Sign In Forgot Password

When Great Trees Die

05/12/19 11:00:03

Dec5

My younger son, Yoni, recently introduced me to a marvellous poem of Maya Angelou.

It begins like this:

“When great trees fall,

Rocks on distant hills shudder,

Lions hunker down

In tall grasses,

Read more...

YAVIS and ZAVIS

29/11/19 09:54:12

Nov29

 

 

One of the most evocative phrases of the Book of Psalms is: “I was young, now I am old and I haven’t seen a righteous person forsaken…” (Psalm 37:25). It’s a poignant reflection on aging and a theological challenge to the notion of why bad things happen to good people.

 Read more...

The test of cricket and grief

21/11/19 15:30:47

Nov21

I’m not a cricket tragic, but I was struck by the 16 year old Pakistani wunderkind Naseem Shah, currently playing Test cricket in Australia. By all accounts he’s an extraordinary young man and the youngest player to make his debut in Australia at the Wacca. He’s certainly challenging the Australians.

 

Naseem has only been...Read more...

Your Children Are Not Your Children

15/11/19 09:40:34

Nov15

“Your children are not your children.

They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

Read more...

Kol Nidrei or Coles

07/11/19 15:27:09

Nov7

 

Kol Nidrei or Coles

 

I received this text message last week…

 

 

The...Read more...

Living Humbly in an Age of Arrogance...

31/10/19 14:06:13

Oct31

The great American preacher and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher famously said: “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one come from a strong will and the other comes from a strong wont”. This could apply equally to the difference between arrogance and humility. Arrogance is about being obdurate and inflexible in one’s own opinions and infallibility; an unyielding ‘wont’. Humility is about...Read more...

Travellers in Time (Yom Kippur Yizkor drasha  5780/2019)

24/10/19 14:35:30

Oct24

On the first of February 2003, the Space Craft Columbia was at the end of its two-week shuttle into outer space. At 8.59am as it entered the earth’s atmosphere, it burst into flames killing all its seven crew members. Among the seven was the first Israeli astronaut, 48-year-old Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force.

Ilan’s death left a deep mark on Israeli society as did the premature death of his oldest son Asaf some six...Read more...

The Voice of the Next Generation -   Second Day Rosh Hashanah 5780 / 2019

17/10/19 13:57:06

Oct17

They’re strong words from a diminutive individual: “You all come to us young people for hope? How dare you? The eyes of all future generations are upon you. If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you…”


They’re the words of the 16-year-old...Read more...

Be a Redwood Jew - Kol Nidre 5780, 2019

11/10/19 12:06:32

Oct11

So what’s the most pressing question today? What’s the most urgent, compelling question? I know that for me there is one and only one: what does it mean to be human in an age of bewilderment. If I phrased it more narrowly it would be: What does it mean to be Jewish in an age of such anxiety?

We are living through one of the most exciting epochs but we’re also living through one of the most confusing of eras. It’s the best of...Read more...

10/10/19 11:22:30

Oct10

Update this content.

Words, Words, Words – First Day Rosh Hashanah 5780, 2019 Rabbi Ralph Genende OAM

03/10/19 14:00:52

Oct3

And every day we are assailed by words from the moment we wake till we lie down at night. We all use about 20,000 words a day and despite the myth, women don’t actually use more words then men.

I love watching my grandson, Ezzy, roll words around in his mouth discovering their beauty and power, their capacity to connect, to impress, to capture the essence of a moment, to amuse and bemuse.

And how I love words, delving into...Read more...

TGIM or TGIS?

26/09/19 10:35:29

Sep26

How tired are you? Well if you look at the stats more than half of us are tired most of the time and the rest of us are just worn out, burnt out, fatigued and fed up. Not just parents with young kids and they’ve just identified a new condition called parental burn-out exhaustion.

We’re all running ragged and so many of us just can’t switch off and relax… We’re working crazy hours in a 24/7...Read more...

The Still Small Voice

19/09/19 11:23:44

Sep19

We had a power outage at our house this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD. IPad, and my new surround sound music system were all shut down. Then I discovered that my mobile phone battery was dead and to top it off it was raining outside, so I couldn’t play golf. I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat and talked with my wife for a couple of hours. She...Read more...

Be a Daffer!

12/09/19 14:33:14

Sep12

Daft – Silly, foolish, frivolous, merry – A chiefly British informal word. Synonyms: Bats, batty, bonkers, loony, psycho.

Daf – Paper, leaf, page. Originally Sumerian word (about 5,000 years ago) for clay tablet, later wooden panel, board. Today a Hebrew word for page, leaf or plank.

Most recently dafdefan used for web-browser stemming from dafdef for page through, browse.

Daf Yomi – Page of the day, a daily...Read more...

You are a Tree of the Earth

05/09/19 13:32:53

Sep5

Since I was a teenager in high school and initiated the “Yeshivah College Ecological Society”, I’ve been acutely aware of the preservation of our natural environment and how cavalier we are about it.

The society was the idealistic passion of an adolescent and a dismal failure. My teachers indulged it, my fellow students ignored it; most were probably bemused by it.

Since that time, the damage we have done to our...Read more...

The Forests are Burning

29/08/19 14:25:45

Aug29

The forests are burning, Brexit is boiling, Hizbollah is threatening, Hong Kong unravelling, world trade teetering. What a week!

If a week in politics is a long time, a week of global disruptions is a very long one ... It’s hard to recall a time quite like this. Charles Dickens talks of the best of times, the worst of times. This seems to be the worst of times – an age of anxiety, a period...Read more...

Of Memory,  Education and Sir John Monash

22/08/19 13:07:45

Aug22

The Legislative Assembly Chamber of Victoria’s Parliament House is an impressive and imposing space. Built in 1856, it immediately attracted the attention and admiration of Colonial Victorians. Its rich interior with gold-leaf columns, soaring ornate ceilings and dark wood panelling continues to command respect and speak of law and power. It’s in this place that the Monash Commemorative Service run by the...Read more...

Be a Listener not a Phubber

15/08/19 08:56:22

Aug15

You may know that I am obsessed with the art of listening. And the older I get, the more I am convinced that our personal relationships depend on our capacity to pay attention to each other, that our social and business relationships rely on our ability to really hear the other, that our national and international engagements hinge on the way we listen to one another.

I have also...Read more...

Be Healthy!

08/08/19 14:22:15

Aug8

You probably know the old Jewish joke about the proud mother introducing her two baby children: my son the doctor and my son the lawyer. And even though the times have changed the respect for Jewish doctors remains unchanged. As for lawyers we’re probably more ambivalent, despite the fact that thanks to Talmudic tradition we’ve been called a nation of lawyers.

Truth is, we Jews have a long history of respect for both law and...Read more...

The Challenge of Restraint

01/08/19 14:19:59

Aug1

An allegation of gang rape by a group of young Israelis ranging in age from 15 to 18 at a Cyprus resort gripped Israel over the past week. The 19-year-old British woman who said they had raped her has now been arrested for making a false accusation. The Israelis have returned home to a celebratory welcome by their families and supporters.

Like many Israelis I am deeply troubled by this sordid...Read more...

Burn Brightly But Don't Burn-out

25/07/19 14:15:12

Jul25

Mama is 59 years old and her life is dwindling. She is weak and refuses to eat or drink. Curled up in a foetal position, her eyes are filled with pathos but also have a faraway look. She’s in a world of her own, seemingly preparing to step into another world…

 

Mama is a chimpanzee in an...Read more...

Exploring space; making space

18/07/19 12:29:54

Jul18

50 years since humanity touched the face of the moon….Deep in the human spirit is the desire to travel, to explore, to discover new places, meet new people. The Midrash, book of Jewish myth and consciousness locates the urge to travel in the original human being. Adam, it says, was created out of the dust of the earth. It speculates where the dust came from. God, it suggests gathered the dust from...Read more...

Public interest and what interests the public

11/07/19 14:42:52

Jul11

British Lord Northcliffe got it right when he said that ‘news is what someone, somewhere does not want printed. The rest is advertising’.

We live in an age awash with news and information. The recent raids on the ABC and journalists homes have reignited the Australian debate about the ethics of leaks. The resignation of Britain’s Ambassador to the USA Kim Darroch reveal the damage that leaks can cause: the fall of a seasoned...Read more...

'Of Folau, Freedom and Folly...'

04/07/19 14:33:29

Jul4

Israel Folau has dominated our headlines over the past weeks. And like the State of Israel is likely to continue to attract attention, heat and passion for the foreseeable future!

The post of Israel Folau on Instagram (and then Twitter) that generated this storm reads: “Warning – Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves Atheists, Idolaters. HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES.”

He got 73,587...Read more...

'Making Space for her...'

27/06/19 13:54:10

Jun27

When you think Exodus you think Moses; towering figure, saviour, law-giver, leader. When you think Egyptian story, you think Aharon, high priest, man of compassion. When you think Exodus you may think only of the mighty men of that generation; the princes and leaders. But think again, because without the heroism of women there would have been no Moses, no Exodus, no Torah.

The disastrous story of the 12 spies which led to 40 years...Read more...

'So far from home, so near to love...'

20/06/19 13:57:06

Jun20

So far from home, so near to love ...

The Commonwealth Beer Sheva War Cemetery is located in the middle of suburban Beer Sheva. The neat lines of white gravestones set in the beautifully manicured cemetery are overlooked by tall modern apartment blocks. Here the dead meet the living, the contemporary collides with memory.

It’s a small...Read more...

'A Brutal but Blooming Desert...'

13/06/19 13:37:44

Jun13

Travelling through Israel on an AIJAC clergy trip recently, I was again struck by the haunting beauty of the desert. I was also struck by how large a proportion of the country is covered by it: The Negev desert makes up more than half of the land of Israel.

The desert has always dominated Jewish consciousness: First there was the journey of Abraham followed by the wandering of Isaac and Jacob...Read more...

'Aversion to Conversion'

06/06/19 11:04:39

Jun6

With Shavuot coming up and its theme of the conversion of the Jewish nation and the reading of the Book of Ruth, I’m reprinting a piece about conversion.

Why the aversion to conversion? I’m referring to the trend to make conversions more difficult and intractable that has gripped the Jewish world for the past twenty five years or so. Conversion to Judaism was never meant to...Read more...

'In the Dark Spaces'

30/05/19 10:17:02

May30

Like many children I was scared of the dark. One of my earliest memories is of running down the shadowy, seemingly endless passage of our home in Bulawayo. Darkness touches our deepest fears; it’s about the unknown, the primordial forest, the blackness hovering over the depths of Creation. The second verse of Genesis tells us that this was how it all began: “the earth was astonishing empty and darkness was on the surface of the deep…”...Read more...

'Ten Thousand Hours'

23/05/19 10:13:14

May23

Ten thousand hours. That’s what it takes to achieve mastery in a vast range of fields. 10,000 hours of focused, concentrated practice. This ten thousand hour rule popularised by Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell, was in part based on a 1990’s study of violin students. All of the violinists started playing at about five years of age with similar practise times. By the age of eight, the elite performers averaged more than 10,000 hours of...Read more...

Fri, 6 December 2019 8 Kislev 5780