Weekly News & Drash: 20/21 May 2022


Weekly News & Drash 27/28 May 2022


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.  

UPJ Biennial Conference 2022 - save the date!
The enthusiastic response to Rabbi Sergio Bergman's two-week visit to Australia in March when he spoke on behalf of the UIA Progressive Appeal prompted the UPJ to ask him to return for the Biennial, providing an even wider reach for his inspiring messages.

As WUPJ President, Rabbi Bergman leads the international network of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive, and Reconstructionist Jewish movements, serving 1.2 million members worldwide in more than 1,250 congregations in over 50 countries

Rabbi Bergman served as Argentina’s Minister for the Environment and Sustainability from 2015-19, and in 2017 headed the Argentine delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Summit, overseeing the G20 Sustainability Working Group tasked with building climate change for developing nations. In March 2019, he was named one of the 100 most influential public figures on global climate policy.

When asked to describe the essence of Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Bergman said: “We are Jewish in what we do. We don’t just read Torah, we are Torah. We write on the scroll of our days as practitioners of vibrant, diverse, and meaningful Progressive lives. We lead Jewish lives rooted in our millennia-old tradition, while cherishing our contemporary, egalitarian, and inclusive approach.”  

Early-bird registration for the UPJ Biennial will begin at the end of June

Kabbalah Tour of Israel

Rabbi Dr Orna Triguboff will be leading this tour from 16-25 October 2022. 
We begin by experiencing an authentic Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot, in Jerusalem. From there we travel around Israel visiting key sacred sites such as the mystical city of Tsfat, spiritual springs of the desert; learning kabbalah and meditation with the best teachers in the world, and gaining insights into other cultures such as Bedouin wisdom. This tour will be accompanied by guest teachers and musicians such as Netanel David Goldberg - kabbalah kirtan, Avraham Leader - Kabbalah text study, Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish Wisdom Through Classic Postures with Diane Bloomfield, Gad Levy - kabbalah tai chi, Cantor Lisa Levine - song and chant, kabbalah art with David Friedman. In conjunction with Keshet Educational Journeys. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your interest and ask any questions you have. CLICK HERE to view the tour brochure.


Closing concert: Australian Jewish Choral Festival
Bookings are open for this exciting concert on the evening of 13 June at North Shore Temple Emanuel. It features a special festival version of the contemporary oratorio “Jerusalem - Yerushalayim”, which traces the history of the city of Jerusalem through a number of stories from the five books of Moses. The work was composed by Antony Pitts, Artistic Director of The Song Company, whose acclaimed, professional singers will join the festival singers to prepare the music over the two days of the festival, and deliver a choral miracle of a performance, with Antony Pitts conducting.

Don’t miss it. 
CLICK HERE to book tickets. The ticket price includes a post-concert supper reception.



      David Knoll AM         Brian Samuel OAM


Now that elections for a new government are completed, we hope to be able to read more interesting news in our papers and on the TV instead of the constant rubbish we have seen over the last six weeks. With a new Government in place, the question will be: What effect it will have on the Jewish community? There has been bipartisan support for Israel since Day One. One can only hope that this will continue even if some sections of the Labor Party have a slightly different agenda. We have lost a Treasurer in Josh Frydenberg, but regained an Attorney General in Mark Dreyfus, a long-standing member of Temple Beth Israel (TBI).

Interesting to see in this week’s AJN calls from a couple of organisations reaching out to members to return to shule. With winter now upon us and the daily figures on Covid still high, I doubt that we will see a return to pre-Covid numbers until the end of the year. Contrary to my remarks, I attended the minyan of former TBI President Howard Freeman, who was well known to many members around the region. Howard served his tenure with a sense of grace and kindness. In addition, he served as President of the Australian Jewish Historical Society for almost 40 years. The synagogue was packed and was one of the largest minyans I have witnessed.

Planning for our Biennial is now well underway and towards the end of June we will be offering early-bird registration. Keep your eyes focussed; we anticipate a sell-out as we have not been together for three years.

Finally, I recommend you visit our website (www.upj.org.au). We are in the process of creating a data base of resources which will be of huge benefit for our small congregations. It will be covering a wide range of topics, including child safety, rabbinic contracts and much more. Each topic will be there in detail, but will also provide a contact for further in-depth review. It works two ways: You can observe the material posted or you can also provide alternatives. This will be monitored by the UPJ to ensure no inappropriate items are accepted. Congregations have put forward representatives to receive log-in credentials; please be in touch with the UPJ office to enquire to participate and receive log-on credentials. I suggest it will work like Wikipedia, but controlled by the UPJ.
                                                                       Warm regards, Brian

Drash on Parashat B'chukotai  

Rabbi Esther Jilovsky PhD
Temple Sinai, Wellington, New Zealand

Language is in a constant state of flux. It’s always changing. A couple of years ago, the Oxford English Dictionary made headlines in the Jewish world for the number of Yiddish-derived words it had included in its new edition, including chutzpadik, kvetching and kibitz. Thanks to the vast numbers of Yiddish speaking Eastern European Jews who immigrated to English speaking countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia, Yiddish words such as chutzpah, shlep and klutz have become part of our common vocabulary. But perhaps lesser known are the Hebrew-origin words that have also found their way into English.

This year, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, marking seventy years on the throne. A ‘jubilee’ is generally a milestone anniversary, at least twenty-five years in the making. To feel ‘jubilant’ is to rejoice or be happy. Both these terms can be traced back to the Hebrew word יובל yovel that crops up (no pun intended!) in this week’s parasha, B’Chukotai.

This year 5782 is not only a shmitta year but marks a very special jubilee in the Progressive Jewish world. Next week, we will celebrate fifty years since the ordination of Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, the first woman rabbi to be ordained by a rabbinical seminary.

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



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