Category Archives: Weekly Messages

Weekly Message 10th March 2016

There is a saying in Ecclesiastes: “The heart of a wise man is to the right, and the heart of a fool to the left”.
The meaning of this sentence is the following: Hebrew is written from right to left. When reading a book or studying, if one looks to the right (looks back at the pages read) one will see how much they have read and feel encouraged. If on the other hand one looks to the left (ahead), one will feel discouraged by seeing how much more there is to read/study.

This is true not only with reading and studying, but with any achievement.
It is very important to look back at our efforts or any accomplishments and appreciate what we’ve done. This will encourage us! – In our ambition to achieve more we often overlook what we have already achieved and miss the opportunity to be motivated.

This weeks portion is called “Pekudei” – Counting. It is referring to the summing up of the donations and the building efforts put towards the construction of the Mishkan – Sanctuary.

One may feel: Who cares? Why bother counting every detail? Let’s just move forward and get on with it…
Wrong! The right attitude is to look back at your achievements and smile. Smile that you have done something great and then you will want to do more and more.

Lets look back at some of the happenings at our community this past week. On Monday night Dina and Zina Conway ran a Hamentashen bake with great success with over 40 woman in attendance! What a beautiful night it was. Pictures of the evening are on the Synagogue website.

On Sunday, The new Sunday Funday program began. The program went off to a great start. The children connected right away with the teacher Rivky, they had a great time and they learnt a lot and as a result there has been more interest in the program from other families.

There will be many enjoyable events over the next few weeks: Purim class/discussion on the 17th and Purim parties on the 23 and 24th.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Dina and I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelposki

Weekly Message 3-March 2016

This week I attended the funeral and Shiva for Enta Sherrell De Florance, Mother of Ellen Marshbaum.

Unfortunately I did not have the privilege to meet Enta, however one can easily pick up on the uniqueness of this special woman by the heart warming memories that were shared by her family and friends.
The influence of a mother in ones life is like a spine to the body. A “Yiddishe Mame” however is a whole other dimension. A Yiddishe Mame brings people together through her very being. Her love of life, love of people, and the kindness and caring (to the smallest detail) that pour out of her, draws people in.

Enta seemed like the quintessential Yiddishe Mame!

This Friday night we will be welcoming and consoling Ellen Marshbaum at the Synagogue with a special mourners welcome.

Dina and I wish Ellen, Harold, Laurie, Eddie and their entire family many Simchas from now on with a long and healthy life.
Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim & Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 24th February 2016

Tonight (Thursday, 25th) we have the final speaker of the Prayer series, “Is Praying Contemporary.” – Rabbi Ritchie Moss from Nefesh synagogue in Bondi.

Rabbi Moss has a reputation for being contemporary, humorous and very appealing.

Come along to this final installment and enjoy an inspirational evening from one of Australia’s most popular Rabbis.

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Is there a hierarchy in our connection to G-D?

Are some people closer to, or more connected to G-D than others?

There are some who believe that this is the case, after all isn’t that why we perform Mitzvot? to be more connected to G-D..? More Mitzvot, more Torah study = closer connection.

Nothing can be further from the truth!

When the Jewish nation committed the infamous “Sin of the Golden Calf”, they were forgiven. To complete the process of clearing their sin, they were instructed to give a symbolic sum of Half a Shekel (coin.) EVERYONE was required to give the SAME amount. But why is that? Aren’t some more distant than others? Shouldn’t they have to work harder to reconnect to G-D?

Answer: Every individual is intimately connected to G-D at all times. Nothing can break that connection. Every person is loved by G-D at all times like an only child born to their parents at an old age (and much more).

What about the connection established by doing a good deed?

A good deed only reveals that connection, it exposes this connection. We live in a physical world and what matters here is the bottom line. Just like in a relationship where feelings alone are not enough, so we express this connection through commitments. Revealing and exposing this connection is a big deal, however it is not what creates the connection and hence our self worth in the first place.

Remember this at all times and it will put you on a pedestal!

Rabbi Chaim and Dina together with our children Yitzchak, Zalman and Chava wish you a peaceful Shabbat!

Weekly Message 17th February 2016

This Thursday evening we are hosting a guest speaker, Dovi Rappaport on the topic of Prayer titled, “Lost in Translation”.
Dovi is an extremely engaging and insightful speaker.
I urge everyone to join and not miss out on this opportunity to gain more confidence in Prayer, and to gain personal and relevant insights. You are guaranteed to leave this class inspired.
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When most people start their careers, they aspire to climb up the ranks of their profession and reach a leadership position, to manage a team of people, to manage an office, a branch or an entire company.

If you want that leadership role, how should you go about getting there?

By being pushy? By trying to be a powerful communicator, eloquent with your words? By working on your charisma? By being disciplined?

If you did a survey on this, you would probably receive many answers on how to achieve this, and perhaps when it comes to selling a product there are many ways indeed. However, when the leadership role (i.e. Parent, grandparent, Mentor, Rabbi, life coach, teacher) involves persuading someone to change a habit, be more productive and thoughtful towards other people, it is a different ball game all together.

The recipe for this kind of leadership is in this weeks reading and it goes like this: “Be great yourself, then open up your world to others with warmth and humility, make your behaviour contagious.”

Moses’ name is omitted from this weeks portion because he stood up for his followers with utter selflessness and he said: “If they are going to be wiped out then take me out of the Torah as well.”

This kind of behaviour/leadership is challenging, but it is the ultimate way to affect real change in other people.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim & Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 11th February 2016

The magic of giving:

The name of this week’s Torah reading is: “Gift” or in Hebrew: “Teruma”.
We only read this portion once a year, however it describes giving as the foundation of life.

Typically we think of giving in context of giving away money or possessions (gifts), but in truth, giving away money or a gift can be easier than giving our time or attention to someone who can benefit from it.

Giving is a need that we all have. When we give, it takes our attention off ourselves and opens us up to the world of another.

When I was involved in guiding teenagers with severe addiction, I noticed that they loved volunteering to help others. When they were helping others, it took their attention off their addiction and they felt happy!

Giving is deeply satisfying. G-d gives us, and we in turn give others.
Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski

Weekly Message 4th February 2016

Woody Woodpecker is a very popular animated cartoon character.

The story line of this film is about a woodpecker bird who pesters others “Just for the fun of it”!

Where and how was this born? Where did the producer get the inspiration from?

The producer of the film, Walter Lantz was on a honeymoon with his wife Gracie. They were trying to enjoy the beautiful scenery and their new marriage when a woodpecker bird began pecking on the roof of their cabin, keeping them up at night!

The bird did this for 3 nights! When a heavy rain started, they learned that the bird had bored holes in their cabin’s roof…

Imagine their frustration..!

But then came a change of attitude that gave birth to this popular cartoon. Gracie said to her husband: Why don’t you make a cartoon about the bird…?

This week (Wednesday) we begin the Month of Adar. We are taught to increase in our levels of happiness throughout this month, not just when things are going well for us, but even if, and specifically when they’re not. When we are happy it is easier to do positive things and this month has the energy to help us increase our joy.

It is this type of change in attitude from a “pestering bird” to a creative cartoon character that will improve every detail of our life.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 27th January 2016

This past Monday marked the beautiful day of Tu Bishvat, the day we celebrate the trees and their fruit. It is called the “New year” (Rosh Hashana) for trees because on this day the trees emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit bearing cycle.

We celebrate this day by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

This date has personal significance because the human being is compared to a tree in various places in Jewish literature.A tree with firm roots can withstand even a mighty storm. Various trees produce various networks of roots beneath them, some of them mind boggling. Some trees develop roots for months or even years before the development of the tree itself in order to support the immense growth of the tree which follows. Having strong roots before growth is essential.

So too with us humans. Our roots are our beliefs, our values and our culture. when we are firmly anchored we can withstand any uncertainties and insecurities.

Invest in your roots, help your children develop their roots, and it will pay off immensely in the future, even if the growth is not immediate.

This week (Wednesday) also marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. As a grandchild of survivors (maternal and paternal), this day has special meaning to me.

All of the individuals whose lives where taken just for being Jewish, are holy and righteous. They were killed just for being.

Nazi Germany is gone and we are still here. We continued to grow and spread our message. May the memory of all those who perished be a blessing and inspiration to all of us!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncelpolski

Weekly Message 20th January 2016

This week we heard the terrible news of an innocent mother, a peaceful and loving individual who helped Jews and Arabs alike, get murdered in what feels like a never ending run of violence against our people in Israel.

Then, a day later, another attack against a pregnant mother… Thank G-D she is recovering.

We value peace, and we pursue it relentlessly. We have given up so much, at times unfairly, to live in peace. We pray for it every day MANY times.

And yet, we are still deprived of it IN OUR OWN HOMELAND.
The lives of the families who lost loved ones in this brutal fashion will never be the same, but we remain strong in our values and resolute to continue promoting and spreading the message of peace to the world. This message is too good to not catch on and ultimately it will prevail!

We wish comfort and consolation to all of the bereaved families.
May their memory be a blessing.

I write this message from the skies of the USA, on my way back to Australia. I look forward to my return and to share from my experiences abroad over Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Chaim & Dina Koncepolski

Weekly Message 7th January 2016

This past Monday morning at Cremorne Synagogue, we had a baby naming celebration for baby girl born to David and Natalie Di Veroli a few weeks ago.
It was a beautiful Simcha! The baby was named Rachel Michaela.
Dina and I wish a hearty Mazal Tov to David and Natalie, Cesare and Lily, Trevor and Judy leach (maternal grandparents), and the entire Di Veroli and Leach families.

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What does free choice mean? Do we really have free choice?

There are a few incidents in this weeks Torah portion that seem to challenge this.

1.We read about Pharaohs’ heart being hardened by G-d, which made it difficult for him to make the
choice of freeing the Jewish nation from Egypt (as G-d himself had predicted!!!).

2. We also read about the Jewish nation resisting to believe Moses who told them they will be freed because of their persecution and back breaking labor. Would you expect them to react differently?

3. Finally, Moses was charged with being the mouthpiece of the Jewish nation to Pharaoh whilst he
himself a Speech impediment!

This Shabbat morning (at roughly10:50) I will be addressing this interesting topic.

Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski wish you a Shabbat Shalom!

Weekly Message 31st December 2015

The new year, beginning this Friday has Jewish significance.

I look forward to sharing some insights on this topic on Friday night.
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In this weeks Torah portion, we read about heroic Jewish women who ensured that their families continued to have children (in Egypt).

They did so by adorning themselves in order to be especially attractive for their husbands who were extremely weary and exhausted from back breaking labour.

There were also two heroic midwives who risked their lives to keep the Jewish babies alive, despite strict orders from the imposing Pharaoh.

Women often have insight and courage for the things that are important and crucial.
According to our tradition, it is in their merit that the Jewish nation was redeemed from Egypt, and it is also in their merit that the world will reach it’s ultimate perfection.

Keep us inspired!

Dina and I wish you a happy and positive year ahead!
Shabbat shalom
Rabbi Chaim and Dina Koncepolski