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Posted 8 Nissan 5780 / 2 april 2020


What’s Nu @ Sydenham Shul?

At the Forefront of Jewish Life

Your Family Shul Where Everyone is Welcome

By Rabbi Yossy Goldman

Dear Friends,

Charles Dickens wrote that his were “the best of times and the worst of times.” It seems a rather apt description of our own times right now. A successful businessman told me today he is seeing people at their best, but also people at their worst. We are all witnessing many amazing acts of kindness as so many people and organisations are reaching out and going way beyond the call of duty to help others in need. Sadly, there are also selfish and greedy opportunists out there taking advantage of the situation. I’d like to believe that, in general, the good is outweighing the bad and that the world is becoming a kinder, more moral place.

Just yesterday, I was on the line for a long time with a service provider trying to sort out my faulty internet connection at home (which was driving me mad!), and I had to keep going from the kitchen where my modem router is to my study where my computer was. These call centre operators are usually faceless non-entities. But we both started joking and laughing about how much exercise he was giving me, making me go back and forth. I said I need it! I haven’t walked to Shul for the last few Shabbos’es. He actually became human! I think our shared tzorres is creating a kind of camaraderie with strangers we would be unlikely to have at ‘normal’ times. Please G-d, may the world do what it is meant to do, and may this disaster be behind us as soon as possible. Amen!

And here’s a very important message to all SydShul members:

Your Shul Council has not forgotten about its commitment to a follow up Report Back meeting which we had actually planned for the 2nd April. This we will do as soon as practically possible. Stay tuned and watch this space. Thank you for your continued support.

And on that note, the Shul Executive ask all members to please understand that with no Shul Services taking place, and no donations from the Bimah coming in, and people, generally, feeling pressured by the current situation, your Shul’s cash flow has been dramatically diminished. Salaries must still be paid to all staff members, but the income has dried up. We appeal to all members to do their very best to send in their Membership Fees, to bring their accounts up to date, and/or to make a generous donation in general to help us get through the current challenges. Our Shul remains vibrant and incredibly dynamic. The Shul Rabbis are busier than ever and have been keeping the Congregation informed, educated, and inspired and there’s still much more to come! Our Music Department has been entertaining and stirring us all with videos recorded under extraordinary conditions. The music by Chazan Yudi, Rav Doron and the Sydenham Singers has gone around the world and brought joy and comfort to many thousands! We appeal to all congregants to do their very best to help us now. Thank you so much. G-d bless you all.

And coming soon…from your favourite Shul…a MEGA PRE-PESACH EVENT. Watch this space for….

Saturday Night Live!

Pesach Edition!

Insights, Instructions, Songs of the Seder Practical Tips & Recipes, and More!

THIS Saturday Night, 8:00 pm on Zoom!

Featuring Rabbi Yossy Goldman, Rabbi Yehuda Stern,

Chazan Yudi Cohen, Rav Doron Chitiz on Guitar

Rebbetzin Rochel Goldman, Rebbetzin Estee Stern

Stay tuned for the sign-in details. There’s no cinema and no restaurants this Saturday night, but we will inspire and entertain you. Don’t miss it! All ages welcome. Tel your friends. Diarise now and watch this space!

My deepest thanks and appreciation to all who have already contributed to the Rabbi’s Pesach Appeal. Thanks to you we have already distributed close to R200,000! …. BUT! There are still some families waiting for our help. There are only a few shopping days left to Pesach. If you haven’t yet ‘gotten around to it’ yet, please do it NOW. Thank you so much and G-d bless you to enjoy a beautiful Pesach with your loved ones. Whether it will be a big or small Seder, may it be a Chag Kosher V’SAMEACH!!!

Here’s the banking details: Rabbi Goldman Discretionary Fund. First National Bank, Norwood. Branch Code 258 624, Account number 503 600 89202.

And here’s a cute little anecdote to share with your friends. The other day, I asked Rabbi Dayan Dovid Baddiel of the Beth Din how they were going to manage to sell the chametz this year during a lockdown? How will the non-Jew who buys it from the Beth Din annually (and for generations in his family!) manage to come to the Rabbis? He told me it is a miracle from heaven! That non-Jewish fellow just happens to be a policeman and has the right of travel! Now do you believe there is a G-d in the world?!

We are having fantastic attendances at all our ZOOM Minyanim, Shiurim, Pre-Shabbos and Post-Shabbos Get-Togethers, and at our Adult Education programmes. But we can’t keep you busy all day and night so check out these suggestions for online reding material. Between,, and you will be kept very busy and stimulated for many days and nights.

And now you have more time to connect to Hashem, so please Daven. The men should not miss a day putting on Tefillin. Ladies, please light Shabbos candles on time (this week it’s 5:45 pm). We can all recite extra Tehillim. The Book of Psalms is so powerful. Keep Shabbos! And don’t forget to call and keep in contact with the lonely and elderly. It’s a time for extra kindness and compassion, respect and sensitivity. We can all grow in so many positive ways from this experience. May all those in need of a Refuah Shleimah be healed immediately! And may the rest of us all stay well, please G-d!

Thank you to those who joined our Shul’s What’s App groups after our email last week. We have now created a special group called SydShul Corona Care which we will be using during this time to keep us united, informed and inspired. All communication of Shul news and upcoming virtual activities will be common through this new group. Click on the link below to join the group or reply to this email and we will add you on from our side so you can keep in touch with us. It’s really nice to know that even though we may be apart, we are definitely not alone.

And I never cease to be amazed at how much Chief Rabbi Goldstein gets done in a day. His time management skills are incredible! Here is his latest feat. A letter to the world from a host of international Chief Rabbis, including Israel, the UK, Russia, and more. It is a call to action to the Jewish world to make this coming Shabbos super-special. While it is signed by many leading Rabbinic personalities, it is obvious that the inspiration came from our own Chief Rabbi. Yasher Koach Rabbi Warren Goldstein! See the CHIEF RABBIS’ LETTER below.

Remember, your Shul is here for you.

Your Rabbis are available any time.

Please call if we can help in any way.

Help someone else in need.

Keep the faith. Trust in G-d, and may He protect us all.

You are still welcome to call the Shul office on a new number during lockdown, 064 326 6984, which number has been redirected and is now managed offsite. You may send emails to

Should you require advice or assistance from Rabbi Goldman you may contact him at or Rabbi Stern at

All account matters should be addressed to Jonty Cohen on

The Sale of Chametz forms (Click here) should be emailed directly to the Beth Din at

We regret the Pesach Kashering has been cancelled. If we hear of any alternatives we will advise.

The Mikvah for utensils outside Kosher World is still open and available, one person at a time.

We will continue to publish our popular weekly reader, the GOOD SHABBOS SYDENHAM, but we won’t be printing it. Please download and print so you can have your own copy to read over Shabbos. This week there is some special Coronavirus advice too. You may download the latest Good Shabbos Sydenham by clicking here. Enjoy a good read.

There are now many special spiritual segulos, i.e. blessings and remedies to ward off the virus and to help heal our world that are going around on social media. Here is one that I found particularly powerful. Apparently, it comes from the holy Baal Shem Tov and was effective in stopping a devastating plague in his day. They are writing a new Sefer Torah and giving every Jew the chance to be part of it by acquiring a letter in this special Torah Scroll. It is NOT a fundraiser. All they suggest is $2.00 per letter but even that is completely optional and there is no set fee. Here is the link if you would like to be part of it. I did it for Rochel and me. Some 100,000 Jews have already acquired a letter. But don’t worry, every Sefer Torah has over 300,000 letters.

Click here to sign up, you can also watch a powerful video on this subject by clicking here.

Mazel Tov to Denis and Michelle Cohen on the birth of a grandson, a son to Andrea and Yoav Segal. Mazal Tov to Yoav’s parents in Israel, Avner and Orit Segal. Bris by Zoom? Long-distance nachas!

Mazel Tov to Stan Brasg on his 70th! Many happy, healthy returns.

Mazel Tov to Meyer Gelbart on his 70th! Many happy, healthy returns.

We wish a REFUAH SHLEIMAH to Michael Levitan, Dawn Orelowitz, Sholem Treger, Arthur Hurwitz, Shaun Karpelowsky.

We extend our very sincere condolences to Mona Lemmer and her children Dennis, Nadine and Helene on the passing of a Shul stalwart, Morrie Lemmer. Even as he was older and frail, Morrie who was nearly 95, continued coming to Shul on Friday nights. Long life and only simchas please G-d.

We extend deepest condolences to Hilary, Peter, Shayne, and Kevin Kaplan on the passing of their husband and father, Raymond Kaplan. Long life and only simchas, please G-d.

Jewish Life magazine is not printing now but the magazine is done and available online. Here is the link for my column and the whole current issue.

Jewish Report newspaper has published a print edition this week and is available online here.

Lots of time to download and listen to good music. Well, Choni G’s long-awaited debut album & USB “5780” is now available from the Shul office. You will love it! Available online now:


This week’s Parsha is Tzav and continues with the laws of sacrifices. The fire on the altar must be kept burning at all times. In it are burned the wholly consumed ascending offering; veins of fat from the peace, sin and guilt offerings; and the “handful” separated from the meal offering. We also read the story of the inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the Priesthood, with Aaron as the very first Kohen Gadol, (High Priest).

It is also Shabbos Hagodol! This commemorates a great miracle that occurred in Egypt when the Jews told the Egyptians why they were taking a lamb to slaughter. Why? The lamb was worshipped as a deity in Egypt’s primitive pagan culture. That lowly Jewish slaves should sacrifice the god of their masters to their own G-d was unthinkable. In fact, when the Egyptian first-born heard what the 10th Plague was going to be, namely their own deaths, they rebelled against Pharaoh and a civil war erupted in Egypt. Normally, we would chant a special Haftarah on this Shabbos in Shul reading of that great and awesome day when Eliyahu Hanavi will come and herald the imminent arrival of Moshiach. Please G-d very very soon!



Parshas Tzav & Shabbos Hagodol

Candle-lighting: 5:45 pm.

(Getting much earlier now!)

Shabbos ends: 6.34 p.m.


Rochel and I wish you all a Good and Healthy Shabbos and a Chag Kosher V’Sameach!

Enjoy the peace and quiet and make it a meaningful, meditative Shabbos. Still lots of Pesach info and guidance to follow. Watch this space!

Seeing as we won’t be in Shul on Shabbos, here’s my Quotation for the Week:

“Now that I’ve cleared your schedule, let’s talk!” - G-d

Stay well! Zei gezunt!

Missing you all.


Warm regards,


Posted 8 Nissan 5780 / 2 April 2020

Sat, 4 April 2020 10 Nisan 5780