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yeshivah shul Archives - David Werdiger

Yeshivah Episode IV – A New Hope

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The drawn out process of governance reform at Yeshivah over the last few years has not concluded, rather has reached an important step. If it were a construction project, we could say that we’ve done our share of demolition and excavation, and the foundation is largely complete. Now it begins in earnest. With a new organisational structure, broad membership, and boards with elected representatives, we have the basis for a fresh start – a new…

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Democracy Comes to Yeshivah

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With the passing of a new Jewish year and the fresh spiritual energy this brings to the world, there is a palpable buzz around the Yeshivah as we approach something that has never happened here before: democratic elections. The intersection between democracy and Orthodox Judaism is a complex one that is still developing, and after a baptism of fire over the last few years, our community is likely breaking new ground in its transformation from closed to…

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5775 – Annus Horribilis

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To say it’s been a difficult year for our community would be a gross understatement. The Royal Commission case study exposed us to the world, warts and all. The evidence from victims and their family members confronted us with their pain and suffering. The fallout has ripped our community apart, and opened up the deep rifts that lay festering beneath the surface for years. As we stand at the end of the Jewish year, we can look…

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Mr Tzvi (Harry) Raitman, 90, OBM

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For years he sat quietly in his seat in shul – week-in, week-out – like a permanent fixture. He was many things to many people. To most, he was Mr Raitman, soft-spoken elder and stalwart of the Yeshivah community. A man respected by all, with never an ill word about another. Straight as the day is long, and discreet to the maximum, he was the embodiment of the pasuk: “hatzneah leches im Elokecho”, that we…

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Safeguarding the Chabad Ethos

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As the reform process at the Yeshivah Centre continues, the term “safeguarding the Chabad ethos” has been bandied about quite a lot. But what does it mean? Some people have  blamed the “Chabad ethos” for the misdeeds of the past, particularly in the context of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, but this is more often than not a misdirection which shows an anti-Chabad bias. Yet at the same time, I get…

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Can Yeshivah take the cultural steps forward?

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A wise friend of mine adapted the Harvard-developed negotiation model (seven elements, getting to yes) to articulate a hierarchy of three ways a dispute can be resolved: power, rights and interests. Power is a very effective way to resolve a dispute. For example, a child says “I want to do X”, and their parent says “no”. The dispute is very quickly resolved through the use of power. It works well because of the power imbalance…

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Case Study: Oligarch Enterprises

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This is written in the style of a Harvard case study. It is an allegory; imagine a real company in this situation and facing similar challenges. The questions at the end are a guide to what the issues are and the process to deal with them. Suggested answers are most welcome. “They did what?!” exclaimed William, Chairman of Oligarch Enterprises, at one of the regular informal gatherings of the “mini-board”. The recovery of the supermarket division was progressing…

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Power Changes at Yeshivah

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(with thanks to Jeff) There are important changes to power happening at Yeshivah Shul. For a few days now, it has been running on partial power while they upgrade the switchboard. In shul this Shabbos the lights were not all working, electric clocks were flashing with the wrong time, and there was only air conditioning in one room. Outside, there lay parts of an old switchboard that looks like it should have been replaced years…

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Truth and Consequences

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In the lead up to Rosh Hashana, the weekly Torah readings are very pertinent. As we draw to the end of the weekly reading cycle, the book of Devarim – Moshe’s final words to his beloved nation – draw to a close. Last week, the reading of “Ki Tavo” contains the second “tochecha” – a long and bitter rebuke that speaks in great detail of the terrible calamities and curses that will befall the Jews if…

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The e-word

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I was quite shocked to receive the letter from the CoM advising of the formation of a new Shul Committee for the Yeshivah Shul. I was aware of some of the things that were happening in the background in recent months, and was even one of the people who took part in what might be very loosely called a “focus group”, referred to in the letter. Considering how long the CoM have had to consider…

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