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Posted 7 adar2 5779 / 14 march 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,

Have you heard of Jexodus yet? It’s a play-off on the word Exodus and it’s the name of a new group planning to take Jews away from the Democratic Party in the USA, whom the vast majority of American Jews have long supported. President Trump has already been Tweeting about it in his effort to woo Jewish voters to the Republican Party. It comes after newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar made a series of comments widely regarded as anti-Semitic and the party could not agree on a resolution condemning it or her. Political pundits are now saying the Democrats are following in the way of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in the UK where many Jewish members have resigned recently over its alleged anti-Semitism. Quite worrying that with Holocaust survivors still alive, the ‘world’s longest hatred’ is becoming acceptable again. Well, Purim is around the corner. I guess if we survived Haman and his plot we will continue to survive in our own days.

But, before we get to Purim, today is the 7th of Adar 2 and is the day on which Moses, the great Moshe Rabeinu, was born and died. He lived exactly 120 years, to the day! Hence, our blessing people to live “till 120.” It is also connected to Purim which will be observed next week Wednesday night and Thursday. Purim comes from the Persian word Pur which means drawing lots (as in a lottery). Haman, the villain in the story, drew his own lots to see in which Hebrew month he should try to annihilate the Jewish people. When the lot fell on Adar he rejoiced as he knew that Moshe died in Adar. But it just proves the old adage that “a little knowledge is dangerous,” because Haman did not know that Moshe was also born in Adar. At any rate, we should be most grateful to that notorious anti-Semite and originator of the Final Solution idea, for the fact that we now have such a lovely Yom Tov called Purim. So, thank you Haman! Hopefully, our contemporary anti-Semites will similarly be defeated.

And, as always, the Shabbos before Purim is known as Shabbos Zachor as we read a special Maftir from a 2nd Sefer Torah, and a Haftorah all about Amalek, who was the ancestor of Haman.

Have you seen the adverts for the new Jewish Community Survey of SA that is happening now? The Kaplan Centre at UCT and Jewish Policy Research (JPR) from London will be conducting the survey. The last such survey was in 2000. Nearly 20 years later, one wonders whether we as a community are as strong as we were back in 2000. I still remember some of the findings back then which put us on quite a pedestal compared to other communities around the world. For example, well over 90% of Jews in SA fasted on Yom Kippur and attended a Pesach Seder. Nearly 40% said they went to Shul at least once a week and bought only Kosher meat and poultry. The intermarriage rate in Johannesburg was only 9%! Judging by anecdotal evidence, my colleagues and I are convinced that it is probably much higher today. We await the new results with some trepidation. I do encourage you all to participate in the survey. There is a substantial and detailed questionnaire to fill out and it will take you around 45 minutes, but we do need to know where we stand today so we can know how to plan for tomorrow. Please do participate. To get involved go to or

This past Monday our new multi-media course from the New York-based Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) called “Strength & Struggle Lessons in Character from Superheroes of the Bible” kicked off with Lessons in Character from the David & Bathsheba story. Our audience found it fascinating as did I in my preparations.

THIS COMING MONDAY, Rabbi Stern will ask whether ‘freedom’ and ‘responsibility’ are compatible or contradictory? Personal autonomy meets higher purpose as we will learn new tricks from the story of Ruth, King David’s great grandmother.

Even if you did not come last Monday you may still join in as every lesson is self-contained. Book now and you will receive a 200-page Student Handbook from JLI in New York. We have flown them in especially for you and they are brimming with the full course and much more stimulating material on this and more pertinent and compelling issues and ideas.

Book at or 011 640 5021. Rabbi Stern and I look forward to having you.

Hurry, hurry, hurry! If you want to join our popular Rabbinic Intern, Zevi Chaiton and do a Hebrew Reading Course for Absolute Beginners! Register your name with Shirley at the Shul office on 011 640 5021. It will take place on Thursday evenings. Thank you Zevi!

And Reb Zevi will also begin a new series of classes on one of the all-time favourites, the Haggadah with his upcoming Insights for Your Seder Table starting on Thursday 28 March. Call the Shul office to book. Space is limited. In just 3 sessions, you are guaranteed to become a more successful Seder leader and/or participant this Pesach.

Remember, new members are always welcome at all the rabbis’ regular shiurim.

Tickets are now selling for Sounds of Celebration VI! The theme this year is “Heal the World!” Get your seats at or at Spar outlets. It’s on Tuesday 16 April at Emperors Palace. This show offers a fantastic evening of family entertainment relevant and highly enjoyable for all age groups. It is truly a world-class concert with 150 young performers, including pipe & pop bands, marimbas & steel bands, dancers and Singing Star Moshe Lichtenstein with the Chupa Band. Get your family bookings now. Tickets start at only R60!

Our “Win a Car” Raffle with our partners, the Smile Foundation, is also now up and running at Tickets are now available at Shul. It’s a cute Kia Picanto valued at R155,495! At only R50, you should buy a book! Tickets or books of tickets to sell are available from the Shul office with cash only or online with credit card at

SYDENHAM KOOL KIDS Parents can now join our youth Whatsapp Group to keep up-to-date with the latest news for the kids. Message Gilad Kohaly 074 772 7053

This year, PURIM @ SYDSHUL features a Candy Land Carnival on Wednesday evening 20 March. Purchase of a goody bag for entrance and rides, now available in the office. See the posters below for all the exciting information.

This Shabbos, Chazan Yudi Cohen will be joined by a group of talented teenage singers. Who remembers Yudi’s production we staged called “High Shul Musical?” That was loads of fun!

The Brocha is in the Seeff Hall and is sponsored by Raymond and Rolene Nerwich in honour of Ari’s Oifruf and by Yudi and Dina Cohen in honour of Hadassah 3rd birthday and their 15th wedding anniversary. This will be followed by our monthly Social Shabbos. Please join us for another opportunity to meet, mingle and interact with each other.

MAZEL TOV on their forthcoming wedding next week in Cape Town to Ari Nerwich and Kayli Levitan, and their parents Raymond and Rolene Nerwich and Sharon Levitan. May you build a beautiful Jewish home together. (The Nerwich boys on Purim nog! I better psyche myself up for this one! 😊)

Mazel Tov to Hymie Lessick on his 96th birthday! Many more in good health! Hymie (Perry) is amazing! G-d bless him.

We extend our deepest condolences to Maureen Shaw on the passing of her granddaughter. May you and your family know only simchas, please G-d.

And also, to Dina Cohen on the passing of her grandfather in Israel. Long life.

We wish a Refuah Shleimah to Linda Sher, Syd Scheftz, Victor Benyamin, Carol Mervis, Mary Shapiro, Cyril Lucka, and Rebe Gordon.


And now for the PURIM Schedule & Instructions:

The Fast of Esther is next Wednesday 20 March. Fast starts at 5.03 a.m. and ends at 6:37 pm.

Remember the Purim Mitzvos:

Listen to the Megillah in Shul on BOTH Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Send Mishloach Manot – a gift of at least two edible foods to at least one friend. Male to male, female to female, preferably via a messenger.

Give Matanot L’Evyonim – charity to at least two poor Jewish people (You may do this via the Rabbi or the Chev).

Eat a festive Purim meal on Thursday after midday, afternoon, or in the evening but starting no later than sunset which is 6:15 pm. Dinner may then carry on as late as you wish.

Recite the Al Hanissim prayer in the Amidah and Bentching.


Wednesday Night: Mincha: 5.45 p.m. Maariv: 6.30 p.m. followed by Megillah in big Shul at 6:45 pm read by Rabbi Chazan Shmuly Goldman.

Megillah Readings in Shul on Thursday morning: Early Minyan 6:00 a.m. (Megillah approx. 6:30 a.m.) read by Dr Bradley Rabin. 2nd Minyan 7.30 a.m. (Megillah approx. 8:00 a.m.) read by Rabbi Yehuda Stern. There will also be a Special Megillah Reading at 10.00 a.m. in the big Shul read by Stephen Fredman. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to all readings.

The Purim Candyland Carnival opens on Wednesday at 5.30 p.m. and continues after the Megilla. Bags for entry and rides are available now from the office @ R120 which includes entry to all carnival rides and activities, as well as snacks. With thanks to our anonymous sponsor in merit of Chana bat Rivkah. Thank you.

If you miss our readings there will be the Annual Women's Megilla reading once again at the HOD, Purim Day Thursday 21 March 11.15 a.m. with Rabbi Moshe Shnerb. It is in memory of Devorah Henna Chaya bat R' Dovid, late Dawn Nates who used to organise it. All women welcome.

As always, Matanot L’Evyonim, the special Purim charities we give our fellow Jews, may be done via Rabbi Goldman at Shul anytime until Thursday morning. Please bring cash and I will distribute it on Purim day on your behalf.

Otherwise, if you need a credit card facility there will be a Chevra Kadisha representative with a machine outside Shul this year on Wednesday night and they will also distribute it on the day on your behalf.

Here's some good advice. You should definitely have your next function here! Our halls are beautiful, and you’ll get a discount! And our clients are raving about how nice Gabi Wineberg our Functions Coordinator is and what a pleasure it is to deal with her. To book your next simcha or function contact Gabi on or call her in the mornings at the Shul office on 011 640 5021.

My book, From Where I Stand, which was out of print is now available again in the Kollel book shop on Northfield avenue, at Chabad Books at KosherWorld, as well as from the Shul office. I shall be happy to inscribe it for you. Makes a very nice gift for a wide variety of occasions.

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.


The Parsha is Vayikra and begins the Third Book of the Chumash, Leviticus, with the details of the sacrifices offered in the Temple of old. Only kosher animals, fowl, or meal offerings for the poor were acceptable. There were sin offerings, guilt offerings, and peace offerings which included the Thanksgiving offerings brought for the same reasons that we would bentch gomel today. Salt was offered with each sacrifice as it symbolizes permanence and eternity (have you ever seen salt go off?!).


The reading of Zachor, to remember what Amalek did to us when he attacked us for no good reason after the Exodus from Egypt is always read the Shabbos before Purim. According to many halachic authorities it is nothing less than a Biblical commandment to hear the Maftir this Shabbos. So, don’t come late and don’t leave early!


Shul Schedule:

Friday - Shabbos Candles: 6:06 pm (GETTING EARLIER NOW!)

Friday Mincha: 5:40 pm

Shabbos Shachris: Big Shul 8:30 am; Shtibl 8:45 am

Parshas Zachor

Shabbos Mincha: 5:45 p.m. followed by Shalosh Seudos.

Shabbos ends at 6:55 p.m.

NB: As we are still davening Maariv before nightfall, we must remember to recite the Shema later after dark. If you say the bedtime Shema, this may be kept in mind at that time.


Rochel and I wish you all a Gut Shabbos.

Hope to see you in Shul.



Posted 7 Adar 2 5779 / 14 March 2019

Thu, 21 March 2019 14 Adar II 5779