Weekly News & Drash: 3/4 December 2021


Weekly News & Drash: 3/4 December 2021

UPJ congregations' online services and programs
Providing ways to celebrate Shabbat during the time of COVID-19 is a unique response offered by the Progressive Movement, and something of which we can all be proud. To view a listing of virtual Shabbat and daily minyan services, online courses, and a diverse range of interesting and innovative programs, CLICK HERE.  


Netzer Melbourne Winter Camp: Machane Time Warp
Sign up now for Years 3 to 8: netzer.org.au/melbourne. Contact Ella (0497 392 284) , Toby (0437 534 007) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Many Candles, One World

The World Union for Progressive Judaism will host "Many Candles, One World: A Story of Light and Hope Around the World" on Saturday 4 December at 8.00pm (Eastern USA time zone). The evening will be presented in partnership with New York's Central Synagogue, featuring Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and Cantor Daniel Mutlu. For more information, CLICK HERE and to donate to support the WUPJ Education Fund for the Future, CLICK HERE.

Rabbi invites support for Kulanu fundraiser

Former UPJ Rabbi David Kunin, who served the Jewish Community of Japan and is now serving  Congregation Beth Cheva-Sholom/Chevra Shas in Syracuse, New York, shared the following: "This #GivingTuesday, I'm raising money for Kulanu, Inc and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. And on GivingTuesday Nov 30, Meta will match $8 million in qualifying donations. Kulanu ('all of us' in Hebrew) supports isolated, emerging, and returning Jewish communities around the world; some discovering Judaism for the first time, others reinvigorating a forgotten practice, but all have experienced some kind of disconnection from global Jewry. To learn more and donate, CLICK HERE (note: you will need to lot on to Facebook to participate).

Netzer is back for Summer 2022!

Join this summer for an immersive, informal, educational camp experience for years 3-12. Visit www.netzer.org.au for more information!


      David Knoll AM         Brian Samuel OAM


On Saturday morning whilst at shall, Rabbi Ettlinger brought to my attention the Religious Discrimination Bill which has been introduced into Parliament this week. On Saturday afternoon, I looked up the draft legislation and slowly worked my through it. To paraphrase Rabbi Ettinger’s words during her sermon: “Thank God I am not a lawyer.” By the end I was just as confused as the beginning. However, during a beautiful Spring day in Melbourne on Sunday, I Zoomed into the ECAJ AGM, the last of the communal AGMs, which went on for four hours. The last session presented by ECAJ Co-Executive Director Peter Wertheim discussed the Bill and its ramifications. In summary, the Bill is designed to bring uniformity across the States where there are some significant differences. I do know that Federal Law overrides State Law. The UPJ as a regional body has made representation to the ECAJ and supports the Bill in its current form. However, with most pieces of legislation there will be some opposition. It is expected that the Bill will now go to a joint parliamentary committee for review. If this occurs, the Committee will be asking for submissions, and you can be assured the UPJ, through the ECAJ, will be consulted on any amendments. If you would like more detail, may I suggest you contact Peter Wertheim at the ECAJ, who is well briefed on the item, or alternatively feel free to download the study.

For what may be the first time, Progressive Judaism is explicitly recognised in a Commonwealth explanatory memorandum; in clause 40 as follows:

“40. The concept of religious belief or activity is not intended to solely protect the beliefs or activities of a religion as whole, such as Christianity or Islam, but rather, is intended to also protect the beliefs or activities of different denominations or sects within a particular religion, such as Catholicism or Sunni Islam. As such, the Bill will equally protect beliefs or activities of Judaism as a whole, as well as beliefs or activities which arise out of Orthodox or Progressive Judaism.”

I want to thank all those who attended our President’s Roundtable and AGM last Thursday, and we look forward to introducing our new executive members to you upon Jocelyn’s return from the USA after a well-earned break. Finally, a Chag Hanukah Sumach or, if you want to boast your Hebrew skills: “Chag Urim Sameach”.  

                                                Warm regards, Brian

Drash on Parashat Mikeitz (Rosh Chodesh)          

Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky
Beit Shalom Synagogue, Adelaide, South Australia

This parshah is always read out on the Shabbat of Hanukkah. This festival is all about light. In the Northern Hemisphere, Hankkah comes at the darkest time of the year. Those candles shed their glow at the darkest time of the month and bring light to the darkness. So Joseph ultimately finds his own light, not this week, but in next week's parshah. He declares to his brothers that they intended ill for him when they sold him into slavery in Egypt. But God always meant his mission to be for life, and so he has preserved untold lives. We too hope to shine our own lights on a world that can often seem dark and forboding, and we embrace light wherever we can find it. 

This is an excerpt from Rabbi Kaminsky's drash; to read the full drash on the UPJ website, CLICK HERE.





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