Phew! What an eventful week!
First we launched our brand new website which I hope you took a moment to check out. It's www.gardensshul.org and among its features is a blog which will hopefully keep us better connected and keep the community better informed on all the wonderful things happening at the Shul. Another feature is a Yahrtzeit and Hebrew birthday calculator which I hope you will find useful. It can be found under the lifecycle tab. I thank all those who sent in their feedback both by commenting on the site and via email and sms.
We hope to post all sorts of interesting things on the blog including pictures of events, important announcements and current news in our community. (In fact this message and the Shmooze will be posted on the blog as well.) The good thing about a blog is that the newest info come up first on the homepage so you don't have to go looking for it. A blog also allows you to post comments and I encourage you to do so.
Many have remarked to me that our Shul's modern website demonstrates how technology can enhance and compliment tradition and I agree wholeheartedly! We need to celebrate our glorious past while embracing our proud future!
And talking about the future have you seen the latest 'what's up'?! promo video for next weeks Friday Night Live 4th Anniversary? If you haven't you are in for a real treat! It's amazing how quickly these things go around, it's barely been out a day and I'm already receiving feedback from all over the world! Check it out at www.youtube.com/gardensshul It only takes 2 minutes! Thank you to all our members who featured in the video and did such an outstanding job. Hollywood you'd better look out!
I can't believe how quickly time flies! The big night is already next week and while every Friday Night Live is special, there's something truly magical about the Anniversary editions. I'm very much looking forward to it and I do hope you and your families can join us. By the way, while the dinner following the FNL with Nik Rabinowitz has long been sold out, those who are not at the dinner will still have the opportunity to mingle with Nik in Shul and at the 'Sushi & Blue Label' Brocha in the Company Gardens following the service.
And while we will also be celebrating the 170th birthday of the Shul at the FNL you don't have to wait till Friday to do so. Next Tuesday evening is ENGAJE - 'From the Heim to Hatfield' and has been organized as part of the 170 year celebrations.
The topic is. 'Putting down Jewish roots in CT' 1841 - c.1920 and will be addressed by Professor Howard Phillips -Professor of History at UCT who is a brilliant speaker and has incredible knowledge of the subject. If you hold the Shul dear to your heart - which I know you do, this is one talk you don't want to miss! I will speak on the topic 'Why remember?' and we will show a video presentation of rare unseen footage from the early years. Nelson Mandela Auditorium @ 7.45pm. Refreshments will be served.
The Second part of the ENGAJE will take place the following Sunday November 13 @ 8.45am. We will 'Take a walk (and drive) down memory lane through Cape Town's early Jewish history' and will be accompanied by a wealth of riveting commentary by Professor Howard Phillips. This is a unique opportunity and if you haven't yet done so please RSVP with the Shul office as space is limited.
This week also saw the birth of twin boys to Simon and Gayle Apfel. Mazal Tov to the proud parents and the proud grandparents Alan and Ruth Sher. May they grow to Torah Chuppah and Maasim Tovim and may you have lots of Nachas from them.
On the other side of the coin, this week I officiated at the funeral of the Shul's oldest member Jack Spiro. Jack was 102 and a stalwart of the Shul. Till recently he attended Shul every Shabbos morning. I learned a lot from him in the time that I was fortunate to spend with him - particularly about life in the Heim and how it was for the newly arrived immigrants - and the early years of the Gardens Shul, and it was amazing how his mind was sharp right till the very end. Long life to his wife Eve and daughter Lyn. May the Almighty comfort them amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
I had a fascinating experience today speaking at a memorial service for members of the SAPS who were killed in the line of duty. There were about 1000 people in attendance and Provincial Police Commissioner Lt General A H Lamoer really spoke beautifully. Unfortunately some of the officers were killed as a result of the corruption of fellow police officers and he spoke alot about the integrity and honour that needs to accompany the wearing of a uniform.
Sitting on stage together with the Spiritual leaders of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities was a nice display of unity. Representing the Jewish faith I intoned a memorial prayer and spoke about the fallen heroes who died so that we could live and to remember what it was that they sacrificed their lives for (freedom, security, law and order, an end to violence, crime etc.) and to live our lives in a way that will make their sacrifice worthwhile.
The Parsha this week is Lech Lecha. We read about the life of our forefather Abraham including the story of his travels at the age of 75 and his circumcision at the age of 99! Yep, that's right, 99! Talk about sacrificing for a cause! Definitely puts our own personal sacrifices into perspective!
The Parsha also includes G-ds promise to Abraham that his descendants will be like the dust of the earth. Many wonder what this means (I mean if I were to bless you that your children should be like the dust of the earth would you take it as a compliment!?). One beautiful interpretation is that just like everybody walks on the dust of the earth, many nations 'step upon' the Jewish nation. However just like the dust outlives the people who trod on it so too we will prevail over those who persecute us. A timeous and encouraging message particularly with the so called Russel Tribunal starting tomorrow in Cape Town.
The consecration of the stone in memory of the late Max Marin will take place this Sunday at 11am at Pinelands No. 2
The Chazzan is away this week so I will once again have the honour of leading the Shabbat services. Please do come along and sing with me!
Have a Marvelous & Momentous Shabbat!
See ya in Shul