Saturday, December 31, 2005

Another Aussie in the News

Yossi Solomon of Sydney, Australia, and Hindy Chazanow, 17, of Manalapan wheel a menorah made of LEGOs, built by Chabad House youth volunteers, into the CentraState Medical Center Pediatric Unit in Freehold Township on Monday.

From the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey:
For members of the Chabad of Western Monmouth County in Manalapan, the eight-day Judaic custom of Hanukkah began with the building of a three-foot high and five-foot wide LEGO menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum used during the celebration.
Yossi Solomon is the son of Rabbi Arye Leib & Edna Solomon of Sydney.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Chanukah in the CBD

This article appeared in - with photos - about the Chanukah party organised by Chabad of the CBD. I liked this photo of Davi Ekman with Lord Mayor John So. That's Menachem Khoen in the background.

New Mesivta??

This advert also appeared in Does anyone know if this "new Mesivta" is in Melbourne or Sydney?

Mashpia Wanted
Seeking mashpia for a new mesivta for boys ages 13-16 years old in Australia. If you are interested, please email

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Boruch Rofeh Cholim

PM Ariel Sharon is already out of hospital and back to work after his minor stroke this week.

What attracted my attention was this article from the Jerusalem Post which discussed in some detail his dieting plans - or rather everyone else's plans for him. Even George W Bush has given his opinion. All this discussion about food strikes me as particularly appropriate for a Jewish Prime Minister.

Thanks to Yeshivah Orthodoxy for pointing me to the article.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Yud Tes Kislev

Tomorrow (Tuesday 20 December) is 19 Kislev - the day the Alter Rebbe was released from prison in 1798 in Czarist Russia - and marks the beginning of the spreading of Chassidus in a revealed way. This day also marks the passing of the Maggid of Mezeritch - the Alter Rebbe's teacher and mentor.

According to Chabad custom we start the yearly cycle of learning Tanya on 19 Kislev and this day is considered the Rosh Hashana of Chassidus.

Some excerpts of an article from regarding the Alter Rebbe and Yud Tes Kislev:

The public dissemination of teachings of Chassidism had in fact begun two generations earlier. The founder of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), revealed to his disciples gleanings from the mystical soul of Torah which had previously been the sole province of select Kabbalists in each generation. This work was continued by the Baal Shem Tov's disciple, Rabbi DovBer, the Maggid of Mezeritch"--who is also deeply connected with the date of "Kislev 19": on this day in 1772, 36 years before Rabbi Schneur Zalman's release from prison, the Maggid returned his soul to his Maker. Before his passing, he said to his disciple, Rabbi Scneur Zalman: "this day is our yomtov (festival)."

In the fall of 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was arrested on charges that his teachings and activities threatened the imperial authority of the Czar, and was imprisoned in an island fortress in the Neva River in Petersburg.

After 52 days, he was exonerated of all charges and released.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman saw these events as a reflection of what was transpiring above. He regarded his arrest as but the earthly echo of a Heavenly indictment against his revelation of the most intimate secrets of the Torah. And he saw his release as signifying his vindication in the Heavenly court.

Kislev 19 therefore marks the "birth" of Chassidism: the point at which it was allowed to emerge from the womb of "mysticism" into the light of day, to grow and develop as an integral part of Torah and Jewish life.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz writes in the preface to his Commentary on Tanya about the significance of the Tanya here.

More information about the Tanya can be found here on the Lessons in Tanya website. Follow the links on this site to download Tanya shiurim mp3 format presented by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski.

Another informative site presents ma'amarim in Likutei Torah in English by Yitzchok D Wagshal. See them here.

Good Yom Tov!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

14 Kislev 5689

(Click on picture for a larger view)

The 14th of Kislev (yesterday in Australia) was the wedding day of the Rebbe and Rebbitzen in Warsaw in 5689 (1928). has published a invitation to the wedding sent to the bochrim in Yeshivas Toras Emes in Jerusalem by the Previous Rebbe.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Chanukah on the Web

It is still over a week until Chanukah but the web sites are appearing thick and fast.

There are a number of good sites with information for both adults and children and many of them feature games etc to keep the kids busy during the summer holidays.

I have listed them in no particular order: - A comprehensive site for adults and kids - Tons of info for all

Orthodox Union - Lots of info and some great essays by OU Rabbis

Shema Yisrael - Contains the 5761 & 5762 issues of the Kollel Beis HaTalmud magazine

Holidays on the Net - A bit lightweight but with some stuff for the kids - Nice site

Chazzanut Online - Some interesting info about Maoz Tzur and chazzanut in general

Kids Domain - Holiday fun...

Torah Tots - For the child in all of us - shopping as well as some articles


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Australia - A Racist Society?

Cartoon by Tandberg in The Age 13 Dec '05

The riots in Sydney are receiving worldwide press. While John Howard and Kim Beazley are trying to keep a lid on the racist talk it is obvious to me that racism - on both sides - is the underlying cause of these problems.

I am not sure of the situation currently, but a few years ago Moslem thugs would drive around Bondi in Sydney on Friday nights looking for Jewish people to attack. The police (and the community "leaders") tried to keep this quiet and would take little or no action. After all it was only people who looked obviously Jewish who were the targets. I believe that this attitude is coming back to haunt the NSW authorities. If a firmer stand were taken earlier maybe these riots would not have happened.

Then again, one must not forget the drunken youths who were looking for a fight. Despite the left wing media pretending to promote love for all people there is a feeling among many "white" Australians of intolerance for anyone who is different. Fueled by alcohol and a mistaken belief in their superiority these youths decided to take the law into their own hands. Nothing good can come of actions like these.

People like radio personality Alan Jones just exacerbate the problem. Rather than using their radio programs to educate Australians about other cultures that live here they rant and rave about people who act "un-Australian" thus causing fear of people who are different.

In truth there are many people - both those born here and those who have immigrated here - who understand that in order to live comfortably in this amazing country of ours one must understand and be tolerant of our neighbours. The vast majority of Australians are good, honest and understanding people. As usual it is a vocal minority who get the most attention. Let us hope that this unrest dissipates quickly and sanity returns to all.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

770 in the Snow

Photos from COL on erev Shabbos. (Click on photo for a larger view)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Siyum Sefer Torah

Photos of the recent Siyum Sefer Torah in Nachlas Har Chabad can be seen on COL here.

Rabbi Chaim Elozor Gorelik - director of FREE in Melbourne - dedicated the Sefer Torah, along with his brothers, in memory of their parents.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Jewish Cookie" Saga

I saw this article on the European Jewish Press web site.

It appears that there is a type of biscuit in Denmark called a "Jewish Cookie". A group of Danish Muslims refuse to eat these traditional cookies because they feel offended by the name.

The rabbi quoted puts it in a nutshell: "I think that it would be better to educate Muslims to respect the culture of the majority in Denmark, if they want the majority to respect their culture".

The article, which appears here, says:

According to the daily Danish newspaper B.T., Ole Poulsen, head of the public food consumer department said that the Muslim refusal to buy the cookies could have an effect on sales.
"If this will be the case, then we would be obliged to do something about it," he declared.
He added that changing the product name was a possibility, as had in the past been done with the “Negroes’ kiss” cakes, which were rebranded with a more neutral name.

Educating population
Jewish cookies, which are made with cinnamon and hazelnuts and actually have nothing particularly Jewish about them, are very popular in Denmark during the pre-Christmas period.
Denmark’s chief rabbi, Bent Lexner, said that he did not see any problem in a name change. “There is nothing Jewish in it and I wouldn’t mind another name, but I think that it would be better to educate Muslims to respect the culture of the majority in Denmark, if they want the majority to respect their culture".
Most of Denmark’s “Jewish” cookies are not kosher and they are therefore not consumed by a large part of the Jewish population.

For the Jewish Cookie receipe go the Recipe Source site here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Crown Heights 1976

Jake from Jerusalem has sent me an email about an accomplished photographer Claudio Edinger who he met in the mid '70s. Jake says it best:

Claudio Edinger was a recent young arrival from Brazil when I met him in Crown Heights in 1976. Already then, his photographic skills were apparent. He shot some remarkable photographs of the community.
Even without knowing his subjects personally, he had the ability to capture their character in a single black & white print. Some of his photographs from that time can now be seen at his website.

His website is here and the portfolio of photos of chassidim can be seen here.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Famous Speaker in 770

The ubiquitous Charlie Buttons on the speaker's podium at the Rosh Chodesh Kislev farbrengen "downstairs" in 770. It appears to me that he fits in well with the yellow flags and other assorted mishegas there.

See more photos at if you dare...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

New Alert Levels in Europe and America

As many are aware, the French government recently announced a raise in its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The normal level is "General Arrogance," and the only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

It's not only the French that are on a heightened level of alert: Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout loudly and excitedly" to "Elaborate military posturing." Two more levels remain, "Ineffective combat operations" and "Change sides."

The Germans also increased their alert state from "Disdain" to "Dress in uniform and sing marching songs." They have two higher levels: "Invade a neighbour" and "Lose."

Seeing this reaction in continental Europe, the Americans have gone from "Isolationism" to "Find another oil-rich nation for regime change." Their remaining higher alert states are "Attack random countries (ideally those without any credible military)" and "Beg the British for help."

The British are also feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved". Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the Great Fire of 1666

Thanks to Jake and others that sent me this

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Have you seen these animals?

Thanks to David Frankfurter for this article - originally from Ha'aretz:

In a daring and apparently well-planned operation, masked gunmen kidnapped a lion from the Gaza Zoo, Palestinian media reported Sunday morning.

Zoo manager Saud al-Shawwa has offered a reward of 1,000 U.S. dollars for the return of the lion and of two Arabic-speaking parrots which were also stolen in the 30-minute heist.

According to the reports, four gunmen armed with Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifles broke into the zoo and overpowered the guard.They nabbed the two white parrots and then threw a blanket over the head of the lion. Their attempt to capture a second lion failed after the animal reportedly proved too fierce for them.

The robbery occurred two weeks ago but was only made public over the weekend in order to allow the police time to try and find the thieves. Al-Shawwa said it was unclear why anyone would want to steal a lion which consumed at least three kilograms of meat a day."This lion can't be bought or sold on the black market," he said.

Palestinian sources speculated the lion was taken by a criminal gang who wanted the animal as a trophy "show of force".

Saturday, November 26, 2005

More Aussies at the Kinnus

These photos of the Kinnus HaShluchim were seen on Shmais and were taken by Yosef Kramer & SNS Staff. The complete photo gallery can be seen here.

Click on the photos for a larger image

Friday, November 25, 2005

Aussies at Kinnus HaShluchim

Thanks to "ymous" for pointing out the photos of shacharis at 770 on Thursday attended by many of the shluchim who are in Crown Heights for the annual kinnus. The photos can be seen on COL here.

If I am not mistaken the top photo shows Moshe Serebryanski and, in the bottom photo, Dudu Lieder and Levi Kurinski in the background.

Click on the photo for a larger view

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Reminiscences of the Rebbe Rashab

From COL: some interesting stories told by Rabbi Yehudah Chitrik עמו"ש who learnt in Tomchei Tmimim at the time of the Rebbe Rashab. One of his stories describes how the Rebbe gave over a Ma'amar.

This is how the Rebbe Rashab would deliver a Maamor:
At the beginning of Shabbos, the Rebbe would enter a hall where the tables were arranged in the formation of the letter 'mem sofis'. The Rebbe would sit down near a special table and the Rebbe Rayatz would stand just across him. While saying the Maamor, the Rashab would look at the Rayatz as if speaking personally to him and if the Rayatz did not understand something he would make a signal and the Rashab would repeat his words.
After reciting the Maamor it was customary that the temimim would go over the Maamor among themselves and on Shabbos morning, one of the senior temimim would enter and repeat the Maamor in the presence of the Rebbe and the Rebbe would correct mistakes if necessary".

After the farbrengen Rabbi Chitrik (106 amu"sh) turned to the listening temimim and told them "Lets dance in honor of Tomchei Temimim" (this farbrengen was held on 15th of Elul, the day Tomchei Temimim was founded). And Rabbi Chitrik, true to his offer, got up to dance!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Visiting Kosherfest 2005

Yankel Wajsbort (General Manager of Kosher Australia) and Norman Rosenbaum were seen at Kosherfest in New York this week. The photos were taken by the Shmais photographer and all the photos can all be seen here.

Inquiring minds want to know if Norman is giving up law for the food industry....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rabbi Majesky at the OC

Thanks to Shneur for pointing out the article in Shmais about Shloma Majesky's visit to Australia and specifically to Ohel Chana.

The well written article is here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Werdigers in Crown Heights

I love this article in COL with photos - the English is quite entertaining (but then again my Hebrew is woeful). It is actually a very nice idea for the Werdiger family to make dedications in Reb Zalman's name.

Australian Millionaire Visits 'Campus Chamesh'

The Jewish Australian millionaire, Reb Nosson Werdiger, visited the Campus Chamesh Beis Rivkah Complex last week in Crown Heights. The philanthropist of Melbourne is considered one of the richest Australians and he his known to support Chabad institutes in Melbourne and in other locations. Werdiger and his wife, who participated in the festive dinner of Campus Chamesh in the Hilton Hotel were greatly impressed with the wide array of guests and resolved to visit the place. "You are very privileged to get your education at Beis Rivkah", he told the girls in his address.

The Werdigers were greeted by Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov, chairman of the executive committee of Aguach and administrators of Beis Rivkah, Rabbi Lime Minkowitz and Rabbi Benji Stock and were deeply impressed with the comprehensive efforts exerted by the dedicated staff. The visitors were was happy to recognize teachers who had formerly been on a shlichus mission to Melbourne and would be regular visitors at their home. At a shared meal, a suggestion was made to dedicate a section of the campus in the name of their parents, the renowned shliach, Rabbi Zalman Serebransky, a"h, one of the founders of Chabad in Australia. On their return route, the couple was hosted by their friend, U.S. ambassador to Italy who arranged an official reception for them in the embassy, which was also attended by Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mazal Tov Levi

It looks like Levi Mochkin's company The Avenue Group will soon be "in the money". According to an article in Rigzone, which reports on developments in the oil and gas industry:

Avenue Group transferred $50,000.00 to Geoproduction Oil and Gas Company as a deposit pursuant to the terms of the Participation Agreement that its wholly owned subsidiary Avenue Energy, Inc. signed with Geoproduction and Ray Oil Tools, for the development of the Esperanza Block in the Lower Magdalena Basin of Northwestern Colombia.
Avenue Group expects to complete the Esperanza Block purchase and sale agreement on or before December 15, 2005. At closing, Avenue Energy is required to pay $2.7 million to earn a 45% interest in the entire contract area. The cost of drilling the Arianna Nr 1 discovery well and associated geophysical and geological work are included as part of this payment. Subsequent to the closing payment, Avenue will hold a ground floor 45% working interest in all future exploration activities subject to a series of cash payments and drilling commitments and confirmation of remaining reserves by a reputable independent engineering firm.
Mazal Tov Levi!

From past experience I know that our community will benefit through his tzedokah contributions to mosdos and individuals.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lubavitcher Rebbe Meets The Academy

A report on the three day convention at New York University appears in the (New York) Jewish Week under the title Lubavitcher Rebbe Meets The Academy.

It is a interesting summary of the convention which sounds like it was fascinating. Among the quotes that stood out in my opinion were:

Naftali Loewenthal, in the conference’s final session, ardently defended his movement from the messianists in a paper titled “Chabad, the Rebbe and the Messiah in the 21st Century.” He protested their reductionist, myopic focus and called their opponents, who run many of the movement’s institutions, “the spiritual elite” of Lubavitch. “There are attempts by moshiachists to define the rebbe as just one theme,” said Loewenthal. “But even his messianic thrust was not one-dimensional.” He said “every Jew has a role to play in the quest to make the world a dwelling place for the divine.”

Jeff Shandler, an associate professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and a maven of American Jewish culture, spoke about the rebbe and media. Unlike all other chasidic rebbes and fervently Orthodox rabbinic leaders who have recently banned use of the Internet, Rabbi Schneerson saw “technology as not inherently corrupting, but containing the potential to be integrated into Judaism’s spiritual mission.” And indeed it was video of the rebbe that provided one of the conference’s most compelling moments, during a presentation on the rebbe’s relationship to music by Mark Kligman, a professor of Jewish musicology at the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. When he played old videotape of the rebbe, from 1973 and 1980, singing a Lubavitch niggun (wordless melody), everyone in the conference room was riveted. Because it took that grainy black-and-white footage of the rebbe singing, and hundreds of his followers around him responding as one, to finally reveal what all the academic presentations simply could not: the power of the rebbe’s charisma.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Aussies at Simchas Beis Hashoevo

Thanks to "Micael Shmidt" who sent me these photos of Simchas Beis Hashoevo in Crown Heights this year. I don't know who is organised the flag but I prefer this flag to the yellow one that is sometimes seen around town.

Thank you to "In N.Y." for his comment:

The flag was danced accompanied everynight by over 50 people who are from Australia or learnt in Australia including non frum Australian uni students learning in the U.S.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rabbi Shloma Majesky in Australia

(Click on picture for larger view)

Rabbi Shloma Majesky will be visiting Sydney and Melbourne this week and next and is speaking at two functions in Sydney and one in Melbourne.

Shloma Majesky is no stranger to Melbourne as he was a member of the first group of Shluchim that the Rebbe sent to Yeshivah Gedolah. This group was hand-picked by the Rebbe and were here during the years 5727 - 5729 (1968-69). They are still fondly remembered by many members of our community - at least those old enough to have been around then!

He has been Principal of Machon Chana Women's Institute in Crown Heights for well over 20 years. Many Australians have passed through its doors and some of them have formed the Friends of Machon Chana in Melbourne and Sydney.

Rabbi Majesky has also written a book The Chassidic Approach to Joy and has produced an extensive tape library on his shiurim in Chassidus etc. He is an excellent speaker and I would recommend making time to hear him.

The Melbourne function is advertised in the flyer above and will be held next Sunday night for both men and women.

In Sydney Rabbi Majesky is speaking at the following venues:


Thursday night, 10 Nov 2005, 8:15 pm
A recognised expert on Jewish Education,
Rabbi Majeski will lecture on
Bringing Up Spiritually Healthy
Children - including ourselves!

(followed by a Farbrengen for men)
At The Tzemach Tzedek Community Centre
1 Penkivil Street, Bondi
Cover charge: $15, $30/couple includes a light supper.

Saturday night, 12 Nov 2005, 9 pm
Experienced in guiding Jewish women on personal voyages,
Rabbi Majeski will talk about
The Personal Voyage to our Jewish Destiny
(Farbrengen style)
At the home of
Esther Leuchter, 83 Ocean Street, Bondi
Cover charge: $15 includes a Melave Malka

Friday, November 04, 2005

Aussies at NYU Conference

An international conference is being held next week at New York University called "Reaching for the Infinite. The Lubavitcher Rebbe - Life, Teachings and Impact". It is being organised by The Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at the University. The various presentations (by Lubavitchers as well as non-Lubavitchers) will discuss the contribution of the Rebbe, and the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and its teachings, to Hasidic thought, world Jewry and western civilization.

Among the featured presenters are Rabbi Shimon Cowen of Melbourne and Rabbi Arye Leib Solomon of Sydney. Shimon Cowen has a doctorate in social philosophy and has lectured at Monash University. Arye Leib Solomon is the Rabbi of Moriah College in Sydney and has a PhD in education.

The complete listing of speakers, topics etc. is here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Gordon Siyum Sefer Torah

(Click on photos for a larger view)

Thanks to Vicki Gordon for sending me these photos of the Siyum Sefer Torah held last Sunday, 27 Tishrei.

The Torah was commissioned by Moshe & Vicki Gordon in memory of his late parents who were well known throughout the Melbourne community. As could be seen by the attendance on Sunday all communities in Melbourne were well represented at the Siyum.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Melbourne Dynamo just posted some photos of Dudu Leider's Mivtza Sukkah - see here for the article and more photos.

For the few who don't know him, Rabbi Dudu Leider runs the Israeli Chabad House on the corner of Carslile Street and Orange Grove. He has phenomenal success with Israeli backpackers and others who are attracted to his warm and dynamic personality.

The article from says:

The Beis Chabad for Israeli tourists in Melbourne, directed by R. Dudu Lieder, was active round-the-clock during Sukkos, giving Israeli tourists the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvos of Sukkos. R. Lieder and the temimim who are assisting him spend every moment of chol hamoed driving their mobile sukkah from house to house, benching lulav and esrog with Israelis and inviting them inside for a bite of mezonos and Leishev Basukkah. At night, the mobile sukkah became the site of a warm chassidishe farbrengen, with the shluchim explaining the significance of Sukkos as well as the time in which we find ourselves.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Seforim Desecrated in Hebron

Jake from Jerusalem has sent me information about seforim that were torn and discarded by Muslims worshiping in Ma'arat HaMachpelah at the end of Ramadan.

The article Jake sent me is from the Jerusalem Newswire here.

Ther article from the News from Hebron blog is here and you can see more photos here.

I couldn't find any information on the Jerusalem Post site or on JNet. If anyone can point me to more news about this story on any other site I would appreciate it.

It's my blog and I'll write what I want to

There have been a number of comments addressed to me on this blog which I find quite interesting. They all refer to how this blog is now boring and some idiot even wrote to me indignantly that if I don't make the blog more interesting that I should close it down!

How do I answer you people?! Let me say again (and again and again) that this is my personal blog. It is one of millions that exist on the internet and has nothing to do with anyone else except me. I decide what gets posted and I even delete comments that I don't like. If I find something interesting or newsworthy I will post it. If I am busy or tired or whatever I will post nothing. I know that I may sound very selfish and self centered but that's just too bad. If you don't like it start your own blog - but that takes time, a modicum of intelligence and English skills and even means that you may have to think. I suppose that rules out so many of you.

It appears to me that many people reading this blog just want to enjoy the negative things written about other people - and especially about the Chabad community. They enjoy the loshon hora and are very open to hearing that things are not right with someone else or some other organisation. On the other hand they are so blinkered that they react angrily if something they purport to hold dear is criticised in any way. Many of the commentors here feel that they represent the high moral ground so they can say what they like to and about others. If someone does not agree with their point of view they feel justified in attacking them personally. I care little for these people and less for their opinions.

When this blog started many people wanted to discuss problems regarding Yeshivah Beth Rivkah Colleges. I understood their need to let off steam and was happy to provide a forum for that. The same applied to the Gush Katif discussions and I attempted to give everyone a fair go. Nonetheless, I was accused by both sides of being biased - but that was to be expected.

What this tirade is leading to is that if you don't like what I am doing here don't look at it. Even better start your own blog and show that you have something to say that everyone wants to hear.

It is still Tishrei and there are already comments here badmouthing individuals. I am asked to start writing again about what is happening in the Mosod. Most people appear not to be interested in the good things that are being done but just want to stir up trouble. Sure, in a community of our size and with the talented people we have, much more could be happening - but we cannot always discount the good that is being done. Why would anyone want to try to achieve anything in Melbourne when all they get are criticism from those that do nothing? Why should anyone want to become headmaster of Yeshivah College when there is a good chance that they will be constantly criticised by the community?

The bottom line is that I will publish what I like on this blog. I know that many people like hearing "good news stories" as I do and like seeing photos of activities in 770 and Chabad institutions around the world. I will keep publishing these.

I have asked a number of times for articles, photos or information about things happening in Melbourne which I will be happy to post. I have yet to receive anything but the offer still stands.

Ahhhh...that felt good!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hoshana Raba in 770

Some of these photos of Hoshana Raba in 770 on the COL site are really good.
See them all here.


Mivtzoim in Melbourne has some photos of Mivtzoim here in Melbourne - see them here.

(If anyone has any photos of events in Melbourne I am happy to post them here. Just send them to me at


Monday, October 24, 2005

Sukkos Photos of the Rebbe has some great historical photos of the Rebbe during Sukkos and Hoshana Rabbo. These photos include the Rebbe during farbrengen in the Sukkah, giving our lulavim and esrogim and some great ones with the Rebbe and his lulav. The Hoshana Rabbo photos show the Rebbe giving out lekach at the door of the Sukkah to those who were not in Crown Heights on erev Yom Kippur.

Click here for the Sukkos photos and here for the Hoshana Rabbo photos.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sukkos Jokes


It was a terrible night, blowing cold and rain in a most frightful manner. The streets were deserted and the local baker was just about to close up shop when a little man slipped through the door. He carried an umbrella, blown inside out, and was bundled in two sweaters and a thick coat. But even so he still looked wet and bedraggled. As he unwound his scarf he said to the baker, "May I have two bagels to go, please?"
The baker said in astonishment, "Two bagels? Nothing more?"
"That's right," answered the little man. "One for me and one for Bernice."
"Bernice is your wife?" Asked the baker.
"What do you think," snapped the little man, "my mother would send me out on a night like this?"


My Resume
My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned. I couldn't concentrate.
Then I worked in the woods as a lumberjack, but I just couldn't hack it, so they gave me the axe.
After that, I tried to be a tailor, but I just wasn't suited for it - mainly because it was a sew-sew job.
Next, I tried working in a muffler factory, but that was too exhausting.
Then, I tried to be a chef - figured it would add a little spice to my life, but I just didn't have the thyme.
I attempted to be a deli worker, but any way I sliced it, I couldn't cut the mustard.
My best job was being a musician, but eventually I found I wasn't noteworthy.
I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patience.
Next, was a job in a shoe factory. I tried but I just didn't fit in.
I became a professional fisherman, but discovered that I couldn't live on my net income.
I managed to get a good job working for a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.
So then I got a job in a workout center, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.
After many years of trying to find steady work, I finally got a job as a historian - until I realized there was no future in it.
My last job was working in Starbucks, but I had to quit because it was always the same old grind.
So, I retired and I found that I am perfect for the job!


  • My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was G-d and I didn't.
  • I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
  • I work hard because millions on welfare depend on me.
  • I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
  • Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.
  • You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.
  • Quoting one is plagiarism; quoting many is research.
  • I'm not a complete idiot -- some parts are missing.
  • Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.
  • G-d must love stupid people; he made so many.
  • The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
  • It IS as BAD as you think and they ARE out to get you.
  • Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.
  • Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?
  • Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it.
  • Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.
  • Procrastinate Now!
  • My dog can lick anyone!
  • FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. It comes bundled with the software.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.
  • STUPIDITY IS NOT A HANDICAP. Park elsewhere!
  • He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.
  • The trouble with life is there's no background music.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hilchos Sukkah al pi Dr Seuss

I don't know who wrote this but it is quite good. It also comes with footnotes!
For more halachos of the Sukkah the author points us to the Beit El Yeshivah web site. The site in Hebrew is here, English here and the halachos of Sukkah are here.

You can build it very small (1)
You can build it very tall (2)
You can build it very large (3)
You can build it on a barge

You can build it on a ship (4)
Or on a roof but please don't slip (5)
You can build it in an alley (6)
You shouldn't build it in a valley (7)

You can build it on a wagon (8)
You can build it on a dragon (9)
You can make the s'chach of wood (10)
Would you, could you, yes you should

Make the s'chach from leaves of tree
You shouldn't bend it at the knee (11)
Build your Succah tall or short
No Succah is built in the Temple Court

You can build it somewhat soon
You cannot build it in the month of June (12)
If your Succah is well made
You'll have the right amount of shade (13)

You can build it very wide
You can not build it on its side
Build if your name is Jim
Or Bob or Sam or even Tim

Build it if your name is Sue (14)
Do you build it, yes you do!
From the Succah you can roam
But you should treat it as your home (15)

You can invite some special guests
Don't stay in it if there are pests
You can sleep upon some rugs
Don't you build it where there's bugs

In the Succah you should sit
And eat and drink but never...
If in the Succah it should rain
To stay there would be such a pain (16)

And if it should be very cold
Stay there only if you're bold
So build a Succah one and all
Make it large or make it small

Succah rules are short and snappy
Enjoy Succos, rejoice be happy.

1. Maimonides (RMBM) Mishne Torah, Hilchot Succah, Chapter 4, Section 1. The minimum height of a Succah is 10 tefachim. A tefach is a measure of the width of the four fingers of one's hand. My hand is 3 1/4 inches wide for a minimum Succah height of 32 1/2 inches. The minimum allowable width is 7 tefachim by 7 tefachim. This would result in a Succah of 22 3/4 inches by 22 3/4 inches.

2. The maximum height is 20 Amot. An Amah is the length from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. My Amah is 15 1/2 inches for a maximum height of 25 feet. Others say that 30 feet is the maximum.

3. According to RMBM the Succah can be built to a width of several miles. Shulchan Aruch also says there is no limit on the size of the width.

4. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6.

5. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 11. RMBM states that one may construct a Succah by wedging poles in the four corners of the roof and suspending s'chach from the poles. The walls of the building underneath are considered to reach upward to the edge of the s'chach.

6. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 8-10 discusses the ins and outs of building your Succah in an alley or passageway.

7. There is a location referred to in the Talmud called Ashtarot Karnayim. According to the discussion there are two hills, with a valley in between where the Sun does not reach. Therefore it is impossible to sit in the shade of the roof of the Succah. I can't find the reference...hopefully next year.

8. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6. You can go into a Succah built on a wagon or a ship even on Yom Tov.

9. RMBM Hilchot Succah Chapter 4, Section 6. OK, RMBM says a camel but dragon rhymes with wagon a lot better, don't you agree. Anyway, RMBM says you can build your Succah on a wagon or in the crown of a tree, but you can't go into it on Yom Tov. There is a general rule against riding a beast or ascending into the crown of a tree on Yom Tov.

10. Chapter 5 deals with the rules for the s'chach. Basically, you can use that which has grown from the ground, and is completely detached from the ground. So, for example, you cannot bend the branches of a tree over the Succah to form the s'chach. But you can cut the branches from a tree and use them as s'chach.

11. This would be a violation of the rule cited in the prior footnote.

12. Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Succah, Perek 636, Section 1. The Succah should not be built sooner than 30 days before the Chag. However, if the structure is built prior to 30 days, as long as something new is added within the 30 days, the Succah is kosher.

13. Of course it's a well known rule that you must sit in the shade from the roof of the Succah and not in the shade that may be cast by the walls. It seems that this might affect the height of the walls, depending on the longitude of the location where you are building your Succah.

14. Technically, women, servants and minors are exempt from the Mitzvah of Succah. In our day we hope we know better than to read out half the Jewish people from the observance of Mitzvot. Of course, that's just a personal opinion of the author.

15. RMBM ibid Chapter 6, Section 6 explains that you should eat, drink and live in the Succah for the 7 days as you live in your own home. One should not even take a nap outside of the Succah.

16. RMBM ibid, Section 10. If it rains one should go into the house. How does one know if it is raining hard enough? If sufficient raindrops fall through the s'chach (roof covering) and into the food so that the food is spoiled - go inside!

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Avi Vorcheimer has again put together a list of public sukkas all over Melbourne. For the past couple of years he has also included Sukkas overseas. I noticed the Melbourne list in this week's Jewish News but as yet his website hasn't been updated. Keep watching MitzvosOnTheGo.

Other interesting Sukkos sites are:

  • Orthodox Union
  • You will need to do a bit of scouting around for what you are interested in but there is a wealth of Jewish information on the Sichos in English website here

Chicken's Revenge

This is a little late for Yom Kippur but hilarious!! Click here, make sure that your speakers are on and see how far you can throw the guy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Building the Rebbe's Sukkah

I enjoyed these photos on COL of the Rebbe's sukkah being built - see them and more here. There are also some nice photos of Crown Heights personalities.

More photos of the Sukkah construction are on here. They also have a number of photo galleries of Ellul and Tishrei events in Crown Heights here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

1000 Daven in the Rebbe's House

According to COL nearly one thousand bochrim davened in the Rebbe's house on Sunday, Vov Tishrei.

Photos can be seen here and bring back memories of being menachem ovel the Rebbe after the Rebbitzen was niftar, and davening and receiving dollars there at other times during that year. What struck everyone when they first entered the house was the simple way the Rebbe and Rebbitzen lived. The kitchen in particular was extremely neat and clean but contained an old fashioned fridge, stove etc. The Rebbe's physical lifestyle was certainly in stark contrast to the way many of his chassidim aspire to live.