COVID-19 update and guidelines

As news of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world develops, we want to reassure you that we are committed to providing a safe and sacred community to the best of our ability. The Ministry of Health recommends some precautionary measures. With these in mind,...

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Tue, 31 March 2020
  • Cancellation of beginners Israeli dance class until further notice..

    Tue, 31 March 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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Wed, 1 April 2020
  • Cancelled Israeli dance classes until further notice.

    Wed, 1 April 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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Fri, 3 April 2020
  • Cancelled Erev Shabbat service until further notice. Live feed available. Check your emails for access.

    Fri, 3 April 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

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Sat, 4 April 2020
  • Cancelled Shabbat service until further notice. Live feed available. Check your emails for access.

    Sat, 4 April 2020 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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  • Temple Sinai online - main service starts at 10:30

    Sat, 4 April 2020 @ 8:45 am - 12:50 pm

    Think Tank Consulting is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

    Join Zoom Meeting

    Meeting ID: 338 996 846

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    +64 4 886 0026 New Zealand
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Sun, 5 April 2020
  • Live stream Hebrew School Term 1 contact Debbie Miller

    Sun, 5 April 2020 @ 9:30 am - 12:45 pm

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Tue, 7 April 2020
  • Cancellation of beginners Israeli dance class until further notice..

    Tue, 7 April 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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Wed, 8 April 2020
  • Cancelled Israeli dance classes until further notice.

    Wed, 8 April 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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Shabbat Shalom
Tanya Thomson's Drash

Drash for Parasha Vayikra 28 March 2020

I was originally planning to do the drash for this Shabbat live, then hoping to stream it - and now I am preparing it without being quite sure whether anyone will hear or see it. But I’m going ahead because, like everyone else, I’m determined that the enclosures of our own houses create physical distance only, and we continue to connect spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.

On its face of it, this isn’t the greatest parasha to use for emotional and spiritual connection.

It is solely about offerings - in great detail. Offerings of animal sacrifices, how and where and when. Sacrifices connected with the Temple that no longer exists.
But as we know, there is always a way to make meaning from a parasha.

Rashi helps out here. He refers to the name of this parasha (and of the book of the Torah) - Vayikra - “And he called”. These words are at the beginning of the parasha: “vayikra el-moshe vayedeber hashem elav” - “and he called to Moses and the Lord spoke to him” . Why do we need the word “Vayikra”?

We know the rule of Torah interpretation that words are not used unnecessarily. So it must mean something more than simply that God was talking to Moses, which we know from the words “and the Lord spoke to him”.

Rashi postulates that being called means something more than simply being ready to be spoken to – it means “to be called to a task in love”.
The task at hand in the parasha is preparing offerings, which must be done with great particularity and care, with the offerings made appealing. To take care is a display of love.

To think of offerings as a display of love illuminated the parasha for me. While animal sacrifices are no longer required, and we no longer leave offerings in the same manner - we can certainly ask this Shabbat: How are we being called to make offerings as a display of love?

Once again the Torah amazes me, in that the parasha that initially seems so remote from our lives is actually speaking to us right at the moment we need it.

We are all scared and worried about ourselves, our immediate family and what will become of the lives we know in the light of Coronavirus.

But we are also being called. When we see an opportunity to make something right, to hold out our hands (metaphorically only of course) - this is our experience of God calling us.
We have the most literal opportunity ever to practise tikkun olam - to repair the world.

What can we do? If we are to make sacrifices now, who should they be for and what should our offerings be?

The parasha explains this for us. The food offerings are left for the priests - and they were not the scraps but food of the highest quality - why? Because those who were responsible for our wellbeing were deserving of being looked after.

So in this situation we can make offerings for the benefit of those that are caring for us - the nurses and doctors, the service workers and front line staff who do not get to work from home but expose themselves to risk, in order to keep our much-reduced world functioning.

You may have seen them post that “They go to work to keep us safe, so we stay home for them”. So listen to them, and stay home.

If you are staying home, and you will be, there are plenty of offerings to make for those within our bubble. Some of us may need to care for sick family. Even those of us who are lucky enough to have everyone well will need to offer extra kindness in the weeks ahead – to deal with the uncertainty outside and the intensity inside.

And we can make offerings to those outside our physical bubble, but in the emotional bubble of our wider community.

Staying home for most of us in our congregation means staying somewhere warm, dry and mostly pleasant. But we need to think of those who cannot stay in a home like that for this period - Women’s Refuge, the Mission and other charities need our support, if we are in a position to give it.

Staying home for many of us also means a great deal of connectedness with those around us - noise, chaos and sometimes what feels like an overabundance of company. But consider those who are home alone during this time - please call them; and if you can safely help them out please do.

We are being called in a way we could never have imagined. Many of our usual channels of offering are shut down - we cannot host people, share meals, hug or even visit. Our hands cannot be open to touch others - but our hearts can be, and our voices can be, and our wallets can be.

There are still so many ways to answer the call - what will yours be?

Whatever it is, do it with love. Be safe, be patient and be kind.

Shabbat Shalom
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Brilliant Drash.. thank you for sharing.. reading in Florida. Shabbat Shalom and Mazel Tov!

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Beth Shalom office will be closed for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown period but phone messages and emails will continue to be actioned. Both Christine and Debbie will be working from home.
Keep checking your emails for official messages from community groups - Gmail users check your Updates folder as well.
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Read, read, mein yingele / meidele

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