Showing posts from March, 2017

Cemetery vandalism… again!

by Bob Mendelsohn, JFJ National Director

Following are three reports of cemetery vandalism, in two different US cities. And all within a fortnight. And a conclusion which has hope and might surprise some of you. Concerning the cemeteries, what is sad is that none of the perpetrators have been caught, so far. What’s worrisome is that this appears to be a trend, and what that says about the US just now is troubling.

Police in Philadelphia are investigating a vandalism at a Jewish cemetery last weekend. This was the 2nd time in a fortnight that Philly cemeteries have had headstones knocked over and damaged.

At least 75 tombstones were overturned Saturday night at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery. The only targets were the Jewish graves according to Det. Jim McReynolds of the police department's Northeast Detectives Division. He said no damage occurred at the three neighbouring Christian cemeteries at Mt Carmel. Two weeks ago, a dozen headstones were dama…

The Good, the Bad and the Unleavened

by Aaron Lewin, guest blogger

Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?

It really is the million-dollar question. Why do we have to eat this dry, crumbly bread not only for one night, but for eight nights? While there might be some matzah connoisseurs out there, for most it is at best passable and at worst a plague for eight nights! As a friend of mine put it last year, “I hate Passover! You have to eat food you don’t like and spend time with relatives you don’t like.” It is called the “bread of affliction” after all. . . .
But enough with the kvetching. If I’m honest, perhaps I’m overstating my dislike for matzah, yet the question remains: “Why on this night do we only eat matzah?”

We, of course know the traditional answer: “Because our ancestors had to leave Egypt in such haste, there wasn’t enough time for their bread to rise.” But I’m sure there must be more to it than that.

Taking a look at the Torah, we find that unleavened bread makes several appearances, all in conne…

Mardi Gras confusion

It came with flurry and noise and a thunderstorm from heaven, but nothing would dissuade the revellers from parading and celebrating the Mardi Gras parade 2017 in Sydney, yet once again. The parade took place last night, Saturday night, first Saturday in March, even though Mardi Gras officially was Tuesday.

From the ABC news report, "About 200 floats and thousands of performers made for a dazzling Mardi Gras spectacle through the inner-city suburbs of Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, and even though it sprinkled in the second half of the parade, it was not enough to dampen spirits."

But wait, was it Tuesday?

Was it different this year? Nope... Mardi means "Tuesday" and thus Mardi Gras ("fat Tuesday") is always to be marked on that day of the week. In fact, the day before "Ash Wednesday."

No wonder it was confusing. And some of the revelers might have had dysphoric confusion, but I don't know them by name or motive. Mardi Gras originally was …

Autumn in Australia

1 March officially begins a new season in the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit. Summer has ended and autumn is upon us. We hope for cooler temperatures as we had our hottest February since 1890 or so, with 11 days over 35 degrees (that's 95 degrees for US folks). That's a record. That's hot. So autumn is welcome to join us as soon as possible.

The fever heat of summer was only cooled by swimming pools and beaches, by air conditioned movie theatres and shopping malls, and by the slight relief of a gentle breeze at day's end. But now we anticipate the coming of winter, but mostly just an easing of our discomfort.

For many autumn means 'back to school.' Although in Oz our school kids returned just after Australia Day (26 January), the universities are back just now. O-week was either last week or the week before and our uni students are hitting the books, and the coffee shops with enthusiasm and great anticipation. Or they are back in the administrative office…