Notice of Annual General Meeting on 29 November

 

Please take notice that the Annual General Meeting of the Members of Shira Hadasha, Melbourne will take place on Sunday 29 November 2015 at the Shira Premises, 222 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North at 10.30am.

Agenda

  1. The confirmation of the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 26 February 2014.
  2. The presentation and consideration of the President’s Report.
  3. The presentation and consideration of the Financial Report.
  4. The election of office bearers and members of the Board.
  5. The consideration of any motion of which not less than seven days notice in writing has been received.
  6. General Business.

In accordance with Clause 12.1(b) of the Constitution, nominations are now open for the following office bearers and Board members:

One (1) President for a one year term
One (1) Vice President for a one year term
One (1) Secretary for a one year term
Four (4) members of the Board

Only Financial Members of the Congregation may nominate, second or accept nomination for any of those positions. Nominations must be lodged with the Secretary by email to arielle@shira.org.au

Membership can be taken out by clicking here.

Voting at General Meetings, including the Annual General Meeting, by proxy is not allowed under Clause 19 of the Constitution.

Please also note that the Financial Report is available on request and will in any event be discussed at the meeting.

Posted on November 10, 2015 .

Shabbat and Simchat Torah

Tonight as part of Grand Final weekend, Ashley Browne will share some stories on when yomtov and football collide. Join us for a l’chaim and nibblies at 5.45pm followed by Kabbalat Shabbat, and then Ashley’s talk before ma’ariv.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.30am

On Shabbat morning the Dvar Torah will be given by Seraphya Berrin and following the service we will take a short walk to the sukkah of Annette Charak and Alain Herz for Kiddush.

The Kids' Club will also be running as usual for a fun and educational Shabbat experience.

Sukkot, Shmini Atzeret & Simchat Torah

We welcome the community to Shira on Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torch.

On Monday evening from 4 - 5.30pm, Simchat Torah celebrations will begin with a children's party including a puppet show! A light dinner of mac and cheese will be served. 

The celebrations will continue at 8.15pm with hakkafot, singing, dancing, coffee, cake and schnapps.

***

On Tuesday morning, we will honour Jeff Meyer as Chatan Torah to mark the end of Torah reading for the year and Annette Charak as Kallat Bereishit as we begin the cycle again. We are very much looking forward to celebrating the simcha of this beautiful tradition with them.

In honouring the voices of all the children of the shule we especially want to highlight the beautiful contribution made by the children of the shule each week as they lead the community in tfila. We will share that joy by calling Aaron Zelman to the Torah to celebrate the contribution of Bella Zelman, Ella Carmeli-Wolski and all the children.

All men and women in the community over batmitzvah and barmitzvah age are invited to receive an aliya for Simchat Torah. This is a wonderful tradition and we look forward to the festivities.

A special celebratory Kiddush lunch will follow the service.

Shmini Atzeret
Monday 5 October- 9.30am (Yizkor after 11am)

Erev Simchat Torah
Monday 5 October - 4.00pm (Children's Party)
8.15pm - Shira Simchat Torah

Simchat Torah
Tuesday 6 October - 9.30am

Leslie and Brie Shroot have invited all the Shira children to their sukkah for a Shira kids' party!

WhenToday at 10am (Friday 2 October),

Bring: A plate to share of something kosher (milchig or parve), some fruit, muffins, veggies etc.

Please reply to this email for the address and if you plan to come so that activities can be planned accordingly.

Bereishit Workshop for Parents of Children Aged 5-12

Join Esther (Chooch) Takac and Jane Korman on Tuesday 13 October 2015 at 8pm for an experiential workshop for parents of children aged 5 to 12 years. The workshop will explore the magic and poetry of the stories of Genesis. Whilst reading a range of texts, we will be playing with ideas and creative responses through art and writing. Most importantly the workshop will explore how to pass on the richness of this tradition to our children.

Esther Takac is a child and adult psychologist. She is also an author having published Genesis – the Book with Seventy Faces (National Jewish Book Award) Loni and the Moon (Premier’s Reading List) and Jacob: a world of faces (Young Adult novella, Third Space series designed to develop intercultural understanding). 

Jane Korman is a performance, video and visual artist. Her work confronts prejudice and racial stereotypes. Jane also has twenty five years experience delivering private art workshops for children, teens and adults both locally and overseas.

Membership

Thank you to everyone who has already renewed membership. Your support makes Shira possible!

If you attended services on the yamim noraim but have overlooked taking out membership, you can still take membership now. We really do rely on the contribution of everyone attending to make it possible to run the shule.

Click here to take out membership for 2015/16.

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Community Announcements

Diller Teen Fellows

Applications are now open to be a part of the first group of Diller Teen Fellows in Melbourne. The program is an international leadership course for Jewish teens currently in Year 9 and 10.

For more information, contact the Melbourne coordinator, Ellie Golvan via dillertf@zfa.com.au or visit their website by Clicking Here.

oh Australia oh Israel

A ZCV and I Am Art Gallery Event

An exhibition of the work of Israeli artist, Yosl Bergner, in honour of his 95th birthday, will take place 9–18 October 2015 at The Attic Gallery, 297a Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick. 

The exhibition includes new works, including sculptures, not previously seen in Australia, and Mr Bergner’s work will be available for purchase.

A Gallery Talk will take place 11 October at 2pm.

For more information about Yosl and the exhibition Click Here.

Posted on October 2, 2015 .

Unforgivable — Yom Kippur 2015

Lara Lubitz

Here we are, gathered together in the holy of holies of Jewish time. And the central theme of this time is forgiveness. So what is forgiveness? What, if anything, is unforgivable?

Yom Kippur is the day on which Moses descended Mt Sinai with the second set of tablets and the Jewish people were forgiven for the sin of worshiping the golden calf. Debbie Masel said, “Today Jews throughout the world stand together, barefooted, as their collective act of repentance opens the gates of heaven to flood the world with the light of forgiveness.”

The thoughts that I am going to share are largely based on ideas from  Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom.

He cites Maimonides who rules that if a person does not apologise one is still “free to forgive.”

It is interesting to me to frame forgiveness as a human freedom. Because even though one might have been personally assaulted, violated or hurt, he can still choose to transcend passive victimhood and become an autonomous agent of forgiveness and positive change.

Forgiveness is the radical circuit breaker of violence. When a cycle of violence or hatred has been enduring, forgiveness can be the unexpected human response which has the potential to be transformative of a culture of conflict. As Rabbi Sacks says: “Because of forgiveness we are not condemned endlessly to replay the conflicts of the past. And that is why forgiveness is logically and psychologically related to hope.”

This magnanimous human decision to forgive requires the forgiver to be moved to prioritise the future over the past. To place relationship at the centre. 

When you are facing the future you can forgive, because what matters to you is not what happened but what can be re-built. Being unable to forgive is being tied to a strong sense of reverence to the past and maybe even a loyalty to our own pain. R Sacks says: “We should not ask what happened to our grandparents, we should ask what kind of world do we want to create for our grandchildren?”

I am not saying that we should be expected to pursue close relationships with those who have wronged us, but thatforgiveness allows the forgiver to discharge a heavy burden and contemplate another reality. It frees us up.

Forgiving does not mean forgetting. It means living with the past but not living in the past, and if this is the case, is there anything that is unforgiveable?

Let me quote from one of the world’s greatest forgivers, Nelson Mandela, who said: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

We have a chance today to put to bed our old burdens. May we all travel lighter and redirect our energy towards today’s palace of time and tomorrow’s spiritual opportunity.

Posted on October 2, 2015 .

Yom Kippur Drasha 5776 — Free Will and Repentance

Ellyse Borghi

I’d like to start with a question. Are we responsible for our sins?

I ask this because I’ve recently started working in criminal law. Most of the time the accused pleads guilty and then the job of their lawyer is to explain to the judge the mitigating circumstances that led up to the offending. We explain about broken homes, family violence, lack of education or stable employment, their drug and alcohol dependency and mental illness. We explain to the judge that a conspiracy of circumstances has led the client to make these mistakes, that my client is less culpable, less at fault and less responsible because of their circumstances. Perhaps indeed they are a victim of circumstance.

And perhaps we could say the same thing about ourselves. We say that if only you knew what my parents were like you would understand why I react this way. Or that I snapped at you because I was stressed. Or that I can’t give charity right now because I’m saving for something else. We tell ourselves that it’s our families, our stressed out lives and sometimes even our DNA that makes us do the wrong thing. We say that circumstances are to blame.

And on the one hand this is true. To bring it back to my clients, fate has dealt them a poor hand. They have had limited options and disadvantage can mean that the choices available restrict their ability to make good decisions. But on the other hand I am perhaps doing my client a disservice. In making these arguments, that it was circumstances that led my client to where they are now, I am disempowering them. In a way I am saying that they had no control over their choices.

Another way of seeing this is that they made those decisions. And just like they have the ability to choose bad and harmful actions so too they have the ability to choose to do the right thing. Perhaps then I could say to a judge that my client made those decisions and is taking full responsibility for their actions, no excuses. And that they are also taking responsibility to make better decisions in the future, that they are committed to choosing a different path.

Or in other words that they are doing teshuva.

This idea of free choice is fundamental to our humanity and is certainly a core tenant of Judaism and Teshuva.

The Alei Shur wrote “Let us examine ourselves. How often do we make use of our freedom (“power of choice”)? Personal disposition, education, habit, and interests maintain almost absolute rule over us from childhood to old age. It is even possible for a person to go through her entire life without ever making use of her freedom!... If we really examine ourselves, we’ll see that we use our freedom only on rare occasions. “Freedom is given”—and yet in practice, personal disposition, education, habit, and interests carry the day, whether in large, fateful decisions or in small, day-to-day ones. And where is freedom?... It is clear from this that freedom is not at all part of humanity’s daily spiritual bread. It is, rather, one of the noble virtues which one must labor to attain. It is not lesser than love, and fear, and cleaving to God, acquiring which clearly demands great effort. We can obtain freedom, and therefore we must strive for it.

Freedom of choice is our right but it is not a given. If we do not make conscious efforts to exercise our free will then it is only a right in theory but not in practice. Freedom is a project and it takes work. It can be terrifying to do away with our justifications and excuses and to accept full responsibility for our actions. But to do so, is empowering. And just as last year we might have made poor choices, this year we can resolve and wholly exercise our free will and choose something better. Just as my clients stand before a judge so too today we stand before the judge of judges, the king of kings and we take responsibility for our previous actions. We take responsibility to choose goodness.

I’d like to end with a short bracha

Yehi ratzon milfanecha adonai elochainu v’elochai avoteinu she t’varech otanu b’bechirat chofshit u’bkoach l’bchor et hanachon, et toratecha u’mitzvotecha, v’livchor et haemet kol yemei chayeinu.

May it be Your will, Adonai my God and God of my ancestors that you bless us with free will and with the strength to choose what is correct; your torah and your mitzvoth and to choose the truth all the days of our lives.


Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Knowledge 1:1-2 1.

Each and every person possesses many character traits….With regard to all the traits: a person has some from the beginning of his conception, in accordance with his bodily nature. Some are appropriate to a person's nature and will [therefore] be acquired more easily than other traits. Some traits he does not have from birth. He may have learned them from others, or turned to them on his own. This may have come as a result of his own thoughts, or because he heard that this was a proper trait for him, which he ought to attain. [Therefore,] he accustomed himself to it until it became a part of himself.

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, On Repentance, pp. 142-144.

The assumption that man is free, that he has been endowed with the spiritual courage to make choices and with the power to determine the fate of his religious and moral life—this assumption cannot rely on the idea of belief by itself; it also depends on knowledge, on a feeling of being wholly charged by the tension present in this God-given factor of free choice. Free will should implant in man a sense of responsibility... That is the meaning of Maimonides’ “to know”: a continuous awareness of maximal responsibility by man without even a moment’s inattentiveness!... It is a positive commandment to be conscious of the existence of free choice which makes man responsible for his actions... One is forbidden to take one’s mind off the principle of free choice, for it was not given to man only from without or by tradition; it is also something in the nature of self-discovery and must always remain part of the self—the knowledge that man can create worlds and destroy them.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Alei Shur, vol. 1, pp. 155-156.

Let us examine ourselves. How often do we make use of our freedom (“power of choice”)? Personal disposition, education, habit, and interests maintain almost absolute rule over us from childhood to old age. It is even possible for a person to go through her entire life without ever making use of her freedom!... If we really examine ourselves, we’ll see that we use our freedom only on rare occasions. “Freedom is given”—and yet in practice, personal disposition, education, habit, and interests carry the day, whether in large, fateful decisions or in small, day-to-day ones. And where is freedom?... It is clear from this that freedom is not at all part of humanity’s daily spiritual bread. It is, rather, one of the noble virtues which one must labor to attain. It is not lesser than love, and fear, and cleaving to God, acquiring which clearly demands great effort. We can obtain freedom, and therefore we must acquire it.

Posted on September 27, 2015 .

Standing still — Kol Nidrei 2015/5776

I want to acknowledge Kerryn and Mark Baker who are so central to the shule, and to say we miss them very much tonight as they have been missed every week in shule. Our thoughts are with them tonight as they are all the time.


Good yontef.

Shira Hadasha literally means a new song. And while that is also a metaphor for doing things a little differently, singing to a new tune perhaps, it is very much the case that actual singing - new and old songs is central to the life of this shule. Here, as in many shuls, the evocative power of music is a huge part of tfila especially at this time of year and we cherish the wordless nigun as we did moments ago, the beauty of voices joining together in the choir and the poetry of the liturgy:  established prayer as well as of newer songs in Yiddish, Hebrew and English.

A song I’ve heard many times this year is by Regina Spektor, a Russian/American/Jewish songwriter who wrote the song “You’ve got time” especially for Orange is the New Black  a TV series set in a women’s prison that looks at a huge contemporary issue in the US – the obscenely high number of people in prisons, the over use and the failure of prison system and explores these against the back stories of the women, and the circumstances of their lives that led them to prison.

Think of all the roads
Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard

So perhaps it’s the context of judgment and punishment. Or the way in which the main character of the series challenges our idea of what is evil, criminal. Or maybe the ideas played out in the series of how so much of what happens to people is the result of the circumstances of birth.

But whatever the reason, for me this song evokes the yamim noraim.

And these words especially: “Taking steps is easy, standing still is hard” capture a beautiful theme of the yamim noraim, the play between on one side: contemplation and reflection, and on the other: movement and change.

The parshayot we read the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana and then the Shabbat before Yom Kippur are called Nitzavim and Vayelech.

Nitzavim means standing - the people are instructed to stand - and in contrast with the standing of Nitzavim, Vayeilach means “go” and represents movement.

For transformation, for the process of change and renewal both elements are necessary: we need contemplation, reflection and also the steadfastness in the idea of standing - and certainly we literally stand a lot on Yom Kippur -  but of course we also need action, traction, movement if we are to change the way we live and behave.

And these next 24 hours certainly provide the time and the form for reflection, and in shule the sound track to accompany that.

And the contemplation is not necessarily easy – the themes and melodies of this day take us to dark places. We are told as children that Yom Kippur is solemn rather than sad – perhaps another lie told to children - but for me as an adult , and especially since coming to this shule, Yom Kippur also has an ache; it has become a moment of stillness, surrender, to feel the hardest truths about being alive. Here in the heart of suburban Caulfield, in this … bridge club, we are beckoned on Yom Kippur  by  voices of angels to see fragility, how heartbreakingly easily our lives can be thrown up in the air, and all the while those voices sing to us to hold onto the  beauty of living fully.

And that stillness stands in deep contrast to almost all the days of the year, when we grab life with both hands.

Just days ago we read in the Torah, in parshat Nitzavim: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. You shall choose life – uvecharta chayim - and we do choose life and all its enterprise. We battle to control our physical environment, we build political and social order to ward off the chaos, we fight illness and aging in any way we can, and we create: children, families, careers, communities – and to do so, we have to turn away from and deny death – but today we stand still and we face into our frailty and our mortality.  

The liturgy doesn’t mince words. “Adam yesodo mei’afar ve sofo l’afar. People come from dust and end in dust. Our lives are like a breath of wind, whirling dust, like a dream that slips away”.

The words grab us and hold us still, even as they wound us.

Like mourners, we don’t wear leather, we don’t bathe or perfume ourselves, intimacy is off the agenda. But in truth we are more than mourners - we rehearse death on this day. We don’t eat or drink, and we clothe ourselves in white – rags of light and purity, it’s true but also evoking the shroud of burial.

And we stand.

And this standing it is not always an easy thing. Standing still is hard.

And in the days leading up to Yom Kippur there is another dimension to this play between taking steps and standing still.  In these days the contrasting themes of surrender and action present themselves to us as different responses not only to the knowledge that everything that lives, must die - which has its own coherence at least - but to the frequent experience of the universe as chaotic, unfair and unjust. Nature is unpredictable, people are cruel, suffering is random.

In the understated elegance of the language of Ecclesiastes, it’s a “hevel” a futility that so often goodness goes unrewarded while evil thrives.    

One response in Jewish tradition to this experience of God’s indifference is resignation. It’s a view that we can’t understand God’s designs which can only be met with awe, acceptance and humility – that we just can’t understand the majesty of God’s intentions for the world.  

And if that’s what standing still means today then standing still is hard, too hard for me anyway.

When terrible things happen in our lives, when people we love are felled by illness or accident, when we are troubled, struggling with circumstances, with pain, loss and fear – it’s not enough, not possible to just accept that this is God’s will.

The voices in Jewish texts and traditions that are most compelling to me are those that are honest about God’s absence, honest that sometimes bad things just happen and aren’t deserved, that it is impossible to see design.

The texts I respond most fully to are those which offer instead the idea that people are adequate,  a vision of people as partners with God, able and obliged to take this world in both hands – to bring our creativity, our intelligence, our decency and our dignity to the brokenness.

There is cause for despair in what people to do to each other, but still I believe that people can and do make things better. In this room are parents, nurses, therapists, doctors, builders, teachers, journalists, political activists, musicians, writers, film makers, gardeners -  lives are enriched, eased and improved by what people are capable of, by what you do and more than anything  by our connections – by friendship, compassion and kindness.

And I really do believe in the power that love has to dance us through the panic till we’re slowly gathered in. 

We respond to more than the practical effect of human effort; we are moved, perhaps comforted  by the sense that there is something bigger, something holy in the potential of people; we are transformed by the exquisite possibilities in the divine spark ignited by human autonomy.

A very moving description of this note in our tradition is offered in a text I referred to earlier – the TV series OITNB. There are powerful TV moments – and there is one when Cindy who until her encounter with Judaism has not really wanted to take responsibility for anything much in her life explains to the visiting rabbi why she wants to be Jewish:

“I was raised … to believe and to pray and If I was bad I’d go to hell and if I was good I’d go to heaven.

and here y’all say there ain’t no hell

You’re not sure about heaven and if you do something wrong you’ve got to figure it out yourself 

and as far as God is concerned it’s your job to keep asking questions and to keep learning and to keep arguing 

It’s like verb. You do God”

I love it, yes absolutely for me the best of Judaism is like verb.

And this idea of people as partners with the divine in navigating and developing guidance on how to live with meaning and beauty is realised most fully in Halacha, the bedrock of Jewish practice –Halacha literally means a path for walking – in the tradition divinely inspired, but the path itself is  laid out by us.

And so we walk.

And is there anyone in Torah who walked more than Avraham Avinu (Abraham our forefather) who walked the length and breadth of the land in an odyssey – a search for truth, a journey to build a life of meaning and purpose?

Tradition tell us that Avraham was always a person of action  - from the age of three he wandered in his mind, turning  over the world he observed, rejecting the practices around him because they made no sense to him.

And so it is when God reveals himself to Avraham he tells him to walk. Lech lecha he says. You shall walk.

Move he is told, Go. Leave everything behind, start afresh. And he is not told where to go, although it is very clear what needs to be left behind: his land, his birthplace, the house of his father.

And so we understand - birth is not destiny. We don’t choose where we are born, and to whom, we don’t choose our genes, or our circumstances. But we have at least some choice and for Avraham the choice to live a full, meaningful, purposeful life began with that walk, and with not accepting his circumstances as inevitable.

There is an enigmatic Midrash about Avraham which offers a very beautiful way to consider what it means to walk towards meaning.

Midrash broadly is a description of the way the rabbis understood and explained biblical texts, providing additional detail or commentary – and this text is from a body of stories known as the Midrash Rabba.

The Lord said to Avram. Leave your land, your birthplace and your father’s house …To what may this be compared? To a man who was travelling from place to place when he saw a palace in flames. He wondered: is it possible to say that the palace lacks an owner? The owner of the palace looked out at him and said I am the owner of the palace so Avraham our father said is it possible to say the world lacks a master. God looked out at him and said I am the master of the world”

The dilemma is clear. Avram sees not just any building but a palace, a beautiful, complex structure which did not just build itself. And yet it is in flames – there is disorder, chaos, the threat of total loss.

And so Avram asks - and it may be asked in scepticism, it may be in terror - is there a master and if so where is he?

It is a question we all ask at some point – is there a master and where is he? Why was this world created with such beauty and promise only to be left to burn?

And Avram receives an answer that is not an answer. God declares himself “I am the master” but gives no explanation.

The Hasidic commentator Meir HaShiloah, the Ishbitzer rebbe provides a way to read this.

“The master looks out at him”- the midrash says.

It is Avram who is the subject of the master’s gaze. In the moment that Avram despairs at the absurdity of the world, the  gaze draws Avraham’s attention to himself.  He has to look inwards, he has to look to himself as he sets out on this journey. Before he can move, he has to know what he is capable of.

Maybe more: maybe it’s God who is trapped in the fire, calling for help, calling for us to extinguish the fire - the fullest response to the damage being done to the beautiful design of the palace is not humility, it is action.

We are the firefighters. That’s the design. We come into this world with all its beauty and danger but from here it’s up to us. There is no one but us to save the palace.

Perhaps it’s this quality in Avraham, this impulse to take responsibility which we also see other episodes in the Torah, that led the rabbis to describe Avraham as walking before God. Not next to or with God – but before God.

It’s a radical and powerful idea however you conceive of God – that Avraham’s goodness, the momentum he creates through his deeds and his questions make it possible for God to be in the world and not the other way around.

And it would be nice to finish here, with this idea that the very possibility of God is enabled by human action. But finishing would be less than be honest about tradition, because we know also that in the story of the Akedah, the binding and near sacrifice of Isaac, this model is undercut by Avraham’s total obedience to God’s instructions. Avraham the challenger also readily agrees to do the unimaginable, the unspeakable. Where is his moral autonomy? How is this a man who walks before God?

There is no answer. Biblical and rabbinic traditions include both. A path of human dignity, responsibility and challenge, and a response that demands stillness and resignation and acceptance before God’s will which is unknowable.

Tradition doesn’t attempt to integrate the two. There is no coherent view, the tradition never tells us how much emphasis  to give to either approach. It is up to each of us to make those choices for ourselves.

When to stand and when to walk.

And so it remains with us. And we will spend much of the next 24 hours in this room, standing in the ways I’ve talked about and I’m sure others.  And the process is as individual and possibly as lonely as Jewish life can be, we stand together but we each undergo this day on our own. And yet of course there is always the communal in Jewish life.  And will end this day as we begin it, with verb: singing collectively.

But now as Spektor sings “You’ve got time”. We have 24 hours of standing, of stillness and surrender, but also 24 hours of walking, wandering in our own minds. Moving inwards so we can move onwards

So you’ve got time. We’ve got time.

Inspirations (and reading, listening and viewing suggestions): Burton Visotzky: Reading the Book; Jonathan Sacks: The letter in the Scroll; David Hartman: A Living Covenant; Aviva Zornberg: The Beginning of Desire; Regina Spektor: You’ve got time; Jenji Kohan: Orange is the New Black; Leonard Cohen: Dance me to the end of loveIf it be thy will; Elie Wiesel: Messengers of God; Eliezer Berkovitz: Not in Heaven

Posted on September 25, 2015 .

Rosh Hashana Drasha 5776

Race, Racism and the Creation of Mankind

Ittay Flescher


When you woke up in the morning today, many of you put on your nicest clothes in honour of the chag and began your journey to shul. As you walked down Balaclava Rd, you wished Shana Tova to the people you passed, and exchanged hugs and reminisced with friends not seen for some time. One thing you may not have done, is wish someone ‘Happy Birthday.’ Many of us don't realize that the reason we are here today is to mark the birth of two people.

Two people, initially created as one, born of no parents, with no religion, separated from each other at birth. They walked the earth 2000 years before the first Jew was born, and 2500 years before we were proclaimed a people at Mt Sinai. Their names were Adam and Eve. According to the Midrash (Vayikra Rabba 29:1), today is their birthday.

The words ‘Hayom Harat Olam,’  “Today the world was brought into being” mark the creation of the first human soul. The Talmud asks in Masechet Sanhedrin, "Why was only a single specimen of man created first? To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world; Man was also created alone so that no race or class may claim a nobler ancestry, saying, 'Our father was born first'; and, finally, to give testimony to the greatness of the Lord, who caused the wonderful diversity of mankind to emanate from one type. And why was Adam created last of all beings? To teach him humility; for should he ever become arrogant, let him remember that the little fly preceded him in the order of creation."

The Yalkut Shimoni 1:13 elaborates on this idea by stating God formed Adam out of dust from all over the world—yellow clay, white sand, black loam, and red soil. Therefore no one can declare to any people that they do not belong since this soil is the source from which we all emerged.

There are more texts in this vein which go to great lengths to express the idea that all mankind is descended from one Adam, a being who was neither male nor female, whose body held the potential to be a vessel for all future genders, races, and possibilities of human identity.

This principle, that all mankind originates from one, exists in many faiths, and is also enshrined in the pre-amble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises the “inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”

The first article of this declaration which has been endorsed by almost every nation on earth states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

The Guinness Book of Records describes the Declaration as the world's "Most Translated Document." Even though it is not legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in or has influenced most national constitutions since 1948 and served as the foundation for a growing number of national laws and international laws.
Sometimes I read it to my children as a bedtime story.

That said, in spite of this desire for mankind to be colour blind, articulated in both Jewish and civil law, so many events have occurred in the past year to show the opposite is true. I’d like to explore cases from two different countries that will be familiar to many of you here today.

Twenty years after Nicky Winmar famously lifted his jumper and declared ''I'm black - and I'm proud to be black!'' the response of Adam Goodes to a racist taunt from a 13 year old girl has now become a defining moment in Australian race relations. The day following the incident, Goodes explained his response:

“It’s not the first time on the footy field I’ve been referred to as a monkey or an ape. It was shattering. This week is a celebration of our people and our culture. Last night, I was able to make a stand for myself and say racism has a face, and it’s a 13-year-old girl, but it’s not her fault. She’s 13, she’s still so innocent. I don’t put any blame on her. Unfortunately it’s what she hears, the environment she’s grown up in that has made her think it’s ok to call people names.”

A year later, Goodes was honoured with the title of Australian of the Year for his activism against racism. Whilst he was honoured by many, a small minority started booing him at AFL matches, the trauma of which led to him taking some time out of football in August this year. Amongst a great deal of commentary about this, I was incredibly moved to read these words of Wiradjuri journalist Stan Grant in the Guardian:

“I may be overly sensitive. I may see insult where none is intended. Maybe my position of relative success and privilege today should have healed deep scars of racism and the pain of growing up Indigenous in Australia. The same could be said of Adam. And perhaps that is right. But this is how Australia makes us feel. Estranged in the land of our ancestors, marooned by the tides of history on the fringes of one of the richest and demonstrably most peaceful, secure and cohesive nations on earth. The “wealth for toil” we praise in our anthem has remained out of our reach. Our position at the bottom of every socio-economic indicator tragically belies the Australian economic miracle. From childhood I often cringed against my race. To be Aboriginal was to be ashamed. Ashamed of our poverty. Ashamed of the second-hand clothes with the giveaway smell of mothballs and another boy’s name on the shirt collar. Ashamed of the way my mother and grandmother had to go to the Smith Family or Salvation Army for food vouchers.”

I have met with a number of inspiring elders over the past few years through my participation in the Yorta Yorta Beyachad program at Mount Scopus. These moving words of Stan Grant are not new to me, and underlie how far we still need to travel as a nation before the aspirations of our anthem are realised.


The country I’d like to explore next is an ocean away from us, but very close to the hearts of many in this room. From 1948, its government had the dubious reputation of being one of the most racist in the world. I am speaking of South Africa. A country ruled by the British or Dutch since the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 until the end of apartheid in 1994. Afrikaner nationalists spoke of themselves as a chosen people, ordained by God to rule South Africa to the exclusion of all others.  

Being one of what sometimes feel like a minority of Jews in Melbourne who is not South African, the history of this country has always fascinated me. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of visiting this most beautiful and challenging of places as a guest of Limmud South Africa

Before my visit, most of what I knew about the country was based on memories of watching the Power of One and the 1995 Rugby world cup with many South African school friends who ate Biltong and lived in Doncaster. I remember the symbolism of Mandela wearing the once hated springbok jersey, and seeing the now multi-racial rugby team win over New Zealand. It was an incredibly inspiring moment demonstrating the power of reconciliation.

Like many Australians, I also heard many stories about Nelson Mandela, who seems to occupy a special place in the western imagination together with Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr as being one of the greatest champions of non-violent resistance, forgiveness and transformational leadership.

A month after Mandela was elected president in 1994, he famously said of his people, “Each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

Last week, I re-watched the final minutes of the 1995 rugby world cup where South Africa defeated New Zealand. The first thing the Australian commentator said when the final whistle was blown was; “It's over. A triumph for the rainbow nation.” 

The 1995 World Cup was but one many symbols demonstrating that South Africa had left its wicked past behind. The flag was not the only symbol that changed to rainbow colours when apartheid ended. There was also a change in the names many roads, airports, and public squares that had been named after apartheid era leaders. Now named leaders of the struggle for liberation, what more potent a symbol could there be that South Africa was leaving its path of racism behind?

Most poignantly for me, was a change in mottos. When the Union of South Africa was established in 1910, the official coat of arms carried an Afrikaans Motto which read “Unity Makes Strength.” Since the end of apartheid, the new coat of arms features two Khosian human figures, representing the indigenous people of the land. The Motto now reads “Unity in Diversity.”

These many powerful examples of cultural change since 1994, made we wonder, Is South Africa a Rainbow nation today? 20 years after the end of apartheid, has it finally overcome its demons of history? Was this nation that categorised all of its people into black, white and coloured for so many years, able to implement the idea in Talmud Sanhedrin, that we are all created equal and are all from the same source?

On one hand, I found many examples to answer this question in the affirmative. Most striking was my visit to Constitution Hill which is the site of a former Johannesburg prison that incarcerated hundreds of black and white members of the ANC, three of whom went on to become Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Today it is home to the highest court in the land. The Constitutional Court on this site enforces what is arguably one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.  Not only does it guarantee the traditional civil rights such as the right to vote, free expression, the rights of association and assembly, but also important social rights such as the right to clean water, health and to be gay or lesbian without being discriminated against. It ruled in favour of same sex marriage in 2005, passed strong laws against the death penalty, and has even tried a deputy president whilst in office. This court was an incredible prize to all who participated in the struggle for liberation.

Visit to the Constitutional Court with former prisoner Alan Fine

Visit to the Constitutional Court with former prisoner Alan Fine

However, just outside the court, there were signs all over the city saying “Johannesburg says no to Xenophobia". These were a reference to a spate of racist attacks against foreigners in South Africa from Zimbabwe, and Congo, Somalia and Mozambique. 7 people lost their lives to this violence in April 2015.

The issues that motivated those who perpetrated the violence against the foreigners included competition for jobs, commodities, housing and nationalism. Clearly in these cases, even though both the victims and perpetrators shared the same skin colour, there was enough difference within the ethnic identities and lived reality to bring them to such tragic consequences.

In addition to this phenomenon of xenophobia, the #RhodesMustFall 

movement which successfully lobbied for the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue from the University of Cape Town this year has generated much discussion around the issues of white privilege in South Africa. These have included strong debates about the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) initiative, which gives preference to Black and Coloured South Africans in the awarding of government contracts and university places, as well as the strong feelings of alienation by black students who are still learning in courses where Afrikaans is the language of instructions such as Stellenbosch University.

In light of these issues, of all the descriptions that are used to describe the South African people today on their journey to liberation, ‘a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world’ are not the words I would choose.
Even though we have only explored two countries today, stories about social, political and economic equality based on race can be easily found in almost every country on earth. With this in mind, I’d like to share a simple hope for the coming year 5776.

Many people of conscience throughout the world would like our planet to return to being a Garden of Eden without racial discrimination, but before that can happen, we need to acknowledge the legacy of racism, the privilege that some races still hold over others and the tikkun required before we can again return to an idea we are celebrating today on the creation of the first human. 

May we all one day live in a world where our behaviour is colour blind, where a person is judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin.


Shana Tova

Posted on September 18, 2015 .

Parshat Chukat

Now that we are fully into winter, Kabbalat Shabbat will be starting earlier. We will be having an end of the week l'chaim tonight at 5.15pm followed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 5.30pm (Please Note New Time)
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, the kiddush will be followed by the panel discussion, 'Moving Forward After the Royal Commission'.

We wish you a Shabbat Shalom and remind everyone to exercise caution and report any suspicious behaviour. There is a lot of concern about an increased security risk for Jewish organisations. You may have seen this bulletin issued by CSG. We are looking for volunteers to join Shira's security roster. If you are interested, please reply to this email.

You may have noticed that many of our chumashim are quite worn from use, which in lots of ways, is a good news story. Penelle Stern is repairing the chumashim – thank you Penelle! We have also purchased additional chumashim. If  you wish to mark a birthday, life event or just make a donation to the value of a chumash ($50 per book) or a number of chumashim,  we can acknowledge that in the chumash and it’s a lovely way to support the shule. Please send a note by return to this email if you wish to donate one or more chumashim.  

 

Upcoming Events

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

This Shabbat, 27 June, the community is invited to a panel titled, 'Moving Forward After the Royal Commission'.

Our community has been deeply affected by the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. Join us to reflect on the significance of these events, what we can learn from them, and how we can make our community a safer place for our children in the future. The speakers Danny Ben-Moshe, Rabbi Genende and Rinat Kedem will bring unique perspectives to the discussion which will be moderated by Annette Charak

For more information about the event and panellists: Click Here

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Community Announcements

Hollywood and Hitler

ACJC Public Lecture: Professor Thomas Doherty
Monday 29 June, 7.30pm at Monash University (Caulfield Campus)


Between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more ominous and distinct only as the decade wore on. This lecture will recount how the disproportionately Jewish backgrounds of the executives of the studios and the workers on the payroll shaded reactions to what was never simply a business decision. As Europe hurtled toward war, a proxy battle waged in Hollywood over how to conduct business with the Nazis, how to cover Hitler and his victims in the newsreels, and whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood feature films. Should Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm?

Admission is free so no prior bookings are needed.

Posted on June 25, 2015 .

Parshat Korach

Last weekend was wonderful. Hamutal Gouri gave an inspiring and uplifting talk and Zvi Hirschfield's Shiur was engaging and insightful. Now that we are fully into winter, Kabbalat Shabbat will be starting earlier. We will be having an end of the week l'chaim tonight at 5.15pm followed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 5.30pm (Please Note New Time)
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning,  we will be celebrating the Batmitzvah of Macy Tofler. We are looking forward to hearing Macy's leyning and Dvar Torah and wish her and her family a warm mazaltov. The kiddush will be hosted by Marilyn and Daniel Tofler in honour of their daughter's Batmitzvah.

We wish you a Shabbat Shalom and remind everyone to exercise caution and report any suspicious behaviour. There is a lot of concern about an increased security risk for Jewish organisations. You may have seen this bulletin issued by CSG. We are looking for volunteers to join Shira's security roster. If you are interested, please reply to this email.

Upcoming Events

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

On Shabbat 27 June (next week), the community is invited to a panel titled, 'Moving Forward After the Royal Commission'.

Our community has been deeply affected by the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. Join us to reflect on the significance of these events, what we can learn from them, and how we can make our community a safer place for our children in the future. The speakers Danny Ben-Moshe, Rabbi Genende and Rinat Kedem will bring unique perspectives to the discussion which will be moderated by Annette Charak

For more information about the event and panellists: Click Here

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Community Announcements

Hollywood and Hitler

Public Lecture: Professor Thomas Doherty
Monday 29 June, 7.30pm at Monash University (Caulfield Campus)

Between 1933 and 1939, representations of the Nazis and the full meaning of Nazism came slowly to Hollywood, growing more ominous and distinct only as the decade wore on. This lecture will recount how the disproportionately Jewish backgrounds of the executives of the studios and the workers on the payroll shaded reactions to what was never simply a business decision. As Europe hurtled toward war, a proxy battle waged in Hollywood over how to conduct business with the Nazis, how to cover Hitler and his victims in the newsreels, and whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood feature films. Should Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm?

Admission is free so no prior bookings are needed.

The BDS - A Real Threat to Israel?


Israeli Journalist Ben-Dror Yemini will speak Thursday 25 June at 8pm on the topic of BDS – A Real Threat to Israel? The program is sponsored by the JCCV, Zionist Council of Victoria and the Israeli Embassy. 

Booking is essential. Contact Julie at info@jccv.org.au or 9272 5566. For more information: Click Here.

Posted on June 18, 2015 .

Parshat Shlach

We hope to see you at shule this Friday night for an end of the week l'chaim at 5.45pm followed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, the kiddush is generously sponsored by Dalya Freedman in honour of the yahrzeit of her father, Stanley Ruch z'l who passed away 15 years ago. 

Following the service and kiddush, Hamutal Gouri, the executive director of the Dafna Fund, will be speaking about 'Women and the public sphere in Israel'. This is a fantastic opportunity as it is her only public talk in Melbourne.

Tefillah Announcement

Please note that from next week (Friday 20 June), Kabbalat Shabbat will begin at 5.30pm.

Upcoming Events

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

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This Shabbat 13 June, Hamutal Gouri is speaking at Shira after the service on 'K'vod Bat Melech P'nima: Women and the public sphere in Israel'.

Hamatal Gouri is the executive director of the Dafna Fund, which fosters Israeli women to be effective agents of social transformation, enhance the collective capacities of the women's movement in Israel, and promotes gender mainstreaming through powerful partnerships between women's organisations, including those in the Mizrahi/Sephardi, Palestinian-Israeli and Orthodox Jewish sectors. 

Hamutal is in Australia as a guest of Limmud-Oz Sydney and the New Israel Fund Australia. For more information: Click Here

The community is invited to an evening shiur with Rabbi Zvi Hirschfield titled, "From a Place of Anger or Renewal?- The Last Words of Rabbi Eliezer". Zvi will be exploring the narrative of R. Eliezer's excommunication and death in the Talmud. No background knowledge is required.

Where: 2 Fitzgibbon Crescent, Caulfield North VIC 3161
When: Sunday 14 June, 7.45-9 pm 

About Rabbi Hirschfield

Rabbi Zvi Hirschfield teaches Talmud and Jewish Thought at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jeruslaem. He is in Australia as a guest of Limmud Oz.


About Pardes

Pardes is an open, co-ed and non-denominational Jewish learning community with programs worldwide. Pardes believes in inclusivity when exploring classic texts, Jewish traditions and contemporary issues.

For More Information: Click Here

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Community Announcements

Posted on June 11, 2015 .

Parshat Bamidbar + Shavuot

This weekend at Shira is jam-packed! We hope to see you in shule this Shabbat and during Shavuot.

On Friday night, we are will be having an end of the week l'chaim at 5.45pmfollowed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

This Shabbat, the drasha will be be given by Nathan Wolski and a kiddush will follow the service.

Shavuot Tefillah Times

Erev Shavuot - 23 May, 6.30pm
Shavuot I - 24 May, 9:45am
Shavuot II - 25 May, 9:45am

On the first day of Shavuot, the drasha will be given by Raf Dascalu.

There will be plenty of cheesecake but registrations for the family dinner are now closed. If you have any questions please reply to this email.

Children's Services

Bring you kids along to shule, the tots (up to 5 years) and primary school services will be running on Shabbat and Shavuot.

Shavuot

On Saturday 23 May from 8pm, you are invited to Shira's Tikkun Leil Shavuot. A great mix of scholars, comedians, journalists, playwrights and film-makers will be a leading a stimulating night of discussion on a range of engaging topics!

Chulent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Posted on May 21, 2015 .

Parshat Bechukotai

We hope to see you at shule this Friday night for an end of the week l'chaim at 5.45pm followed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, young Muslim leaders will be visiting Shira as part of the Australian-Indonesia Muslim Exchange program to promote interfaith understanding.

This week, the drasha will be be given by Yaron Gottlieb. A kiddush will follow the service, which is generously sponsored by Adiva Sifris in honour of the yahrzeit of her mother, Minnie Wacks z'l.

Shavuot Tikkun Leil 2015 is fast approaching! Registrations for the Shavuot family dinner, are now open! Please register before Tuesday 19 May. For more information and to register see 'Upcoming Events' below. The tefillah times for Shavuot are:

Erev Shavuot - 23 May, 6.30pm (Followed by dinner and Tikkun Leil)
Shavuot I - 24 May, 9:45am
Shavuot II - 25 May, 9:45am

Mazal tov to Lara Lubitz and Ari Faigenbaum on the birth of their son, a brother to Ezra and Amos. We wish much mazal also to the Lubitz and Faignbaum families on the birth of another grandson, nephew and cousin. 

Mazaltov to Gary Newstadt and family on the birth of another grandchild, a precious son to Saul and Cara. Wishing the whole family  much naches.

Upcoming Events

On Saturday 23 May at 6.30pm, you are invited to Maariv followed by a family dinner and a stimulating night of discussion, exploring the theme of Revelation through storytelling and other engaging topics! Get excited for Shira's 2015 Tikkun Leil Shavuot! 

To register for dinner, please Click Here. Please register before 19 May. The rest of the night is free! For more information, visit the Facebook event

Register Here

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.

Community Announcements

Feminism Teleconference 

We announce a special offer to Shira members of a 20% discount for this teleconference on Jewish Feminism, facilitated by Elana Sztokman and featuring amazing speakers and topics over nine weeks. Registration allows you to listen in live or to the recorded event. You can listen on your own or with a group for the same cost. Speakers include Judith Plaskow, Alice Shalvi, Susan Weiss, Jacqueline Nicholls, Blu Greenberg and our very own Melanie Landau. For information and registration Click Here.

Posted on May 14, 2015 .

Parshat Behar

Contents:

We hope to see you at shule this Friday night for an end of the week l'chaim at 5.45pm followed by another spiritual and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, the drasha will be given by Mandi Katz and a kiddush will follow the service.

Shavuot Tikkun Leil 2015 is fast approaching! Registrations for the Shavuot family dinner, are now open! For more information and to register see 'Upcoming Events' below.

Mazal tov to Jesse Lubitz and Lior Albeck-Ripka on the birth of their son Raphel Daniel. We wish them and their families much joy and naches. 

Upcoming Events

On Saturday 23 May at 6.30pm, you are invited to Maariv followed by a family dinner and a stimulating night of discussion, exploring the theme of Revelation through storytelling and other engaging topics! Get excited for Shira's 2015 Tikkun Leil Shavuot! 

To register for dinner, please Click Here. The rest of the night is free! For more information, visit the Facebook event

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

Community Announcements

Feminism Teleconference 

We announce a special offer to Shira members of a 20% discount for this teleconference on Jewish Feminism, facilitated by Elana Sztokman and featuring amazing speakers and topics over nine weeks. Registration allows you to listen in live or to the recorded event. You can listen on your own or with a group for the same cost. Speakers include Judith Plaskow, Alice Shalvi, Susan Weiss, Jacqueline Nicholls, Blu Greenberg and our very own Melanie Landau.

For information and registration Click Here.

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.


Minyan Roster

Please click link for the relevant minyan to register your commitment to attend (Please note: only one link can be opened at a time):
 

Friday 8 May, 6.00pm
Saturday 9 May, 9.45am

Posted on May 7, 2015 .

Parshat Emor

Contents:

We hope to see you at shule this Friday night for another spiritual and tuneful Shabbat at the following tefillah times:

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.00pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, the drasha will be given by Seraphya Berrin and a kiddush will follow the service.

To help ensure a minyan promptly, 
we ask members to attend punctually once a month (more would be great). Please see the 'rosters' section to register your commitment.

Bnei Mitzvah Program

 

A significant part of having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is the learning process that accompanies that milestone. The 2015 Bnei Mitzvah Program has began! It is not too late to join so if you are interested in the program reply to this email.

Upcoming Events

Tikkun Leil Shavuot is fast approaching! On Saturday 23 May at 6.00pm, you are invited to a family dinner followed by a stimulating night of engaging speakers, discussion and exploration of 'Revelation'. Dinner registrations open next week!

Weekly Zohar Shiur

The wise Nathan Wolski is running a Zohar shiur every Wednesday 8-9.30pm.
Where: 15a Alston Grove, East St Kilda
Come along to learn about the wonders of Jewish mystical thought!

Community Announcements 

Shira Rosters

Cholent Roster

We love cholent at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious cholent, please click here for step by step instructions and to put your name on the roster.


Minyan Roster

Please click link for the relevant minyan to register your commitment to attend (Please note: only one link can be opened at a time):
 

Friday 1 May, 6.00pm
Saturday 2 May, 9.45am

Posted on May 1, 2015 .

Pesach at Shira

If you enjoyed the Shira tefillah on the 1st and 2nd day of Pesach, we hope to see you this week at the following times:

Pesach VII: 10 April, 9.30am & 6pm (Friday night)
Pesach VIII: 11 April, 9.15am

This Shabbat, 11 April, we are honoured to welcome Samuel Norich the publisher of the The Jewish Daily Forward to give the Yizkor Drasha. He served as executive director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research from 1980-1992, and as vice president of the World Jewish Congress from 1975 to 1981.

Are you bringing your children to shule? Do they need entertainment? There is no need to fear...Shira's popular children's services will be running:

Tot's Service (up-to 5 years): 
Yamim Tovim, 10:45 am
Primary School Service: 
Yamim Tovim, 11:15 am

Condolences

Shira sends its condolences to the Ajzner, Harari and Sachwald families on the passing of Mayer Harari, z'l, who came out of Egypt to build a family here.

The Shira community sends condolences to Susie Gartner and her family on the passing of her beloved mother, Lilly Schramm Gilbert - Rachel bat David ve'Hindel, z'l.  A minyan will be held on Saturday night, 11 April at 7pm at 19 Morrice St, Caulfield.

Upcoming Events

Finding Your Way Out of the Closet

On Saturday, 18 April, Shira is proud to welcome Wayne Green to speak after the kiddush. His talk will explore one's journey through discovering life as a Jewish and gay man. For more information click here.

***

Potluck Dinner

There will another exciting Potluck Shabbat dinner on Friday, 24 April. More details coming soon.

***

Membership Drive & Shabbat Dinner

On Friday, 14 August, Shira will be hosting a communal Shabbat dinner to celebrate its 10 wonderful years and to officially launch the 2015-2016 membership drive. More details coming soon.

Community Announcements

Buchenwald Ball

On Sunday night, 12 April , the 70th Anniversary Buchenwald Ball will be held at Shira for the extended family and friends of the Boys who danced back to life after losing everything. We look forward to sharing our pre Pesach Shabbat dinner with the Boys and their families in future years.

***

In this day and age to say that our lives are busy is an understatement. Mindful in May is a global online mindfulness meditation challenge that makes learning mindfulness meditation easy, while also raising funds for clean water projects in developing countries.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on April 8, 2015 .

Parshat Tzav

We hope to see you tonight for an end of week l'chaim at 6.20pm followed by Kabblat Shabbat and on Shabbat morning to celebrate the Aufruf of Romy Grace and Ethan Steen. We wish Romy and Steen together with their families a warm mazal tov and lots of happiness!

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.30pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

This week the drasha will be given by Karen Stock, in honour of Romy and Ethan's aufruf. Following the service, there will be a kiddish sponsored by Romy and Ethan.

Do you need entertainment for your children? Bring them along to shule for the Shabbat children services. The tots service (up to five year olds) and Primary School Program are always popular.

Sale of Hametz 

Pesach is next week.  Bedikat hametz (searching for leaven) takes place on Thursday night, 2 April 2015. If you have any Hametz to sell, fill out this form before 9.00pm of Thursday, April 2nd and we will arrange it all for you. It will be a great time saver!

Minyan Roster

To help ensure a minyan promptly on Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning, we ask members to commit to attending punctually once a month (more would be great). Please click onto the link for the relevant minyan to register your commitment to attend next week:

Kabbalat Shabbat 27 March, 6.30pm 
Shabbat Shacharit 28 March, 9.45am

Cholent Roster

If you are missing your Cholent, there is no need to fear. Cholent is back at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious Cholent, please click here for step by step instructions. 

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on March 26, 2015 .

Parshat Vayikra — The Potentials of Interfaith Dialogue

It was lovely to see so many new and familiar faces at the Shira stall during the 'In One Voice' street festival (Pictured above) and we hope to see you for a l'chaim on Friday night.

Kabbalat Shabbat - Friday 6.30pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning come to Shira to explore the potentials of interfaith dialogue. We will hear presentations by interfaith participants – including our very own Alex Kats who will present the Dvar Torah! The kiddush will be followed by a lively and engaging discussion. Check out the facebook event here.

Minyan Roster

To help ensure a minyan promptly on Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning, we ask members to commit to attending punctually once a month (more would be great). Please click onto the link for the relevant minyan to register your commitment to attend next week:

Kabbalat Shabbat 20 March, 6.30pm 
Shabbat Shacharit 21 March, 9.45am

Cholent Roster

If you are missing your Cholent, there is no need to fear. Cholent is back at Shira! If you wish to make a pot of delicious Cholent, please click here for step by step instructions. 

Community Announcements

Gift of Life Australia is holding a testing session between Purim and Pesach, the first for 2015 ! They are urgently searching for life saving blood stem cell matches for Jewish Leukaemia patients in desperate need. If you are healthy, 18-45 years of age, 50+kg, neither pregnant nor feeding and willing to help save a life then head to the Caulfield Blood Donor Centre from 4.30-7pm on Tuesday 24 March.

Appointments are essential. www.trybooking.com/DHUZ

Shula 0414 780 444 or info@giftoflifeaustralia.org.au

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on March 19, 2015 .

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei — 10 year anniversary & Potluck Dinner

Shira is marking its 10 year anniversary! We would love to see Shira past and present members in Shule this weekend to celebrate.

Kabalat Shabbat - Friday 6.30pm

Join in the Shira tunes this Friday night and stay for the Potluck Dinner. Following the service, we will walk together to the home of one of our members to enjoy Shabbat dinner together.

There is limited space for dinner so please RSVP by Wednesday (11 March) at 9pm. To do this, click here and list what you will contribute.  

Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

On Shabbat morning, you will hear the wise words of Johnny Baker who will deliver the Dvar Torah on the anniversary of his barmitzvah. Please stay for a festive kiddush sponsored by Johnny and to celebrate the highlights of ten years of Shira in Melbourne.

Minyan Roster

To help ensure a minyan promptly on Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning, we ask members to commit to attending punctually once a month (more would be great). Click onto the link for the relevant minyan over the next two weeks to register your commitment to attend:
This week:
Kabbalat Shabbat 13 March, 6.30pm 
Shabbat Shacharit 14 March, 9.45am
Next Week:
Kabbalat Shabbat 20 March, 6.30pm 
Shabbat Shacharit 21 March, 9.45am

Upcoming Shira Events  

In One Voice

Shira will have a stall at the 'In One Voice' street festival on 15 March. Come and say hi. It would be great to see some friendly faces.

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Are you turning Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2015-2016? Join our unique Bnei Mitzvah Program at Shira for an inspiring and exciting experience! The program is commencing next week. If you are interested in the program please reply to this email.

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On March 21, come to Shira to explore the potentials of interfaith dialogue. We will hear presentations by interfaith participants – including our very own Alex Kats! The kiddush will be followed by a lively and engaging discussion. Check out the facebook event here.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on March 9, 2015 .

Parshat Ki Tisa

Chag Sameach! Purim is upon us and the community are invited tonight (in costume!) to our kid's Megilla reading and a theatrical Megilla reading with Mark Symons. 

Come join the soulfulness at Shira this Shabbat too. We hope to see you there! 

Kabbalat Shabbat -  Friday 6.30pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

This Shabbat morning the drasha will be given by Aaron Zelman. A light kiddush will also follow the service. 

Shira Members Survey Update

Thanks to everyone who completed the Shira survey. We had a fantastic response.  In the next few weeks, we will be sharing more detail about what members want, what we need to keep doing or change. For now, based on some consistent direct feedback received, we are making some changes to run shira more smoothly. 

A Minyan Roster will help to ensure that we always have a minyan promptly on Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning. We ask members to commit to attending punctually once a month (more would be great) . Click onto the link for the relevant minyan over the next two weeks to register your commitment to attend (punctually).
 
Kabbalat Shabbat 6 March 6.30pm (This week)
Shabbat morning 7 March 9.45am
Kabbalat Shabbat 13 March 6.30pm (Next week)
Shabbat morning 14 March, 9.45am

Simchas and bereavements - Regrettably we don't always know about simchas, illness  and bereavements in the community. Please let us know about events in your lives, or in the lives of other members (if you are aware of them). We wish to offer support or share in the joy of Shira congregants. Please send an email with the relevant information to our Administrative Officer, Andrew Schnapp. You can also find Andrew's contact details on the website.

Upcoming Shira Events 

Tonight, March 5th- Purim Day
Join us at the home of Michael and Adiva Sifris,
10 Airdrie Road, North Caulfield

4 - 5.30pm (Under 8's):  Kids' (brief) Megilla reading, amazing sand art, and Ron the Magician! (Please RSVP to this email)
6.00pm: Megilla reading with Mark Symons doing his wonderful theatrical performance.

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On March 21, come to Shira to explore the potentials of interfaith dialogue. We will hear presentations by interfaith participants – including our very own Alex Kats! The kiddush will be followed by a lively and engaging discussion. Check out the facebook event here.

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Are you turning Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2015-2016? Join our unique Bnei Mitzvah Program at Shira for an inspiring and exciting experience! If you are interested in the program please send us an email.

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on March 5, 2015 .

Parshat Zachor

Come join the soulfulness at Shira this weekend. We hope to see you there!

Kabbalat Shabbat -  Friday 6.30pm
Shabbat Shacharit - Saturday 9.45am

This Shabbat Shacharit the drasha will be given by Esther Takac. The kiddush has kindly been sponsored by Morry Dvash in honour of his father Zev's Yahrzeit. 

Upcoming Shira Events

Are you turning Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2015-2016? Join our unique Bnei Mitzvah Program at Shira for an inspiring and exciting experience!  It will be a good opportunity to find out more about the program. If you are interested in attending please reply to this email.

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Purim is fast approaching and the community are invited (in costume!) to:

Wednesday, March 4th - Erev Purim

7.30–8.15pm (7-12 year olds): Hamentashen making at Shira! (Please RSVP to this email to confirm attendance)

8.15pm: Communal Megilla reading at Shira followed by hamentashen and live music. 

Thursday, March 5th- Purim Day

Join us at the home of Michael and Adiva Sifris, 10 Airdrie Road, North Caulfield

45.30pm (Under 8's):  Kids' (brief) Megilla reading, amazing sand art, and Ron the Magician! (Please RSVP to this email)
6.00pm: Megilla reading with Mark Symons doing his wonderful theatrical performance.

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On March 21, come to shira to explore the potentials of interfaith dialogue. We will hear presentations by interfaith participants – including our very own Alex Kats! The kiddush will be followed by a lively and engaging discussion.

Are you missing any clothing? Please collect any clothing you may have left at the Herzl Club recently by attending shule on Friday night or Saturday. Herzl Club management want these articles removed immediately. At the end of February any goods still remaining at Shira will be given to the local OpShop.

Community Announcements

This weekend is the Peter Mac Breast Cancer Walk.Proceeds will provide vital funding to research and clinical care at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.  We wish the best of luck to Annette Charak, Samuel Hertz, Ann Wollner and Anna Mlynek-Kalman with the 60km walk. Show support by clicking on their names and donating to their fundraising pages.

Finally, Melbourne's Jewish women's organisations are hosting "Unchain my heart" this Sunday 1 March at 7.30pm to acknowledge International Agunah Day. There will be a panel and an improvised performance by Playback Theatre. 

Venue: 2 Nagle Ave, Elsternwick. 
Cost: $10 per person

Shabbat Shalom

Posted on February 26, 2015 .