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.

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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 Vayeishev

Courtesy of Chabad.org

Jacob settles in Hebron with his twelve sons. His favourite is seventeen-year-old Joseph, whose brothers are jealous of the preferential treatment he receives from his father, such as a precious many-coloured coat that Jacob makes for Joseph. Joseph relates to his brothers two of his dreams which foretell that he is destined to rule over them, increasing their envy and hatred towards him.

Simeon and Levi plot to kill him, but Reuben suggests that they throw him into a pit instead, intending to come back later and save him. While Joseph is in the pit, Judah has him sold to a band of passing Ishmaelites. The brothers dip Joseph’s special coat in the blood of a goat and show it to their father, leading him to believe that his most beloved son was devoured by a wild beast.

Judah marries and has three children. The eldest, Er, dies young and childless, and his wife, Tamar, is given in levirate marriage to the second son, Onan. Onan sins by spilling his seed, and he too meets an early death. Judah is reluctant to have his third son marry her. Determined to have a child from Judah’s family, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces Judah himself. Judah hears that his daughter-in-law has become pregnant and orders her executed for harlotry, but when Tamar produces some personal effects he left with her as a pledge for payment, he publicly admits that he is the father. Tamar gives birth to twin sons, Peretz (an ancestor of King David) and Zerach.

Joseph is taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, the minister in charge of Pharaoh’s slaughterhouses. G‑d blesses everything he does, and soon he is made overseer of all his master’s property. Potiphar’s wife desires the handsome and charismatic lad; when Joseph rejects her advances, she tells her husband that the Hebrew slave tried to force himself on her, and has him thrown into prison. Joseph gains the trust and admiration of his jailers, who appoint him to a position of authority in the prison administration.

In prison, Joseph meets Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker, both incarcerated for offending their royal master. Both have disturbing dreams, which Joseph interprets; in three days, he tells them, the butler will be released and the baker hanged. Joseph asks the butler to intercede on his behalf with Pharaoh. Joseph’s predictions are fulfilled, but the butler forgets all about Joseph and does nothing for him.

Chanukah 2018

December 2nd – 10th

I was in Brisbane earlier this week as the Guest Speaker at the Yud Tes Kislev Farbrengen celebrating Chassidic New Year. Watch the video of the talk and find out how Chassidic philosophy influences the way we look at ourselves and the world: our past, our present and our future!

Click on the image to view the video recording

I look forward to everyone joining us for a special Shabbat Chanukah event next Friday night 7 December at Newtown Shul.

Warm wishes for a Happy Chanukah!

Rabbi Eli Feldman

What: Chanukah at Newtown

When: Friday, 7 December – 6:00pm

Where: Newtown Synagogue: 18 Georgina St, Newtown

To register for dinner, please visit:

Special Announcement

Stunning set up for last weeks Shabbat dinner, join us next week for hopefully another spectacular Shabbat dinner!

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

Don’t Tell Me To Cheer Up

By Yossi Ives (Courtesy of Chabad.org)

You are walking down the street when you pass an old friend whose head is down, a deep frown etched on her face. You instinctively say to her, “Cheer up,” hoping to lift her spirits.

Well, it won’t. It will, however, make her angry, frustrated and more depressed. You are being an insensitive boor and you don’t even know it. If that’s all you’ve got to say, keep quiet and offer a friendly smile, not a trite comment. If I am going through a hard time, I don’t want someone to tell me to be cheerful—I want someone to understand why I am miserable.

“Cheer up” implies that I have no reason for feeling bad. Let’s face it: chances are that I’m not sad for the sheer fun of it. Something is obviously troubling me, causing me to be melancholy. Telling me to cheer up is effectively denying me the right to feel upset about it. Imagine the burden I now carry: I not only have a worrying problem, I’m not even allowed to feel bad about it!

It is also an insult to imply that becoming cheerful is simple and easy. It is like saying, “What’s wrong with you? Pull yourself together.” When someone is depressed—over finances, a troubled marriage, or whatever—the last thing they want is to be made to feel inadequate for feeling low. If it were that easy for them, they would have cheered up without your sage advice.

Take a leaf out of the book of the biblical Joseph. He was languishing in an Egyptian jail with two of Pharaoh’s ministers when one morning he notices they are in a foul mood. What does Joseph tell them? Does he tell them, “Chin up”? Actually, he doesn’t tell them anything—instead, he asks them a question: “Why are you sad today?” which is their cue to unburden themselves to Joseph.

Joseph did something very profound. He didn’t tell them how to feel; instead, he gave them an opportunity to talk about their problems. Joseph realized that in 99% of cases people are upset for a reason. The way to help them is to encourage them to talk about the problem and to help them work towards a solution.

So on the next occasion that you are tempted to tell another to “cheer up,” consider that perhaps you are merely furthering his or her misery with your insensitive remark. Here is a simple rule: when something is the matter with another person, it is almost always better for them to do the talking, not you. Whatever your huge brain conjures up will almost certainly be irrelevant, and potentially offensive.

When you ask someone, “How are you?” are you really prepared to wait for the answer? That is the real reason we say “cheer up”—it is quick and easy. We convince ourselves that with our nugget of wisdom we have done our part for humanity, while in reality, the recipient of your brilliant aphorism is bursting inside, “I hate you for saying that!”

Remember, once the words have gone out, they cannot be put back in. Maimonides wisely advised not to say anything without reviewing it in one’s own mind three or four times. On these occasions five or six would not be amiss, and assiduously observe the rule: if in doubt, say naught.

If you care about someone going through a rough patch, find some time to listen. If you are not good at listening, offer a hug or—very Jewishly—a cake . . .

Shabbos Chuckle

Morty Applebaum was laying on the operating table, about to be operated on by his son David, the surgeon.

Morty said, “David, think of it this way: If anything happens to me, your mother is coming to live with you.”

November 29th, 2018
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