Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Questions That Need Answering

Can these guys answer Joe's questions?

Joe in Australia has raised some important issues in his comment to the post A Strange Procession on this blog. Surely there is someone out there who can answer them...
At the time I wrote my last comments I was suffering from the after-effects of having read R' Ginsberg's article. It is clearly incompatible with rational thought or expression and next time I will protect myself by taking a rest break between paragraphs.

In the interim, here's the caption from a photo stuck up at another Chabad shul here in Melbourne:
"the Tankisten also hand out to the soldiers 'Moshiach' cards with the picture of the Rebbe MH'M Shlita's for their protection."

My question is, do photos of the Rebbe have to be full-body, or will they also protect me if they are only from the neck up? Are color photos more effective than B&W ones? Do different photos protect me from different things - for instance, do I need one photo for protection from fire and another one for protection from theft? And how do I know which photo does what? If the photo is printed by a goy, does it still work? I think it's time we had some answers.
Sometimes the situation is so ridiculous that we need a sense of humour to deal with it.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Australia's Own Rabbi Mordy Katz

A great video of Robert Weil's alter ego Rabbi Mordy Katz performing at a wedding in Melbourne.

Thanks to Jewish and Breaking News.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What Makes Me Tick

I saw this video on Shmais and and felt that it is worth reproducing here.

This short video was taken at the Kinnus HaShluchim in California. The spontaneous, candid answers to the question "What makes you tick?" give a glimpse into why the Shluchim are leading Lubavitch today and carrying on the Rebbe's work.

Stay to the end for the indefatigable Shlomo Cunin!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dry Bones & Light Bulbs

I am really only posting this as I was surprised to see that Dry Bones is up with current Australian news!

For those wondering if us Aussies are going back to using candles the story here should explain it. The government wants to ban incandescent bulbs and have people use the (initially much more expensive but) more energy-efficient flourescent bulbs.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Strange Procession

These guys are just getting weirder and weirder....

Thanks to for this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rebbitzen Menucha Rochel - Take 2

Many thanks to Andrew Sharpe for providing the accurate story about Rebbitzen (or "Bobbe") Menucha Rochel.

The bracha was given by the Tzemach Tzedek to his sister in law as Menucha Rochel cried to her sister Chaya Moussia that she did not want to go to Israel because of the heat and rain. Chaya Moussia told her sister she would ask her husband to give a brocha to keep away the heat and rain.

The lady Rabbi Groner is talking about is my great grandmother Shoshana Gitel Slonim.This event happened in the year 1877 when Shoshi Gitel was a 17 year old kallah who was to marry was g-grandfather Yaacov Chaim Slonim in Chevron.

This event was told to me by my grandmother Rivkah Sharpe nee Slonim when I was a teenager that when her mother was walking down the street with Bobba Menucha only her mother got soaked in the rain. I do admit I was very skeptical however my grandmother was adamant and made two comments to her grandchildren (1) we are never to laugh at events that we do not understand or could ever comprehend (2) we are descendants from Beis Dovid from both families of Slonim and Schneuri.

Rabbi Groner also heard the story of Bobba Menucha Rochel from the Friediker Rebbe.

Bobba Menucha Rochel was one tough rebbetzin who always got her way and very compassionate and generous to all those who needed help.My grandmother told me Bobba menucha was treated like royalty by everone in Chevron.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rebbitzen Menucha Rochel Slonim

Monday, 24 Shevat, was the yartzeit of Rebbitzen Menucha Rochel Slonim, the daughter of the Mittler Rebbe. She was one of the early settlers in Hevron. COL says:

Hundreds of Chabadniks, descendants of Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel Slonim, a'h, visited her Tziyon in Chevron today in honor of her 119th yortseit and marking the 25th year since her descendants organized under 'The Association of Descendants of the Alter Rebbe' have reinstated the annual ascent to her grave-site. This tradition was renewed in 5742 and greatly encouraged by the Rebbe. Gradually, not only an increasing number of descendants joined this 'Aliya Lakever' but the local Chabad House and the settlers of Chevron have come to their assistance and have established a yeshiva near the grave called 'Colel Menucha Rochel'.
I am reminded of a story Rabbi Groner tells (Yitzchok Dovid ben Menucha Rochel should have a refuah shleima) of Rebbitzen Menucha Rochel, his ancestor. It seems that the Mittler Rebbe blessed her that no rain would ever fall on her. Many years ago Rabbi Groner met an elderly lady who knew Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel and verified that this was the case - "she walked between the raindrops".

This is the story as I remember it. If anyone has any corrections or more detail I would appreciate you letting me know.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Look Aussie Echo

I have just changed to the new Blogger and am still experimenting with the look and feel of this blog. I am happy to leave the dark look of the old blog and progress to a lighter and brighter look.

This is still a work in progress and I would appreciate any constructive feedback on how I can further improve its appearance.

Will Chaya Moussia Please Stand Up

This story from Israel TV is 2 years old I think. It is in Hebrew but should be understandable to those with a little knowledge of that language.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Sheik Stays - For Now

Is the mufti praying for forgiveness - I think not

Reports from the ABC and The Age say that Australia's "foot in mouth" sheik, Taj el-Din al-Hilali, will stay on at least until April when the National Immams Council will meet to vote on a new mufti. The Australian has a different take on the situation and has reports from other leaders of the muslim community who say that he has little support and will be leaving his position soon, albeit with a "golden handshake".

I think that the moslem community is reading the Australian public incorrectly. They are still blaming the media for what the sheik actually said about women, Australians etc and appear to be absolving him of responsibility for his public opinions. (see previous post here). When will they wake up and get rid of this radical "leader". His presence is not good for Australia in general and Jews in particular. If he is being reported as making these inflamatory comments imagine what he is saying to his flock in arabic that is not being reported in the general press.

Let us hope that he is ousted soon and a saner, less radical leader is appointed who can communicate effectively with the Australian public.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Yeshivah - Beth Rivkah Website

After many, many years YBR finally has a decent, modern website. The site - here - was obviously made with the purpose of advertising the school but it does have some relevant information for current students and parents. The page with important dates etc looks like the most helpful.

Of course there are a number of minor mistakes which I am sure will be rectified over the coming weeks - but with the way things are run in Hotham Street, that may be wishful thinking...

But what really bothered me was that, amongst the many colourful photos of students at work and play, the only photo of an "adult" was of Sholom Mendel. I cannot see even one photo of Mr G, Rabbi Glick or the many other teachers, principals etc who have dedicated many years to the school. Why in the world would there be a photo of SMK??!! It is enough to make someone believe that nepotism is rife in our schools. Maybe some of the recent comments made here are not far from the truth...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Timely Advice from the Rebbe

This week's Living Torah is an excerpt from the farbrengen of Tu Bishvat 5748 (1988) where the Rebbe explains how to get advice from "Nosi Doreinu" when asking the Rebbe directly is not an option. The video is 9 minutes long but worth watching to the end. The last part is particularly interesting in how it relates to us today with regard to asking for brochos.