I have already received some challenging questions for this week’s “Stump the Rabbi” session that will replace my sermon this upcoming Shabbat morning (at about 11am). I will give preference to the questions submitted in advance. If you haven’t thought of a question yet, you can still send one in before Shabbat. The earlier the better! Remember that I’m happy to respond anonymously. We will do this session once a month.
After an enjoyable and revitalising trip to Israel, we are glad to be back with this beautiful community and this great country. Australia is a phenomenal place, and the benefits we have here enable us to live a life of calm, coupled with a beautiful landscape.
In that vein, Dina and I wish you Happy Australia Day!
Our son Yitzchak will be celebrating his 6th birthday this weekend. We will be celebrating on Saturday at Shul with a guitar cake (I wonder where he got that idea from:).
Happy birthday Yitzchak!
I want to bring to your attention to some events coming up over the next two weeks:
1) The Friday night social evening with a musical service is coming up next week (3rd). Go ahead and register (on Shul website) for an unforgettable evening.
2) Rabbi Shmuel and Rivkah Cohen who served as Rabbi and Rebbetzin of the Shul for 20 years will be visiting from Israel and we will enjoy a Shabbat lunch with them on the 11th of Feb. Registration on Shul website.
Every week we will explore something new that touches on real life dilemmas such as, The power of positive thinking, Nature vs nurture and other fascinating topics. Please contact me for more details!
Dina and I wish you Shabbat Shalom!
While planning our yearly Hanukkah party, we suspected we might have a smaller crowd than usual due to the holiday period. However this past Wednesday a great crowd of over 100 people came and enjoyed a lively Chanukah event.
I thank the social committee chaired by Ben Hoch for working hard in arranging this great event. I also thank those who gave from their time to bake, set up, and shop for the event.
There is a certain tendency to indulge in the past and detach it from the present; “Things used to be better,” “times used to be better,” people use to be more like this… or more like that…nowadays it’s not the same…
“Kids these days” and so on. This attitude tears us away from the present, and we escape to the past to a mixture of reality and fantasy.
There is a similar attitude with our festivals, that they are interesting events that happened a long time ago, but they wouldn’t happen today. But if this is true, and the events of a festival are not reoccurring, then the Festival is irrelevant to a modern life. Just like anything outdated, it would ultimately vanish.
The Jewish attitude is that a festival and its’ message are current and relevant, and we must find a way to make it personal.
A humorous WhatsApp message drives this point home: “Imagine your mobile-phone battery had only 10% left and it lasted for eight days..” now do you understand the miracle of Chanukah??? 🙂
Modern day Israel is an ongoing Chanukah miracle. It is a tiny country continuously threatened by by its neighbours and it not only survives, but it thrives! It barely has any natural resources, but it built a thriving and innovative economy. This is not a natural phenomenon.
The question is whether we believe a small amount of something can outdo its natural expectation, it may be a small slot of time available for us to dedicate towards something important, or when we stand out as a minority in a group and we expect to be respected.
It may not be natural, but miracles do happen!
Dina and I wish you a happy Chanukah and a happy new year!
The year is coming to a close, the streets are quieter and there is a relaxed atmosphere in the air. Parents (or grandparents) with young children will be challenged with keeping them busy, I hope you can turn the challenge into enjoying the precious extra time with them in good spirits.
The theme of this upcoming weekend is gratitude. The Cremorne family is dedicating a Kiddush in honour of our immediate past president Garry and Maedinah Hyman as well as to our current president John Gallo and Jane Wolfers. Whenever we begin doing something challenging that we have seen others doing for many years, we often think to ourselves: "How did they manage all this time...?" " I didn't realise how difficult it was for them..." "...how much sacrifice and dedication it involved...". The reason we have this epiphany is because it is very hard to appreciate how challenging something is without having done it ourselves. Only when WE give it a try, we learn about all the details, about the theories that work or don't work and the creativity that is necessary to make things succeed. This Shabbat will be our opportunity to involve ourselves and appreciate the sacrifice made by Garry and Maedinah over the past four years in managing our Shul. Let us also appreciate the leap made by John and Jane in taking on this central role. Come and say Le'chaim, enjoy a special Kiddush and give positive feedback that will surely go a long way! Dina and I wish you a restful Shabbos! Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski
We have arranged a Shabbat lunch with a high profile speakers from our community. This is a rare opportunity to hear from Anthony Dickman and Jill Pleban who are in very specialized positions and they will share with us some of the unique things they do and about the highlights of their journey making it there.
I encourage everyone to join this exciting afternoon.
Serious does not equal sad, and reflective does not equal solemn. Certain times require deliberation and focus even though they are very happy times, for example at the height of a wedding ceremony.
King Solomon said: “Everything has it’s time, there is a time to rejoice and a time to cry..”. If we feel free to cry at the the appropriate time, then our joy will be complete at a time of happiness.
In the Jewish calendar we are now in the midst of a mourning and reflection period called “The 3 weeks.” We mourn over the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, as well as the Jewish settlement in Israel (around 70 CE). Nowadays this period has a happy twist to it because we are back in Israel with an ever growing and developing country.
The social strife and attitudes among the Jewish nation which led to this destruction have changed. In the lead up to these tragic events when we needed each other the most, we were not there for each other. Nowadays when times gets tough we are very much keen to help others, however there is always room for improvement. How do we behave when times are not tough, when we are not under threat? Do we get irritated with people who feel different, who think different, who act different, who are not “Our type of person..”?
If you reflect on how you can be tolerant towards someone whom naturally you don’t feel like you can, you have taken full advantage of this 3 week period, and have played a big part in reversing the damage that was done during those difficult times. This will also ensure enduring happiness for ourselves and others.
Special mentions of the week:
Mazeltov to Barbara and Mark Rosman on the birth of their granddaughter.
Mazeltov to David Shnider on the birth of a grandson.
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelposki
One of our long-standing members Ilona Eidus passed away this past Sunday.
Ilona was a proud Jewish woman who was full of life. She will be be dearly missed.
Dina and I wish Robert Eidus and the entire Eidus family much strength and comfort at this difficult time. May your mother’s memory be a blessing.
We would like to bring an interactive learning course to our Shul created by a worldwide institute called “The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.
This course is carried out in hundreds of communities around the world simultaneously, including various communities in Sydney with great success.
It runs throughout the year with three different independent courses.
The course provides booklets to follow along, and is delivered with a power point presentation. It is stimulating and interactive.
The topics for the courses for the upcoming year are: “How Success Thinks”, “Survival of a Nation” (6 day war), and “Talmud Interactive”.
Each course is taught for six successive weeks, once a week.
There is enrolment for each of the three courses independently with a charge.
We will only bring the course to our Shul if we receive feedback with interest.
Please send me an email if you might be interested.
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski
Last week I reported about an opportunity for women to take part in saying Kaddish at times of mourning and Yahrzeit. I also encourage you to let me know if I can hep you in rehearsing the Kaddish so that you are comfortable reciting it during Davening at Shul.
I also wish to remind everyone that I have uploaded a recording of the Kaddish to the Shul website if you would like to practise on your own.
We have some exciting social events coming up soon and I encourage you to share it with your friends and invite them to come along!
We have a top class Whiskey night on the 21st of July conducted by “The World of Whiskey,” the best in the field!
On the 6th of August we will run our first “Faces of our Community” Shabbat lunch. This will be a series of lunches with different speakers from our community, each one with a fascinating life story and personal achievements to share.
In this weeks Torah portion we read about the damage of Spiritual anarchy and lack of boundaries.
This failed strategy of spirituality without boundaries was promoted by none other than Moses’ first cousin. He was a clever guy but with a misguided ideology.
Using clever arguments for a misguided purpose is something that most of us fall for at some stage, which is why it is so crucial to have a mentor to discuss the important things in our life with.
We will discuss more about this on Saturday at Shul.
Dina and I are excited for the special celebration this Shabbat and we look forward to sharing it with you!
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski
A hearty Mazal Tov to Garry Hyman on his Bar-Mitzvah anniversary!
I look forward to hearing his reading of the Haftorah on Shabbat, and celebrating over a Lachaim!
Women saying Kaddish
Kaddish is a short declaration and prayer that is powerful and comforting. Saying Kaddish is far more than just reciting words, it is a deeply moving experience and this experience belongs not only to men, but to women as well. I am keen to involve all of the women in our community who have lost loved ones in the Kaddish experience. Over the past year, the chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, compiled an informative booklet about the meaning of Kaddish, with an emphasis on informing women about their involvement. Please read it and share it with your friends.
Dina and I wish everyone a restful and peaceful Shabbat.
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski
Dina and wish to thank all of you for the outpouring of love and support since the birth of our daughter Toba and before!
You have been truly caring and we appreciate it very much.
Dina has returned home today and hopes to get some recovery time in the peace and quiet of our home :):):).
We wish everyone Shabbat Shalom and we look forward to celebrating in full style very soon!
Rabbi Chaim & Dina Koncelpolski