Weekly News & Drash: 17/18 September 2021


Weekly News & Drash: 17/18 September 2021

Ben Adler and Paul Khodor of the band Chutney have generously shared
a soulful arrangement of Avinu Malkeinu, recorded last week at Emanuel Synagogue,
with the hope of providing a salve to our locked-down communities.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW to listen and enjoy! 



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.

To see a listing of UPJ congregations' High Holy
 Days services and programs, CLICK HERE.

Mazel tov to new IMPJ Director General and IRAC Director
We are pleased to share the announcement received from the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) about the appointments of Anna Kislanski as the IMPJ Director General and Orly Erez-Likhovski as IRAC Director. IMPJ Chair Yair Lootsteen said: "With the support of our Movement's other exceptional professional staff members, Anna Kislanski and Orly Erez-Likhovski will lead our Movement to significant achievements which will positively impact the face of Israeli society." CLICK HERE to learn more about these two exceptional women and to read the full message from Yair.

Mazon bags to prevent and alleviate hunger
Mazon Australia asks for community support for its High Holy Days collection of non-perishable food items. If you will be attending High Holy Days services, please fill and bring a Mazon Bag to the synagogue by Sukkot, and if celebrating virtually you can purchase a Virtual Mazon Bag (CLICK HERE). For more information, visit: mazonaustralian.org.au or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Melton Trans-Tasman Hub announces new instructors
Melton welcomes two experienced educators onto the Trans-Tasman team: Rabbi Dr Danny Schiff and Rabbi Ronnie Figdor. Rabbi Dr Danny Schiff will be teaching Melton's six-week course "OMG, Can You Believe!?" on Mondays, starting 11 October, 7.00-8.30pm (AEDT) via Zoom (6 weeks). CLICK HERE to register and learn more.

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!



Helen Shardey OAM, ARZA President
UPJ Vice-President





      David Knoll AM         Brian Samuel OAM


Edmond Fleg, who passed away in1963, aged 89, was a Jewish French writer, thinker, and playwright.

One of his pieces, written in 1927, is of particular power at this time of intense reflection for every Jewish person.

Here is the extract which appears in the CCAR Rabbi’s Manual:

I am a Jew.

I am a Jew because my faith demands of me no abdication of the mind.

I am a Jew because my faith requires of me all the devotion of my heart.

I am a Jew because in every place where suffering weeps, I weep.

I am a Jew because at every time when despair cries out, I hope.

I am a Jew because the word of the people Israel is the oldest and the newest.

I am a Jew because the promise of Israel is the universal promise.

I am a Jew because, for Israel, the world is not completed; we are completing it.

I am a Jew because, for Israel, humanity is not created; we are creating it.

I am a Jew because Israel places humanity and its unity above the nations and above Israel itself.

I am a Jew because, above humanity, image of the divine Unity, Israel places the unity which is divine.


G’mar chatima tovah, David 


Drash on Parashat Ha'azinu  

Rabbi Jeffrey B Kamins
Emanuel Synagogue

Keeping balanced: privilege and gratitude

With Yom Kippur just behind us and Sukkot just ahead of us, we turn our attention to the last sedra of the Torah read on Shabbat (the very last sedra V’zot Habracha is only read at Simchat Torah).  Ha’azinu is the song Moses teaches the people as an everlasting testimony just before his death. It discusses the consequences of Israel’s (the people’s) betrayal of God.  Unfortunately, from the time of the giving the Torah, through the 40 years that Moses guided the people through the wilderness and until this very day, the cycle of the relationship between the people and God has been one of distancing and then coming close again.  The poem of Ha’azinu recalls that tumultuous pattern: God is the faithful one who created us, who chose the descendants of Jacob to be an exemplary nation.  Instead, we “waxed and grew fat” and forsook God for worship of the material world.  Eventually after a period of trial and tribulation, the relationship will be healed. The poem concludes with God taking back the people and Moses telling the people to engage with Torah for it is “your very life.”

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





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