I hope that you are having a great week and looking forward to a special Shabbat ahead. We’ve had another meaningful week in our community with both highs and lows but Shabbat brings us all together.
To begin with the joyous news, Eitan Robins Kallmann became Bar Mitzva this week and received an Aliya this morning – we wish the family Mazal Tov and look forward to the community celebration next Shabbat 31 August.
On a sad note, our dear Vuyiswe Yose passed away suddenly and unexpectedly last Shabbat. She worked for us every Shabbat and the fruit platters in particular were her loving creations. We will miss her, and extend our condolences to her Aunt, Sindiswe Qhawe in this difficult time.
In good news we look forward to the Hebrew naming of Freya Gottschalk, daughter of Talia and Jason (granddaughter of Tony and Merle). We’ve missed Talia, Jason, Harry and Emily since they left for the UK and are glad that they waited to come back in order to name their daughter this Shabbat!
My 2 minute Parsha for Sidrat Eikev is called “Confronting the Impossible” and you can find it here. This week I apply Hashem’s message, to not be afraid of the fierce Canaanite nations, to our own lives.
For my Shabbat shiur this week, I will continue with “The Best of the Yemei Iyun”, as voted by you last week. This week we’ll hear about “The Lessons Yosef Needed to Learn”. Quite honestly, my first thought in shiur about Yosef and the brothers was “surely I already know the story well enough that I will not actually learn a new perspective?” But boy was I incorrect! It’s a great one.
Last night (Wednesday night) I was honoured to once again serve at the Quiz Master for the Herzlia Etgar Quiz. I peppered the Grade 6 students (2 of the contestants from our Shul) with questions such as: “How many Mitzvot in the book of Vayikra?” (They correctly answered 247), “What year was the First Lebanon War?” (1982), “Complete the Set: Avraham _____ Yishmael, Avraham, Sarah, Yitzchak.” (Hagar). The questions were tough but the students were knowledgeable and well-prepared. I will confess some personal anxiety as I contemplated which school would win. All Jewish schools in Cape Town are close to my heart, but Herzlia Constantia is headed up by my cousin Jos Horwitz, and Herzlia Weizmann are our gracious Shabbat hosts. As someone at Weizmann (half) jokingly said to me, “If Constantia wins, that’s no problem, I just thought it would be far for your community to walk every Shabbat!” Baruch Hashem the evening ended with a tie between Constantia and Weizmann (107 points each) and so I emerge unscathed from the fray. Mazal Tov to all of the winners and contestants!
In partnership with The Academy and Ohr Somayach, Malcolm Siegel and I began our Shofar course this Monday night. I created part of it based on all that I have learned from my Masters in Jewish Education thus far, and in many ways it is the most well-prepared series of shiurim I have given. You can still join for sessions 2 and 3 if you missed session 1, and I encourage you to do so.
Aviva, Shalva, Tzuriya, Azriel and I wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Sam Thurgood