Jewish Humour

Jewish Humour

Friday, October 30, 2015

A bit of South Africa in Melbourne


The “tidal wave” of emigration from South Africa, following the Soweto riots, fear of a bloodbath instead of the new peaceful transition to democracy, the scarcity of jobs, black economic empowerment and the falling rand, led many young Jewish families to relocate to Australia, where there are similarities to South Africa in the climate and an approach to traditional Judaism. “In the 1990s this wave of immigration to Australia caused the Jewish community of Melbourne to swell to about 55 000. 

We do not have exact figures, as the many Holocaust survivors are reluctant to reveal their religion,” says Rabbi Yitzchok Riesenberg, spiritual leader of the Central Shul Chabad, Caulfield - colloquially known as the “South African Shul”. The shul was the brainchild of Rabbi Riesenberg and former Johannesburger Ian Harris, who has lived in Australia for 28 years. To test the market place, they placed an advertisement in the Australian Jewish News to meet at Harris’ home and explore the idea further. The first service was held in a meeting room in the Caulfield Town Hall, which was soon filled to capacity. Within weeks, former South African Brett Kaye became honorary chazan and the first two High Holy Day services were held in the Beth Weizmann Community Centre. 

The committee then arranged a lease with the ANZ Bank in the area, and, after running out of space, the next location was sharing a hall at Glen Eira College, nicknamed “Shul in a Box” as Harris and his family unpacked and packed the shul contents before and after every Shabbat. Little time elapsed before it became apparent that the synagogue needed its own space. Harris approached congregants to become foundation members and the congregation acquired land at the Caulfield South Municipal Library. Funds were raised for a permanent shul, which was opened officially on December 16, 2012. The building incorporates flowing South African planes similar to the outback in Australia and the interior, adorned with Jerusalem stone, is flooded with light - “symbolic of being a light unto the nations. Former Capetonian, Barry Barron, who immigrated to Melbourne 28 years ago with his wife and two daughters, serves on the building and finance committee. 

“Most of us are former South Africans - our new chazan Rabbi Yedidya (Didi) Levin’s father is South African. The president is Phil Goodman. Building and finance committee chairman Earle Sacher was originally a member of the Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Schoonder Street, Vredehoek. “There are 300 families who are members and the shul seats in excess of 750,” Barron said. Melbourne has become an increasingly Jewish city with 10 Jewish day schools and 15 kosher restaurants. The South African accents dominate and they seem to prefer to stick together in friendship and in worship. Esther Bassin, from Rouxville, whose son, Leslie, his wife Arlene and their three children immigrated to Melbourne 15 years ago, often attends the shul on her visits to Caulfield. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

InsIghts From the Rebbe on Shabbat Week

Mystical Insights In The Torah Portion – Lech Licha Sefer Hasichos 5749

Lech Licha refers to the soul’s descent from heaven to earth.

The soul in Heaven is in state of union with God - then descends through the three worlds of Biriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah, descending into this world, where only miraculously, does the Omnipotent One, fuse it within a body.

Though this descent of the soul from heaven to earth, from the loftiest heights to the lowest depths,  God told Avraham, that this is where his essence will be revealed (and the essence is God-Himself, hence far greater than any other soul state.)
When the Soul is in Heaven, its true essence is obscured, for it is experiencing the infinite radiance of God. It is only on earth – in the darkness – that the soul’s inner light can express itself – through which the individual becomes a continuously growing being! which is far more lofty than whatever spiritual nirvana it experiences in heaven.
Just as the Soul must descend from Heaven to earth, similarly, the individual must move out of his comfort zone. A person must move beyond both his physical and spiritual comfort zone –
“your land” refers to your desire,
“your father’s home” refers to your mind and
“your birthplace” refers to your habits

The purpose of going from one’s place to a new place is similar to the idea of life itself – ups and downs both physical and spiritual – for in all these circumstances the purpose is to reveal the inner soul of the Jew One can only see a person’s own growth when they truly are in a completely new situation.
Lech Licha fundamentally challenges a Jew to grow – beyond the three factors that naturally shape a person, their inherent disposition, their cultural disposition and their familial disposition (which in fact is even stronger than cultural as we see empirically).

Friday, October 2, 2015

Android American

As usual, we were discussing the issue of computers and robots taking over jobs (as one does) and Steven Ligoff, a smart teenager,  came up with a new term...

"Do not call machines robots or computers, that is really rude, prejudicial and  bigoted - call them 'Android- American'"

Yankel the millionaire isn't a mathematician

Great pearler at the shabbes table last night - thanks Geoff Cohen 

From Geoff....

So Yankel had just picked the numbers that one him the powerball and $5 million.

Motty, the teacher, asked Yankel "Yankelle, how did you pick the numbers 352768"

"Easy" , says Yankel "Rifkas birthday is on 3 May, and my birthday is 2 August -
3+5 =8
2+7 = 9
8x9 = 68"

"But Yoskele" says Mendel "8x9 is 72

Yoskele replies " ok, Mendel - you be the mathematican!"