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Posted 7 tishrei 5781 / 25 september 2020


What’s Nu @ Sydenham Shul?

At the Forefront of Jewish Life

Your Family Shul Where Everyone is Welcome

By Rabbi Yossy Goldman

Special Pre Yom Kippur Edition

Dear Friends,

Well, it was certainly a very different Rosh Hashanah this year! Weird…but also wonderful! On the one hand, only 50 people in our big 1400 seat Shul was very strange. On the other hand (isn’t that why Rabbis have two hands?) it was fantastic to be back in Shul! To sound the Shofar in Shul, and to do it twice! We had back to back Services so we could accommodate as many people as possible. So we did everything twice – Davening, Sermons, Torah Readings, Shofar.

In fact, I blew Shofar no less than 5 times on Rosh Hashanah as after Shul I did it for lots of our members living on Roux Street and nearby Shul. We must have had close to 30 people in the Tregers’ driveway at 1:15 pm. Then I walked home and after lunch had quite a few of our neighbours come to our patio. And then I walked back to Shul where we had a special Shofar Plus Service at 4:30 pm. I was pretty exhausted at the end of it all. But it was so special and deeply gratifying to know that we had reached out to as many people as possible.

And a big Thank You to all our dedicated Shofar volunteers who walked across the suburbs to share the Mitzvah of Shofar with as many of our fellow Jews and SydShul congregants in particular.

Thank G-d, the feedback from all our Services/Minyanim was excellent! Shkayach to Rabbi Yehuda Stern and Rav Doron Chitiz for conducting the Services in the Seeff Hall and Shtibl respectively. Kol Hakavod to our hard-working Chazonim and Torah Readers, Yudi Cohen, Darryl Frankel, Jarred Abelson, Steven Fredman, and Josh Marcus who blew Shofar in the Shtibl. The Youth enjoyed their davening in the Bayit with Youth Director Gilad Kohaly and Gidon Erster.

And now it’s onto Shabbos Shuvah and then on Sunday night…. Yom Kippur!

Thank G-d, the President has allowed us a dispensation to go to 4 hours for Shul Services for Yom Kippur ONLY, instead of the standard regulation of 2 hours. Also, the Level 1 Regulations allow us to go up to 250 people from only 50 previously. However, as we still require a 2-meter social distancing between people sitting in Shul, we can only accommodate some 160 in the Big Shul, just over 50 in the Seeff Hall with Rabbi Stern, 37 in the Shtibl with Rav Doron Chitiz, and some 30 young people in the Youth Bayit.

At this stage, all our Yom Kippur Services are pretty much full. However, there is still room in the Special Yizkor Plus Service at 2 pm in the Big Shul. Chazan Yudi Cohen will lead Yizkor and also sing selected beautiful prayers from the Yom Kippur service. I will say a few words too. It will take less than an hour. Please make your booking while there is still space. (Please note: this is only for those who are not attending the Morning Service where Yizkor will be recited.)

On that note, I must also thank you all for your patience and understanding. Our sincere apologies for those who were unable to make a booking because we were sold out, or to those who weren’t able to get into their preferred Service. We would love to have been able to accommodate everyone and have full Shuls again, but alas, the law is the law and we are under strict legal and medical constraints. Please G-d, very soon we will all be together again, in person!

At this stage, I can only speculate as to the interesting issues we will have to deal with over Sukkos! Will we need a Lulav & Etrog for every single person? (That would be absolutely prohibitive!) Nor will gloves work! So, it seems we will be doing lots of repeated sanitising before and after using the Lulav.  I guess we will be wishing you a Chag Sameach and a Sanitised Sukkos! Watch this space for the exact protocols next week.

And then Simchas Torah! Will it be able to be a Simcha?! We will certainly do our very best. Details to follow in due course.

Our Rosh Hashanah Zoom event “The Machzor & the Music” last week was a big hit and so was Part 2 tonight for Yom Kippur. Hope you were part of it.

As I write these lines, I see our CHARIDY Crowdfunding Campaign is gathering momentum. Thank you to those of you who have already contributed. The campaign is still up and running and you still have time until 11.00 a.m. tomorrow to go on-line and donate.  Please contribute Thank you for your support. 

This is the Jewish Season of Giving. Give in honour of your children. For health and happiness. For success and prosperity. Give in honour of Yizkor and in loving memory of your loved ones. Give for our community. Please G-d, when on Yom Kippur we will ask G-d to give us all a year filled with His richest blessings, He will be motivated to answer our prayers seeing how we, too, have given of ourselves now.

Our Charidy Crowd Funding Campaign is called Reaching Higher.

Over these High Holidays, we turn to you to partner with us on this journey. Whether you will be at Shul or at home, we ask of you to help us continue to innovate, engage and inspire; help us “reach higher” as we move forward into a brighter future.



As I write these lines, we are on 75% of our goal of R2,000,000. Please help us get to 100%. Donate now at or call 010 040 9225.

Thank you so much! G-d bless you!

I hope to send out a Good Shabbos Sydenham tomorrow, so watch out for it and print it up for good Shabbos reading material.

In case you didn’t manage on Rosh Hashanah, you may still do Tashlich before Yom Kippur.

We sent out a beautiful, clear, and lucid Guide to the Davening and to Yom Tov@Home presented by the Rabbis of Melbourne, Australia. It’s the best one we could find out of many available. But please disregard the TIMES for Candle-lighting and Yom Tov start and finish as they are for Melbourne, not Johannesburg! Everything else is lovely. Enjoy!

Here’s the link. Please print it up before Shabbos!

It has been my personal honour and privilege to have been reciting Kaddish for all those observing a Yahrtzeit who could not come to Shul. I will continue doing so until the situation has improved.

Shul attendance and times at the various services have already been confirmed to you by e-mail if you made on-line bookings.  Please check that you ONLY come to the service allocated to you.

Security: Please co-operate with our Security Team over Yom Tov. They do a very important job and we thank all our security volunteers.

MITZVAH CARDS – Will be sent out by e-mail soon.  Please think about a good Rosh Hashanah resolution and do respond positively when you receive it.

The Annual Shabbos Shuvah Shiur will be given between Mincha and Maariv on Saurday. Rabbi Yossy Goldman will address “Fate or Freedom? The Rambam on Free Choice.”

I am deeply grateful to all of you who responded so magnanimously and made generous donations to the Rabbi’s Yom Tov Appeal.  Thanks to your kindness we were able to help hundreds of our fellow Jews and dozens of families enjoy a happier Yom Tov. In this merit may you be blessed with a wonderful new year with all Hashem’s richest blessings for you and your family. Thank you so much!

You have received our beautiful, colourful, interesting, and entertaining copy of our annual Rosh Hashanah Magazine, Sydnamics, last week before Rosh Hashanah. If it was a rush and you haven’t had time to download and print your favourite pages, please do it now by clicking here and enjoy reading it over Shabbos. There is also some material for Yom Kippur and Sukkos which can wait. Of course, if you can print the whole magazine (including all the ads!) that’s great! See the link below.

MAZEL TOV to Ilan and Lori Wiesenbacher on the birth of a son, and to the grandparents Marc and Janice Wachenheimer and great grandmother Evelyn Wachenheimer. Much nachas! So how many Jews may attend a Bris in SA these days?!

MAZEL TOV to Gabbi Katzenellenbogen and Simon Haifer on their engagement, and to the parents Graham and Lynn Katzenellenbogen, Peta Haifer, and to the two senior grandmothers Peggy Katzenellenbogen and Shirley Sergay. And how many people are allowed at weddings now in Level 1? Enjoy!

Mazel Tov and Congratulations to all our SydShul learners at King David High School, Linksfield who picked up stacks of awards and prizes at their Valedictory last night. We are so proud of our Sydenham matrics who really excelled. Big Shkayach to Erin Atie, Dani Frankel, Brad Gotschalk, Samantha Gotschalk, Liron Horowitz, Maya Katzen, Josh Pimstein, Leora Porter, and Dina Segal. Judging from some photos I’ve seen; I think some of these budding scholars and menschen must have needed to hire a bakkie to shlep home all their awards and trophies! Well done, guys!

Our sincere wishes for a Refuah Shleiamh to Norman Stein, Les Sandler, Ada Mandelstam, Lorraine Rosmarin, Shulamit (Shuki) Schwartz, Stan Michel, Maish Franks, Jeff Jacobs, Liza Rubenstein, Rhona Scheftz, Arthur Hurwitz, Michael Levitan, Sholem Treger and Shaun Karpelowsky. Complete and speedy recoveries to all please G-d.

YOM KIPPUR:  Any health problems with Fasting please contact me or Rabbi Stern. Even if for serious medical reasons one may not Fast, there is a correct Halachik procedure of how NOT to Fast – please speak to either of the Rabbis.

QUOTATION OF THE WEEK: “Worry doesn’t help the future, but it sure ruins the present!”



Shabbos Shuvah

Parshas Haazinu

Mincha: 5:40 pm

Friday Candle lighting 5:47 p.m.

Friday Night Service: One Minyan in Big Shul at 6 pm.

Shacharit on Shabbos - One Minyan in the Big Shul at 9.00 a.m.

Mincha on Shabbos: 5.30 p.m. 

The Annual Shabbos Shuvah Shiur will be given between Mincha and Maariv on Saurday. Rabbi Yossy Goldman will address “Fate or Freedom? The Rambam on Free Choice.”

Shabbos ends: 6:37 p.m.                       





Mincha: 2.30 p.m.

Candle lighting and start of Fast: 5.48 p.m.

Kol Nidrei:  6.00 p.m.

Fast ends:  6.38 p.m.  Havdalah with wine and candle, no spices.

I end with my wishes and blessings to you all for a Gmar Chasimah Tovah, a Shana Tovah Umesukah, and Well Over the Fast. May you be granted a New Year overflowing with all Hashem’s bountiful blessings of HEALTH, happiness, peace, prosperity, Yiddishe Nachas, and let’s hope for a little ‘normality’ too!

Hope to see you soon.

From Rochel and our family, G-d bless, and a Gut Gebentched Yohr!



Mon, 28 September 2020 10 Tishrei 5781