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
Opinions expressed in Teruah do not necessarily represent the views of Beth Shalom Board of Management.
I had every intention of using this space this month to share a bit about my recent trip overseas - I had pictures of Star of David motifs from Agra, India, a photo of an amazing Hanukiah from the Jewish Museum in New York City, and reflections on my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah in Potomac, Maryland.
But all of that seems trivial in light of the tragedy that unfolded at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven people lost their lives simply because they were Jewish. They were not protesting. They were not imposing their beliefs on others. They were praying in their shul. I have no words to adequately describe the pit in my stomach when I think about that.
But fortunately there are others who are more eloquent than I am in situations like this:
“‘God heard the boy’s cry,’ (Genesis 21:17). God - on this day of anguish, we cry out to you. We are in agony. We are afraid. Hear our prayer: heal the injured, comfort the bereaved, and protect us from those who would harm us.” Rabbi Dean Shapiro
“The newscasts, sickeningly, are referring again and again to this horror as a “tragedy.” It is no such thing. A tragedy is inevitable. This was not. It was murder, murder of a particularly vile and poisonous kind. Human beings have moral agency. Someone chose to hate, and chose to kill. And now we are faced with a choice as well - to do nothing, or to reject this hatred in the strongest possible words and actions, and to refute in every way, in every forum, the philosophical foundations of anti-Semitism wherever they have gained foothold in our churches and our society.” Bishop Dorsey McConnell, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
“We did not - and will not - allow terrorists to make us fear practicing our faith. We will act out of hope and resolve, not out of fear. Our mission is to ensure that Jews can live and pray in safety, wherever they choose to live.” Rabbi Daniel Freelander on behalf of the WUPJ
May their memory be a blessing.
Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, Pennsylvania
Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township, Pennsylvania
Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough, Pennsylvania
Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania (brother of David)
David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania (brother of Cecil)
Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania (wife of Sylvan)
Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania (husband of Bernice)
Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania
Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania
Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, Pennsylvania
PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING A NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEM FOR THE TZEDAKAH BOX.
The Jewish Book Club meets every third Monday of the month at the
Raye Freedman Library, 788 Remuera Rd, Meadowbank
New members welcome!
Contact: Brenda-Anne Mackay email@example.com Tel: 021 295 9545
Next meeting: Monday 19th November at 10:30 am
Parshat Veyera and Reclaim Your Shabbat
by Debbie Miller
The power of influence is the part of the story I want to touch on in this week’s torah reading. I think many times in our lives we feel that we walk a lonely path. In this week’s parsha Abraham greets the stranger by giving them sustenance in the desert. They in turn tell him unbelievably enough that at the age of 90 he and his wife are going to have a child. Sarah laughs and Abraham gets angry because she knows he no longer is capable of producing a child, tell me what man would not be angry at his wife laughing at his impotence even at 90. So, Sarah looks insensitive, but I would say she was a realist.
Sarah is a reasonable and a sceptic. And Abraham is a colour-blind idealist. He wants to save the world and believed no matter what that the power of good can influence and even change the most evil of city of Sodom and Gomorrah which God has told him he intends to destroy because of their wicked ways.
Abraham pleads with God to save them. Bargaining, God says, if you can find 50 good people, then 35, 30, 20, 10 yes just ten a minyan can be a community of good, a force for change. I like this number ten. Yes, if one is an exceptional person, one can be a force no matter what the circumstances i.e. Noah. But when it is a 10 it is a community the quality of the influence changes its power is exponential. But God really knew what the critical number was and that was 50. 50 is the power to break new ground. If we had 50 together we could make a new world.
It is one thing to believe strongly but it is radically different thing to believe strongly in a group which forms a community which intern becomes a force for change.
Community is the integral building block for future. If we want a future it is critical that we do not function as lone wolves. We can no longer afford the luxury of just doing as we please we have to be a community. The stresses of the modern world encourage us to separate and mitigate the harshness of our existence by disconnecting. We no longer need to eat or produce food together (break bread) which was the social act of our agricultural ancestors who gathered sheaves and ground the grain and baked the bread as a collective effort.
In today’s world we can be hooked to our computer, we order our pizza or carry out, do our job hooked to our desk and never leave our chair. We could very well be a force for good creating some amazing product that will change the world, but we will not be a force for change. We will be alone and not part of community therefore, even if we create economic value with our deeds. We do not create change. We have to be part of the woven fabric. It is the weave of our ideas when we interact personally that makes the threads upon which a much stronger warp can be developed, the discussion, the support, the giving, the caring, the ability raise us up above our base nature which merely desires material success versus holiness that brings justice and gimilot Hasidim deeds of loving kindness upon which this the world is built.
If we have a community that gathers together to reclaim our shabbat here at Beth Shalom; if you come to services and know that those people you know and love in our community are going to be there and then afterwards whether you are going to either go out or stay in and share a pot luck or catered meal together, the space of Beth Shalom becomes changed. It becomes a powerful place that will weave a fabric that is stronger and can influence our small world as well as the world around us.
Social Shabbat is a project which asks you to claim one shabbat out of the year as yours, invite 20 of your friends via phone, get them to commit to come to Friday night or Saturday morning services. If you want to claim the service and do something different that is great too. The sky is the limit; how much you want to take ownership of the shabbat. Pick a social shabbat and let us know which shabbat you want to do.
From Andrew Suzsterman and Linda Roberts
We would like to thank the Beth Shalom community and the attendees of Joe's Bar Mitzvah for their donations to his Social Action tzedakah project.
We proudly donated to DC Rescue organisation the following haul;
Thanks again for all your support and donations for all the rescue dogs!
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
What Is the Haftarah, and Why Do We Read It?
Each Torah portion is paired with a passage from the Prophets.
by Rabbi Peretz Rodman
Traditionally, on Shabbat and holiday mornings, a selection from one of the biblical books of the Prophets is read after the Torah reading.
The portion is known as the (hahf-tah-RAH, or in Ashkenazic Hebrew: hahf-TOH-rah). On two fast days, Yom Kippur and Tisha B’av, a haftarah is recited at both morning and afternoon services.
While the Torah reading cycle proceeds from Genesis through Deuteronomy, covering the entire Five Books of Moses, only selected passages from the Prophets make it into the haftarah cycle. A cluster or three or four berakhot (blessings), depending on the occasion, follows the haftarah. Their call for prophecy to be fulfilled and for God to restore the Jewish people to Zion serve as a name to the full set of the day’s scriptural readings, Torah and Haftarah together.
Prophets of Truth and Justice
Rabbinic literature does not discuss the origin of the practice of reading publicly from the Prophets in a formal cycle. We might look to the liturgical setting of the haftarah, then, for some clue about its intended function. In addition to berakhot (blessings) recited after the portion, every haftarah is introduced with a berakhah (blessing) praising God for having “chosen good prophets and accepted their words, spoken in truth.”
The formula goes on to note that God shows favour to “the Torah, Moses His servant, Israel His people, and the prophets of truth and justice.” This focus on the reliability of the Israelite prophets has led some scholars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Adolf Büchler and Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, to speculate that the institution of the haftarah originated in bitter polemics among competing religious groups in Ancient Israel - the Jews and the Samaritans.
The Samaritans were then an ethnic group rivalling the Jews in numbers, power, and influence. The Samaritans insisted on the exclusive truth of the Torah (their version differs somewhat from the Jewish Torah) and rejected all prophets after Moses. That rejection could well have formed the background for the practice of reading from the Prophets in synagogues. By declaring the prophetic books authoritative and their origin divinely inspired, the Jews may have sought to exclude Samaritans from local communities and offer a statement of opposition to a major tenet of Samaritan theology. This view is now accepted widely, but not universally, among scholars of Jewish liturgy.
Whatever the origin of the haftarah, it became, as Professor Michael Fishbane notes in the introduction to his Haftarot commentary volume (Jewish Publication Society, 2002), one of the three components of the public recitation of scripture in the ancient synagogue. This public reading rejected three sources of authority: the Torah, which is the ultimate source of law; the haftarah, which presents the words of the Prophets, who provided moral instruction and uplift; and the sermon or homily, which drew on the authority of the Rabbis to interpret and legislate.
How were Haftarah Passages selected?
It may be that haftarah passages were originally selected arbitrarily, by randomly opening a scroll of one of the prophetic books and reading whatever one happened to find, or at least the choice was not predetermined by tradition. So, it would appear from a story in the Gospel of Luke (4:16.), in which Jesus, visiting a synagogue in Nazareth on a shabbat, is handed a scroll of Isaiah and asked to open it and read from it. Jesus is reading a haftarah, it seems, and some scholars interpret the verses to mean that the place at which the reader was to begin, and end was not indicated to him. (Büchler disagrees, and Ismar Elbogen, in his authoritative history of Jewish liturgy, despairs of ever answering the question definitively.)
Later, traditions developed of reading a particular passage with each weekly Torah portion. The Babylonian Talmud (Megillah 29b) suggests that a haftarah should “resemble” the Torah reading of the day. The haftarah is, in fact, usually linked to a theme or genre from the Torah reading. For example, on the week when the Torah reading features the song sung by the Israelites when they witnessed the parting of the sea at the Exodus (Exodus 15), the haftarah includes the Song of Deborah sung in response to the military victory of the chieftain Deborah and her commanding general, Barak (Judges 5). When the Torah reading relates the story of the 12 scouts sent by Moses to spy out Canaan, the haftarah (from Joshua 2) focuses on the two spies sent by Joshua to Jericho in advance of his campaign to conquer that city.
The haftarah for a given holiday is either linked closely to a core theme of the holiday’s observance or captures something of its later echoes in the Bible. Thus, the theme of God’s readiness to forgive sin underlies the choice of Jonah for the afternoon of Yom Kippur, and the observance of Sukkot in the idyllic future, as related by Zechariah, serves as the haftarah for the first day of that holiday.
Spotting the connection, sometimes very subtle, between the Torah reading and haftarah is part of appreciating the artistry of Jewish liturgy. Identifying that correlation can be a source of intellectual and aesthetic enjoyment for synagogue-goers, and is the subject of considerable commentary.
Many weeks, though, the Shabbat morning haftarah bears no relationship to that day’s Torah reading but is instead a haftarah (or one of a series of haftarot) geared to nearby events on the Jewish calendar. On the Shabbat before Purim, for example, when the Torah reading ends with an extra passage on the destruction of Amalek, the haftarah (from 1 Samuel) recounts the tale of the Amalekite king spared by Samuel. The first word of that haftarah, “Zakhor” (“Remember”) lends its name to the day: Shabbat Zakhor.
Such is the practice on other occasions as well. The haftarah on the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the first word of which, “Shuvah,” lends its name to Shabbat Shuvah) issues a call for Shabbat Yom Kippur Sukkot repentance appropriate to the 10-day period in which it falls. The haftarot of the three Shabbatot that precede Tisha b’Av sound a warning of impending disaster appropriate to the upcoming observance of the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction. For fully seven Shabbatot afterward, the haftarot offer consolation and encouragement, as if the destruction were a current event.
Not all Jewish communities share the same selections of haftarah for each Shabbat or holiday. The customs of major Jewish ethnic groups vary from each other, and even within a given group - Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Yemenite, etc. - there are local variations.
Different Literature, Different music
Just as the Torah is traditionally chanted, not merely recited, haftarot are sung according to the traditional notation system for biblical books, called ta’amei ha-mikra or, among Ashkenazim trope. A haftarah, unlike a Torah reading, is chanted with a separate trope in a minor key that yields a more plaintive, nuanced melody.
The person who is to read the haftarah is called to the Torah for a last, additional aliyah called “maftir.” The term (of which “haftarah” is a noun form) is related to the verb “to depart” and stems from the fact that this aliyah is an addendum to the Torah reading. Several verses at the end of the last aliyah of that day’s Torah reading are repeated in the aliyah read by or for the maftir.
Although there is no essential link between bar/bat mitzvah and the haftarah, it has become common practice for an adolescent becoming bar/bat mitzvah to take on the task of chanting the haftarah and associated blessings. In this way, perhaps, the haftarah has emerged from the shadows, where it formed merely an addendum to the “main event” of Torah reading, into the liturgical spotlight, where it is given the full attention that, one might argue, it deserves.
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.
Historical novel covers age-old Jewish dilemma.
First published in One Community Chronicle
It's a dilemma that young Jewish New Zealanders living in a very small community of those of the same faith know well: To marry the young man or woman of their choice, often meaning marrying "out" of the Jewish faith - or to go to Australia where the Jewish community is much larger, and the choice of bride or groom is thus much greater.
And whether the year is 2017 or 1850, the dilemma, it appears, is the same.
Of particular interest in Auckland Jewish writer David Burke Kennedy's first novel, Legacy of Strangers, is the Jewish component. Sarah, who is the daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman falls in love with Irish Catholic Jarlath. The illicit relationship keeps surfacing in spite of her parents' attempts to marry her off to a nice Jewish boy in Australia.
If you are interested in New Zealand's early history, Legacy of Strangers will be a must-read for you.
While most of the key characters are fictitious, their lives and events reflect the realities of 1838 to 1858 in Ireland, England, Australia and New Zealand.
Four strangers are forced to leave their homeland for a better life in the colonies. But as their paths cross, their lives become a whirlwind of violence, crime and prostitution, romance and betrayal, with disastrous and fatal outcomes.
Much is based on little-known true-life events and people including New Zealand Jewish personalities of the era - and builds to a surprising conclusion.
Author David Burke-Kennedy is an Australian-born New Zealander whose career spans over 40 years simultaneously in the news media as an award-winning broadcaster and journalist and as an advertising creative and writer.
This novel reflects his Jewish heritage and upbringing in Wellington as part of the Davis family who were well known in the community during the 20th century.
In recent months we’ve looked at how Jewish funeral services typically build towards an emotional climax, provided by the Hesped or Eulogy.
The mood of heightened emotion then tends to continue as the funeral officiant chants the traditional prayer for the departed, El Maleh Rahamim (God Full of Compassion).
In Anglophone countries, English is now, by and large, the main language for Progressive Jewish funeral services, with Hebrew used sparingly and at the discretion of the officiant. But El Maleh is always said in Hebrew, even if an English translation is also recited.
Another notable way in which this prayer can stand out from the rest of the service is that, while music and singing are otherwise largely absent from our funerals, El Maleh is normally chanted with a soulful, meditative nigun. Communities fortunate enough to have a Pavarotti-like cantor on the payroll, can even expect a memorably emotive exercise in Chazzanut at this point.
A third way in which El Maleh is distinguished from the rest of the service is that the officiant will normally ask the congregation to stand whilst it’s being recited.
So why has this particular prayer assumed so much significance, both at funerals and, in a slightly different form, during Yizkor services? Partly, perhaps, it’s because of the Hebrew text’s beautiful and inspiring imagery of a newly departed soul, finding refuge in the shadow of the wings of a compassionate creator.
But perhaps even more significant is El Maleh’s venerable origins and its association with Jewish suffering down the centuries. It’s particularly linked to the history of Ashkenazim, whom, we’re told, chanted this prayer for the many thousands massacred by the Crusaders and for the thousands more murdered in Poland and the Ukraine during Chmielnicki’s uprising in the mid-seventeenth century. And, of course, there have been all too many times during the last bloodstained century, when El Maleh would have been recited for both individuals and, alas, whole communities.
A further reason why El Maleh has so much significance at funerals is that, according to tradition, it marks the point when the soul leaves the body.
As a sometime funeral officiant, I’ve occasionally mentioned this belief immediately before chanting the prayer and then noticed non-Jewish friends of the deceased closing their eyes in contemplation or even covering them with their hands. Whether or not you literally believe in the tradition, it can still carry enormous emotional power and, hopefully, help bring comfort to grieving hearts.
We are working on an exciting project to create a book about Auckland Jewry, by Auckland Jewry. We wanted to update you and invite you to contribute to an important chapter of Jewish History in Auckland.
Our aim is to create a record of Auckland's more recent Jewish History to both preserve it and learn from it. It will be a third volume in the published 'Identity and Involvement- Auckland Jewry, Past and Present' series.
We are looking for written contributions from individuals, families, community leaders and organisations. We are not looking for literary works - just authentic stories.
There is no formal template as to how contributions should be made. We want to capture, recognise and celebrate the great diversity which we have spiritually culturally and politically. They may be existing articles, eulogies, speeches, research or interviews, or something written especially for the book. They could range from a page to an extended essay. They could include the history or origin of the family/organisation, their experiences coming to the community, and their contributions, their reasons for coming and/or leaving, their wider community contributions and roles and awards, or an event or experience that stands out.
We want to hear from all the different organisations within the Jewish communities in Auckland, about their activities ,what they are trying to do and what they have achieved ,and how their orientation and needs have changed over time.
Ideally contributions would be between 400 words up to 2500 (especially in the case of extended families or organisations who have made noteworthy contributions to the local or wider community).
Contributions need to be received by the 31st of January 2019.
Please help us circulate this information both locally and overseas .
We want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile project. Please share this opportunity widely.
For those interested, please find more background information below.
With promises that this will be a worthwhile project.
Ann Gluckman and Deb Levy (Co-editors)
Contributions to be sent to Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, or if you like to be involved in the editorial process, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please feel free to contact Ann +64 9 5240047 or email@example.com or Deb +64 272 575 676 or firstname.lastname@example.org