Jewish culture Archives - David Werdiger
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Jewish culture Archives - David Werdiger

The Chanukah Tree

By | Articles, Galus Australis, J-Wire, Personal Blog, Times of Israel | One Comment

The Menorah is one of the most enduring Jewish symbols we have – instantly recognizable, and adopted as part of the emblem of the state of Israel. The menorah lit in ancient times was symbolic of the Temple, and Judaism, being a source of light to the entire world. Facebook friends are posting many moving photos of Chanukah celebrated after WW2 and in other dark times – a much-needed source of light and inspiration.  Here’s…

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Footy Crunch Time, Shul Crunch Time

By | Articles, Galus Australis | No Comments

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook: “The sounds of the Shofar can only mean one thing – the countdown is on to the impending footy finals. Go [nickname of AFL team that I can’t bear to put in writing]!” The relationship between AFL finals and the holiest days of the Jewish calendar – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – is paradoxical, incongruous, and uniquely Melbourne. Maybe people have mixed feelings about…

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Gossip Danger

By | Articles, Galus Australis | No Comments

“I won’t let my child ever walk home alone again from school”, I heard a mother say, in the wake of the tragic abduction and murder of Leiby Kletzky in the supposedly safe Orthodox Jewish suburb of Boro Park in New York. An alarm and fear has descended upon a global community who until now collectively felt that “these things don’t happen in our neighbourhood”. The natural reaction of parents is to become extra protective….

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And you shall relate to your son

By | Articles, Galus Australis | No Comments

והגדת לבנך – שמות  יג”ח And you shall relate to your son – Exodus 13:8  As Pesach approaches, preparations go into full swing, and my mind jumps around between where we will be eating the various meals, where my children will be spending Pesach, the various tasks I’m going to do, and all the other “baseline” stuff that sits in my head: work and study. Study has kept me busy this year, and as I move ever closer to…

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The Minyan Factory

By | Articles, Galus Australis | No Comments

I’m visiting Israel very briefly, and again find myself enamoured with the “minyan factory” known as Shtiblach Katamon. It happens to be about five minutes walk from where I’m staying, which is very convenient indeed. Let me describe how it works: it’s a big house with about six rooms and a foyer/lobby. During busy times, a man stands in the foyer – I like to call him the traffic cop. He directs people to which room a minyan is…

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The Social Network – My Friend has a Friend

By | Articles, Galus Australis | No Comments

In the weekly portion of the same name (Numbers/Bamidbar 22), Balak, the king of Moab, commissions the gentile prophet Balaam to curse the Jews who are travelling through his land on their way to Israel. While Balaam plays along (and is happy to accept Balak’s money), ultimately he is unable to disobey God and at every attempt, instead of cursing them, confers upon them some of the most beautiful and prophetic blessings in the Chumash. In his third and final…

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MasterCholent

By | Articles, Galus Australis, Uncategorized | No Comments

I’m very pleased that the current season of MasterChef is finally over. My family is whole again; the kids are able to go to bed at their regular time; we are able to plan events during that timeslot without protest. I never took a liking to the show; I was put off by the huge amount of production that creates the drama and suspense around what would otherwise be an ordinary cooking competition. The whole thing seemed so overdone…

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Whither the Tribe of Levi

By | Articles, Galus Australis, Uncategorized | No Comments

It’s a common scene in a Shul on Shabbat.  Shortly before the reading of the Torah, the gabbai (that fellow who makes sure all the parts of the shul service that have to be done, are done) walks up to a stranger or guest and asks “Are you a Levi?” The Jewish nation can be divided into three “classes”: Kohen, Levi and Israel. Of the twelve tribes (the progenitors of which were the sons of patriarch Jacob), the tribe of…

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Wallet, cup, temper – drinking on Simchat Torah

By | Articles, Galus Australis, Uncategorized | No Comments

We seem to associate Simchat Torah with getting drunk. However, unlike other Jewish holidays (Purim is the most obvious example), there is no imperative whatsoever to imbibe and drink on Simchat Torah. The only mention of the association that comes to mind is that we change around the order of the morning prayer service and move birchat kohanim (priestly blessing) from musaf to shacharit. The reason for this is that on Simchat Torah it is customary to make kiddush after the shacharit service instead…

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