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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Board members and portfolios
Educator, Debbie Miller email@example.com
Service times are Fridays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 10am.
Opinions expressed in Teruah do not necessarily represent the views of Beth Shalom Board of Management.
This past weekend has been the most incredible roller coaster I think I have been on in a long while. I cried happy tears, sympathetic tears, tears of loss and tears of joy. Even for me, who cries at the drop of a hat, it was overwhelming.
For those who weren’t in Auckland or weren’t aware, last Thursday and Friday we welcomed 8+ new members into the Jewish faith. I am sure that anyone who has been to shul in the last year will recognise the new converts. They have all made themselves part of the community and seamlessly integrated into the life of our shul. I had the incredible honour of being part of the Beit Din. I had been told a few years back by Sally Natan that is was an amazing thing to be a part of, as she had been involved last time we held one. Even with her forewarning, I was totally blown away. I was so very proud and humbled to be a member of our congregation, a part of the Jewish faith, and to sit before these wonderful people who had chosen to be Jews….. I extend the very warmest of welcomes to the newest members of our community: Susanne, Caitlin, Cass, Alana, Zarina, Trudi, Jen, Phillip, and the +, Alana’s gorgeous baby Leor!
The balance to the joy of the Beit Din, of course, was the loss of our brother, Steve Tipene Daniels Shimshon Ben Avraham Avinu. Steve was larger than life and brought joy and ruach to everything he did. I dare say there isn’t anyone at Beth Shalom who met Steve and wouldn’t remember him! Whether it was benching after a potluck dinner, leading Friday night services, participating in the Purim Speil, or singing Havdalah, Steve has left his special mark on Beth Shalom and we will always treasure the time we had with him. Baruch Dayan Emet.
And finally, as if the weekend wasn’t full enough, we also mourn the loss of Richard Woolf, beloved partner of Glenda, loved father of sons Nathan and Sam, and treasured grandfather of Anastacia and Nate, Angelique and India. Richard was a past president of Beth Shalom and although he spent his last years in Cambridge, he also will be missed. May his memory always be a blessing.
It seems trite to follow those ups and downs with thank yous, but especially with the Beit Din, there are many who made it possible. The conversion class was ably lead by Debbie Miller who taught everyone what it means to be part of the jewish people. Olga Bernstein, along with Claire Bruell and the conversion committee, organised the entire Beit Din seamlessly from the paper work to the mikvah to the unending flow of food! You made a special occasion even more wonderful. I must also thank Rabbi JoEllen and Rabbi Jonathan for officiating at the Beit Din. I have to say, I learned quite a lot listening to you both converse with the applicants and discuss with each other! Finally, I want to extend a huge thank you to Sue Berman and the B&B. Steve’s funeral and prayers back at Beth Shalom before services on Friday were lovely and I know the family is more than appreciative, as are all of us.
I’d like to think that things will settle down a bit now, but if you check the calendar, you will see we have a bar mitzvah, a visiting rabbi, services, Israeli dancing…. It’s a good thing I love a good roller coaster.
It is with great pleasure that I would like to introduce Rabbi Miri Gold who will be spending the High Holy Days with us this Spring.
Miri Gold was born in Detroit, Michigan, with family roots in Belarus. She graduated from the University of Michigan, cum laude in 1971, with a degree in Philosophy. She made aliyah to Kibbutz Gezer, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in 1977. In 1980 she and her husband went to the FSU to solidify contacts with refuseniks out of their belief in Jewish Peoplehood.
In March, 1999, Miri became the third Reform woman rabbi to be ordained in Israel through Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem campus. She has served Kehilat Birkat Shalom since its founding in 1997 and is currently on Sabbatical.
Miri petitioned the Israel Supreme Court in 2005 demanding recognition as the rabbi of Gezer. In 2012, the Israel Attorney General decided that rabbis of non-Orthodox rural communities are entitled to salaries, setting an historic precedent. Rabbi Gold is the first non-Orthodox rabbi to be recognized by the State of Israel.
Rabbi Miri will be arriving in Auckland with her husband David Leichman in mid-September and will be staying through Simchat Torah in October. We are very excited to welcome them to our community and look forward to a wonderful High Holy Holiday season with them.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 403 88054
Christine: email@example.com 524 4139
A group of international students from Trinity Methodist College Meadowbank visited Beth Shalom in June to experience Erev Shabbat and to learn more about Judaism.
Naomi Johnson spoke to them before the service and answered their questions. We were thrilled at how well they participated in our service, singing along with us as if they had been to a synagogue before. For most of them it was the very first time.
Beth Shalom was recently the location of the first ever New Zealand Shared Table event.
Shared Table is an inter-cultural program aimed at breaking down barriers, stereotypes, and prejudices. Women of all ages and backgrounds come together to share stories and food from their cultures. The concept is simple and is modelled on the Australian Shared Table Project.
Completely organised by the Astor Foundation, the first Shared Table welcomed a mix of women from the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, Beth Shalom and the Ponsonby Mosque. After an ice breaker where guests shared their names and what they meant or where they came from, Deb Levy showed everyone how to make challah using an old family recipe. Guests then worked with challah that had already risen as they were taught to plait it and how to take it home and bake it.
Afterwards, everyone sat at tables and had a tasting of traditional Jewish foods including hummus, egg salad, precooked challot, olives, pickles, halvah and dates. The conversation was lively and everyone left with a warm and wonderful feeling that friends had been made.
The first Shared Table was such a success, we are sure that there will be may future opportunities for Beth Shalom members to take part.
This past month has been chock full of events.
Beth Shalom Sunday School
It has been a hopping place our Sunday school. To begin with we start with really spirited service augmented by Ted Ries' guitar playing and Stav Rogel's beautiful song leading. We clap and shout our way through the first few songs. And then we move on to tefilot led by the bar/bat mitzva students. I try to give a different insight into one of the prayers each week and a devar torah.
This week we had Rabbi Jonathan Keren Black visit all the classes and also do a very creative Devar Torah where he brought in a ladder to shul to demonstrate the stairway to "heaven". I always say if you want to get your point across you need to use at least 3 senses. I am sure the ladder will remain in their memories.
We also have been making tzedka boxes, challah and bows and arrows (lag bomar) during morning tea to encourage fun engagement in our morning tea social time.
I would once again like to extend an invitation to parents, and community members to join us on Sunday morning for services and to stay to study. I have some interesting study sessions we could set up if we could get a number people to commit to adult Jewish study during those hours. It would be a great example to the kids.
I also want to extend an open invite to all the parents and grandparents of young children to come to shabbat kat service the first shabbat in every month from 10-11am in the library. We have been getting about 15-20 parents and kids coming to this service which includes; songs, dances, a small tefilla and a story. We aim for fun, a bit of learning and connection. Always followed by shabbat blessings and challah. And most of the times parents and kids stay afterwards to play.
An evening of study that was just fantastic with a wide variety of study options 8 choices from which people could choose. Over 60 people participated in the evening and it is clear that learning is a real focus for this community. Chris Milton was a raving success with his session on near death experiences in the Jewish sources. In addition to everyone bringing dairy delights it was an amazing supper by Jude's crew in the kitchen of the tastiest borekas ever. I always wonder when I pull this kaleidoscope of topics together if I am going to have something for everyone and surprisingly everyone raved about their session. Thanks so much to Debbie Swiatek and Olga Bernstein with their book review, Ofer who discussed the documentary "Checkpoint", Sue Berman and Linda Kaye with a discussion on death and bereavement given with sensitivity and caring, Chris Harris, the CEO from the Holocaust Centre in NZ who gave a great multimedia presentation about standing up for the truth, Tanya Thomson with a great Jewish textual study on Mikve to Marriage and Ted and Stav leading us in the most joyful singing. What a great night.
9 New Members
And finally to top off the month the 2018 students from the Introduction to Judaism course who have been taking oral and open and closed book exams over this past month; 8 of them went before the beit din and joined our Jewish community here at Beth Shalom. It was an honour and privilege to be on this journey with them.
Rabbi Jonathan also led us in a discussion "Anti-Zionism is morphing into Anti-Semitism" after havadalah service on Saturday evening. It was multimedia presentation and very enlightening.
Introduction to Judaism 2019 class also had the pleasure of Rabbi Jonathan and we went way over time with our extensive and diverse discussion of everything progressive and Jewish over 3 hours. Followed by a mad rush to the airport. Thanks so much Rabbi Jonathan.
On June 30th it is the last session of this term and we will reconvene on July 28th. I want to invite all the students who are considering or thinking about joining our Sunday school to call me and meet with me over the break if you have not already done so. We have an open day at the beginning of term if anyone wants to come and give it a try. We promise a fun, open and welcoming environment filled with bright young minds keen to learn and be creative.
Debbie Miller, Education Coordinator at Beth Shalom
027 765 3677 or 09 579 7715 or 09-524-4139
Shadows of Shoah welcomes Deb Levy as our Manager. Deb is a third generation Holocaust Survivor with a background in not-for-profit management and education.
In May, as the MC at the Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial Service, Deb was captivated by the effect that Shadows of Shoah had on the 200 strong audience. "I've been an admirer of Shadows of Shoah for a long time, but standing on the stage as MC meant that I was literally in a position to see the impact that the screening of just one excerpt of one story had on those watching".
"Perry and Sheree's work captures survivor stories in such a remarkably powerful and succinct way. I have seen first-hand the way the three-minute stories can transform those who are somewhat apathetic about Jews and the Holocaust into committed advocates".
A few short weeks later Deb and Sheree met about the possibility of Deb getting more involved.
Requests and opportunities for Shadows of Shoah have been steadily developing. "There are requests coming in locally and internationally. We need to seize these opportunities as they come in to combat the growing issues of Holocaust distortion, denial and antisemitism," Deb explains.
There is the added challenge that while founders Perry and Sheree Trotter are busy with Shadows of Shoah’s administrative tasks, as well as their other advocacy and research work, they are not able to capture more stories. This was one of the things which attracted Deb to a Manager role. "I am really concerned that there is such a limited time window to capture survivor stories and Shadows of Shoah desperately needs manpower and funding to do this before the survivors are no longer with us".
Deb’s family story also motivates her to do all she can to ensure that the Holocaust is not forgotten. This year marked 80 years since Deb's maternal grandparents arrived in New Zealand, having escaped Nazi Europe. They were met at the boat by a righteous gentile family who, despite being total strangers, took them and their two small children into their home.
Three generations later the descendants of both families gathered to celebrate the long-standing family friendship which continues until today. Deb's aunt, who was a child at the time, spoke about the terrifying journey they had escaping from Nazi-occupied Vienna.
Deb has been supporting the Shadows of Shoah Trust since the launch of River of Tears last year as a regular small donor.
"I set up an automatic payment to make fortnightly donations. I couldn't afford a lot but I knew it was important to do something to ensure that this vital work continues". Deb has worked extensively in not-for-profit management and knows how significant these kinds of donations are as they provide regular income instead of lurching from donation to donation.
Deb's aim is to start by raising funds, from generous stand-alone donations, through to 'small but mighty donors' like her who give what they can on a regular basis. She hopes that her work will not only honour those who perished and those who survived, but will also honour righteous gentiles like the Stormont-Morpeth family who took in her family.
If you would like to support Shadows of Shoah with a donation or to set up an automatic payment, please click here.
We extend our condolences to families who are mourning the loss of their beloved this month.
Leon and Sue Goldwater and their families on the loss of Leon's father Harold Goldwater.
Ashley Hingston-Daniels on the loss of her father Steve Daniels, much loved koro of Clayton and Rawiri Bailey.
Glenda on the loss of her partner Richard Woolf, beloved father of Nathan and Sam and treasured Grandfather of Anastacia and Nate, Angelique and India.
May their memories be for a blessing.
The B&B Chevra would like to thank the membership and members of Beth Shalom for the support they have expressed to the families.
Debbie Swiatek delivered a very moving tribute to our much loved member and service leader Steve Daniels at a Friday Erev Minyan which we would like to share here.
time I met Steve Tipene Daniels Shimshon Ben Avraham Avinu was at the
children’s service for Rosh Hashana almost 20 years ago. Steve became the first
person I identified as a
face of Beth Shalom. And it was a beautiful face. Quick to smile, sparkling eyes, a booming voice
that made you want to listen and a singing voice that made your heart soar.
Steve would regularly lead Friday night services. It was always a treat because you knew you were going to take trip to a different sort of place. He would say you are not alone and that you should invite all of your friends and your ancestors to the service. It made you realise that you stand on the shoulders of all of those who came before and that if you take a moment to appreciate that you would always be connected and never alone.
Debbie Miller was telling me about something that Steve shared just recently at a Friday evening service. At the end of each day, Steve would look back and write down if he had helped someone or made a difference in someone’s life. It was how he judged his success in the world. He clearly countered our societal norm of judging success by the job or bank account with the measuring stick of acts of loving kindness - Gimilut Hassidim. Thank you Steve - learning something new and finding a teacher is a great gift.
Steve came to Beth Shalom as a young man. He once said he walked past the shul at the age of 10. He was drawn to Judaism. He became an integral part of our shul; leading prayers, singing, and celebrating Havdalah (the closing songs on Shabbat and holidays) with energy and spirit, Ruach, Wairua, that only Steve could pull off. Purim spiels would have not been nearly as entertaining without his over the top humour and enthusiasm! That Steve chose to be Jewish is especially poignant this Shabbat as we welcome 8 new members to our Tribe. Even the newest members of Beth Shalom were touched by him and I can honestly say that tears were shed over his loss during our Beit Din yesterday and today. While converting is a very personal journey, it is also vitally important to make
deep community connections. Steve understood that and opened his heart to classes of Conversion candidates - discussing freely so that they could enter into the conversation.
also actively involved in interfaith work. He visited Israel staying with his
good friend Maayan Turner from his habo (youth group) days and loved it. He was
always defending and advocating for Israel in both the Maori and Pakeha world.
He did not pull any punches. He said it like he saw it and was not afraid to
voice his thoughts and feelings. He always volunteered to share his knowledge
of Maori and Jewish commonality at shabbatons, Limmud, and Sunday school. His
generosity of spirit and body was always open to the community.
Someone described Steve as a great cultural translator - he brought us all together, blending Maori and Jewish traditions. He once did a version of Hatikva mixed into the New Zealand National Anthem, alternating Hebrew, Māori and English.
May we strive to make our congregation and our world such a seamless blend of cultures, bound together by love and understanding. I will always bring Steve to services with me and stand a little taller for having known him.
Baruch Dayan Emet May his memory be a blessing.
In the next month we will be sending out an appeal letter. We ask that you please consider generously the work of the Burial & Benevolent Society. Membership details are available also from the office. With thanks for your generosity and support.
We hope this finds you all well, and judging by the fact we have not had too busy a month, would like to assume that this is the case.
Unfortunately I suspect this is not so, and that there are a few people who could have reached out to us but didn’t.
We understand there are many reasons why people don’t, independence, pride, embarrassment, among other things. Let me assure you, our role is not in any way to disrespect you, but to offer help and support in an unobtrusive way, which we would hope you can feel comfortable with. It’s nice to get a visit, a phone call, or a card when you may be feeling unwell or down, and as to us? we are doing a mitzvah, and you wouldn’t deny us that, now would you?
We have found that people are not very quick to ask for help for themselves, often because they don’t always feel their need is worthy enough. This is not true; as far as we are concerned all congregants are born equal, and everyone’s need is important to us. I would like to ask the families to get a bit involved here, if you know someone that wouldn’t ask for themselves, then please, let us know if you think there is any way, we can be there for the person you have in mind.
Also, let us share your simchas, we cannot know if there is a special event like a wedding, big anniversary, a new baby etc. If you don’t tell us, there is no way we can find out.
Winter is here, and don’t we know it in the evenings? Winter, notorious for coughs, colds and what have you, flu jabs help, and where we can’t help you medically or financially (B&B is there for that) or ease your soul (there is a prayer group for that) we can offer comfort, support, friendship and care.
Have a great month, we are hoping you won’t need us, but please remember us if you do, and don’t hesitate to ask.
Lita and the Community Care team
Chris Shiller 021 177 4934 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorna Orbell 022 026 2899 Email: email@example.com Or contact the office 09 524 4139