearned man until the age of 40 when he met his future wife who encouraged him to begin developing his cognitive skills.

He experienced extreme difficulties studying and wanted to give up. Until one day he noticed small drops of water dripping onto a rock, slowly carving a hole into the surface.

He was amazed and concluded: “If water can carve a hole through this rock, then surely this study material can enter my brain.” He went on to become one of the greatest sages to ever live!

This method is what you might call the “long but short way.” Small efforts every day can cause water to carve through rock, can open our minds to deeper thoughts, and our hearts to better feelings.

Never give up on any initiative! Adopt Akiva’s method and experience success and bliss!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 19th May 2016

This upcoming Monday (23rd) there will be another “Girls Night Out” evening. The first Girls Night Out evening (Hamentashen bake) had a beautiful social atmosphere and this one promises to be fantastic as well.

Entertaining program, delicious cocktails, food and drinks will be served. For details and registration please see Shul website.

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Isn’t it ironic that every time a person tries to improve on something, whether it is a skill, a character trait, a weakness, or improve ones knowledge they immediately feel like they are getting worse? They may even feel that they were better off not thinking about in the first place.

This initial feeling is misleading. When we start something new, we often put in more effort than necessary and that builds up tension. We usually overestimate how much effort we need to put into something in order to improve it.

For the past 3000 years, the Omer period has been a time designated to try and balance our efforts and our emotions, even slightly. With a calm and deliberate approach we can travel a long way!

Dina and I wish you Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski

Weekly Message 12th May 2016

With great sadness we received the news of the passing of Arnold Casper this morning.

Dina and I wish Shirley and Annabelle Casper strength and comfort at this difficult time.

We also wish a blessing of a long and healthy life ahead to Eva and Alan Gold and to the entire extended family.

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Today is Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). It is a day for every Jewish person to be incredibly proud and happy for our unbelievably thriving country. Israel belongs to every Jew whether you live in Sydney, America, Paris or London. 68 years ago, the people living in Israel cried from joy for every new advance that was made. When the train began operating they felt: “This train is actually ours!!! This beach is ours! This shopping mall is ours! This hospital is ours! Etc. Fast forward a relatively short period of 68 years and Israel has become one of the most advanced countries in the world and in many areas THE most advanced.

Now that we have set such a high standard of success we can afford to argue about how perfectly our country is operating, how perfectly our army is operating and how much room there is still for improvement.

I am personally very excited to see how much more our country will advance in the future.

Let us be extremely proud of Israel and enjoy this special day of celebration.

Happy Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) and Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message May 5th 2016

We are in the midst of a period called the “OMER”. It is a period of 7 weeks in total, throughout which we count every day: “Today is day One, today is day Two etc, beginning from Pesach, until the Festival of Shavuot (49 days). This counting is an expression of anticipation to the festival of Shavuot and a Blessing is said before each counting so it is not such a casual exercise.

For a while, I would perform this counting fairly casually, until one evening when I reflected on how something seemingly trivial and brief can actually be uplifting and motivating.

When you count something you love, you don’t tire.

There was a great rabbi who, while in his late eighties, would stand on his feet for as long as 8 hours at a time greeting people and giving them support. On one of these occasions a journalist asked him how he was able to do this, he responded: “When you are counting diamonds you don’t tire”

This attitude was obviously ingrained in him, but what about me and you, and how we feel about our days and our time. Do we tire counting our days or is it a pleasure and an exciting exercise because we are proud of how we spend our time…?

I leave you to reflect.

Dina and I wish you a restful Shabbat!

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 27th April 2016

This weekend concludes the Festival of Pesach.

This Friday commemorates the splitting of the sea of reeds which happened on the 7th day of Pesach. We read about it from the Torah with a melodious song.

Saturday commemorates the relevance of Pesach in a modern world and how it appeals to us – I will be sharing some thoughts on this during the service.

On Saturday afternoon following Mincha we are hosting an informal get together of song and inspiration at our home to end off the Chag on a high (ending 5:54pm). Some call it the Seudah (meal) of Moshiach. Matzah, wine and refreshments 😉 All are welcome!

On Saturday we will be saying the memorial prayers for our loved ones – Yizkor at (10:45 am). This prayer helps their soul on its journey and brings them comfort.

May their soul be bound in the bond of eternal life and may they Shep tremendous Nachas from all of us!

I look forward to celebrating these last days of Pesach with you!

Rabbi Chaim and Rebbetzin Dina Koncelpolski

Weekly Message 14th April 2016

We Australians are very fortunate to live in a country that is very accepting of our Judaism and our culture.

However, on a personal level, When it comes to being comfortable to demonstrate our values publicly, every person surely struggles with that whether it is our appearance or our views.

This upcoming Shabbat is called “Shabbat Hagadol” – The great Shabbat.

It is called by this name because a great miracle happened on this Shabbat.

When the Jewish people were in Egypt, they were asked to perform a Jewish ritual with sheep which was a deity of the local Egyptians thereby risking provoking the locals. This ritual related to the death of the first-born of the Egyptians. They performed it without hesitation.

The power of their sincerity and confidence was such that not only did the young Egyptians not fight back, but they fought with their parents to release the Jewish nation from Egypt.

This principle is eternal. Be calm and proud of your beliefs, 99.9 % of people around you will respect and honour it. It is very liberating too.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 7th April 2016

This Friday evening we will be welcoming Ron Weinstock and family with the traditional Mourners consolation. Ron and his family are mourning the passing of Vivienne Weinstock, their beautiful and beloved wife, mother, daughter and sister.
Dina and I wish them the strength to carry them through this very difficult time.
תהא נשמתה צרורה בצרור החיים – May her memory be a blessing.
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We are hosting a special Matza bakery for children aged 3-10 (at the Synagogue ) on Sunday the 17th of April, 10:30AM until 12PM.
The children will have the opportunity to see how Matza is baked, and to bake their very own to take home!
Cost: $15/child
Please email me before Thursday, April 14th at rabbi@cremornesynagogue.com to register your child.
Finally, on the first night of Pesach (Friday 22nd of April) there will be a family oriented Seder at Shul which will be child friendly. If you plan on coming please RSVP ASAP so we can plan ahead without last minute stress.

Dina and I wish you a restful Shabbat.

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 31st March 2016

Do you want to keep your mind creative and stress free?
Here is the recipe:
This week we read about (ritual) impurity (the portion of “Parah”).
The definition of “pure” is: “Not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material.”
In the case of ritual impurity it is the mix of life and death, but on a daily basis impurity occurs when we allow unnecessary information into our minds. Either in the form of a negative piece of news, or even just reading or watching things that we can’t do anything about but they inevitably affect our thinking.
We don’t have to expose ourselves to everything just because it is available, and in many cases it robs us of the focus we need to live a functional and productive life.
Keep your mind pure and the quality of your life will increase dramatically!

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim & Dina

Weekly Message 24th March 2016

Dina and I wish a blessing of long and healthy life to Zeldie Farbenblun, David and Gillian Farbenblum and family, and to Michael and Sue Farbenblum and family on the passing of Sam Moss who was a pillar and patriarch of their family.

This week was the festival of Purim. The energy of Purim is joy and happiness. The message of Purim is that in spite of the various pressures and even misfortunes that we might experience we CAN, and SHOULD be happy because happiness is synonymous with life, happiness is rooted right in our soul (mind) and it needs no reason to be.

This is a powerful and timely message for a time when we are being inundated with messages that one gadget or another will bring us the healthy feelings that we crave for.

May we absorb this energy of joy and have many reasons to be joyful Amen!

Dina and I wish you a relaxing weekend and a Shabbat Shalom!

Weekly Message 17th March 2016

This upcoming Wednesday night/Thursday, is the festival of Purim. When a Jewish holiday approaches we want to feel the spirit of the holiday and celebrate. We want our children to get a feel for it and enjoy it.
Here are the 4 things we do on Purim to capture the spirit:
1. Feast! – The table is decorated, we wash for bread or Challah and enjoy a meal featuring meat, wine, joyful Jewish songs, words of inspiration and a joyous Purim atmosphere. We sing, drink, laugh, and have fun together. We will be doing this in full style at the Synagogue at the “Purim in the Jungle” party.
2. Hear the Megillah – a.k.a. “The Book of Esther” – this is the scroll that tells the Purim story. Listen to the public reading twice: once on Purim night (It will be read on Wednesday night March 23, 7:30pm at the synagogue followed by a special kiddush), and again on Purim day, Thursday, March 24 (during the morning service, or late afternoon at the “Purim in the Jungle” party).
3. Give to the Needy (Matanot La’Evyonim) – Care for the less fortunate, give money or food to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim, March 24.
4. Gifts to Friends (Mishloach Manot) – Send a package with two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim. This emphasises the importance of friendship and community.
We have a fantastic party on Thursday night with quality entertainment and dinner for adults and children. Dina & I look forward to celebrating with you and making this a very memorable Purim!

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Chaim & Dina Koncepolski