North Shore Temple Emanuel
a Progressive Jewish Congregation
The Boomers' Monday Forum is a new Boomers group formed to expand on Rabbi Lampert’s 'Conversations with the Rabbi’ Monday sessions.
The Forum runs fortnightly on Mondays at 10am for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes in the Valerie Jaye Hall. The session format will include a presentation followed by discussion.
A line up of speakers has already been identified and includes content such as Jewish history, religious topics, and Israeli current affairs. As well, from time to time, there may be entertainers available to share their talents and stories.
There is no cost to attend. Morning tea will be provided.
Cantor Ted took us behind the scenes of American music and introduced us to some of the composers and lyricists behind the great hits of the 20th century affectionately known as The American Song Book. An overwhelming number were Jewish, some came from Europe while others where children of immigrants. All had talent and the will to succeed.
Young and old, we all know some of their work and love the fire, passion, and musicality and poetry in their work.
Born in the USA, Sammy Fain was a son of a cantor and self-taught pianist with more than 30 films to his credit. He was nominated for nine Best Original Song Oscars and won two. Some of his songs are "I'll be seeing you" and "Secret love." He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
The Gershwin brothers of Russian parentage were both supremely talented. The Library of Congress in the USA has a Gershwin Room in honour of George. Ira won the first-ever Pulitzer Prize for a songwriter, with the song "Off thee I sing".
Cantor Ted - thank you so much for taking us on this musical discovery trip. We were delighted with your intimate knowledge of these amazing artists and their work.
- Agnes Matrai
We spent a wonderfully informative hour on Monday with Dr Simon Holloway, who spoke about the Talmud. The creation of this pillar of Jewish learning came about from years of work in seats of higher learning in both Palestine and Babylon, where they discussed the rules and laws of Judaism. The Talmud is the summary of oral law organised in 37 Tactates,or massekhtot, but it is much more than that - it is the repository of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. It's a blend of law, legend, philosophy, logic, and shrewd pragmatism of history and science, anecdotes and humour.
The talk made me think how lucky we are to be Jewish. We have so many great gifts, and the foremost is keeping Shabbat. In this world of everything being 24/7, on Shabbat we can and should leave the mobile and TV off, and talk to family and friends instead, attend shul where we can and meet our fellow congregants, and enjoy the prayers, singing and schmoozing and refresh ourselves for the coming week.
Simon, you wet our appetites for much more- please come again soon! And to those who have not yet attended our series of Monday talks, please join us next time.
Our next gathering is on Monday 27 August with guest speaker, Cantor Ted Labow.
- Agnes Matrai
At this week's Boomers Monday Forum, we enjoyed a refreshing view on Germany from Stephen Freedman. Stephen gave us insight into the current situation in Germany, with many Jews returning and coming from Israel and Poland. He spoke of the delightful small town where he goes to help children improve their English and how warm and accepting the children are of him.
Most of us who lived through the Second World War can't get beyond the pain when we visit Germany and Austria. We see the beauty of the landscape, the wonderful music and art, but it is tainted. Stephen, born in Australia, is looking through a new lens - he is interested in reconciliation. He is correct; we must all understand that three or more generations have grown up since the war. They are blameless, and we cannot continue to ask them to pay for their grandfathers' sins.
Thank you, Stephen, for a very enlightening and thought-provoking talk.
Monday morning was one of the coldest this winter in Sydney, a group of us assembled in anticipation of hearing Justin Schaffer speak at our Boomers' Monday Forum.
Justin described in vivid detail one of his business trips behind the iron curtain to the then Czechoslovakia. A spine-chilling time in history, he transported us with him to that time and place.
Justin - thank you so much for your first-hand insight into the communist regime and the circumstances at that time in the country. We were all left wanting to hear more!
- Agnes Matrai
Our Boomers' Monday Forum were privileged to hear and see a presentation about our ANZACs in WW1 in Palestine.
Presented by Peter Allen, who is the National Coordinator for the Centenary of ANZAC Jewish Program, we learned about the bravery of our cavalry and infantry in a number of battles; the most notable capturing the Yildirim Army Group Garrison at Beersheba - a decisive victory.
We also learned some interesting facts about the 135,000 horses sent from Australia to the war, with many killed in action. At the end of the conflict, the remaining horses went to the British army, with some taken to India, some sold off, and 2,000 were shot because they were in bad condition. Transport costs were prohibitive, and the army was reluctant to give them to the Arabs. Only one noble beast was returned to Australia.
The seed for a new nation, Israel, was planted at this time when the Belfour declaration was announced; promising us a homeland.
It was a very insightful morning. Many thanks to Peter!
- Agnes Matrai
What a fantastic launch event for our Boomers Monday Forum!
Eliza McCarroll’s, “These are a few of my favourite texts”, was the first of many guest speaker series events at the fortnightly sessions.
Mixing educational context with small group discussion, the session was not only well-attended but also clearly captivating.
Eliza shared four texts with the group, explaining the liturgical significance and application, the Lithuanian Jewish situation and many personal stories including challenges and highlights during her first year of Rabbinic Studies at HUC in Israel.