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