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Posted 26 teves 5780 / 23 january 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,

Jerusalem was overflowing with Western presidents, premiers and potentates, all descending on the Holy City to recall the Holocaust and speak out against anti-Semitism some 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz. That’s a direct quote from today’s New York Times. It really is quite amazing how many kings and heads of state have gathered at Israeli President Rivlin’s official residence for this important milestone anniversary. Many came for the funerals of Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres. Please G-d, they will come for happy occasions too.

This week I broke my previous record for my quickest trip ever to and from New York. Some 16 years ago I went for a Bris of my grandson just for Shabbos. That was 3 days. Now I went for my brother Shmuly’s youngest son’s wedding and I was in the USA for all of 2 days! In fact, the SAA crew members who saw me walk on at JFK did a double take! I said, “well, if you guys can do it, so can I.” I was hoping to get back before jet lag had a chance to set in. Thank G-d, so far so good. I was on the inaugural flight of the new Airbus A350-900. The pilot was so excited to be flying this new state of the art aircraft. He was like a little kid driving a new car! It is indeed, quieter, faster, and much more fuel efficient. I really do wish SAA a long life (and, hopefully, with a new mandate a profitable one!).

This Shabbos is Shabbos Mevorchim Shevat. There will be a Tehillim Club for insomniacs and others at 7:15 am in the Small Shul on Shabbos morning. Coffee and refreshments are served. All welcome.

The Shul Brocha is in the Seeff Hall and is sponsored by Manfred & Ruth Kalmek in honour of their respective birthdays. Many happy, healthy returns! I should bring Ruth coffee at the Brocha this week. She always does it for me. Thank you! Next week, the Shul is very kindly sponsoring the Brocha for me and my family in honour of my own big birthday. Stay tuned. My family members are starting to arrive. Lots of drama with airlines and all kinds of glitches and mishaps. I pray they all get here safe and sound and on time.

Following the Brocha we will have two Shiurim. Rabbi Goldman’s Halacha of the Week and Rabbi Stern’s Tanya for Beginners.

The Sushi & Black Label Farbrengen will be held over for next Shabbos when we will have several interesting guest speakers. I’ll also save the Musical Blessings for next week so I can bless more of my own grandchildren for a change. I trust you will bear with me.

Mazel Tov to Ruth Kalmek on her special birthday and to Manfred Kalmek on his 78th birthday. You don’t look it Manfred! Zei gezunt guys!

Mazel Tov to Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft and Mandy Silberhaft on the birth of a granddaughter in Israel. Enjoy! Much nachas!

Mazel Tov to Max and Sandy Resnick on their grandson Naftali’s Bar Mitzvah in Perth. Regards to Stephen & Co. Lots of long distance nachas!

Mazel Tov to Kiara Shaked on her engagement to Cliff Bregman, and their parents Gila and James Urdang and Ron Shaked. The next generation!

Mazel Tov to Lionel and Louise Ruben on their granddaughter’s marriage this week. Much nachas.

We wish a Refuah Shleimah to Zita Solomons, Irma Gelgor, Arthur Hurwitz, Ronnie Frenkel, Dovi Crouse, Shaun Karpelowsky.

The Barmy Army, our fantastic programme for Bar Mitzvah boys is relaunching on Sunday 2 February with our newly appointed Youth Director Gilad Kohaly. There are weekly breakfasts and all kinds of special activities. Open to all Barmy boys in 2020. See posters around the Shul or call for more information.

SOUNDS OF CELEBRATION: Join Sydenham Shul and Education Africa for an evening of music and celebration, featuring Chazan Yudi and the Sydenham Singers together with 180 young performers on one stage! Tuesday 25 February at Emperors Palace. Tickets are only R70 - R130 on It is always a great show and with our own music department involved this year for the very first time it is bound to be extra special. I strongly recommend you bring the whole family and some friends too! I promise, you will thank me!

Our CAJE Learning Launch for 2020 is coming soon and it is a very exciting event indeed. ENTEBBE – Eyewitness! The true story of the greatest hostage rescue In history and we are bringing out one of the top commandoes of the Entebbe Rescue Mission. Major Rami Sherman was Yoni Netanyahu’s Operations Officer. It’s on Thursday 20 February. Diarise the date and stay tuned! This will launch our brand new CAJE JLI series which is a very intriguing one indeed. Watch this space!

And Rami Sherman will also be the guest speaker at YoungJewishJoburg (19-39) Friday Night Dinner, Friday 21 February. Cost: R190, students R150 thanks to SAUJS. Full course dinner + open bar. Bookings at

Our Rabbinic Interns are beginning to make important inroads learning with individuals and small groups. Thank you Rabbi Dovid Gopin for filling in for me at the morning Minyan this week. Remember, you can now organise your own private learning opportunities with our new Rabbinic Interns who are very qualified and are happy to set up learning sessions with your own small group of family or friends or even private one-on-one learning sessions in the subject of your choice. It can be Hebrew Reading for Beginners or Talmud and Philosophy. Please chat to Rabbi Dovid Gopin and/or Rabbi Rafi Chemel in Shul, or call the Shul office, or speak to me or Rabbi Stern and we will be happy to set it up for you. But please do call soon because it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, if you may need help fulfilling your Mitzvah Card Pledge from Rosh Hashanah, they can help you as well. Don’t be shy, they aren’t. Do call.

And Choni G’s long-awaited debut album “5780” will, for your convenience, be available from the Shul office from Monday. Cost R180. USB for listening in your car will also be available at a cost of R215. Sorry, cash only.

REMINDER: Please do not send proof of payment to the shul e-mail. These must be sent to Please ensure that they are clearly marked who they are from and what the payment is for.

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. Whether you go to Shul or not, you can enjoy relevant life messages from the weekly Torah reading.


This week’s Parsha is Vaeira and covers the first seven of the Ten Plagues to strike Egypt. Plague after horrible plague and still Pharaoh remains insanely stubborn refusing to see the writing on the wall. Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild animals, Pestilence, Boils, and Hail wreak havoc on Egypt and, still, the maniacal monarch remains unmoved. It will take the last three plagues next week, and particularly the final devastating plague to finally break his back and the Jews will go free. The source for the Four Cups of Wine we drink at the Pesach Seder appears in the beginning of this Parsha. The four expressions of redemption. Actually, there are five which led the Talmudic sages to debate how many cups we should drink. In the end, the compromise was that we drink four, but there is a fifth cup on the table, the Cup of Elijah, which does not get drunk.


Shul Schedule:

Candle-lighting Friday 6:15 pm

Friday Mincha 5:40 pm

Shabbos Shachris 8:30 am. Shtibl 9:00 am.

Brocha in the Seeff Hall.

Shiurim: Halacha of the Week and Tanya

Shabbos Mincha: 6:25 pm followed by Shalosh Seudos

Shabbos ends: 7:37 pm


Daily Minyanim Schedule:

Sunday 6:15 am and 7:30 am.

Monday - Friday 5:40 am and 7 am.

Mincha 6 pm.

Do join us.

Rochel and I wish you a Gut Shabbos. Hope to see you in Shul.




Posted 26 Teves 5780 / 23 January 2020

Wed, 29 January 2020 3 Shevat 5780