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

Pesach at Newtown

Pesach begins with first night Seder on Friday April 19th.

We are gearing up for an awesome Pesach here at Newtown and we need all hands on deck to help make it happen! There will be a cleaning bee in the next few weeks, a cooking marathon not long after that and lots of setup required over the Pesach period.

Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshas Shemini

Courtesy of Chabad.org

On the eighth day, following the seven days of their inauguration, Aaronand his sons begin to officiate as kohanim (priests); a fire issues forth from G‑d to consume the offerings on the altar, and the divine presence comes to dwell in the Sanctuary.

Aaron’s two elder sons, Nadav and Avihu, offer a “strange fire before G‑d, which He commanded them not” and die before G‑d. Aaron is silent in face of his tragedy. Moses and Aaron subsequently disagree as to a point of law regarding the offerings, but Moses concedes to Aaron that Aaron is in the right.

G‑d commands the kosher laws, identifying the animal species permissible and forbidden for consumption. Land animals may be eaten only if they have split hooves and also chew their cud; fish must have fins and scales; a list of non-kosher birds is given, and a list of kosher insects (four types of locusts).

Also in Shemini are some of the laws of ritual purity, including the purifying power of the mikvah (a pool of water meeting specified qualifications) and the wellspring. Thus the people of Israel are enjoined to “differentiate between the impure and the pure.”

Special Announcement

A special thank you to Richard Gray for gardening the side of the Shul and making it look amazing. Here are before and after pics.

Top: before
Below: after

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.

Special Shabbat! Aston’s Aufruf

It is traditional for a Jewish man before his wedding to receive an aliyah or call up to the Torah and be showered with sweets! Aufruf is the Yiddish word for “aliyah” or “call up.” This Shabbat is a holy time for the couple as they anticipate their upcoming Chuppah. Goldele will be hosting her own Shabbat Kallah in Bondi.

Rabbi Chaim Ingram, who has been close with Aston for many years, will be officiating at Newtown Shul this Shabbat. Members of the community should make a special effort to come to Shul this Shabbat morning to celebrate with Aston at this happy time.

Lost & Found

Child’s gold bracelet found at Newtown Shul
Date on the back 31/05/2007
Name on the front is rubbing off.

Shabbat Schedule


Friday Night Candle Lighting Time 6:37 AM

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 12:15 PM

Shabbat Ends 7:31 PM

Thought for the Week

Just Do It

By Yossy Goldman (Courtesy of Chabad.org)

How do you develop confidence when you don’t have it? How does one overcome fear, nerves and anxieties? Well, without going into major psychological dissertations (which I’m not qualified to do in the first place), let’s see if we can find some insight in this week’s Parshah.

Everything was set for the inauguration of the sacred service in the Sanctuary. The week-long preparations had been completed. Now it was Aaron’s turn to approach the altar and begin the service. But Aaron was reluctant. He still felt a sense of shame for his part in the Golden Calf episode. So Moses calls out to Aaron, “Approach the altar and perform the services.” (Leviticus 9:7). Aaron did so and completed all the required tasks correctly. But what exactly did Moses say to Aaron to assuage his fears? All he said was “Come and do your thing.” He never actually dealt with his issues. How did he address his concerns, his feelings of inadequacy?

Perhaps, Moses was saying: Come and do, and all your fears will be stilled. You lack confidence? Start performing the services and you will see that it fits you like a glove. You were born to be a High Priest and that’s where you belong.

Moses was telling Aaron that if he would begin performing his chosen role, the rest would follow. As they say in Yiddish, Apetit kumt mit’n essen. Even if you’re not hungry, if you start eating, your appetite will follow. I suppose that’s why the first course in a meal is called an “appetizer.” (Trust Jews when it comes to food.)

Dr Moses was dispensing sound psychological advice. The surest way of developing confidence is to begin doing that which you fear. Throwing kids in the deep end to teach them how to swim may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it usually works. Some of the finest public speakers were microphone-shy, even neurotic at first. When we lack self-assurance, confronting our fears and phobias can be the best therapy. We discover that it really wasn’t all that bad after all and we actually manage better than we ever imagined. And from there our self-belief grows until we become quite relaxed about the whole thing.

I remember when I was a young rabbi just starting out in my career. One morning, the dreaded phone call came. A relatively young woman had passed away. I knew I had to go to the family to comfort them, but what would I actually tell them? Did I have answers for people who had just been bereaved of their loving wife and mother? Could I play G‑d? I was pretty paralyzed for a while and fiddled with all sorts of matters of far less importance. I knew why. I was stalling. It was a case of simple procrastination because I couldn’t face this most unpleasant task which I felt unqualified to deal with.

Eventually, I forced myself to go because I knew I had to. It was my job and they were waiting for me. And lo and behold! I was actually able to deal with the family and their questions. And I discovered then that they didn’t really expect me to wave any magic wands or resurrect the dead or answer for G‑d. They felt comforted by my presence and were grateful that I was there for them in their hour of need.

It was for me a very important lesson and a growth point in my rabbinical practice. Experience really is a fantastic teacher.

I would venture to add that it applies to each of us in our Jewish lives. So many people are reluctant to get involved. Too many are intimidated by Judaism and because they are not confident enough about synagogue protocol or their Hebrew literacy, they simply opt out—and lose out. I can attest to hundreds of Jews of every age and stage who have been in that very position and then began coming to Shul. It didn’t take them long at all to feel part of the Shul family and they’ve never looked back. But this most spiritually gratifying part of their lives would never have been theirs if they didn’t take that first brave step.

“Come and do” said Moses to his humble and hesitant brother. Aaron came and did and the rest is history.

Shabbos Chuckle

David Sapperstein was driving back home from visiting his Elderly Bubbie when he stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. Suddenly, David heard a voice saying, “Hey! How’s it going?”

David looked around, surprised trying to see where the voice was coming from but not wanting to be impolite he responded, “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”

“What are you doing?” asked the same voice.

“Who wants to know?” David asked.

“I’m going to have to call you back,” said the voice. “Some smart-aleck is answering all of my questions.”

Special Announcements

Issued March 28th, 2019