Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dinner for JCOM

The Jewish Centre of Ormond McKinnon held a fundraising dinner last week at Kimberley Gardens. A report of the event appears in Shmais with the same report but more photos on From the accounts I heard from those who attended it was a very enjoyable evening.

Rabbi Levi and Channie Kurinsky have only been in the McKinnon area for two years but already they have made a big impact. This young, dynamic and hard-working couple have established ties with that community and are attracting people both young and old to their events.

Why, I hear you ask, is their centre not called a Chabad House? There are many different hypotheses and I am reluctant to write too much about this. It just seems strange and very wrong that people who are doing positive things in the community and making a Kiddush Hashem and a Kiddush Lubavitch cannot call their organisation a Chabad House.

Mazal Tov Rabbi Levi and Channie on your achievements so far. Haztlocho Rabbo for the future. May you go from strength to strength.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Have Joined the Now Generation

Yes. I have actually joined Facebook and created a group called Aussie Echo. I invite all those interested to join the group and to join Facebook if you haven't already done so.

Facebook is the latest "social engineering" phenomenan which is linking people all over the world. It does help one keep in touch with friends and family and share photos etc. I am not sure what else it offers - but it does seem to keep millions of people occupied. I look forward to "seeing" you there.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Zealand Ignorance - An Oxymoron?

A New Zealand pizza parlor is using the image of Hitler to advertise their product. Articles appear in and the Jerusalem Post.

I am not surprised about this as these sort of publicity stunts appear every so often in backward countries but what is astounding is the defence of the poster by the advertising company. "He's almost the poster boy for the Jewish people. Don't forget – but don't look when we invade Palestine," Kirk MacGibbon said. An ignorant and stupid statement. I have rachmones on the Jewish Community in NZ in having to deal with people like this.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dvar Torah for Motzoei Shabbos

Proof positive that Moshe Rabbeinu was a Satmar Choosid.

By the way, the hat he is talking about looks like the one below and is also known as a "frizbee":

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Does Anyone Really Care

The Gutnick- wedding made it to COL probably because of all the "dignitaries" who came for the occassion. The main reason for posting this was the photo above. It is good to see Rabbi Pinchas Feldman attending a family simcha, Michael Danby taking a low profile and, from this photo, that apparently there was an appropriate separation between men and women.

If you want to see lots more photos just click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rabbi Groner has Visitors

COL has photos of a visit to Rabbi Groner by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aharonov, Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad and head of Tzach in Israel, who is currently visiting Australia. He was accompanied by Levi Edrei and Yisroel Naparstek (of Melbourne).

Please keep saying tehillim for the Refuah Shleima of HaRav Yitzchok Dovid ben Menucha Rochel.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Antisemitic Attack on Carslile Street

From The Age

The papers this morning have reported on the assult of two young men on Saturday night at Glicks on Carslile Street. The violent, antisemitic attack occured after Ephraim Manshari finished his shift at Mister Glicks. Another young man, Alon "Tam", was also physically attacked while walking past the shop. Thankfully, from the photos, it appears that he did not suffer serious injuries. But whatever injuries Alon, Ephraim or anyone else suffered we wish them a Refuah Shleima.

Hopefully police will be able to catch these violent thugs as it initially appears that they escaped without being caught. This was despite being chased by some members of the Community Security Group who were eating nearby. I don't know what the solution to this sort of violence is but, as Alon is quoted as saying, all antisemitic incidents, no matter how seemingly minor, should be reported to the police and to the Jewish authorities. We have a right to walk the streets of Australia peacefully just like any other person.

News reports can be seen in the Jewish News, The Age, NineMSN, The Australian and which has the most detailed description of events.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Peace Breaks Out in Sydney

Well, at least one community is getting into the Elul spirit and working out their differences. Thanks to Tzippi Oliver and Eli Feldman, the long time feud between brother and sister Yossel Gutnick and Pnina Feldman and her husband Rabbi Pinchas Feldman is finally over. The announcement and other related news can be seen in here along with some happy snaps of community members.

I do not know what this means in a practical way but can only hope that this reconcilliation will lead to much better things for the Sydney Chabad community as well as the general Jewish community.

My next suggestion is for Tzippy to try her hand at settling things in Adelaide. It appears that she has a gift for solving seemingly lost causes which she is using well.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I'm Sure I Saw Him a Minute Ago...

I initially saw this news article on Mentalblog but it has appeared all over the internet. Apparently this 8 year old boy was forgotten by his father when visiting the Dead Sea with number of families from Meah Shearim. This poor young thing was floating for 6 hours until found by rescuers. Arutz Sheva has a version which is a little more "human" in its reporting.

This story reminded me of one my grandfather used to tell which still bothered him in his later years. When he was a young boy - possibly the same age as the boy in the above story - his father left him in shul after ma'ariv one evening. Fortunately the shammas lived upstairs from the shul and heard crying coming from the locked and empty shul. According to my grandfather his father only realised that he was missing when the shammas knocked on the front door with my grandfather in tow.

Some people have said to me that this "forgetfulness" results from having large families. Chas VeSholom! It comes of being self-absorbed and is certainly not a chassidishe way to behave. Boruch Hashem this story ended well.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Age Against Shechita

The Age on Friday and today had a number of articles about shechita and halal slaughtering (here, here and here with an editorial here). That paper accused Moslem and Jewish communities of cruelty to animals by claiming that they do not stun the animals before, or after, slaughter in at least one particular abattoir in Victoria.

There are at least two obvious mistakes in those articles. One is that there is currently no export of sheep or beef to Israel from Australia. The other, more glaring and obvious error, is that sheep are not stunned during slaughter in any case. Large cattle such as beef are shechted and then stunned in accordance to Australian law. It is true that there are rabbinic authorities overseas who do not agree with this practice but, from what I understand, all rabbis in Australia
accept that this is OK.

The killing of animals is not pleasant but, unless we all become vegetarians, it is a fact of life. According to chassidus we are elevating the food that we eat by making a brocha and using the energy to do mitzvos. There are numerous laws in Judaism prohibiting cruelty to animals and shechita is one of them. The Age assumes that Judaism is some sort of ancient, barbarous religion and isn't as enlightened as their editors. It therefore follows, according to their reasoning, that our ritual killing of animals must be cruel and antiquated. They are sorely mistaken.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chillul Hashem or Yellow Journalism

Maybe the Jewish News journalists should read this...

The Australian Jewish News has come out with a number of articles about the situation with Rabbi Yossi Engel in South Australia. When I saw the front page of that newspaper I thought that this was another embarrassment for the frum community. After reading the articles (here & here & here), and the accompanying piece by Yossi Aron and Jason Frenkel which explains - very briefly - some halachic aspects of supervision, I have started rethinking how I feel about the situation.

From what I have heard personally, comments that I have read in this and other blogs and from emails I have received I am pretty certain that Yossi Engel acted inappropriately - to say the least. Considering his past conduct and the way he has been behaving over the last few months I feel strongly that he should leave Adelaide asap before he does more damage there. But that does not mean that everything he touches is tainted. I cannot believe that Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick, a person of integrity and responsibility, would condone food products that are questionable as far as kashrus is concerned. The AJN quotes him:
“The matter of inspections carried out or not carried out by Rabbi Engel has been pursued and completed and we are satisfied that the current situation regarding the advertised SA products is acceptable,” Kosher Australia’s rabbinic administrator, Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick, responded on Sunday June 17.
“We have also been satisfied for some time now that, in practical terms, there have thankfully been no breaches that have occurred that have compromised the ultimate kosher status of the products listed as endorsed by Rabbi Engel/AHC.
“We are further satisfied at this time that any alleged shortcomings that may have existed in past inspection schedules of those products have now been rectified. No updates or warnings, as suggested by you, were therefore necessary.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation – and the matter has for some time now not been 'an issue'.”
The sensational headlines in the AJN just prove that they function like any other newspaper in playing up a story by twisting the facts. The headline of one story, "SA scandal threatens Australian kashrut", is worthy of the worst of tabloid journalism. The supposed question of the kashrus of 3 minor products certainly does not threaten kashrus in this country. Another headline, "South Australian producers' kosher confusion", is more than likely just ignorance. The Jewish News shows each week that their journalists know very little about Judaism and even less about Orthodox Judaism. Because some non-Jewish food manufacturers know and understand little about kashrus doesn't carry any weight halachically.

I asked in the previous post for comments in support of Rabbi Engel or at least in explanation of the events in South Australia. So far I have seen none here or in other blogs. This leads me, and many others who do not live in Adelaide, to assume that he must be "guilty as charged". I am happy to give him a hearing here and present his side of the situation.