Bringing food to Synagogue

For functions at our synagogue please assume food is vegetarian (with fish and dairy allowed). The exception is when a “Meat” meal is specified, where meat including
chicken is allowed ( but no dairy).

Pop up meals and Kiddushes following a Bar or Bat Mitzvah are always vegetarian (fish and dairy allowed). It is our custom to separate meat and milk.

Thanks for helping maintain our traditions!

Rabbi in Indonesia – Enrichment from Afar

I’m writing this month’s column on a plane from Japayura to Bali at the end of an extraordinary ten days. I’ve had Shabbat in Jakarta and Jayapura, with a visit to Timika on the south coast of Papua squeezed in between. I’ve enjoyed wonderful reunions and had way too many tearful goodbyes. It only happens once each year, but I’m reminded that this is my second Jewish community.

My colleague Rabbi David Kunin from Tokyo has noted several times on this trip how neither of us could ever have imagined we would end up serving Jews across the Indonesian archipelago. Our travels have taken us thousand sof kilometres across the multiple islands that make up this fascinating country. I observed that many Australians think of Bali as its own country, surrounded by a strange and not particularly interesting Muslim nation called Indonesia. My experience has been entirely different: Indonesia has six different official religions, and even though Judaism is not officially recognized, there is definitely space here for religious expression. There are a variety of ethnicities, languages and dialects, and a large variation in food from one end to the other. What I love most about coming to Indonesia is how it enriches my own Jewish identity. Shabbatot in Adelaide are lovely, but it’s invaluable to celebrate Shabbat elsewhere and be reminded that it can be done differently. As far as I can tell, the Jews of Indonesia make each Shabbat special and precious. They count down the days until they can be together again to make a joyful noise to God. It’s a pleasure and privilege to celebrate with them. This visit to Indonesia was particularly amazing, because Rabbi Kunin secured the donation of two Torah scrolls from defunct congregations in North America. We delivered one to the community in Jakarta, and a second to the congregation in Timika. In Timika, members of our Jewish community wept openly as the Torah scroll was passed among the adults. It was a powerful reminder of what the Torah can mean to each of us if we are open to it. What a special gift to be a part of their Jewish journey!

Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky

To see more pictures and read more aboutthe rabbi in Indonesia, visit:

Viit Rabbi Kunin’s blog at:  




Rabbi’s Column: Think Globally, Act Locally

Sunday 19 November was designated Mitzvah Day across Australia. Their website lists over seventy different projects that took place just about everywhere there were Jews. For the fourth year, Beit Shalom joined in, and it was very special. We put on a beautiful barbecue lunch for clients of the Mercy House of Welcome, a centre in Kilburn providing services to asylum seekers living in the community. I’d like to give a massive shout out to all the Beit Shalom members who helped, as well as to those who made donations to assist with the costs. The children had an especially good time, but it was also lovely to see tired parents get the opportunity to relax for a while as well, as well as some of the single men who enjoyed the delicious food and the beautiful weather.


Many of us chatted with our guests at the picnic, and those conversations were eye-opening indeed. I talked with a woman whom I ultimately remembered meeting probably five years ago at an Id al-Fitr celebration hosted by the Mercy House of Welcome. She is a Hazara asylum seeker who is still in limbo years after reaching this country. At the moment, her family is one year into a three-year temporary protection visa. When that visa expires, she’ll have to start the application process all over again, and there is always the possibility her family will be deported back to danger in Afghanistan. Another woman at the picnic was quite late into her pregnancy: the nun who assists asylum seekers as an immigration attorney noted that when her baby is born, it will be classified as an “illegal maritime arrival” even though the birth will take place in Australia. Asylum seekers currently in off-shore detention are very much in the news, but the nearly 30,000 asylum seekers living among us in Australia are nearly invisible.


In the same week as our picnic, nearly every Jewish youth movement in Australia, including Adelaide’s JAZY group, united to issue a joint statement condemning the treatment of the refugees on Manus Island. In their statement they wrote, “We bear witness to the human suffering on Manus Island and refuse to be complicit…We call on the rest of the Australian Jewish community to follow suit.” The Moetzah—the Council of Progressive Rabbis—issued a press release urging the Australian government to “act with moral conviction and courage to find a sustainable and humane solution.” As the youth leaders pointed out, one of our central Jewish texts calls on us to pursue justice.


So we continue to think globally and act locally. We acted locally in reaching out to asylum seekers and offering them warm hospitality for a day. But we must also continue to think globally and recognise that their continuing state of limbo is part of a larger Australian policy to deny a permanent home to genuine refugees. Let us hope we see a change of heart very soon.



Netzer Appeal

Our future is dependent on having young people feel like they belong, and Netzer is the very best vehicle that we have in the progressive community to provide young people with an opportunity to belongRabbi Gersh Lazarow

The Board of Beit Shalom endorse the Netzer Appeal and encourage the community to support this important appeal.


Click here to donate now ( opens in a new window)

Jack Gubbay Farewell

By Rabbi  Shoshana Kaminsky

Deciding which particular part of this week’s parshah to read this morningwas a daunting challenge. Should I read the dramatic verse in which the floodgates of the heavens are split open—using the same verb as is used for splitting the Red Sea? Should I skip all the way to the upbeat ending, in which God swears over the rainbow never again to destroy the world? It is a pity that this morning’s celebrations are not taking place two weeks from today, when we will be reading Parshat Vayera, the portion that Jack read and spoke about at the seventieth anniversary of his bar mitzvah. I chose to begin at the start of the portion purely for the first verse: Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. The medieval commentator Rashi cites two contrasting interpretations of this verse: it could mean that if Noah was this righteous in such a wicked generation, in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more so. But most rabbinic commentators see this verse as casting Noah in a negative light: in comparison with the others
of this generation, he was righteous. But had he lived in the generation of Abraham, he would not have been seen as righteous.

The rabbis admired Noah because he took care of all those animals on the ark. But they strongly rebuked him because he failed to question God’s intention to wipe out all life from the rest of the earth. As it says at the end of our passage this morning: Noah did exactly as God had commanded. Add in brackets: but without questioning. By contrast, Abraham unflinchingly challenges God’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gemorrah. Abraham thunders: “Far be it from You to do a thing such as this, to put to death the righteous with the wicked so that the righteous should be like the wicked. Far be it from You! Will the Judge of the entire earth not perform justice?” Most of us would be like Noah, meekly doing what God had asked despite any misgivings. But Abraham’s moral compass is so straight, so uncompromising, that he has no hesitation in confronting God.

The same can be said of Jack Gubbay. I have had the pleasure over these years of seeing how Jack understands Torah. He holds the Torah to exactly the same high moral standard that he applies to himself and to the world around him. At the same time, he reads and interprets with a deep compassion, which is also such an integral part of who he is. I have shared widely Jack’s insightful understanding of Joseph’s inscrutable actions towards his brothers in Egypt, which appear to be cruel and arbitrary. On the contrary, says Jack. Joseph manipulates circumstances so that his brothers are placed in exactly the same position as many years earlier: he presents them with the ideal opportunity to rid themselves of the other son of Jacob’s beloved wife Rachel. Will his brothers act the same way as when they cheerfully sold Joseph into slavery? Only when Judah’s moving speech shows that they have changed does Joseph unveil himself to them. Jack’s reading of the text reveals the depth of Joseph’s trauma so many years later but also allows for the possibility of repentance and healing. It speaks in the nuances of human emotions, rather than in the absolutes of cruelty and power. Jack speaks softly, but it’s important to listen: those quiet words often hold extraordinary wisdom.

A leaf has been placed on our Tree of Life to honour Jack. The inscription reads: “Jack Gubbay– Foundation Member. A shining light and an inspiration.” Jack was one of the visionaries who created this congregation more than fifty years ago, and he has been an active member ever since. In addition to participating in many parts of the community’s life, he has been unstinting in his efforts to make sure that our history is preserved and cherished. In his late eighties, he remains as intellectually curious and engaged with the events in the world as ever. Just this last week has seen an email exchange between us about the marginalisation of non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel and other worrying trends. He continues to advocate passionately for the Youth Achievement Award, arguing that we spend far too much time honouring older members of our community and not enough time recognising the accomplishments of our young leaders.

Jack, this congregation will not be the same without you. On behalf of everyone, I thank you for your devotion and commitment to Beit Shalom and its members over the entire length of its history. I wish you blessings on your move to Perth and much joy and continued opportunities for learning and growth once you arrive.

Multifaith Matters October

This month Rabbi Kaminsky represented Beit Shalom at several significant multifaith events. On Monday 9 October, she joined
leaders from a number of other religious faiths to help the Baha’i community to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’ullah.

On October 23, Rabbi Kaminsky joined the inaugural conference on Domestic Violence in Faith Based and Multicultural Communities. This was an initiative of the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education that brought together researchers as well as frontline workers from a dazzling variety of faith and ethnic backgrounds, including Jewish Care of Victoria.