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

Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshas Terumah

Courtesy of Chabad.org

The people of Israel are called upon to contribute thirteen materials—gold, silver and copper; blue-, purple– and red-dyed wool; flax, goat hair, animal skins, wood, olive oil, spices and gems—out of which, G‑d says to Moses, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell amidst them.”

On the summit of Mount Sinai, Moses is given detailed instructions on how to construct this dwelling for G‑d so that it could be readily dismantled, transported and reassembled as the people journeyed in the desert.

In the Sanctuary’s inner chamber, behind an artistically woven curtain, was the ark containing the tablets of testimony engraved with the Ten Commandments; on the ark’s cover stood two winged cherubim hammered out of pure gold. In the outer chamber stood the seven-branched menorah, and the table upon which the “showbread” was arranged.

The Sanctuary’s three walls were fitted together from 48 upright wooden boards, each of which was overlaid with gold and held up by a pair of silver foundation sockets. The roof was formed of three layers of coverings: (a) tapestries of multicolored wool and linen; (b) a covering made of goat hair; (c) a covering of ram and tachashskins. Across the front of the Sanctuary was an embroidered screen held up by five posts.

Surrounding the Sanctuary and the copper-plated altar which fronted it was an enclosure of linen hangings, supported by 60 wooden posts with silver hooks and trimmings, and reinforced by copper stakes.

Special Announcement

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 6:30pm 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.

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

There is a suggested donation of $20 per person. To make a tax-deductible donation for the Shabbat dinners, please click here.

Weekly Insight

The Gold Standard

By Eli Pink (Courtesy of Chabad.org)

The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was an impressive structure, constructed of acacia wood, gold, silver, copper and luxurious animal hides. The laws and discussion of the Mishkan’s construction span five Torahportions, and would, at first glance, seem irrelevant to us nowadays. The Mishkan ceased to be used almost 3000 years ago with the construction of the first Temple in Jerusalem, of what consequence all these laws?

As each of us struggles with our challenges, the struggle is precious to G‑dInterwoven through the story of the Mishkan, however, are numerous ethical and moral lessons and practical advice that we continue to live by to this day. One of them pertains to the materials used in the construction project.

Almost everything in the Mishkan was made of, or plated with, gold, silver or copper. We know that the Jews left Egypt with an excess of gold – as evidenced by their making of the Golden Calf – why then did G‑d instruct that the lesser materials of silver and copper should also be used in the Mishkan’s construction? Surely pure gold would have looked much more spectacular.

Recently, during a weekly discussion group in a school here in Leeds, we were talking about intermarriage. One of the boys asked me a perceptive question: “If you were sitting in my place,” he asked, “and were not a rabbi with a religious upbringing, could you honestly say that you would only marry a Jewish girl?”

My response was that being born into a religious family and being a rabbi means that I face different challenges (thankfully, intermarriage isn’t one of them) than those brought up in a different way. And vice versa. G‑d throws each of us the challenges that He feels that we can deal with, no more but no less.

As each of us struggles with our challenges, each on our own level, the struggle is precious to G‑d. Whether we would classify ourselves as “gold,” “silver” or “copper” is irrelevant, as long as we are working in the holy field of making a home for G‑d in this world, a modern day Mishkan.

The commentaries note that the altar that was used for the sacrifices in the Temple was copper-coated. The objective of the altar was to bring forgiveness, and it was therefore fitting that it not be made of gold, a material that does not tarnish, rather copper. Copper tarnishes, but can be restored to its former state, demonstrating that just as tarnished metal can be returned to its former shining state, so too, even one who may be classified as “copper,” “tarnished copper” at that, remains a shining Jew, ready and able to sparkle.

Shabbos Chuckle

After months of negotiation with the authorities, a Talmudist from Odessa was finally granted permission to visit Moscow.

He boarded the train and found an empty seat. At the next stop, a young man got on and sat next to him. The scholar looked at the young man and he thought: This fellow doesn’t look like a peasant, so if he is no peasant he probably comes from this district. If he comes from this district, then he must be Jewish because this is, after all, a Jewish district.

But on the other hand, since he is a Jew, where could he be going? I’m the only Jew in our district who has permission to travel to Moscow.

Ahh, wait! Just outside Moscow there is a little village called Samvet, and Jews don’t need special permission to go to Samvet But why would he travel to Samvet? He is surely going to visit one of the Jewish families there. But how many Jewish families are there in Samvet? Aha, only two — the Bernsteins and the Steinbergs. But since the Bernsteins are a terrible family, so such a nice looking fellow like him, he must be visiting the Steinbergs.

But why is he going to the Steinbergs in Samvet? The Steinbergs have only daughters, two of them, so maybe he’s their son-in-law. But if he is, then which daughter did he marry? They say that Sarah Steinberg married a nice lawyer from Budapest, and Esther married a businessman from Zhitomer, so it must be Sarah’s husband. Which means that his name is Alexander Cohen, if I’m not mistaken.

But if he came from Budapest, with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he must have changed his name.

What’s the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen? It is Kovacs. But since they allowed him to change his name, he must have special status to change it. What could it be? Must be a doctorate from the University. Nothing less would do.

At this point, therefore, the Talmudic scholar turns to the young man and says, “Excuse me. Do you mind if I open the window, Dr. Kovacs?”

“Not at all,” answered the startled co-passenger. “But how is it that you know my name?”

“Ahhh,” replied the Talmudist, “It was obvious.”

Issued February 7th, 2019