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Posted 9 Cheshvan 5780 / 7 november 2019


What’s Nu @ Sydenham Shul?

At the Forefront of Jewish Life

Your Family Shul Where Everyone is Welcome

By Rabbi Yossy Goldman

Dear Friends,

I can’t believe it’s only a week ago that I wrote my special Mi Sheberach prayer for the Springboks! It feels like a month! So much has happened since last Shabbos. The Boks have brought glory to South Africa. The game and the words spoken by Coach Rassie and Captain Siya were nothing short of inspirational! They really did rouse a nation with those stirring speeches. “Stronger together” indeed! Now they’ve won multiple international awards – best team, best coach, best player. The dream came true after all. And those pictures of the celebrations afterwards were hilarious. I mean, how’s this character Faf De Klerk standing in his gatkes having beer with Prince Harry?! He’s something else, isn’t he?

I was at the airport punkt the afternoon the Boks arrived back from Japan. What a balegan! But it was a beautiful balegan! To see South Africans of all colours and persuasions singing and smiling together was truly heart-warming. Nu, so, what do you think of my Prayer? It worked, eh?! You see, you must never underestimate the power of prayer! (And, obviously, South Africa’s rabbis have more influence Up Above than the English rabbis!) Anyway, let us keep enjoying the wonderful mood as the Boks parade around the country with their gold trophy. And, please G-d, the national mood will be lifted too, and we will have some material reasons to be upbeat about the whole country as well.

I end with a prayer said by Captain Siya Kolisi which I think we can all learn from. He said, “I don’t have to understand everything in life, and there are so many things I don’t, but I know G-d is in control of it all. My job is to do the best I can and leave the rest in His hands.” A great message for life, well beyond rugby.

Here at SydShul, our CAJE Adult Ed is programme is now gearing up again for the final push of 2019. Here are some new options:

CAJE & THE ACADEMY present TEHILLIM-IN-DEPTH, a new 4-week course presented by Ronit Janet & Yochi Ress. It started this Monday 4 November, but you may still join in. See the poster below for Registration and more information.

And by popular demand, CAJE presents the final 2 learning sessions in the series Toward a Meaningful Life which will take place on Wednesday 13 & Thursday 21 November at 7.45 p.m.

Next Wednesday 13 November:

Rabbi Goldman: The Shadows: Dealing with Pain, Loss and Suffering

And the following Thursday 21 November:

Rabbi Stern: What’s LOVE Got to Do with it? Finding the Soul of Meaningful Relationships

To register, either call the office on 011 640 5021 or go on-line to the Shul’s website, If you already have the book from last time, the cost is R100 per person for the two evenings, and without the book it is R150. See the full poster below.

And I am delighted to announce that next week, for this year’s SHABBOS PROJECT, Sydenham Shul will be presenting a special Shalosh Seudos in Song on Shabbos 16 November with a programme of Niggunim and Mood Melodies sung and led by Chazan Yudi Cohen, Musical Director Rav Doron Chitiz, and the New Sydenham Singers. We will be joined by none other than the founder of the Shabbos Project himself, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein! He will give us a message at Shalosh Seudos. Following directly afterwards there will be a Musical Havdalah with 3 Guitars played by Doron, Simeon Angel, and Alon Raichlin. And this just in…..Gila Chitiz will join them on flute! We look forward to something very special, please G-d. All welcome. Bring your friends and family. If anyone will need a lift after Shabbos, we will be happy to arrange that as well. Please be in touch with Shirley in the Shul office on 011 640 5021.

And it’s getting closer to our Annual Dis-Chem Golf Day with Sydenham Shul & Smile Foundation is on Wednesday 20 November at a new venue, the beautiful Houghton Golf Club. Players, sponsors and prizes still wanted! Please speak to Ingrid Seeff. Thank you.

This Shabbos we will welcome our new Rabbinical Intern, Rabbi Dovid Gopin of Melbourne who is a star graduate of the Pretoria Semicha Seminary and was the Madrich there as well this past year. He will be joined next week by his friend Rabbi Rafi Chemel from Toronto who has studied and worked at Mayanot in Jerusalem. Rafi will be mainly stationed with Rabbi Ari Shishler in Strathaven as we are sharing the costs. He will, however, be living on this side of town with Dovid and he will no doubt add value here too.

I will add that both these young men come very highly recommended and we are hoping to break new ground with them in 2020 by expanding their offerings to our members and their families. On that note, we hope you will put your names forward to learn with them and, especially, that you will encourage your teenage and older children to do so.

Please welcome them and don’t be shy to ask for a private Shiur on the topic of your choice, or to put together a small group of your friends. That’s what they are here for. Welcome and we wish them much success.

This Shabbos, the Ladies Shabbos morning Shmooze with Rebbetzin Estee Stern is at 10 - 10.30 a.m. in the Community Centre. Coffee, tea & refreshments served.

The Shul Brocha is in the Seeff Hall.

Following the Brocha, we will have a Special Guest Shiur by Rabbi Matisyahu Glazerson. His intriguing topic? “Bible Codes: Real or Rubbish?”

This Sunday it’s our Annual Bat Mitzvah Ceremony. ALL WELCOME! Even if you don’t know any of the girls! It’s always a great way to spend an hour on a Sunday, from 3 to 4 pm. This year, we look forward to some new musical delights with Chazan Yudi, Rav Doron & the Boys. Thank you, Ingrid Seeff, Lee Chaitowitz and Amanda Porter, for putting in so much time, talent and creativity to make this the best Battie in town!

Mazel Tov to the following girls and their parents:

Gabriella Aires, her parents Ronen Aires & Stacey Lewis

Hannah Camberg, her parents Sean & Karen Camberg

Talya Edelstein, her parents Ryan & Tami Edelstein

Daniella Gordon, parents Russell & Tamara Gordon

Noa Herring, parents Hylton & Justine Herring

Elisheva Kay, parents Nachi & Adi Kay

Eliana Mervis, parents Darren & Carly Mervis

Ashira Rau, parents Laurence & Ester Rau

Lexi Silverman, parents Mark & Melissa Silverman

Gila Smith, parents Larry & Andy Smith

Maya Tenzer, parents Avi & Aviva Tenzer

And Mazel Tov to Zara Aginsky for her granddaughter Hannah’s Bat Mitzvah too!

And we still have a few spaces left in our Bat Mitzvah Programme for 2020. If you have a daughter turning 12 next year, please call Ingrid on 083 377 1111 for more information. I cannot recommend our Batties Programme and Ceremony highly enough. You will love it! Come check out this one and you will see!

On the other side of the coin, sadly there are bereavements too. I can’t believe that our young former Youth Director, Eli Unterslak, is gone after a tragic road accident. Eli took our Youth programme to new heights during his tenure here. We wish long life and strength to his mom Jenny and the family.

And just today, came the news that our past Secretary, Thelma Koz has passed away. Thelma gave us many years of devoted service and always had a sweet smile and welcome for everyone. We wish long life to her husband Neville and daughter Natalie. The Funeral will take place on Sunday at 11:30 am.

The Unveiling of the Tombstone of the late Phillip Milner will take place this Sunday at 10.30 a.m. Phillip was a stalwart of our Shul for many decades and came to Shul regularly almost until the very end of his life when he was incapacitated. Long life to the family.

We wish a Refuah Shleimah to Rodney Smith, Robert Levy, Adi Posner, Merle Beder, Paula Joffe, and Shaun Karpelowsky.

And I, like so many in the community, was so very saddened to learn of the closing of Nussbaum’s, one of the oldest Butcheries in Johannesburg. I remember buying from old Sam Lurie on Beit Street when we first came to SA back in the 70’s. We wish his son Ian, grandson Baruch, and the whole family success and all Hashem’s blessings going forward.

I’ve been invited by both the Holocaust Museum in Johannesburg and Cape Town to give a talk about my father and Sugihara as they are both showing a film called Persona Non Grata which tells the Sugihara story and is being co-sponsored by the Embassy of Japan. The Johannesburg event is on 14 November in Forest Town and the Cape Town event is on the 19th November there. See the Cape Town poster below.

Concerning Sheimos: Congregants are asked to please not dump their Sheimos (old Siddurim or torn works of Torah) around the Shul. We are happy to assist you with small amounts but would prefer it if you took it yourself to either the Chev’s offices or directly to the cemetery. Thank you.

Our son Choni G has just released a new song. Well, to us here at SydShul it’s an old song, but he’s done it beautifully in his own chilled, mellow style. L’dor Vador which we often hear in Shul will be one of the songs on his debut album “5780” to be launched in December. Stay tuned!


DOWNLOAD THE SINGLE: iTunes + Apple Music:

Google Play:

I can’t wait to hear the whole album!

And our old friend Henry Cohen is looking for work. He’s had a wide range of experience in retail outlets – sales, stock controller and management; in hospitality – all facets of management in a small hotel; and as a restaurant manager. He is, however, open-minded and will consider anything that is required whether part time, full time, after hours. Call 082 894 2728.

You may download the latest Good Shabbos Sydenham by clicking here, so even if you cannot be in Shul this Shabbos you can still enjoy a good read.

And just in case you still don’t have my book, From Where I Stand, it is available from the Shul office at only R375.


This week’s Parsha is Lech Lecha and begins with Abram (soon to become Abraham) leaving his comfort zones and travelling to an unknown destination at G-d’s command. It turns out to be Canaan, later to become Israel. In fact, this is where the term Promised Land comes from as Abraham is promised by G-d that this land will be given by Him to his descendants. As he is still childless, this is also a promise to him that he will still father a child and become the father of a great nation in time. Sarah is taken hostage by the Egyptians but is, miraculously, released untouched and unharmed. Lot and Abraham part company. Later, when Lot is taken hostage in a world war, Abraham rescues him. Abraham takes Hagar as a concubine from which Ishmael will be born. At age 99, G-d instructs Abraham to circumcise himself and then he will bear a son who is to be called Isaac. It is Isaac, not Ishmael, who will become the next link in the founding fathers of Israel and the inheritor of the Promised Land.


Shul Schedule:

Candle-lighting Friday 6:11 pm

Friday Mincha 5:40 pm

Shachris: Big Shul 8:30 am; Shtibl 9:00 am.

Brocha in the Seeff Hall.

Special Guest Shiur by Rabbi Matisyahu Glazerson –

“Bible Codes: Real or Rubbish?”

Mincha 5:55 pm followed by Shalosh Seudos.

Shabbos ends: 7:03 p.m.

Rochel and I wish you all a Gut Shabbos.

Hope to see ya in Shul! L’hitraot!

Regards, Rabbi

Posted 9 Cheshvan 5780 / 7 November 2019

Tue, 12 November 2019 14 Cheshvan 5780