By the Grace of G-d
Newtown Shul is the only synagogue in Sydney’s Inner West.  Newtown Shul’s activities are possible because of your kind generosity and we thank you for it.

Please consider becoming a member.

Should you wish to donate to Newtown Shul, you can always do so using the bank account details below. Please make sure to send an email to newtown@shul.org.au with a copy of the transaction confirmation.

Account Name: Newtown Synagogue INC, BSB: 032036, Account No: 960034

Newtown Shul Membership 2019-2020

The NEW MEMBERSHIP DRIVE 2019 – 2020 is now on.

Please join up or renew your membership, thereby enabling Newtown Synagogue to keep on being unique, beautiful, and blessed.

PLEASE SIGN UP OR RENEW TODAY! Details are available on the following link. https://shul.org.au/membership-application/

Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Toldot

Courtesy of Chabad.org

Isaac and Rebecca endure twenty childless years until their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a difficult pregnancy as the “children struggle inside her”; G‑d tells her that “there are two nations in your womb,” and that the younger will prevail over the elder.

Esau emerges first; Jacob is born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be “a cunning hunter, a man of the field”; Jacob is “a wholesome man,” a dweller in the tents of learning. Isaac favours Esau; Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of red lentil stew.

In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty. He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and digs a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquillity.

Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and blind and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favourite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father. Jacob receives his father’s blessings for “the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land” and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is revealed, all Isaac can do for his weeping son is to predict that he will live by his sword and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.

Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife—Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.

Shabbat Project Challah Bake

30 ladies from Sydney’s Inner West congregated at Newtown Synagogue on Wednesday 11 November, in honour of the Shabbat Project Challah Bake, one of many around the world. The event marks a global effort to keep and honour Shabbat, through numerous meals and festivities.

Ladies were greeted with an elegant array of refreshments, and tables set up with personalised Newtown Synagogue Challah Bake Challah Guides and Shabbat Project aprons.

Newtown Rebbetzin Elka Feldman inspired participants with words of wisdom relating to the various components of challah. Ladies made their own challah from scratch, enlightened by insights shared by Rebbetzin Elka. Yeast, for example, represents joy. It froths and bubbles, like a joyous person. Similarly, sugar is symbolic of trust and faith in G-d. When we trust in G-d, we have an added sweetness.

Shaharit Shmuel-Hay made her ‘tried and true’ recipe with the crowd, after many years of successful challah baking. Shaharit offered tips for challah braiding par excellence. She shared her great tips, like the value in using bread improver, and was quick and efficient in directing the ladies in making challah with her mastery.

The taking challah ceremony was auspicious, with ladies sharing their personal requests. Prayers for Israel and for the bush fires were extended, as well as well-wishing for family and loved ones.

Participants enjoyed an uplifted, meaningful and laugh-filled evening, thanks to our gracious hostess Rebbetzin Elka, and Shaharit. Special thanks to Talia Dayman for assisting in coordinating the event and all of the volunteers who helped out before, during and after the event!

Newtown Shul Weekly Friday Night Dinner

The Shabbat Dinner is the traditional focal point of every Jew’s week. We at Newtown Shul extend a warm welcome to all people to join us for a traditional Friday Night Dinner.

The Shabbat Dinner is held in the hall beside the Synagogue immediately after the 6:00pm Shabbat service.

The Shabbat Dinner is a joint project of Newtown Synagogue and Young Adult Chabad and operates by virtue of the generosity of donors and volunteers.

There is a suggested donation of $36 per person. To register for Shabbat dinner, please click here.

All of the food served at the dinner is prepared ‘by the people for the people’ with love. 

Cooking at Newtown Shul is fun, friendly and needs you! You don’t need to know how to cook and you don’t need to come every week! Just a willing pair of hands whenever you are available and a smile as great as the ones in this picture!

Thank you to Diana, Elinor and Ivan who were at Shul cooking for Shabbat dinner a few weeks ago.

Torah Studies Class

Rabbi Eli Feldman gives a weekly Torah Studies class Live on Facebook every Thursday night at 8:30pm.

You can participate in the class while it is broadcasting and ask questions in real-time. The broadcast is at www.facebook.com/rabbielifeldman

Alternatively, you can watch the replay of this week’s class below:

Torah Studies Topic – “Prayer: why is it important?”Feel free to ask questions in the comments section during the broadcast and I will endeavor to answer them during the class 😊

Posted by Rabbi Eli Feldman on Thursday, 28 November 2019

Shabbat Schedule


Friday Night Candle Lighting Time 7:31 PM

Pre-service L’chaim in the Hall 6:00 PM

Kabbalat Shabbat Service  in the Synagogue 6:30 PM

Shabbat Dinner book online here 7:30 PM


Shabbat Morning Kabbalah Class in the Hall 9:00 AM

Shabbat morning service in the Synagogue 9:30 AM

Torah Reading 10:30 AM

Children’s Service in the Hall 11:00 AM

Rabbi’s Sermon and Choir 11:30 AM

Kiddush and Lunch in the Hall 12:30 PM

Shabbat Ends 8:33 PM

Thought for the Week

A Sheep in a Wolf’s Clothing

By Elisha Greenbaum (Courtesy of Youngadultchabad.org)

I’ve often wondered why Rebecca and Jacob went through all that fuss and bother to surreptitiously engineer that Isaac’s blessings go to Jacob and not his older brother Esau.

On Rebecca’s advice, Jacob waited till Esau had left the house to go hunting. Rebecca then cooked up a meal of goat meat – to taste like the venison that Esau was sure to bring – and then sheared the goats’ skins so Jacob could wrap them around his arms to simulate hairiness, and even asked Jacob to don his brother’s clothes

Isaac was blind, so when Jacob finally managed to creep into the room he had to imitate his brother’s tone of voice and disposition, and then he prevaricated, dissembled and stretched the truth so that his aging father would not catch on.

Even after successfully receiving the blessings, for decades to come, he lived in fear of Esau’s revenge.

Why bother? Why didn’t he and his mother just march openly into Isaac’s room, bring proof of Esau’s wickedness and convince Isaac that Jacob was the more worthy candidate in the first place?

You Don’t Have to Be Holy to Be Blessed

When I visit people in the hospital as part of my pastoral duties, I often hear variations on a common theme: “Rabbi, I’m praying, but I don’t really know if I deserve a miracle, after all, I’m not very religious…” Others are even less sanguine; they just assume that their lack of Jewish knowledge or observance to date precludes them
from ever receiving G‑d’s favor.

Perhaps it was to dispel this attitude that Rebecca forced Jacob to go through the whole charade. Sure, he could have walked identifiably into his father’s study, dressed all in white, exuding nobility and religiosity, and claimed his rightful blessings. But the unmistakable message for the future would be that only the Jacobs among us deserve to be blessed.

But that’s not good enough for a true Yiddishe mama (Jewish mother). Rebecca wanted to ensure merit for all Jews, for all generations. By deliberately going down-market and dressing Jacob in Esau’s clothing, she demonstrated that every one of us, even those who currently look and act like Esau, are equally deserving of our Father’s blessings.

Shabbos Chuckle

Shmuli Horowitz was having a garage sale and invited some of his neighbours to sell their wares at his place as well. One of Shmuli’s neighbours, Brent Mathews, took four tires over and was asking $30 a piece. Brent needed to leave for a few minutes, so he asked Shmuli to watch the tires for me.

“Sure,” Shmuli said, “but if someone offers less, how low are you willing to go?”

“Try your best for more, but I guess I’d be willing to accept $15,” Brent said, and left.

When Brent returned, his tires were gone. “How much did you get for them?” Brent asked excitedly.

“Fifteen dollars each.”

“Who bought them?”

“I did!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *