27 Iyar 5776 4 June 2016
31 National Ct, Forrest ACT 2603 PO Box 3105, Manuka ACT 2603 02 6295 1052
From the Rabbi’s Desk Thursday 2 June (40 Day) 2:00pm: Grumps R Us 7:45pm: Pressing Problems
Friday 3 June (41 Day)
4:41pm: Candle Lighting 6:00pm: Orthodox & Progressive Services
Saturday 4 June (42 Day) 9:30am: Orthodox Service 10:45am Tot Shabbat 5:41pm: Havdalah
This week we end the book of Vayikra, the third book of the Torah. Each time we complete a book we end with the words chazak chazak v’nitchazek. This phrase is recited by the congregation and then repeated by the person who reads the Torah. One of the reasons that we recite this phrase is based around the first nine verses of the Book of Joshua where Hashem charges him three times with “chazak v’ematz,” be strong and courageous as he assumes the mantle of leadership of Bnei Israel after Moses’ passing. But why do we say it at this point? When one completes a book of learning one makes a siyum, usually with praise of the Almighty, so too when one completes the books of the Torah. The chazak could be an internal
nod, that as we leave one book and move to the next we need to be strong so that we can continue to learn from the lessons of the Torah. Alternatively it could be an external gaze praising Hashem for his strength, that with his might we will continue to be strong. Please join us this Shabbat Morning as we celebrate the 70th Birthday of Dr David Rosalky. The Shabbat Services will also be a celebration of Yom Yerushalayim with special tunes used to mark the occasion.
Rabbi Alon Meltzer [email protected]
Sunday 5 June (43 Day) ACTJC: Telethon
8:30am: Shacharit 10:00am: Cook Jewish Be Jewish
Monday 6 June (44 Day) 7:45pm: Jewish Journeys
Tuesday 7 June (45 Day) 7:30pm: Talmud Class
Thursday 9 June (47 Day) 2:00pm: Grumps R Us
Friday 10 June (48 Day)
4:40pm: Candle Lighting 6:00pm: Orthodox & Progressive Services
Rabbi's Sermon Rabbi Meltzer will be speaking on the topic of
‘The Holiness of Celebrating’
Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers
Mazel Tov to David Rosalky on his 70th birthday The community is invited to join in a celebratory Kiddush at this Shabbat following services.
who provide Security and Kiddush at the Centre. We are always looking for more volunteers. Please email [email protected]
Mazal Tov to Romy and Brendan Doherty on the birth of a baby boy! Mazal tov to Mark and Debra Hurwitz and Charlie and Lousie Doherty the new Grandparents. Please join them on Sunday at 12:45pm for the Brit Millah at the ACT Jewish Community, 31 National Circuit, Forrest. There will be a kiddush following the bris.
Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG, ACT Region In Conjunction with the Interfaith Forum of Canberra Invites you to attend
The Role of different Faiths in Creating National Unity and a Caring Society With Dato’ Jega Jagadeesan Chairman of Interfaith Committee of the Public Outreach of Sathya Sai International Organisation, He is a Dynamic International Speaker, Promoting interfaith around the world. Date: Wednesday, 8 June 2016 & Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Venue: Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre, 180 London Circuit, Canberra We humbly request you consider this invitation and appreciate your participation in what will be a rewarding event. Kindly encourage the members of your faith to attend this session. For further details contact: Dr Prema Rajendra, President Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG, ACT Region Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 0413 234 630
ZABLE - THE FIGHTER
Sunday 3 July: 3:00pm - 4:00pm Henry Nissen was a champion boxer, the boy from working-class Carlton who fought his way to beat some of the world’s best in the 1970s. Now, he works on Melbourne’s docks, taking shifts as they come up. But his real work is on the streets - giving character statements and providing support for the disaffected in his community. The Fighter is Arnold Zable’s account of this true battler - a man who used his fists to forge a career, but also his wits to negotiate a childhood in a community of Holocaust survivors, immigrants and damaged souls. TICKETS: $10 (includes a glass of wine or soft drink) VENUE: Muse Bookshop, Kingston. To book: http:// www.musecanberra.com.au/events/2016/5/12/arnold-zablethe-fighter.
MOVIE: MR GAGA Wednesday 15 June. 7:15pm VENUE: Palace Electric Cinema
A biopic of one of the world’s leading choreographers, Ohad Nahadrin and the Batsheva dance company. The film is about to cross over 100,000 admissions in Israel, unheard of for a documentary. Other films with Jewish themes are showing. RSVP by 5pm Friday 3 June to [email protected]
Tot Shabbat for 5 yrs & under Saturday, 4 June at 10:45am Liat and Kelila are running our Youth & Children's Programs. The ACTJC and the ACT Jewish Playgroup provides singing, learning and playing for children. Finishing with kiddush and snacks.
There will be no Progressive Shacharit Service on Saturday 4th June. In June, the service will be held on Saturday 11th June. This service will be run during the Limmud Shavout weekend, and will be a special service (from either our own leaders, or a visiting leader - TBC)
JMAG: Sunday 19 June
The JMAG group is hoping to hold a bushwalk n brunch on Sunday 19 June. Fiona Sweet-Formiatti is organising the location. If interested, please RSVP to Orit via email on [email protected]
Social Groups Grumps R Us
Every Thursday at 2:00pm at the Centre. On the first Thursday of the month we have lunch is at a nearby restaurant.
Every Wednesday 10am - 12noon at the Centre. Contact: Gemma Kayser & Sally Liebowitz via the office email: [email protected]
Ladies Who Lunch
First Wednesday of each month, between 11:30am- 12noon at California Café, Southlands Shopping Centre, Mawson.
Jewish Community Singing Group
The group meets fortnightly 7:30-9pm on a Wednesday night. Contact Kim Rubenstein for more info.
Queen’s Birthday Weekend
Only 15 spaces left Don't be the one to miss out on this amazing weekend! To Book visit:
Navigating the Siddur
Semester Two begins on 7 August. On the third Sunday of every month, we will have a Jewish Journeys workshop exploring the siddur. Click here to Semester Two begins 8 August. This class will register for this course. be stimulating and engaging, and is intended Topical Talmud to those looking to build a foundation of Semester Two begins on 8 August. On the Jewish knowledge. Click here to register for second Tuesday of the month, we will have an this course. in-depth discussion of a particular topic, looking at associated Talmudic pieces, and Pressing Problems other rabbinic literature. Click here to register One Semester finishes 7 July. We will explore in depth the responsum literature from for this course. throughout history – using the source to guide Jewish Philosophy us through the issues, hopefully finding the One Semester begins 11 August. We explore answer along the way. Click here to register three important Jewish philosophical works. for this course. Click here to register for this course.
Cook Jewish Be Jewish
Semester Two begins on 7 August. On the first Sunday of every month, we will explore different recipes and foods of Jewish cultures from around the world. Click here to register for this course.
Tuesdays at 7:30pm. The shiur is studying Masechet Shabbat. Date of re-commencement to be advised.
Saturday 4 June to Friday 10 June 2016
Birthdays The ACTJC wishes the following people a very Happy Birthday: David Sutton Ruth Bader Sarah McDonald Rob Cussel Noah Polishuk ___________
Anniversaries Yom Yerushalayim
There are no anniversaries noted for this week
DATE: Sunday 5 June TIME: 11:30am - 2:00pm COST: $5
Mike Kelly & Rachelle Sakker-Kelly _________
Family Carnival Games, fun for all ages, entertainment and falafel lunch Reply to Liat or Kelila: [email protected]
The Sound of Silence Bamidbar is usually read on the Shabbat before Shavuot. So the sages connected the two. Shavuot is the time of the giving of the Torah. Bamibar means, “In the desert.” What then is the connection between the desert and the Torah, the wilderness and God’s word? The sages gave several interpretations. According to the Mekhilta the Torah was given publicly, openly and in a place no one owns because had it been given in the land of Israel, Jews would have said to the nations of the world, “You have no share in it.” Instead, whoever wants to come and accept it, let them come and accept it. Another explanation: Had the Torah been given in Israel the nations of the world would have had an excuse for not accepting it. This follows the rabbinic tradition that before God gave the Torah to the Israelites he offered it to all the other nations and each found a reason to decline. Yet another: Just as the wilderness is free – it costs nothing to enter – so the Torah is free. It is God’s gift to us. But there is another, more spiritual reason. The desert is a place of silence. There is nothing visually to distract you, and there is no ambient noise to muffle sound. To be sure, when the Israelites received the Torah, there was thunder and lightening and the sound of a shofar. The earth felt as if it were shaking at its foundations. But in a later age, when the prophet Elijah stood at the same mountain after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal, he encountered God not in the whirlwind or the fire or the earthquake but in the kol demamah dakah, the still, small voice, literally “the sound of a slender silence.” I define this as the sound you can only hear if you are listening. In the silence of the midbar, the desert, you can hear
Israel Rosenberg on 27 Iyyar George Stern on 27 Iyyar _________
Refuah Sheleima We wish all those who are unwell a Refuah Sheleima, a speedy recover. Please contact the Rabbi or Arava if you or someone you know is unwell.
the Medaber, the Speaker, and the medubar, that which is spoken. To hear the voice of God you need a listening silence in the soul. Many years ago British television produced a documentary series, The Long Search, on the world’s great religions. When it came to Judaism, the presenter Ronald Eyre seemed surprised by its blooming, buzzing confusion, especially the loud, argumentative voices in the Bet Midrash, the house of study. Remarking on this to Elie Wiesel, he asked, “Is there such a thing as a silence in Judaism?” Wiesel replied: “Judaism is full of silences … but we don’t talk about them. Judaism is a very verbal culture, a religion of holy words. Through words, God created the universe: “And God said, Let there be … and there was.” According to the Targum, it is our ability to speak that makes us human. It translates the phrase, “and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7) as “and man became a speaking soul.” Words create. Words communicate. Our relationships are shaped, for good or bad, by language. Much of Judaism is about the power of words to make or break worlds. So silence in Tanakh often has a negative connotation. “Aaron was silent,” says the Torah, after the death of his two sons Nadav and Avihu (Lev. 10:3). “The dead do not praise you,” says Psalm 115, “nor do those who go down to the silence [of the grave].” When Job’s friends came to comfort him after the loss of his children and other afflictions, “Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.” (Job 2:13). But not all silence is sad. Psalms tells us that “to You, silence is praise” (Ps. 65:2). If we are truly in awe at the greatness of God, the vastness of the universe and the almost infinite extent of time, our deepest emotions will indeed lie too deep for words. We will experience silent communion. The sages valued silence. They called it “a fence to wisdom.” If words are worth a coin, silence is worth two. R. Shimon ben Gamliel said, “All my days I have grown up among the wise, and I have found nothing better than silence.” The service of the priests in the Temple was accompanied by silence. The Levites sang in the courtyard, but the priests – unlike their counterparts in other ancient religions — neither sang nor spoke while offering the sacrifices. One scholar has accordingly spoken of “the silence of the sanctuary.” The Zohar (2a) speaks of silence as the medium in which both the Sanctuary above and the Sanctuary below are made. There were Jews who cultivated silence as a spiritual discipline. Bratslav Hassidim meditate in the fields. There are Jews who practise taanit dibbur, a “fast of words.” Our most profound prayer, the private saying of the Amidah, is called tefillah be-lachash, the “silent prayer.” It is based on the precedent of Hannah, praying for a child. “She spoke in her heart. Her lips moved but her voice was not heard” (1 Sam. 1:13). God hears our silent cry. In the agonising tale of how Sarah told Abraham to send Hagar and her son away, the Torah tells us that when their water ran out and the young Ishmael was at the point of dying, Hagar cried, yet God heard “the voice of the child” (Gen. 21:16-17). Earlier when the angels came to visit Abraham and told him that Sarah would have a child, Sarah laughed inwardly, that is, silently, yet she was heard by God (Gen. 18:12-13). God hears our thoughts even when they are not expressed in speech. The silence that counts, in Judaism, is thus a listening silence – and listening is the supreme religious art. Listening means making space for others to speak and be heard. As I point out in my commentary to the Siddur, there is no English word that remotely equals the Hebrew verb sh-m-a in its wide range of senses: to listen, to hear, to pay attention, to understand, to internalise and to respond in deed. This was one of the key elements in the Sinai covenant, when the Israelites, having already said twice, “All that God says, we will do,” then said, “All that God says, we will do and we will hear [ve–nishma]” (Ex. 24:7). It is the nishma – listening, hearing, heeding, responding – that is the key religious act. Thus Judaism is not only a religion of doing-and-speaking; it is also a religion of listening. Faith is the ability to hear the music beneath the noise. There is the silent music of the spheres, about which Psalm 19 speaks: The heavens declare the glory of God The skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day to day they pour forth speech, Night to night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech, there are no words, Their voice is not heard. Yet their music carries throughout the earth. There is the voice of history that was heard by the prophets. And there is the commanding voice of Sinai, that continues to speak to us across the abyss of time. I sometimes think that people in the modern age have found the concept of “Torah from heaven” problematic, not because of some new archaeological discovery but because we have lost the habit of listening to the sound of transcendence, a voice beyond the merely human. It is fascinating that despite his often fractured relationship with Judaism, Sigmund Freud created in psychoanalysis a deeply Jewish form of healing. He himself called it the “speaking cure”, but it is in fact a listening cure. Almost all effective forms of psychotherapy involve deep listening. Is there enough listening in the Jewish world today? Do we, in marriage, really listen to our spouses? Do we as parents truly listen to our children? Do we, as leaders, hear the unspoken fears of those we seek to lead? Do we internalise the sense of hurt of the people who feel excluded from the community? Can we really claim to be listening to the voice of God if we fail to listen to the voices of our fellow humans? In his poem, ‘In memory of W B Yeats,’ W H Auden wrote: In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start. From time to time we need to step back from the noise and hubbub of the social world and create in our hearts the stillness of the desert where, within the silence, we can hear the kol demamah dakah, the still, small voice of God, telling us we are loved, we are heard, we are embraced by God’s everlasting arms, we are not alone.