Affiliated with the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ)
Charities Commission Registration Number CC29542
PO Box 26 052, Epsom, Auckland 1344, New Zealand
Tel: 09 524 4139 Fax: 0282 552 3027
Office: Christine O’Brien email@example.com
Board members and portfolios
Hebrew School Educator, Debbie Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions expressed in Teruah do not necessarily represent the views of Beth Shalom Board of Management.
Welcome to the silly season! So very much going on: work functions, social gatherings, Hannukah, beautiful weather (eventually!)… it is easy to get overwhelmed. You might think that adding one more event to your list would be counter-productive but hear me out. Come to Beth Shalom. To some of you this will already be on your calendar. But to others, perhaps it should be.
Maybe you might attend a service. Turn off your phone. Sit back and reflect. Chant the words of our forefathers and mothers. Perhaps sing along…. Make a conscious decision to take time out from the hectic pace and renew your spirit.
Or maybe you will choose to attend the Hannukah Fest. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Schmooze over a shared meal after having learned some new songs with Max and Shannyn at services (they are amazing - I loved their ruach at the UPJ Biennial!). Attend a session where you can expand your mind in a new direction. And did I mention potato latkes?
I know it is a big ask to add more to your already full calendar this time of year, but maybe, just maybe, you will come home to Beth Shalom and realise that there is always a place of peace in your life. It won’t be all silent meditation, but if you open your heart and mind, you may just find what you need to get through the season.
Thursday evenings 7-8pm at Beth Shalom: Adult Hebrew classes, all levels. Contactto enrol. Tuesdays Israeli dance (Beginner’s class) and Wednesdays 7-9pm at Beth Shalom
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING A NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEM FOR THE TZEDAKAH BOX.
A group of Beth Shalom members has commenced, to think of and pray for individuals in our community, who are in need of healing.
The idea is that this group is not an organised group or minyan. Simply, caring people who, when made aware of the need, help healing with the power of prayer.
And that families in distress might receive comfort from the knowledge that this is taking place.
Caring for the unwell is part of being a community.
For those interested, I can supply articles: “The Jewish Way in Healing”, and some scientific research on the positive power of prayer in healing.
If you wish to be part of this group
Or, if you know of someone who is unwell that would appreciate our prayer
Please contact Leon Goldwater or Christine O’Brien at shul office
Leon: email@example.com 020 403 88054
Christine: firstname.lastname@example.org 524 4139
New Zealand contingent at the recent UPJ Biennial in Melbourne
Congratulations to our member Lenny Bloksberg, recently elected as President of the American Club, Auckland, together with the newly elected committee.
The American Club is a social club for Americans in New Zealand and New Zealanders who are interested in America and American culture. The club is totally non-political, so totally social and we welcome anyone with a common interest.
What is Eil malei rachamim? In the last edition of Teruah Ian Morrison introduced us to Eil malei rachamim (variously spelt). For a number of people the immediate association to Eil malei rachamim is to funerals. It may therefore carry sad associations. But there is much more to it than that and it can carry uplifting associations of a soul enfolded in the wings of the Divine presence.
When then do we not chant Eil malei rachamim? Some have the custom of avoiding Eil malei rachamim during the month of Nissan. Some in the Reform Judaism movement do not consider it appropriate to chant it on the Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night service. It is also not chanted on joyful occasions such as Aufruf and circumcision and on Shabbat Mevorchim, the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh. If, however, Shabbat Mevorchim occurs during the days of S’firat HaOmer, it is nevertheless chanted.
When is it chanted? In Eastern Europe Eil malei rachamim was recited at every Shabbat except as noted. It is also chanted on any occasion during which the memory of those deceased is recalled. In Eastern Europe it was considered a general prayer for the Jewish martyrs of all times and it was recited on every Shabbat, generally during the Minchah service, except for joyful occasions. Eil malei rachamim is particularly chanted on the following occasions: during a funeral; at the unveiling of a tombstone; during the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur and on the last days of the three pilgrimage festivals - Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot; on Shabbat before Shavuot (the traditional Yohrtzeit for the martyrs of the Crusades), the Shabbat before Tisha b’Av, and on Yom HaShoah. It is also sung on the Yohrtzeit of a close relative. If the Yohrtzeit falls on Shabbat, the one observing the Yohrtzeit recites the Eil malei rachamim after the Torah and Haftorah service on that Shabbat but whilst the Sefer Torah is still out of the Ark. If the Yohrzeit falls on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday, the one observing the Yohrtzeit chants Eil malei rachamim after the Torah and Haftorah service on the Shabbat prior to the Yohrtzeit. If the Yohrtzeit falls on a Monday or Thursday, some have the custom of reciting Eil malei rachamim on the day of the Yohrtzeit instead of on the Shabbat prior, whereas others have the custom to recite the Eil malei rachamim only on the Shabbat prior to the Yohrtzeit. With respect to the service it is generally it is chanted during the Minchah service after the Haftarah and in the presence of the Torah scroll. If possible, the mourner also chants the Maftir portion. We do not generally conduct Minchah at Beth Shalom so it is appropriate to chant it during the Shacharit service.
When did it originate? It is difficult to exactly date the origin of Eil malei rachamim. Eil malei rachamim is an Ashkenazi prayer but it has been suggested that the text is a development of the Hashkava (“lying down”) prayer which is itself a prayer for the repose of a deceased relative more, often used by Sephardi Jews. Some people say that it was written as a response to the massacres of the Crusades in the Rhineland. Ronald L Eisenberg states that it originated in the Jewish communities of Western Europe, where it was recited for the martyrs of the Crusades (11th century) and only later, in the wake of the Chmelnitzki massacres of the 17th century in Eastern Europe. Katz also implies that Eil malei rachamim was extant at the time of the Crusades. Prof. Eliyahu Schleifer disagrees.
Although the custom of a memorial prayer for the departed is mentioned by the Geonim, circa 8th-11th century era, the prayer text called Eil malei rachamim itself is not found in the texts of the Rishonim, circa 11th-15th century era, i.e. the period which covers the Crusades. The closest we have to a reference is a prayer in the Machzor Vitry, from around the time of the People’s Crusade, which is believed by some to be Eil malei rachamim – it is not in all likelihood.
Eil malei rachamim almost certainly actually emerged in 17th century Eastern Europe probably after the Chmelnitzki pogroms of 1648 in which about 100,000 Jews died. Gil Yehuda dates it a little earlier, saying that Eil malei rachamim is found in a book, Ma'avar Yabok, published in 1626, which is before the Chmelnitzki massacres. Contradicting this, Arnold Rosenberg, says that Eil malei rachamim was written in Poland by rabbis after the Chmelnitzki pogroms in 1648. According to Prof. Schleifer it emerged in Poland at the time of the Chmelnitzki pogroms and then, during the 19th century, it gradually also became known in Germany, mainly in North-Eastern provinces which were close to Poland. He observes that it was not known in Southern Germany.
So, the best one can say is that Eil malei rachamim probably emerged from older prayers for deceased people and had most likely assumed its current form by the middle of the 17th century.
 Rabbi Naamah Kelman personal communication
Ronald L. Eisenberg (2010). Jewish Traditions: A JPS Guide. Jewish Publication Society. pp. 87–. ISBN 978-0-8276-1039-2.
 Various sources used including Eisenberg ibid and Prof. Eliyahu Schleifer, Professor Emeritus of Sacred Music and Former Director of the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, personal communication, 6th November, 2018.
 The Chmelnitzki, Chmielnicki or the Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1648–1657, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, the Zaporozhian Cossacks, allied with the Crimean Tatars and local peasantry, fought against the armies and paramilitary forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The insurgency was accompanied by mass atrocities committed by Cossacks against the civilian population, especially against the Roman Catholic clergy and the Jews.
Prof Schleifer disagrees with Katz’s view and notes that there seems to be a confusion between the phrases Av HaRachamim shochein m’romim and Eil malei rachamim shochein bamromim.
 Composed by Simchah ben Samuel of Vitry, a French Talmudist and student of Rashi from 11th to 12th century. There are three copies of the original Machzor Vitry extant. One manuscript, now held by the Jewish Theological Seminary, is from Reggio, Italy. The Bodleian, in Oxford, and the British Library, London, each own a manuscript of it. The Machzor Vitry includes all the prayers for the year as well as customs and laws, mostly according to Rashi's rulings. The Machzor Vitry is the basis for Ashkenazi traditions and differences between them and the Sephardi tradition.
 Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav (1210 CE - ca. 1280 CE) says that a memorial prayer should be recited by anyone present in synagogue on Shabbat morning who wishes to recite a prayer for the benefit of a deceased relative provided that the one reciting the prayer includes a promise of a gift to charity. But this is what we now know as the Yizkor prayer, it is not Eil malei rachamim.
 Aaron Berachiah ben Moses of Modena, published Ma'avar Yabok “Ford Jabok”) in Mantua, Italy.
Chanukah Fest is around the corner Dec 7 -9 (see below) and I want to take this opportunity to invite everyone to it. In the past we have had Shabbaton at Carey Park but due to their radical rise in prices and funding issues, it was decided to do Shabbaton at Beth Shalom. I realise it is not the same, but we can make is special if we get people to participate and show up. It is closer to home, so it is easier for you all to get to. It is no cost so that should not be an obstacle and it is accessible for all. In the past at Carey Park we ended up renting the whole facility, but most people only showed up during the day. At Beth Shalom we have a facility at no cost and you can all go home to sleep.
We are having some inspiring song leaders from Melbourne. Max and Shannyn Einsohn are talented Jewish educators and song leaders who specialise in a very inspiring and spiritual service (tefilla). I recently went to the Union for Progressive Judaism conference in Melbourne where they led us in a rocking shabbat singing and dancing and an afternoon niggunim session that had us moving into a better place. I really hope that you will come and share Friday night and Saturday morning services (tefillot) with us. I promise you it will give you something inspiring and spiritual.
After the services on Saturday we are going to have workshops and children’s programme (with Habo and a children’s morning service) including a nanny so as usual, there will be something for everyone.
On Saturday night we are going to have a Max and Shannyn led Havdalah and along with Bnei Mishna TED TALK: Jewish Ideas worth Spreading. Our youth who have spent the past 2 years learning are going to share what they think. Please come and sing, learn and be proud.
Please show up as numbers do matter. It is a totally different experience when the whole community is there. Beth Shalom can be a spiritual place that can be profound and life changing but it actually matters if you are there. Be there Dec 7-9.
Friday 7 December
5.30pm Let’s make Donuts and Latkes-we need volunteers to help in the kitchen.
· in Beth Shalom's new kitchen.
· Make your own chanukiya in the Library.
6:30pm T’filot with Shannyn and Max Jarred Einsohn rock you into Chanukah
7:30pm Pot Luck Dinner
· Bring with you vegetarian, kosher fish, soup, salad, mains and/or dessert to share.
· Along with your chanukiya/menorah to light
8:30pm Community - Bring in the Light and Energy to Beth Shalom
· Music: Bring your instruments so we can play some great music.
· Games-Chess, Settlers of Catan, etc., or bring your own.
Saturday 8 December
8:30am Pre-tefillot hike up One Tree Hill. Meet in the parking lot by the Greenlane entrance.
10:am Tefillot with Max and Shannyn - Jazz up your Tefillot
Children’s Tefillot in the Maon.
12.00noon Shared Lunch: Bring a plate of food to share.
1pm Maon - Get Active with your kids and Habo - Boot Camp Challenge with Gidon Richards.
Maccabee dress up and make believe with Habo and younger kids
Nanny available: please notify us if you are coming with children under 5 so we can plan.
1. Book review with Debbie Swiatek and Olga Bernstein - Beth Shalom.
2. Jewish song writing and Cultivating Creative Practices with Max and Shannyn
1. New Zealand's attitude toward Israel David Cumin.
2. Law, Halacha and Mitzvot Is there a duty to obey the law? Ari Rosen , Law Professor Auckland University
3. Afternoon Meditation and Chanting with Shannyn and Max
1. Tikkun Olam: Housing is the answer for change with David Zussman.
2. Israeli Writers - Stav Rogel, Shlicha
3. Torah and humour with Mike Silverman and Jules Gaddie.
4. Garden of Eden. Make a herbal planter with Eileen Jordahl and Terry Haffern.
Coffee Break and schmooze
4:30-5:30pm Jewish LBGTQ Identity with Cil van den Brink
7pm Bnei Mishna TED TALK Jewish Ideas Worth Spreading. Everyone is invited.
Singing with Havdalah with Max and Shannyn– Pizza Party
9:30am Last week of Sunday School - Parents are invited as we share what we have learned.
5pm– 8.30 Chanukah by the Bays– Okahu Bay
I haven't cut my hair for four years. Four loooonnggg years. I have enjoyed the benefits of having a bunch of hair style options, and the occasional bird making a nest in my golden locks.
I'm doing something that really really scares me. It's something I've been thinking about for a little while now, but never really mustered up the courage to do anything about it.
It's time to put my hair to good use.
1 in 3 people in New Zealand will pass through hospice care in their lifetime.
Despite this, 45% of the annual cost of keeping the service alive comes from fundraising.
The past year has seen a number of reasons close to me that made really appreciate just how important this institution is.
The goal of hospice care is to support people with a life limiting illness to live every moment in whatever way is important to them, their family and whanau.
It is where so many people in New Zealand who are suffering in the final stages of cancer go to be cared for. In NZ, 23,000 people are diagnosed with Cancer every year.
I'm terrified of cutting my hair. I love my hair. But the anxiety I have about getting shorn like a sheep is nothing in comparison to the stress of losing a loved one. This fundraiser is my little bit to try and contribute to the care for those people, and I'm hoping you'll get behind me. Every cent helps :)
Here is my give-a-little page:
Proceeds go to Harbour Hospice North Shore
Thank you Givealittle!
Keep a look-out for updates.
MARCH OF THE LIVING 2019 applications are now open
Find out how you can be part of this incredible journey that will take place in between
28 April to 12 May 2019 in Poland and Israel
Contact Esther Haver the MOTL NZ coordinator at:
Applications are open to students in year 12 or 13 in 2019.
My daughter, Kerry-Anne, and I undertook this amazing adventure across Spain after visiting family in Cape Town last year. The following is just a flavour of our walk.
Trails through Spain - we took the green route There are many waymarked routes throughout Europe all bearing the name 'Camino de Santiago' and all converge on the city named after St. James and known as Santiago de Compostela in the North West of Spain. It all began as a pilgrimage to the relics of the Apostle St James, interred eventually in the grand Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Ever since his grave was discovered in AD800, hundreds of thousands have trodden “The Way” across Spain, making the Camino the most famous pilgrimage in the world. The most popular route is the Camino Frances, which starts from the town of St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and ends in Santiago 800km to the west.
If you’ve ever thought about walking the Camino, spring is a great time to go, before masses of pilgrims descend upon the “Way” in summer. The weather is cooler but a bit wetter (we were lucky to have only 4 days of rain). The countryside takes on a palette of colour and the field crops are still green and not brown and dried by the heat of the summer sun.
We spent a few days in St Jean Pied de Port, acclimatising, steeping ourselves in the local history and some French cuisine, experiencing our first alberge (Spanish for hostel) and our first pilgrim meal.
We headed out on the 26th April, wandering across Northern Spain for 800km, arriving in Santiago de Compostela 38 days later, having been challenged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Taking the Napoleon route over the Pyrenees, the first day was straight uphill for 8.3km and stopping over in Alberge Orisson for the night with people from 19 different countries - enough walking for the first day!
Up and over the Pyrenees the next day, crossing the Spanish border (a cattle grid) in the middle and down into Roncesvalles, we stayed in a converted monastery which housed 180 beds. It snowed that night!
The whole walk covers two mountain ranges, the high plateau or Meseta with lots of wind turbines, a number of plains and a huge variety of countryside in between.
Sunny, frosty, cold, windy Pyrenees Evening in the Pyrenees
Snow in Roncesvalles The Meseta
The route passes through orchards and vineyards, very occasionally along a stretch of sealed road, taking us into villages, towns and through the cities of Pamplona (where the running of the bulls takes place), Burgos, Leon and Ponferrada, the seat of the Knights Templar. The typical waymarkers, characterised by a scallop shell is also the identifying symbol of a typical peregrino (pilgrim) attached to the backpack. There were water fountains in every village.
Pilgrim sculpture on a hilltop near Pamplona Countryside and town waymarkers
The Camino reveals wonderful scenery, palaces (Gaudi’s episcopal palace in Astorga), holy places (not only the magnificent cathedrals in the aforementioned cities), Spanish history (Leon’s monastery of San Marcos), archaeological excavation sites of prehumen existence plus a four-story museum solely dedicated to Human Evolution in Burgos and of course contemporary Spanish life and food.
The advice was to carry only about a tenth of your weight on your back which would have been 7kg for me. I ended up with 9.8kg even after consulting equipment books such as “To walk far, carry less”. Once over the Pyrenees and soon after Pamplona, Kerry-Anne and I sent our sleeping bags and other, what we originally thought were “essentials” to be stored at the post office in Santiago. Besides which, with 8 to 20 peregrinos in a dormitory, who needed an added hot sleeping bag. We just kept our inner silk sleeping sheets.
As a music composer, you could have drawn inspiration from the ‘orchestrated” snoring clientele – not! Ear plugs were an essential item. The weight burden took on a symbol of life and other travellers were throwing stuff out eventually when the burden became too great.
An interesting note: Burgos Cathedral - the facade is work of the 13th century and shown here is a “rosette of Cistercian air is opened, with tracery of a six-pointed star, or Solomon's seal” - aka a Magen David – it was quite surprising given the history of that time period.
Burgos Magen David Having fun in Burgos
The albergues are ridiculously priced from 8 – 12 Euros per night in virtually every village and town — roughly every eight to ten kilometres or so. There are small hotels and pensions in the slightly larger towns.
Vegetarian mealtime Camino yoga in the dormitory Typical pilgrim
Most albergues, restaurants and bars do a special pilgrim menu for 10 Euros on average. Where else could you get a 3-course meal with choices for each course and a bottle of wine thrown in.
We encountered walkers varying from university students to families with 2 children, a man in a wheelchair, a woman in her 60s in leg callipers, a couple with a toddler in a pram, a hippie couple each toting a stick with a tied bundle, couples and individuals of different ages (and cyclists!).
We established a daily routine: up at 6.30am, pack and leave by 7am, meet in the next village for breakfast, buy food for lunch, maybe decide to meet for a picnic lunch or not, walk 20+km or 12 or 30 depending on the circumstances. There were even times we didn’t walk together or even stay in the same alberge/town but were always in phone/text contact. We established a loving flexibility and freedom between us.
On reaching our destination, Santiago, we duly received our certificates (in latin). Kerry-Anne and I then travelled 97km by bus to Finisterra (the end of the earth) on the Atlantic West Coast where we had some R & R and met up with our lovely friends from Quebec and picnicked on the rocks.
R&R in Finisterra Picnic with our lovely friends from Quebec Glued to the rock
The Camino’s ancient heritage means it has, what many would describe as a spiritual dimension. You can define that in any way you like, but it means that for many walkers, it is a quest of some kind - a taking stock or meditation, maybe undertaken in order to ask and hopefully answer, a few important questions about themselves. Of course, there are as many questions as there are pilgrims - about their lives, loves, faith, jobs, relationships or even the meaning of their existence. Maybe the original goal was just to get to Santiago in one piece or just to complete a section of the Camino.
The result of this is that most walkers were immediately open to conversations that could become as intimate as you wanted them to be. And it is this essential connection with others on the same path, bracketed by a “Hi” and “Buen Camino!”, that reveal the same very human concerns and whatever goals that make the Camino what it is. I cannot begin to describe to you the number and qualities of all those I met, a number of whom have become friends.
When I first heard of the Camino in December 2015, I just knew that I had to travel it. I had no idea why. Subsequently, it kept on popping up its head numerous times, reminding me that I needed to be there. Personally, I didn’t have any original question(s). I had no expectations but resolved to be as open as I could to the experiences and fellow wayfarers. Also, when you are walking for hours on end with yourself, your mind takes you to many places, but also leaves you in those very refreshing present moments which you sink into on recapturing.
It can be a life-changing journey by the end of it or not. This may occur in a different way later. People with whom we kept on seeing and formed friendships with, were changed in some way by the end of their journey.
I was aware of a number of trigger moments. Some occurred for me during the day’s walking or sometimes on the evening’s reflection of the day. Why did they happen? What did they mean? Since returning to NZ I have had an increasing perception of the significance of many of these.
As one seasoned “pilgrim” of many years walking the “Way” said, “The Camino starts after the Camino”
That happened for me.
At present, in the back of my mind, I feel that I still have unfinished business to attend to in Spain.
A very compelling, moving, sometimes inspiring and darkly funny read: “The Year We Seized the Day” – Elizabeth Best & Colin Bowles are 2 Australian writers who each recount their daily journey together with candour.
Paulo Coelho’s book “The Pilgrimage” explores the need to find one's own path. In the end, he discovers that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people. It is part adventure, part guide to self-discovery.
Walking the Camino was an extraordinary journey and one of the great experiences of my life. Buen Camino!
Over the last few months, we’ve taken a long look at the shape and content of our funeral services. A theme that’s kept re-emerging has been the B&B’s policy of blending tradition with modernity, to ensure an authentically Jewish ceremony that meets the emotional needs of present-day bereaved families.
This approach continues as the service draws to a close and those present gather around the graveside to say their last farewells to the deceased. Perhaps the entire service will have taken place around the grave, although in our community, a service in a chapel of rest is at least as common. Either way, the graveside is where the service normally terminates.
Perhaps one of the most solemn mitzvoth that anyone can be asked to perform is to act as pallbearer and to help deliver the deceased to his or her final resting place. This is a task that, under our Progressive Jewish minhag, is open to both men and women, as well as to both Jews and non-Jews. According to tradition, the pallbearers are meant to pause seven times before reaching the graveside, in acknowledgement of our reluctance to say farewell to the deceased. We try to honour this tradition by halting the casket at least three times before it reaches its destination.
Once the casket has arrived at the graveside, the service officiant recites some suitable passages from our approved source, the “Rabbi’s Manual” of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The casket is then lowered into the ground manually with the aid of straps. Some further readings are then followed by Kaddish, said by the mourners . This too is a significant moment, as it will be the first time the prayer is recited for this particular deceased person.
The officiant then shovels a few clods of earth onto the casket, to be followed by more clods from the mourners and, subsequently from others present. When someone has finished shovelling, they place the shovel on the ground for someone else to pick up, rather than hand it on to them, thus avoiding the symbolic passing on of grief and loss.
At the end of these ceremonies, those present may be asked to form two rows, so that the mourners can walk between them. This is intended to show that the bereaved are not alone and can hope for support in their grief. And, finally, before leaving the burial ground, it’s customary to wash your hands at the tap provided.
One thing that Jewish funerals are not meant to provide is “closure”. They’re just the start of a prescribed period of mourning, designed and modulated to help those who have lost a loved-one cope with their grief and, after a passage of time, emerge with renewed strength and spirit.