Weekly News & Drash: 8/9 October 2021


Weekly News & Drash: 15/16 October 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.

2021 Parliament of the World's Religions
Progressive Judaism Victoria and the Council of Christians and Jews invites you to attend the 8th Parliament of the World's Religions on 17-19 October, celebrating the enduring spirit and work of religious and spiritual communities striving toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. Maureen Barten and Philip Bliss OAM will present a session "Building Connection and Creating Understanding through Art" on Monday 18 October at 1.00pm (AEST). CLICK HERE to learn more, register to attend, and choose sessions.

Changemaker Awards nominations open
B'nai B'rith and the JNF Youth & Young Adult Changemaker Committee has announced that nominations are now open for this year's awards program. This is a national event in which youth and young adults are awarded for their contribution to the community across several categories. This year, in honour of Joshua Levi z"l, the late CEO of the Australian Jewish News (AJN), a new award has been launched: the Joshua Levi Young Professional Award, open to Jewish professionals between the ages of 18-36. To learn more, CLICK HERE to read an article recently published in the AJN; to view a short video on how to nominate, CLICK HERE, and CLICK HERE for a link to the online nomination.


Hanukkah Homecoming to unite Progressives worldwide
Dr Ron Wolfson has issued an invitation for UPJ congregations to join a growing coalition of worldwide congregations and organisations to come together during the weekend of 3-5 December for a worldwide rededication of our relational communities post-pandemic. It's free, flexible and fun. CLICK HERE to learn more and to sign up for your congregation to participate. A map of the world will indicate your participation and link to your website ... New Zealand will be the first!


Mazel tov to Ziva Haller Rubenstein
The UPJ was delighted to learn that Ziva Haller Rubenstein has been appointed as Director of Israel-Diaspora Relations Division of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. Ziva previously led the marketing and communications efforts for the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Mazel tov Ziva!


Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet
With great sadness, the UPJ mourns the passing of Steve Center z"l, a long-time and dedicated supporter of Progressive Judaism. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Yola, and send our wishes to his entire family for long life, filled with loving memories.


      David Knoll AM         Brian Samuel OAM


Have you ever wondered whether the Israeli settlements are illegal or not?

Why do so many media commentators follow the Wikpedia line that: “The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territoriesillegal on one of two bases: that they are in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, or that they are in breach of international declarations”?

I have been asked to present on this topic for Emanuel Synagogue's “Conversations about Israel” discussion group convened by Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins on Monday 18 October at 10.00am (Sydney time). 

The topic is one of the subtopics that for I taught some years ago as part of International Humanitarian Law and International Peacemaking at UNSW Law School. 
We will cover issues such as:

  • competing self-determinations;
  • the role of the United Nations;
  • compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention; and
  • how a Palestinian state can be created legally..

If you are interested in attending next Monday, please CLICK HERE to join the session on Zoom.

                                                                Warm regards, David

Drash on Parashat Lech Lecha       

Rabbi Kim Ettlinger
Temple Beth Israel, St Kilda, VIC 

When Abram was 99 years old, the Eternal appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El 
Shaddai. Walk in My ways and be blameless."


It is incredible how one word mistranslated or a choice in translation can change the intention of a verse.  Is blameless really what the Torah meant for us to take away?  Are we really blameless if we walk with God?  Are we perfect if we walk with God?  No, I don’t think so.  As humans, we know we are flawed, while we are created B'tzelem Elohim, we recognise we are created with flaws.  Being human is being imperfect. And, what does it mean to be blameless and under what conditions? Are we blameless under any circumstance?  I’m skeptical if the answer is yes.


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





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