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
Educator, Debbie Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
Auckland Jewish Burial & Benevolent Society, Sue Berman 022 051 3589
Service times are Fridays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 10am.
During COVID-19 Level 1, Friday services will continue via Zoom.
Saturday services have resumed, in the sanctuary.
Opinions expressed in Teruah do not necessarily represent the views of Beth Shalom Board of Management.
As I sit here on the deck of my new home in Michigan, I once again struggle to find the right words to put to page for this edition of Teruah. It is surreal to be so far away from a place to which I am so connected. While I am sure I had the same feelings when I first moved to Auckland from the US many years ago, I think having very small children distracted me from thinking about it too much!
So as usually happens with me, once I sit down and start typing, I find that there are several directions I can go! After re-reading that first paragraph, the obvious strand would take me to thinking about Israel. It is also a place I am far from, yet still very connected to.
As some of you may know, I have actually never been to Israel. It is certainly not for lack of invitations (thanks to Rabbi Levy and Rabbi Miri, amongst others!), but more just due to circumstances. That does not diminish the ties that I feel as a Jew. There is no temple here - the closest one is a little over an hour away, but I am sure that I will find my way there before long. As a Jew, I will always have a tie to our homeland. It is a feeling deep down that comes from generations of tradition and a lifetime of shared community, learning, and prayer.
Although I know I will make it to Israel some day, the fact that I have never been there in person does not make it any less a part of me. And even when I find my way to Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, it will not make Beth Shalom any less a part of who I am.
The second direction that the opening paragraph pulled me was to the Hodaah - the prayer for thanksgiving. Every minute of every day I have found something to be thankful for: family, friends, health, safety, comfort... all of the little hurdles we have faced along the way diminish in significance when compared to how blessed we have been.
I have included a few pictures of my view while writing this. What you can’t see are the chipmunks and squirrels, the myriad of North American birds at our bird feeders, or the turtles who occasionally pop up in the lake. What you can imagine is the 27° temps, the gentle breeze rustling the trees, the contentment I feel knowing my children are near, my family is safe, and all of my friends in New Zealand are healthy and able to join in prayer together again.
I could not discuss joy without mentioning Sam and Melanie Gurtman and congratulating them on the arrival of their daughter, Ida. Mazel Tov!
Stay safe and may you all take the time to appreciate the everyday blessings that are bestowed upon each of us.
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
This year Tish’a B’Av falls on 29-30 July. While it is not currently observed at Beth Shalom, it is good to understand what it commemorates. Many Progressive/Reform Jewish congregations do not observe Tisha B’Av, mirroring the movement’s historic position that a fast day marking the end of the temple era was inconsistent with contemporary Judaism. From its earliest days, Reform Judaism has struggled to reconcile its beliefs with Tisha B’Av. However these days more and more Progressive synagogues are holding commemorations.
With thanks to My Jewish Learning: Tisha B’av, the ninth day of the month of Av, is the major day of communal mourning in the Jewish calendar. Although a large number of disasters are said to have befallen the Jews on this day, the major commemoration is of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively. Central to the observance of this day is fasting.
Tisha B’Av Ideas & Beliefs Although the exact date of the destruction of each of the Temples–the ancient centers of Jewish life and practice–are unknown, tradition dates the events to Tisha B’Av. Indeed, the rabbis of the Talmudic age made the claim that God ordained this day as a day of disaster as punishment for the lack of faith evidenced by the Israelites during their desert wanderings after the exodus from Egypt. During the course of the centuries, a number of tragedies have clustered around this day, from the expulsions of the Jews from England and Spain to more localized disasters. Tisha B’Av is therefore observed as a day of communal mourning, which is expressed through fasting and the abstention from pleasurable activities and extraneous diversions. A whole literature of dirges appropriate to this day of mourning, beginning with the biblical Book of Lamentations on the destruction of the First Temple, has been created to serve the needs of the Jewish community at this time.
Tisha B’Av Rituals & Practices A three week period of low-level mourning leads up to the holiday of Tisha B’Av; the three weeks commemorate the final siege of Jerusalem that led to the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E. During this period it is traditional to refrain from public celebrations, such as weddings, and many traditional men refrain from shaving, reflecting their practice during personal mourning periods. The last nine days of these three weeks culminating in Tisha B’Av are an even deeper period of mourning, during which traditional Jews avoid eating meat; some who did not previously take on certain aspects of mourning, such as refraining from shaving, will assume these signs of mourning during these nine days.
Tisha B’Av itself is a day of intense mourning, whose practice mirrors that of Yom Kippur in many respects. It is a day of fasting, on which one also is to refrain from washing, sexual activity, using perfume and other such ointments, and wearing leather. The Book of Lamentations (Megillat Eicha) and other dirges (kinot) are read in the synagogue.
Hope you are well, and enjoying being at Level1 Although allowing us a lot more freedom, we are at 1, not 0, so we must still obey some rules,like hygiene and staying indoors if you feel unwell. We still need to exercise caution.
Unfortunately, some people are thinking the crisis is over, and are being very cavalier with their behaviour. NOT a good idea. This is an unknown virus that scientists are still learning about, and it certainly is not a virus we can afford to take chances with, and get complacent about too soon. The last thing we want is to go backwards.
Community Care is still here to help any needs you may have, but have to know about them in order to do so. Don’t be shy about asking for help, it is all strictly confidential.
The Telephone Tree is doing a great job, and if you are not being rung, but would like to be, contact us to get on the list and be included. While talking to your Tree contact, let them know if you need any help, that is part of the purpose for the call. Maybe you would like a visit, if you feel lonely
Take care all of you, and stay safe.
Best wishes from
Lita and the Community Care Team
Contact: Chris Shiller 021 177 4934 email@example.com
Lorna Orbell 022 026 2899 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lita Summerfield 021 297 9462 (TEXT ONLY) email@example.com
Or contact the office 09 524 4139
Free ARZA membership for all Beth Shalom members who are 18 years or older
This year, all Beth Shalom members who are 18 years or older are also members of ARZA (NZ), due to a decision by the Beth Shalom Board to fund your membership.
We are calling on you to keep your eyes open for an email that will be coming around shortly and to please make sure that you and all eligible members of your family vote for the ARZA representative, David Zwartz, a member of Temple Sinai in Wellington, when called upon to do so.
What’s this all about?
Many of you will know that New Zealand has a single vote at the WZC that convenes every five years.
The Congress was first established in 1897 by Theodore Herzl who described it as “the Parliament of the Jewish People.” It is the legislative authority of the World Zionist Organisation, determining the positions, policies and distribution of substantial funding to Jewish communities and projects in Israel and around the world.
Of the 500 representatives, some 38% are from Israel, including members of the Knesset and the remainder are from the rest of the world, with a very strong voice from Progressive/Reform/Liberal Jews in the Diaspora. Help us please to make this voice stronger.
For the 2015 Congress, the single New Zealand vote was held by a representative from ARZA, the only qualifying party that put forward a candidate. ARZA (NZ) is affiliated to its umbrella organisation, Arzenu, that fights for the recognition, rights and values of Progressive, Reform and Liberal Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
“If you care about the Reform Movement in Israel, if you support egalitarian prayer, if you believe in freedom of religion, the right of Reform rabbis to conduct marriage, divorce, burial and conversion, if you believe that women should have equal status, here is your chance to make a difference. Your vote in determining who represents your region is your voice in determining what happens at the Congress.” – Rabbi Ira Youdovin
The next WZC is scheduled to be held later this year. Unlike 2015, a New Zealand Mizrachi Party was formed to represent the voice of the Orthodox Community. In the spirit of cooperation and in the interests of the wider Jewish Community of New Zealand, ARZA (NZ) has entered into an agreement with Mizrachi that has been recognised in Israel, to the effect that Mizrachi will not stand a candidate this year and thereafter we will alternate, with the objective of ensuring that both the Orthodox and Progressive congregations have a voice in Israel. It seemed that ARZA would again be awarded the vote on this basis. However, Rob Berg has decided to stand against ARZA as an independent candidate.
If all ARZA members vote, we are confident that we will retain the NZ mandate for the next five years. Every vote counts!
We understand that decisions are being finalised about the form the 2020 Congress will take, due to the Covid-19 situation in Israel and restrictions on travel. We are awaiting confirmation from the WZO that ARZA members will be given the opportunity to vote commencing in early July, and want to make sure that you understand the situation and are ready to vote.
If you have any questions, please contact David Zwartz: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shalom everyone. I am writing this just as we have passed the shortest day of the year, and here in Aotearoa New Zealand the traditional celebration of this time is Matariki - where you look to the horizon to see the rising of Matariki or Pleiades. Te Ao Maori approach to a reflective practice of remembrance of ones passed and of the year that has been, towards the one that is coming and new growth - physical and metaphysical - this approach to the New Year has much in common with our practice. Much more so than the singing of Auld Lang Syne and the turning over of the Gregorian calendar from the 31st to the 1st.
Remembrance of those who have passed is woven very much into our prayer services and of course our burial practices with stone settings [unveilings] are important times to be in community and to support the bereaved and to visit those that you have lost.
If you have any questions or concerns about the options for burial, about pre-purchase or arranging an unveiling please don't hesitate to ask. We are here to help to explore the options.
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Due to the Covid 19 Lockdown the AGM was delayed. This is notice of a new date.
Please join us for our AGM on Sunday 19 July 2020 at 11am in the Beth Shalom Hall for a cuppa tea before we start the meeting at 11:30am.
Please call Sue Berman if you are interested in being an active part in the work of the committee. PH:0220513589 Nominations are still open for committee places.
We acknowledge that for many life is not easy in this time, socially, economically and physically. The B&B is here to support our community and the wider community when the need arises.
Take care this winter. See you on the 19th July @ 11am.