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What’s Nu @ Sydenham Shul?

At the Forefront of Jewish Life

Your Family Shul Where Everyone is Welcome

By Rabbi Yossy Goldman

Dear Friends,


It's been a hectic and very disturbing week in Israel and in South Africa. First, we were absolutely enthralled that the United States Embassy finally opened in Jerusalem. Everyone was riveted to their screens watching the ceremony with speeches by Ivanka and Jared Kushner, Ambassador David Friedman, a Chabad Rabbi from Cedarhurst, New York who was a Torah study partner with the Ambassador before he moved to Jerusalem, and more. Guess what, Rabbi Zalman Wolowick is actually our nephew! His wife Chanie is Rochel's sister Rivkah's daughter! Wasn't his speech great?! 😊

Personally, I thought John the Baptist deserved 1st Prize! In my humble opinion, Pastor John Hagee from Texas was the most inspiring speaker. I'm not getting into any controversies over his positions and past pronouncements, but boy, did he give it stick, "Israel lives!" What a drosha!

And now, it's heart-warming to see other countries following suit. Guatemala opened its embassy in Jerusalem yesterday, and there are more on the cards, hopefully coming soon. Please G-d, may it be an important turning point for Israel and Jerusalem.

But the celebrations were certainly offset by the explosive situation at the Gaza border and the fact that the IDF had no choice but to shoot at violent protesters who were seeking to gain entry to Israel. We know that many were armed, and many were trained terrorists with weapons. G-d forbid if they were able to reach Israeli civilian areas, who knows what kind of treacherous havoc they would have wreaked.

I just finished reading a personal report from an Israeli soldier who was serving at the scene and he writes with pain over the death of the dozens who were killed but testifies that he personally witnessed the incredible strength, courage, and infinite patience exercised by the IDF soldiers who were on the firing line. Any other country, including South Africa, facing a similar threat of tens of thousands of angry, violent protesters would have killed hundreds or even thousands!

So, yes, Hamas bears full responsibility for organising and encouraging men, women, and even small children to protest at the border fence. I have no doubt that the Hamas leadership is actually pleased that some 60 people lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded. It's good publicity! And it gives ignorant and prejudiced countries like Turkey and South Africa a lame excuse to recall their Ambassadors. What lies, what hypocrisy, and what a tragedy that so many ignorant people around the world believe these Arab falsehoods and fabrications.

And how shameful that the mainstream media gleefully trumpets their twisted stories. I was so angry the other morning when I heard the 702 Breakfast Show host, Bongani Bingwa, describing the victims in Gaza as having been "mowed down mercilessly." I don't have the time to get busy with the Media Ombudsman, but I did call Benji Shulman who is connected to the SAZF Media Team to report it and I do hope Bingwa will be taken to task for such an outright lie, based on ignorance, prejudice, or both.

Thankfully, this morning's news broadcast made no mention of Gaza. Let's hope calm has been restored and that the latest tragic circus is over.

Last Shabbos was a very special one at SydShul. We welcomed back our past Chazan, Oshy Tugendhaft, who led the Services in honour of his old friend, Hymie Sacks, our venerable and lovable Chorister who was celebrating his 90th Birthday. Hymie even did the Haftarah. Oshy was joined by Chazan Yudi Cohen for several duets and the crowds just loved it. Sadly, Chorister Hedley Lewis lost his footing coming off the Bimah and is now in crutches and in a moon boot! Refuah Shleimah Hedley.

The Report Back from Rebbetzin Estee Stern and the ladies of the JWRP SydShul Israel Tour was absolutely amazing and it was wonderful to see these young women returning so inspired. Big Shkayach!

On Tuesday I joined our Nursery School children and parents for Generation Sinai. This year's theme was Tzedakah. I asked them why should we give our hard-earned money away to someone else? My message to them was that besides being the right thing to do, it is mainly because Hashem who provides for us also gives us enough to be able to share with others. In doing so, we become the executors of G-d's estate. Yasher Koach Chief Rabbi Goldstein!

Last night, the next group of Bat Mitzvah girls and their mothers were in our kitchen as Rochel gave her regular Challah-Baking Demo to them. Great excitement! I think over the years, Rochel must have taught more women to bake Challah than anyone else in the whole country!

And last night Claudine Ullman and Nik Rabinowitz entertained a full Seeff Hall of people for our Nursery School fundraiser. It was a great success. (I do hope nobody thought it was "under Rabbinical supervision!") Well done to chief organiser Kelli Talpert and her fantastic team at the PIA (Parents In Action)! It was also great to see Michael Levitan in attendance. Zei gezunt un shtark!

This Shabbos, there will be a Ladies Shmooze with Rebbetzin Estee Stern, 10 – 10.30 a.m. in the Community Centre. Coffee, tea & refreshments.

The Brocha on Shabbos is across the road. There will be Shiurim by myself and Rabbi Stern after the Brocha and this will be followed by an early MINCHA at 12:30 pm.

Welcome to Doron Falk who will be davening on Friday night with the Choir and solo on Shabbos morning. Rabbi Stern and the Shtibl will be joining us on Shabbos morning. How appropriate as Shavuot is the time when the entire nation stood in front of Mt Sinai, "like one person, with one heart," the ultimate unity! Welcome!

MAZEL TOV to Dov Zundelowitz on his 95th Birthday! Wishing you better health and strength! Believe it or not, Dov is still doing bookbinding. He did a Siddur for me just the other week! G-d bless you!

We wish a Refuah Shleimah to Zita Solomons, Maish Franks, Stan Goldstein, Peter Michels, Morris Lemmer, and Ralene Brasg.

A big thank you to the Nursery School for the beautiful Shavuot decorations in the Shul.

And then, Shavuot starts on Saturday night, as we go straight from Shabbos into Yom Tov. It has often been said that Shavuot is somewhat underrated and under-appreciated. It is one of the Three Pilgrim Festivals along with Pesach and Sukkot, but perhaps because it doesn't have any dramatic symbolism, like a Matzah or a Seder or a Sukkah and Lulav and Etrog it is under-valued.

The Annual Shavuot Dinner, catered by Brioche, and with Guest Speaker Howard Feldman addressing "Life in a Post-Humour World: Why Can't We Laugh at Ourselves?" has over 200 people coming, and booking has now closed.

Then, after dinner we have Sleepless in Sydenham! You can see the full programme on the poster at the bottom of this email. Here are the highlights: We start at 10:30 p.m. with...............

"JEWISH MEDIA: RELIGIOUS, RESPONSIBLE, OR RELEVANT?" Can Jewish Media Be Good? Can Good Media be Jewish? A Panel Discussion featuring Howard Sackstein, Chairman, S A Jewish Report; David Saks, Editor, Jewish Affairs; Howard Feldman, Breakfast Show Host, Chai FM; and Rabbi Yossy Goldman, Sydenham Shul.

Then, Rabbi Yehuda Stern presents a most intriguing topic, "J.C. IN THE TALMUD? Origins of Christianity."

He will be followed by guest lecturer Rabbi Eliezar Auerbach who is a lecturer in Talmud at Yeshiva College and Mesivta Shaarei Torah on "Did ALL the Nations Really say NO to the Ten Commandments?"

If you're still awake. Dani Kedar will intrigue you with "How to Create a Religion 101? Who wrote the Torah? Hashem or Fred, the charismatic cultist?"

And for the real heroes who go all the way. our Rabbinic Interns will hold your interest with some fascinating subjects. Rabbi Levi Ulman present "How Odd of G-d to Choose the Jews! No, not odd, the Jews chose G-d! WHICH WAS IT? Who Chose Who?"

Then, in the wee hours, Rabbi Mendel Teitlebaum will ponder "Life in Outer Space: A Torah Perspective."

And if by then your eyes are still open, there is our traditional Open Mic Session where various community members will share insights and ideas until the day has dawned.

Of course, there will be Refreshments, Cheese Cake, etc to help everyone through the night. I hope you will stay on as long as possible, whether you're at the dinner or not.

Sunday morning, first day of Shavuot is always very special as we recreate the scene at Sinai. SHAVUOT WITH SYDKIDZ, our Shavuot Children's Program is 'The Land of Milk and Cookies!' After coming into the Big Shul for the 10 Commandments, the kids will do the traditional Children's Bikkurim Parade, accompanied by the Choir singing Saleinu, the Bikkurim Song. Their fruit baskets will be donated to Yad Aharon this year. Then they'll enjoy a Yummy Milchik morning. Don't let your kids miss out!


And if you're still not convinced, please watch this short video:


AND DON'T FORGET YIZKOR on Monday, the sacred Memorial Service for our loved ones happens at approximately 10:45 on Monday morning. All in all, there are beautiful Shul Servces with Chazan Yudi & Choir, full Hallel both mornings, Duchening so you even get a special blessing from the Priesthood and Dairy Delicacies for Shavuot at the Brochas. Cheese Cake, Milk Tart, Macaroni & Cheese and Lasagna too! What more can a person ask for? I can't wait to say Gut Yom Tov to you!

In view of the inflamed emotions and Middle East tensions in the country, and also following the horrible attack in a KZN mosque, the CSO ask all of us to be extra vigilant and not to walk alone over Yom Tov. Be prudent and be safe.

We've had a great response so far for our new Hebrew Reading for Beginners Course. In honour of Shavuos, CAJE is proud to present a brand-new course from JLI in New York, HEBREW READING for Beginners. You can now learn to read Hebrew from scratch or do a refresher course in only 5 sessions! We still have room for more people. Call the Shul office to make a booking. 011 640 5021.

Join CAJE & The Academy for the second series of "The Prime Ministers." A penetrating look into the hearts, hopes, stories and lives of Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. Presented by Rabbi Ramon Widmonte, starting on Monday, 28th May. Bookings through the Academy. Tel. 010-140-2099, or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or at www.theacademy.org.za.

Please remember to fill in your family details and preferred correspondence so you get all our Shul communications on our new ShulCloud database system.

Specifically, I would like to suggest that every member of the family give us all their correct and current information and ALL your different email addresses too, so that you can ALL receive your very own copy of this What's Nu newsletter weekly. Imagine not having to be dependent on your husband, wife, kids, etc to see what's happening at Shul! Do it, and, PG, may our connections strengthen.

Need to find a Yahrtzeit date, or your Hebrew Birthday? Go to our Shul website, www.sydshul.co.za. Click on the icon on the top right. While you're there, click on the YouTube icon for all our Shul videos including Miracle at Entebbe which now has well over 800,000 views!

Planning a Barmy, Battie, Engagement, or a wedding? If it's up to 300 guests, why not have the Chupah in our beautiful new garden at the Bayit and the reception in the redecorated Seeff Hall? You are welcome to use the Beth Din approved caterer of your choice.

Having a small function? Do you know what it costs to hire tables and chairs, not to mention a marquee?! HIRING OUR ELK HALL, WHICH COMES FULLY EQUIPPED, IS CHEAPER AND NICER!


And I am delighted to announce that, finally, my book From Where I Stand, is now back in print. It is available from the publishers, KTAV, on line and is now on sale in American bookshops. It will still take a while to get to SA though as it was just printed in the United States. Stay tuned. If you can't wait, try http://www.ktav.com/index.php/from-where-i-stand.html.


This week's Parsha is Bamidbar which begins the Book of Numbers, the 4th of the Five Books of Moses. It is called Numbers because it begins with a census of the Jewish people. G-d loves us more than a miser loves his money which he is forever counting. Just over 600,000 men of military-serving age are counted. That is between 20 and 60 years. With women, youth, and senior citizens, we estimate a few million souls in all. The Levites replace the Firstborn as ministers serving in the Sanctuary as they never sinned in the Golden Calf episode. The three Levite clans, Gershon, Kehos and Merari, are responsible for erecting, dismantling and transporting the Sanctuary and all its sacred vessels.


Shul Schedule

Friday Candles: 5:10 pm (STILL GETTING EARLIER!)

Friday Mincha: 5:25 pm

Shabbos Mincha: AFTER THE BROCHA at 12:30 pm, followed by Pirkei Avos.

Shabbos ends at 6:01 p.m.

Shabbos ends at 6.01 p.m. Candles from an existing flame. Brochas for Yomtov & Shehecheyanu.

Sunday morning – Shacharit 8.30 a.m.; Shtibl 9.00 a.m.

Hallel at 9:15 a.m. followed by The 10 Commandments as we attempt to re-experience Revelation at Sinai at approximately 9.45 a.m. with men, women and children of all ages gathering together. Don't be late.

Mincha on Sunday straight after the Brocha.

Candle lighting on Sunday night from an existing flame - not before 6.00 p.m. and again Blessings for Yom Tov and Shehecheyanu.

Ma'ariv – 6 p.m. and another full Yom Tov Service with Chazan & Choir

Kiddush for Yom Tov and Shehecheyanu. Same in candle lighting too.

Monday morning: Shachrit at 8.30. and Shtibl: 9.00 a.m.

Hallel – 9.15 a.m.; Book of Ruth

Yizkor: Monday morning at approximately 10.45 a.m.

Mincha 5.15 p.m.

Followed by Mini-Shiurim by our Rabbinic Interns, Rabbi Levi Ulman & Rabbi Mendel Teitelbaum.

Yom Tov ends on Monday at 6.00 p.m.

Havdallah – wine only.

Mincha next week at 5.20 p.m.

G-d bless. Hope to see you in Shul over Shabbos and Yom Tov. Zei gezunt!

Rochel and I wish you all a Gut Shabbos and a Chag Sameach!

Regards, Rabbi

Posted 3 Sivan 5778 / 17 May 2018



Shavuos Dinner

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Call the office for last minute bookings.

shavuos dinner 2018

Tikun Layl 2018

tikun layl 2018