Monday, December 31, 2007

Final Chanukah Post for 5768

Menorah at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
(Photo: GETTY IMAGES/Sean Gallup) has a series of 9 photos of Chanukah around the world. Many of them feature Chabad celebrations since we tend to do Chanukah in a big way.

Bli neder, this is the last Chanukah post until next year!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Modern Tzedoka

I like this innovative idea which has been introduced in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. An "ATM" style machine which, in the words of the article on the FJC website:

...enables congregants and visitors to donate funds for charitable purposes by transferring funds from their credit or debit cards to the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk – a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky (brother of Rabbi Mendel Kamenetzky of Melbourne) has introduced a number of innovations in his community and this one is certainly out there. I predict that it won't be too long before we see this type of machine in shuls and community centres all over the world.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Levaya in Sydney

The Levaya of the late

Mr & Mrs Zev and Rochel Simons o’bm

will take place on
Monday 15th Tevet/24th December
commencing with
the Service at 2:00pm
at the Sydney Chevrah Kadisha
172 Oxford St (cnr Wallis St) Woollahra
to be followed by the Kvurah at
Rookwood Cemetery, Rookwood
Jewish Section 18A


From the Tzemech Tzedek Community email:

Buses are being arranged to transport people from the Chevra Kadisha to and from Rookwood on Monday. If you want to go by bus, please reply directly to me by a new email to . I will need to know how many seats you want. Pls reply asap.

If you have any recollections, stories, pictures, documents etc that you would like the family to have, there are two ways that have been set up:

1. Mrs Leah Joseph is putting together a "scrapbook" to give to the family. The aim is to have it completed by the Shloshim. Any items should be forwarded to her asap, but within the next 2 weeks to give her time to arrange it all. If you prefer to keep the originals, Leah will make copies for the scrapbook. Or better still, you could have the copies made and send them to her. Contact details for Mrs Joseph are

2. For people who want to say something, either as well as, or instead of written or pictorial form, I will be digitally recording recollections, stories etc. They will be compiled and burned to disks which will be given to the family. Please get in touch with me asap to arrange a suitable time for recording your stories. Send to

Saturday, December 22, 2007


The levaya of the late

Mr & Mrs ZEV and ROCHEL SIMONS z”l

will be passing by
the Yeshivah Centre
92 Hotham St, East St Kilda
en route to the airport
at approximately 8:45am on Sunday morning

May Hashem give strength and comfort
to their family and friends.

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים


Friday, December 21, 2007

Boruch Dayan Ho'emes

I have just heard the news of the tragic passing of Zev and Rochel Simons in an accident yesterday on the Hume Highway. Emotions are raw and I can think of nothing meaningful to say. This tragedy overshadows all the meaningless annoyances in life. My heart goes out to their parents, children and siblings.

Rabbi Yosef Braun of the Tzemach Tzedek Community Centre in Sydney has expressed his feelings to the community:

Erev Shabbos Parshas Vayechi,

It’s not easy to write, but it’s even more difficult to remain quiet, even if our communication is a silent message. The enormity of yesterday's events hasn’t yet sunk in. It is impossible for our minds to digest such raw pain and suffering.

We can analyse, hypothesise, and philosophise ad infinitum, but it’s of no use. There is a time to talk and a time to be silent. The Torah describes Aharon’s reaction after the passing of his two sons: “And Aharon was silent”.

Speech indicates clarity and understanding. Silence expresses that which no words can describe. The ability to be silent expresses our awareness that Hashem is beyond human grasp and cannot be comprehended by mere mortals.

At a time like this, let us stand together and support each other. We’re all family and we need each other’s companionship and closeness.

We daven to Hashem that he give strength, comfort and succor to the children, parents, family and friends. May our community experience no more suffering – only simchos and joy forever.

May we merit to penetrate the dark golus walls immediately and commence the days of Moshiach when Hashem will dry our eyes from tears and reunite us with our loved ones again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

PS 22 Sings Reb Shlomo

This video has been making the rounds of the blogs but I thought that it was worth featuring here. The kids are quite entertaining and a cut above the average school choir. I don't get the rap at the end of the video but still enjoyed it overall. Their pronunciation is pretty good too!

The choir is made up of 5th graders from PS 22 in Staten Island, New York. They have gained some notoriety and have many videos on You Tube. See their blog with lots more videos here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chanukah in Sri Lanka

I found this story in quite fascinating. This young shaliach went out of his way to find a yid who has, seemingly, abandoned his yiddishkeit. As usual the "pintele yid" won out and the monk was pleased to reconnect with his roots. Another wonderful Chanukah story and a great achievement for the shaliach.

The story as it appeared in

Year round, the Chabad House in Sri Lanka, directed by Rabbi Mendy Crombie, works primarily with businessmen who live in the capital city of Colombo. Holidays however, he makes a point to also reach out to the hundreds of tourists who come to enjoy the magnificent sea shores of Sri Lanka.

On his last trip out to the tourist area, Rabbi Crombie was told about a certain Jew who is deeply involved in one of the local cults, and even serves as a monk there. The Rabbi spent countless hours of searching for this man. This Chanukah he was able to locate him. Equipped with a menorah and candles he set out to meet this monk. The monk was touched to meet a Rabbi at this ‘dark’ corner of the world. After twenty years of having been entirely severed from Yiddishkeit, the Jew lit a Chanukah menorah for the first time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Chanukah News

As reported a number of times here Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik has been having problems getting the menorah displayed on public property in Colorado. Despite the "controversy" he had a big turnout at his Chanukah celebration according to The Coloradoan newspaper article. I wish him much hatzlocho in all his work.

In other news Australian, David Wakil, a scientist posted to the Antarctica has lit his menorah in those icy parts. In a letter to his Rabbi, Levi Wolff of the Central Synagogue in Sydney, he says:

It is hard for me to describe the feeling of the first Jew celebrating Chanukah in Antarctica. Believe me, the light of Chanukah illuminates me and my enviroment. I write this as tears fill my eyes. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Rabbi Wolff for his caring about Judaism.
Shturem has more photos and a short video of Wakil's surrounds.

Chanukah in Caulfield Park

Another successful Chanukah in the Park sponsored by Yossel Gutnick and his Chabad House of Caulfield. This is pretty much the only thing they do all year but it is always a great success attracting many Jews who may not otherwise come to a Chanukah event. Kudos to Shlomie Gurewicz who organised the function again this year.

See more photos on COL.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

YG Chanukah Parade

The "Chanukah Parade" held last Thursday was a great success. The atmosphere was wonderful and the organisers did a great job. Thanks go to YG Shaliach Sholom B Cunin and to Rabbi Binyomin Serebryanski who organised the occassion.

Sholom Cunin sent me this publicity

"Let there be light" – Menorah Parade!

The Menorah, or chanukia, is traditionally lit by the window or door of Jewish homes, symbolising the power of light over darkness and right over might

The Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi M M Schneerson took this idea a step further, stressing that menorahs be kindled in public throughout the world, with Menorah Lighting ceremonies, to illuminate the pathways of freedom for all mankind.

To spread this important message a spectacular motorcade of over a hundred and fifty cars and vans with illuminated Menorahs on their roof, traveled along the streets of Melbourne And has brought the happiness and message of Chanukah to all, Jews and non-Jews alike.

This menorah parade was organized by Rabbi Binyomin Serebransky of Chabad, and Sholom B. Cunin together with the rabbinical students in the Yeshiva Gedolah, the students also handed out over 3000 menorahs to jews that hadn't had the chance to buy there own, thus spreading the Chanukah spirit to others, as the Rebbe teaches "every Jew is like a candle, all it needs is to be lit, and it will shine brightly".

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chanukah in 770

Rabbi Klein next to the Rebbe's desk

Part of the crowd downstairs in 770

I like these photos on COL showing the menorah lighting in 770. In the "downstairs" photos it almost looks like the old days with the Rebbe.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A White Chanukah in New York

As these photos from COL show New York has had some snowfalls. It always looks so nice and clean after the first snow and before the streets become muddy and slushy. In any case I prefer our sunny and warm Chanukah weather.

A freilichen Chanukah to all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chef in the News News has featured Dovid Trakhtman in an article on Kosher catering. Many of us know Dovid for his food and outgoing personality. If you have spoken to him you know that his passion for tasty and fresh Kosher cuisine is genuine - hence the name of his business Passionate Catering.

Good on ya Dovid. Haztlocho Rabbo.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Demonstrating Against Television!

This is "anti-semitic" but very funny. You may have to watch it a few times to get all the words but its worth it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Put on your Yamulka 'cause here comes Chanukah

From The Coloradoan - Chanukah 5765

Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik (son of Rabbi Elozor & Raizel Gorelik of FREE) is still struggling to have the menorah displayed publically in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is the third year that the menorah has to be displayed in a private business since the city feels that it is a religious symbol and should not be displayed with the town Xmas tree. In an article in The Coloradoan City Councillor Wade Troxell said:
From my point of view, we need to keep traditional Christmas displays, scrap the museum/artwork gobbledygook, and request the city staff work with Rabbi (Yerachmiel) Gorelik to find a place for the menorah with the Christmas display
From the comments on this news piece it appears that most members of the public agree that this is an unnecessary "battle" and that the menorah should be able to be displayed on public land.

I any case this has given publicity to Chanukah, as shown in this article in that paper, which lists all the venues having Chanukah celebrations in Fort Collins this year.

Fortunately in Australia we are not burdened by this obsession of separating church and state to the nth degree. We can participate in public menorah lightings openly and without a problem. There are a number major events being held by the Chabad community in particular:
  • Rabbi Chaim Herzog's annual menorah lighting in the city on Wednesday 5 December in Queens Hall at the Victorian Parliment at 6:30pm sharp. Email for your invitation.
  • Chabad of Bentleigh is holding their Chanukah party at 5:30pm on Wednesday 5 December as well. It is taking place at the Chabad House in Cecil Street, East Bentleigh.
  • Yeshivah Gedolah is organising a "Chanukah Parade of Light" on Thursday 6 December starting from Yeshivah at 7:30pm. There will be a parade of 105 cars displaying menorahs or a new Chanukah sign. For more info or to register interest call the Shluchim at 0430 391 015 or email
  • Rabbi Yossel Gutnick's annual major Chanukah celebration in Caulfield Park on Sunday 9 December from 4:30pm to 10:30pm with stalls, music and the major attraction of fireworks.