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Rabbi's Shabbat Message

This Sunday marks a huge milestone in the history of our spiritual home, The Central Synagogue – with sincere thanks to Hashem we will be officially opening our brand new Youth Campus & Art Garden this Sunday at 3.45pm. It promises to be a culmination of years of planning and the realisation of a collective dream. A dream to offer a modern, multi-purpose Judaica-inspired safe space for our children of all ages. Join us!

Two soon-to-be familiar faces at our new Youth Campus hub are our new rabbinical students, Mendel Lew and Doni Hirsch. We warmly welcome them to Sydney and to our Central Family - we can’t wait to see the implementation of the teen and youth programs they have in store!

This weekend, it is true that so much of our attention will largely be on our Kinderlach. Please know that in addition, this Shabbat we will also be honouring respected and valued members of our shul who have received awards on the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Each is well deserved and recognises excellence, achievement and meritorious service along with a wide range of unique contributions to society – Kol Hakavod!


In this week's Torah portion, we read of the commandment to remember the unprovoked attack by the Amalek nation against the Israelites upon leaving Egypt. The mitzvah comes in the form of the words zachor, remember, along with lo tishkach, you shall not forget.

Are both expressions necessary? Is there a genuine distinction between remembering and not forgetting? Commentaries shed light on this with various insightful responses. When instructed to ‘remember’ it is more directive; more of a command. Whereas ‘do not forget’ is communicated in the guise of a warning or prediction. If we do happen to lapse into a false sense of security and forget our Jewishness, rest assured the anti-Semites of the world will undoubtedly remind us that we are essentially, "a people that dwells alone."

Let’s resolve to be proactively Jewish and positive about our Yiddishkeit, with no need for reminders.  We only have to cast our minds back two short generations to a time when being Jewish carried a death sentence … in contrast, today it is a life sentence! Consciously living proud, committed Jewish lives invites a fascinating discovery: when we respect ourselves – whether as a collective or as an individual - the world respects us too. 

Our heritage is a metaphorical badge of honour to wear with noble pride. That’s the kind of Judaism we aspire to when creating the many and varied programs and events we have planned for our children and teens in our new Youth Campus.

Looking forward to seeing you there on Sunday afternoon –but let’s not get ahead of ourselves – first comes Shabbat and as always, I’m so thrilled about that! 

Shabbat Shalom, 

Rabbi Levi and Chanie