TGIS: Thank G-d It’s Shabbat
I hope that you are having a great day and looking forward to another special Shabbat! It’s been a big week with the undisputed end of the holiday season and return to work, school and a regular schedule. Much as I enjoy holidays (and I do), there is certainly something invigorating about a structured work day in which many things can be accomplished. I was part of an interesting discussion recently in which the question was asked “Which is more important? Shabbat or the week?” On the one hand, Shabbat is the purpose and goal of creation, the time in which we can be, with Hashem, with our families and community. On the other hand, this world was created such that we have to work towards Shabbat – life was not created with Shabbat as the default, but Shabbat as the most beloved 14% of the week, the default is that we have to work in this world to make it Godly. The answer I agreed with from the discussion is that it is, in a sense, a false duality. It is through working with Shabbat in mind that the week becomes holy, and through using Shabbat to celebrate and bless the week that Shabbat becomes its most meaningful.
Speaking of work, our incredible teams are hard at work on all that is involved in running our community at the moment. It has been suggested that we add a dedicated section to the TGIS specifically for updates on this process, which I think is a good idea, but for this week I will address points around this in my article, as I have since the fire itself.
Firstly I would like to respond explicitly to the second most frequent question that I have received, which takes several forms but all along the lines of “Why am I not being told what is going on?” The answer to that is simply “You are!” Between these weekly updates in our newsletter, special emails and sms’s when necessary, and video updates on our Facebook page, we are not keeping anyone in the dark, and there is no information vacuum. Even if you are not on Facebook, you can pick up our latest updates here: https://www.facebook.com/beitmidrashmorasha/ We have found Facebook to be an extremely helpful communication medium in that several members of our communication team are able to post updates, and anyone is able to access them. If there is anything that you still do not know, it is because of one of four possible reasons:
- There is nothing to report. For example, the most frequent question I have received is “What are the plans for the rebuilding?” and the answer is: We do not have plans at this point. A lot of people have been away over December, including key community members and professionals with whom we plan to meet, and it is only now that we can move forward with serious discussion. Before we enter the discussion around drawing up plans, we need to know:
- What the payout from insurance will be
- What the level of damage to the structure of the Shul will be
- How long various options for the rebuild will take
- Several other important points that affect the parameters of the process.
Thus we don’t have anything to report on this, not because we are not working hard, but because there is an extensive process of reporting and information gathering that needs to happen before we can meaningfully move forward. The same is true with many other decisions that need to be made. I assure you that decisions are not being made on your behalf without proper processes or communications.
- The matter is still under discussion. We have an elected committee and designated working groups dealing with every area of our new situation, and we are following due process. This means that even the best ideas follow a process (usually a very quick process) of consultation and consensus before we action them. However it would be premature to communicate a matter to the general community before there is resolution on it.
- The matter is confidential. Since there are many legal and financial implications from an undertaking of this size, not everything is cleared for release, at least not in detail. We are thus working to balance the need for openness and transparency with a respect for the sensitivity of the material.
- Time constraints: Some days require a great deal of immediate action and decision, and do not leave much time to communicate. Other days are more settled, and we can spend more time writing up what has happened. My philosophy is that I would rather not drop the ball on an action point, and to thus pick up the communication later, rather than let important things go undone.
I hope that that provides some clarity, and I hope to provide more going forward.
Now to update on what has happened over the last week or so:
- We moved into Sephardi Shul for weekday services. During the December holidays, we extensively explored our options for “weekday Shul” (including the possibility of continuing at Weizmann even during school) and concluded that our best option for now is to accept the hospitality of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation, whilst we continue to search for the “right spot” for weekday services.
- We met with Mr Anton Krupenia, principal of Weizmann School, to further clarify our arrangement with the school, what they are happy for us to do and change, and what our responsibilities are as tenants. I must just say once more that both Weizmann and Sephardi have been exceptionally generous and gracious.
- We met with our insurer to clarify certain aspects of the assessment and claim process. Such meetings will be ongoing.
- We posted updates on Facebook explaining some of the way forward with our funding, and explaining to the broader community why it is that we have appealed for such funding, given that we are covered by insurance.
- Planned a Hachnasat Sefer Torah for 3 February!
We still have plenty of exciting things happening at Morasha. First is our Tu Bishvat nature walk with Ilana Stein on Sunday morning. It will be a great way to connect to nature and learn more about the Torah perspective on the environment.
Next week we will welcome Rabbi Gideon Black as our scholar in residence. He has some great topics to discuss with us, including contemporary challenges to Jewish youth on campus. More on him here: https://oujlic.org/staff/rabbi-gideon-black/
In other news, a newborn Jewish baby in Cape Town, Gadi Doran Chaim ben Kayla, is critically ill and in need of our Tefillot. Please pray for his complete recovery.
Aviva, Shalva, Azriel, Tzuriya and I wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Sam Thurgood
Torah Reading Page Numbers – Parashat
Shabbat Times – Parashat Yitro
Announcements – Parashat Yitro
The Rabbi, Rebbetzin, Chairman and Committee wish you Shabbat Shalom.
We welcome Rabbi Gideon, Aliza, Judah, Natan and Maya Black to Beit Midrash Morasha. Rabbi Black will be our scholar-in-residence this Shabbat. He will speak on Friday night on the topic: “Moshe’s Hidden Test: The Challenge of Getting Along with The In-Laws”; Shabbat day shiur on the topic: “Bible Critics, Booze and BDS: What Really Challenges Our Kids on Campus?” and at Seudah Shlishit on the topic: “Sinai on Fire: What Does G-d Look Like and Why Does It Matter?”
We welcome the Ordo Tour group to Beit Midrash Morasha on Shabbat morning.
The kiddush bracha is kindly sponsored by Dawn Beerman, Lance, Kim, Sarah and Sasha Katz to commemorate the yahrzeit of their father, grandfather and great grandfather, Samuel Velkes, Shmuel Yehuda Velkes, on 18 Shevat, Thursday 24 January, as well as the anniversary of Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah.
The kiddush bracha is also kindly sponsored by Victor and Maxine Boyd to celebrate their anniversary on 25 January and the engagement of Jacqui to David Shevil.
The kiddush brach is also kindly sponsored by Ordo Tours.
The Haftorah will be recited by Lance Katz.
Please note that our weekday shul services will, for the interim, operate from the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation. Mincha Maariv services in the afternoon will be in the shul itself (as the Sephardi community does not host regular afternoon services) and Shacharit on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday will also be in the shul. On Sunday, Monday and Thursday mornings, Shacharit will be in the Sephardi Hall directly opposite the shul. Access will be from 65 Regent Road only.
Shabbat services will continue in the Weizmann Hall as per previous weeks with access from 40 Kloof and 65 Regent Roads.
Please join the learning programme in honour of the Sifrei Torah burned in the fire that consumed our beloved Shul. Imagine the Simcha at the Siyum of Tanach, Mishna and Talmud. Please login to http://hadranalach.com/692 and be part of a worldwide movement to replace the Torah that was lost.
Join Junie-Punie for great Children’s Services every Shabbat at 10:15am – share brachot, Parsha of the week and special Children’s stories. All ages up to Grade R.
Join the Dream Team for Children’s Service at 10:15am.
Please note the Shul telephone number has not changed – 021 434 8680.
The Yahrzeit begins the evening before the date
|Victor and Maxine Boyd||Friday 25 January|
|Martyn and Naomi Gelb||Friday 25 January|
|Philip and Michelle Scher||Friday 25 January|
|Theo and Renee Musikanth||Saturday 26 January|
|Owen and Lisa Futeran||Tuesday 29 January|
|Ivan and Tarna Klitzner||Thursday 31 January|
Security – Parashat Yitro
We thank team 5 for doing security duty this Shabbat.
If you are not able to do your duty, please swap with someone else.
Meet the Family
Every week, we feature a member or family of Beit Midrash Morasha and tell you a little about them. If you would like to be featured, or if you have a suggestion of someone whom you would like featured, please let us know!
T: 021 434 8680
F: 021 434 3014
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