Weekly News & Drash: 2/3 June 2023


Weekly News & Drash 2/3 June 2023

UPJ congregations' services and events

Providing ways to celebrate Shabbat online 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.  

Mazon launches 2023 Soup Bag Campaign at Souper Kitchen
Each winter, Mazon Australia has provided “Soup Bags” filled with fresh ingredients to make a delicious soup for families experiencing food insecurity. To launch the 2023 Soup Bag Campaign, an evening of soup and stories on Monday 5 June at 6.30-8.30pm will be hosted by chef and social activist Nayran Tabiei from the renowned Flavours of Syria café, Souper CEO Sarah Bendetsky and Souper’s Head Chef Zlata Gluzman. Cost: $54 (all profits go towards charitable projects). CLICK HERE to book. If unable to attend, please consider a tax-deductible donation: CLICK HERE to donate.

Pluralistic Beit Ha’Midrash sponsored by TBI and PJV
Explore in engaging chavrutah (paired and small table discussion-style) learning on Sunday 18 June and 27 August at 4pm. at Temple Beth Israel. Utilising an acclaimed Limmud study booklet, participants will have easy access to ancient and contemporary texts reflecting on “My Time, Our Time, God’s Time” and “All Time”.  Sponsored in part by Progressive Judaism Victoria (PJV). CLICK HERE to register.

Drash on Parashat Naso II    
Rabbi Aviva Kipen
Progressive Judaism Victoria

After the midbar wilderness experience that culminates in collective surprise, the earth-shaking and fearsome experience we recently celebrated with Shavuot, Naso continues the processes begun in Parashat B’midbar. Instructions for the Mishkan Tabernacle have been given. Arrangement of the clans on the four sides of the community’s central focus have been cemented. Logistical work of setting the participants of the Exodus into a working structure are in place and as we approach Naso, the Yom Tov revelation experience dims with each passing week. But wait, there is a surprise in store …

Naso returns us to the utterly earthly tasks of taking a census. Hmm….. No mobile phone apps, no data bases …. So what happened to the data collected in the earlier census (Plaut p899)? That census was taken  “On the first day of the second month in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt” (Num 1:1). Why was that information not sufficient? Was there a need to re-appreciate the human resources so that the work of the Mishkan could have efficient staffing rosters? Are security realities forcing the count?

The chronological cycle of Torah - after the lofty reencounter with revelation for Shavuot - takes us back to the gritty, everyday task list of managing the community (eruptions; defilements; restitution after admissions of guilt; the questionable ritual of the Bitter Waters for the woman who has been “lain with” by not for the “one having lain with”; the vows of a Nazirite). Do these inflict a drop in ‘spiritual atmospheric pressure’? How wonderful it was on Chag Shavuot to be reignited in our fervour for God, for the high ideals for which the 10 Commandments stand. How exciting to have blessed our children and watched them carry their toy sifrei torah around the congregations, receiving affirmation from everyone because they are our future. What do we do with that ardour when confronted with the ‘down and dirty’ reality of human behaviour in the return to the weekly portions? Two Shabbatot since festive season with its good company, good food and deep reflection requires intention kavanah as we go on with the ordinary, the mundane, the routine. The intention is regularly provided by Shabbat’s kedushah. Shabbat’s sacred opportunity is with us every week.

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


      David Knoll AM          Brian Samuel OAM


At the closing session at our last Biennial entitled:" Imagine", almost everybody put their hands up in response to two questions.  The first question asked whether you had had a really good conversation with someone from a community other than your own.  The second question asked whether you had the intention of continuing the conversation and building a relationship with that other person.  Almost everybody had two hands up. Well, six months later, what did you do? What are you planning to do?

It is only by having the conversation that relationships can be built, and it is only through relationships that our Judaism can stay alive.

Everyone had good ideas about how their community would be a better community in 3 to 5 years. Every group at the "Imagine" session developed a vision of a better Jewish community. Then came the hard question, what would you do to make your vision a reality? What are you doing to make your vision a reality?

I intend to write in our Weekly News and Drash more in the coming weeks and months about why this is important and how to go about it. Meanwhile, if you are curious, contact me.

Warm regards, David

Rabbi Dr Danny Schiff Zoom series "Judaism in a Digital Age"
An online four-part series will be presented by guest lecturer Rabbi Dr Danny Schiff on the subject matter of his recently published book, Judaism in a Digital Age: An Ancient Tradition Confronts a Transformative Era. The Zoom lectures will be on 22 and 29 June and 6 and 13 July, 7.30-9.00pm. Australian born Rabbi Schiff is the Foundation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the founder and president of MOJI (the Museum of Jewish Ideas). He is a noted teacher and researcher in Jewish ethics. To register, CLICK HERE.


It's not too late to (Re) Discover Israel in 2023!

Rabbi Gary and Jocelyn Robuck, in conjunction with FBI Travel, and DEKEL Tours, will be leading an exciting 10-day tour to Israel beginning on October 29, 2023. If you have been considering visiting Israel this year and to celebrate its 75th year of independence, this may be the trip for you! To receive more information about the tour’s many exciting features, and to ask questions of Amy, our Melbourne-based Travel Agent and Shari, our Israeli Tour Guide, send an email today to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Beth Shalom Auckland seeking educator

CLICK HERE for the job description and more information.

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