This past week the news has been heavy. I have kept a solemn eye on the coverage of the trial of Cardinal George Pell with a sense of sorrow. Sorrow that the victims of child sex abuse who came forward against the Cardinal have had such a hard time in having the public believe them, accessing justice and have had to suffer through so much.
Sorrow that the state of religious adherence in this country will forever be affected by the highest Catholic in Australia being found guilty of the heinous crime of abusing children. Sorrow that the way people will relate to religious institutions, across all religions will never be the same, because so many religious leaders and institutions have failed their people by failing to protect the children and vulnerable entrusted into their care.
As we in the Jewish community are all aware, we are not immune to institutional cover-ups of child sex abuse and there is still lots of work that can be done, particularly in supporting and believing victims and prioritizing them first before any leader or institution they speak out against.
I watched ABC’s Q & A television program this past week. The discussion focused on the recent conviction of Cardinal Pell and the need for reform within religious institutions that have caused so much pain to victims and survivors of sexual abuse. I was struck by something Catholic lay leader Francis Sullivan,one of the panellists,stated:
“It’s really important to always remind everybody, We [the people] are the Church. The institution is just the organised expression and administration. But the trouble is, we’ve put so much store in that, we took our eye off the ball too. And there’s a sort of collective responsibility we Catholics have now as adults about the church we want to be, how we want to be it. … And the one key would be, we, as adult…Catholics, should start talking about the trauma and insisting – whether it’s a priest, whether it’s a bishop – insisting that we are mutual in this. And we shouldn’t be hanging around waiting.”
I believe Mr Sullivan summed up a very important point in these few lines. While the institutions that provide religious sanctuary for people of all faiths are important, it is of far greater importance that we remember the reason for the institutions existing.
This week’s Parsha is Parshat Pekudei. In this week’s Torah portion the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) is completed and the Torah provides rich descriptions of the priestly garments that were worn as well as an account of the gold, silver and precious materials that were donated towards the building of the structure.
In the introduction to the Mishkan, Moshe called upon the Jewish people to assemble upon the instruction of G-d. What was this meeting called for? To tell the Jewish people about the special honour they had been given, to erect a “mikdash” – temple for G-d. During their sojourn in the desert and until they were firmly settled in Israel, this structure that they built was called the “mishkan” a temporary and makeshift house of worship.
After they were firmly settled in Israel, the permanent temple called the bet hamikdash ,was built in Jerusalem.
In these week’s portions – where Moshe gathers the entire Jewish nation for the purpose of building the Mishkan – reminds us that the ultimate goal is to transform our lives and make our surroundings into a place where morality and goodness are the norm not the exception. And just like Moshe in the desert called together the millions within the community to pool their resources and energy to create and build a dwelling for G-d within their midst, so too in our day we must remember that although Judaism is eternal, the institutions and buildings are not.
Whilst our buildings and our institutions are important in providing a space to congregate and worship, that should not be our major focus. Our focus must be on protecting the people within our institutions and supporting them.
Let us make sure that our institutions are not just about bricks and mortar on this earth, but rather the long-term values, qualities, growth and the life lessons we teach and preach through our actions.
Wishing you and your families a Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Gabi and Mushka
Is There More to Beauty?
Pre Purim Gals Night
Thursday March 14th 7:30pm @ a private home. Address will be provided after you book.
Take a sip, unwind and be inspired as we learn about Esther and her extraordinary beauty.
Guest make up artist Liron Susskind
Sensational hors d’oeuvres, photo booth and more
Please bring a Kosher Mishloach Manot (food basket for a friend)
To book: click here
Friday 15 March
ARK Centre is pleased to welcome
Eyal Sher – Director of the Israel Festival, Jerusalem
Eyal will be visiting Australia from Israel and we are pleased to welcome him at our Kabbalat Shabbat service.
Eyal will join us for Kiddush and speak briefly during the service about the Israel Festival and the role of art and culture in Jerusalem.
All very welcome!
At ARK Centre we love to celebrate and this year Purim is no exception!
Wednesday 20 March
Megillah Reading @ ARK Centre
The reading of the Megillah will commence at 8:18pm sharp
Light refreshments to break the fast will be provided
Thursday 21 March
Megillah Reading, ARK Centre @ 9:00am
For the Grown Ups – Join the Rabbis and Rebbtzins for a few drinks and a lot of fun from 8:00pm @ Windsor Castle
Friday 22nd March
Purim-themed Kabbalat Shabbat….with so much going on!!!
Huge Range of activities from 5:15 – 5:45
Amazing stories with PJ Library for the younger kids
Hamentashen Making – all ages
Mask Decorating – all ages
Games with Rabbi Gabi in the carpark – ages 10+
PLUS – we invite you to bring a Kosher non-perishable food item that will be used for mishloach manot to be donated to C-Care from the ARK Centre Community
Child-friendly Kiddush from 5:45pm
Service commences at 6:15pm
The Buddy Frankin Raffle will be drawn at our Purim Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday 22 March 2019
To buy raffle tickets click here
SATURDAY 30 MARCH
We are pleased to welcome our community to another wonderful Shabbaton
In March we welcome Laura Pierce, Navah Jachimowicz and Claire Morton who recently went on
JNF’s Education Tour in Israel. They will share their experiences, what they gained and learned and how they were enriched and broadened by their trip in January.
Shabbat service commences at9:45am
Delicious sit-down lunch with discussion to follow
This Shabbaton is made possible thanks to the
Eva and Les Erdi Humanitarian Charitable Foundation
Saturday 20th April
6:15pm (for a 6:30pm start) – 10:00pm
Our Seder has become known for being engaging and involving, delicious (yes – Chef Dan creates a mouth-watering Pesach meal), fun for all ages (with fun activities and supervision for the kids)…and not too long!
For more information: Click Here
To book: Click Here
This week’s Friday Night Kiddush is sponsored by Carol and Ian Vickers
Wishing Julian Woolfson refuah sheleima- a speedy recovery
Happy Birthday to the following people celebrating this week:
Purim – March 20-22
Pesach – April 19
Yom HaAtzmaut Kabbalat Shabbat – 10 May
Saturday 30 March
Saturday 13 April
Saturday 18 May
Adar II – 7 March
Nisan – 6 April
Iyar – 5 May
Kabbalat Shabbat at 6:00pm, concludes by 7:00pm.
Kiddush to follow the service.
Service commences at 9:45am sharp
Candle Lighting Friday, March 8: 7:33pm
Shabbat ends Saturday, March 9: 8:28pm
This week’s Parsha is: Parshat Pekudei