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!!