Dear Friend

What is the most enduring lesson of Chanukah? Yes, we learn that right makes might. We learn the power of faith in the face of overwhelming odds. But when  you look at those candles softly burning in the night, you can be reminded of the greatest Chanukah message: when times seem tough, create light.

The unexpected frightens us; we feel insecure. As King David puts it in Tehillim 121, we ask, “from where can my salvation come”? We don’t see a way out and so we panic. Chanukah tells us that real faith is to- at the very moment of uncertainty- turn outward. Focus on creating something positive and you will find, if not the solution, at least the tools to handle what you are facing.

And what a good week to learn that lesson, and to create light!

The first candle was lit on the Weizmann grounds. What a party! Kudo’s to Kerry Miller from Marais Rd. and to Rabbi Levi Popack of Chabad House for organising another joint event. Major thank you’s to so many volunteers who made it happen.

The second candle was lit at the Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School prize giving, which was a memorable event and gave lots of nachas! Special Shkayach to our junior congregant, Benjy Anstey. Not only did he perform a most moving solo in a most outstanding choral piece, more importantly he was the recipient of the school’s “chessed” award for outstanding community work. Benjy goes each week to Highlands House to assist with the services there on Shabbas. Mazel tov! Another Huge Shkayach to Junior Congregant Yehuda Hecht who received the Torah Award for serving as an outstanding example of Torah values. Kol Hakavod!

The third candle was lit on live television as Rebbetzin Sara, Rivka and Minna Wineberg visited the Expresso TV Set (SABC 3) to teach them how to make cheese latkes! Click here to watch the segment.

It was off to Constantia to light the fourth candle with the community under the legendary leadership of Rabbi Coleman and Nicole Green. As the guest speaker at the event, it was my pleasure to share my inspirational memories of Chanukah lightings in strange places.

Everyone knows that the fifth candle is the most special, so what better place than at Highlands House? It was wonderful connecting with our congregants, many who used to come to Shul regularly, and it was heartwarming to hear them speak of how wonderful HH is and the opportunity they have to hold on to their yiddishkeit. Truly kol hakavod to those managing and supporting this remarkable organisation!

From there it was on to our very own Shul for the annual Seasoned Citizens event which was absolutely packed! Kudos to our Cantor Ivor Joffe and his committee for another wonderful event. The Choir accompanied Ivor in a most memorable Menorah lighting and it was lebedik throughout.

And the sixth candle? Well that will be lit tonight in Shul (after you all light your own Chanukah followed by Shabbas candles at home) so see you there!

A huge mazel tov to Bubbles Levin and Ian Rubin on the engagement of their grandson Arnaud-Claude Bal in Israel! Arnaud has done us proud when he went to volunteer in the IDF and has steadily climbed the ranks. Much nachas!

Mazel tov to Hymie Philips on the forthcoming wedding of his son Rael to Candice Levitan. Much mazel and nachas!

Mazels to Barney Len on celebrating his second Bar Mitzvah. Barney is a regular at the Thursday Shiurim and a wonderful contributor to each discussion. Many years of good health and joy.

Shabbat Unplugged is back! Get ready for a sizzling summer service next Friday night. Pre Shul party from 5:45, service at 6:30. Friday December 18. How sizzling? “G-d only knows”, but get ready for some seriously “good vibrations” with the Beach Boys!

Torah on the Top! Join me and many others as we trek to the top of Lion’s Head with the Torah. It’s become a major event for visitors and locals! We hold a service and read form the Torah overlooking Sea Point and beyond. Men, women and kids welcome! Thursday December 31. Climb starts at the LH parking on Signal Hill at 6:30am, davening begins at 7:30am. You can email me for more info or call the shul office.

Deep condolences to Lorraine Rabinowitz on the sudden passing her husband Elan Rabinowitz. Our hearts go out to his sons, Bradley and Glen. Elan cared deeply about our Shul and was responsible for security for many years. He will be missed as we send messages of strength to a broken family. May Hashem grant you strength and comfort in this time.

Condolences to Edele Greenhill on the passing of her mother Charmaine Levy.

Shabbas and Sunday are Rosh Chodesh, the festive beginning of the Jewish month of Tevet. As such, we will take out not one, not two, but THREE Torahs tomorrow to be read, in honour of Shabbas, Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah.

Talk about adding light!

Shabbat Shalom, happy Chanukah, rosh chodesh and reading!