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Victorian government joins Chanukah lighting in Melbourne

Chabad of Melbourne CBD together with the St Kilda Shule held a Chanukah celebration in the Queen’s Hall of the Victorian Parliament today.
Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, senior Rabbi of the St Kilda Shule, spoke at the Chanukah celebration at the Victorian Parliament today, with a choir performance from the choir of St Kilda Shule.
Rabbi Chaim Herzog from Chabad of Melbourne CBD, lit the Hanukkia, flanked by Nick Staikos, parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs and John Pesuto, leader of the opposition

Sukkot in the City

The Chabad of Melbourne CBD held their yearly Sukkah Festival in a large Sukkah In the City.
A catered luncheon on the grounds of Gordon Reserve in the City was the venue.
Honored guests were a group of Political speakers, Leader of the Opposition, David Southwick MP Caulfield, ColinBrooks MP Minister of Cultural Affairs and Nicholas Reece, Deputy Lord Mayor.
The Chabad of Melbourne CBD Sukkah was open all week.
The Yavneh College students attended in large numbers to bench Lulav and Esrog and enjoyed lunch and the feel of grass under their shoes.
Each day brought a continuous crowd to the Sukkah to and bless Lulav and Esrog.
Rabbi Chaim Herzog, the Shliach and Director of Chabad of Melbourne CBD welcomed all the guests and thanked them for coming.

Rabbi Chaim Herzog's Sukkot in the City on The SHTICK

Leaders Come to Celebrate Chanukah with Chabad

On the evening of Chanukah, Chabad of Melbourne CBD welcomed newly elected leaders of Victoria for a special gathering.
John Pressuto, the newly elected Liberal Leader of Victoria, was honored to speak at the event, which marked his first formal address.
Robert Weil acted as the master of ceremonies for the evening, entertaining the crowd with his wit and humor.
Rabbi Ephraim Block delivered a thought-provoking speech on the significance of Chanukah in modern times, while the Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog led the lighting of the Menorah and sang the traditional blessings.
As the evening came to a close, attendees enjoyed a catered supper, bringing the festive celebration to a delicious end.
Overall, the Chanukah gathering at Chabad of Melbourne CBD was a resounding success, bringing together leaders and community members to celebrate the holiday and reaffirm the timeless values it represents.

Australian Leaders Visit the Chabad of Melbourne CBD Sukkah

A Sukkah celebration took place on Thursday Chol Hamoed, the 13th of October, with Australian leaders visiting the Chabad of Melbourne CBD Sukkah.

Lighting up Melbourne’s CBD

On Tuesday night, Deputy Premier James Merlino and State Opposition leader Matthew Guy joined by shaliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog and other VIPs at the Sheraton Hotel to celebrate the third night of the festival.

From Penniless Refugee to Pharmacy King!
After surviving the Holocaust and spending a couple of years in DP (displaced people) camp in Europe, Jack Gance’s parents arrived in Australia. He still remembers a small and narrow apartment in East Brunswick, where they lived.
After completing high school he was accepted to study Medicine, but did not want to spend seven years in University. With an interest in science a pharmacy course was the logical choice!
After working in his own chemist business, he began selling popular items, like sun-glasses, to other chemists. This enabled him to develop good relationships with them. Bringing new brands, like Le Specs and Australis Cosmetics, came as a logical step to move forward. It was the foundation of the success of the Chemist Warehouse network, 213 shops around Australia!
In his presentation, Jack Gance stressed the importance of good relationships and rapport with his partners and suppliers. He also said that many people are able to come up with the same good business idea, but to succeed one needs to have an “advantage point” which can be implemented in a business model!"

Chaim Herzog - CHANUKAH in the CITY, Melbourne 2020
Chabad of Melbourne CBD hosted its annual Chanukah in the City with guests including Victorian Liberal Leader Michael O'Brien, Victorian Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Neil Angus, Caulfield MP David Southwick, Box Hill MP Paul Hamer (representing the Premier), and federal MP Josh Burns.Rabbi Yitzchok Riesenberg of Central Shule spoke on the Miracle of Chanukah and how Victoria has 50 doughnut days of no Virus infection.
At the end of a year of pandemic and lockdowns, O' Brien wished the community " Chanukah Sameach", telling the gathering "When I think of the Jewish community in this state. I think of resilience, I think of faith and I think of dedication and overcoming the odds.
There's just that determination to see this through. We look forward to a much better, stronger and more prosperous 2021.
Southwick and Burns spoke about their agreement during the pandemic to place the Jewish community's welfare ahead of politics...and Hamer who co-covenes Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Israel with Southwick, noted the Victorian Friends group was widely known for its partisan support of Israel.
Rabbi Yoni Reyder sang traditional Chanukah songs and guests tucked into Latkes and Doughnuts. Before the event, Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD Rabbi Chaim Herzog said his Chabad House draws on bringing people back to the city. What better way than Chanukah to bring light back into a dark CBD.

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien united at a pre-Chanukah celebration at Australia’s Parliament of Victoria, organized by Rabbi Chaim Herzog of Chabad of Melbourne CBD.
Rebecca David reporting for Australian Jewish News: Former Prime minister Julia Gillard has taken inspiration from Chanukah, “and the use of light to drive out darkness”, she shared at a Chanukiah lighting at Parliament House last Wednesday. “Proudly multicultural Melbourne welcomes and embraces this kind of coming together … Celebrations like this – ancient, joyful and reflective – are a part of Melbourne’s past, present and future,” she said at the Chabad of Melbourne event.
Calling Chanukah a time for reflection, Gillard, who is now chair of Beyond Blue, spoke on the imperative for diverse and harmonious multicultural communities, the importance of caring for each other, and her “belief in opportunity for all, and understanding of the many constraints that hold us back from realizing that ambition”. She emphasized the plight of Indigenous Australians, the urgency for action on climate change, and underscored the significance of addressing the stigmas around mental health and suicide. “Having a values-based sense of purpose, persevering and supporting each other is one way to bring that light [of Chanukah],” she implored.
Turning to the achievements of the Victorian Jewish landscape, Premier Daniel Andrews labeled the community, “the best … in our nation; the most impactful, the best organized, [and] the most generous”.
He said, “The Jewish community makes us a more thoughtful state. The contribution in every field of endeavor, walk of life, industry, [and] sector … is something that I am profoundly grateful for, and on behalf of all Victorians, I take this opportunity to thank the Jewish community and its leadership.” The premier also recognized the rise of antisemitism, acknowledging, “It is not an easy time to be a Jewish person – not just here in Victoria. It is a global issue.”
Stating that the government is currently working on a number of measures “to better understand these issues”, Andrews confirmed he “will have more to say about things we think we can do right across our state that will make this a more inclusive place, a fairer place, and a place where the Jewish contribution is only celebrated – because that’s the way that it should be”. Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien echoed the sentiments, adding, “We must be louder, stronger, [and] more united than ever to say that we will be a state [and] a nation where people of faith can be who they are, can be proud of who they are and can profess who they are.
“As we gather to celebrate Chanukah, the festival of lights, as we gather to reflect, we should reflect proudly on what the Jewish community has contributed to Victoria, and do so knowing that we will stand with you and by you.”

This year marked a double Simcha for The Chabad of Melbourne CBD and its Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog at the Melbourne Town Hall it was Purim and their 20th Anniversary.
Chabad of Melbourne started 20 years ago on Purim at a Luncheon with well known speakers addressing the audience just as we are doing today claimed Mr. David Southwick MP Member for Caulfield by introducing our new Honourable Mayoress or Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who is our first female Lord Mayor in my memory.
The Honourable Lord Mayor made promises to the people of the City to make Melbourne a safe, prosperous, and well thought out city that rises to the challenge of rapid growth. These ideas were generated and influenced by every day Melburnians - individuals and organizations she claimed to have spoken to as she moved around the City campaigning. From safety to homelessness to reorganizing the Queen Victoria Market, etc, The people of Melbourne contributed so many ideas that were similar to my own thinking - or got me thinking in new and creative ways.
She thanked the Organization and its Director Rabbi Chaim Herzog for the invitation to join this years Purim celebrations, which are due to a special and happy Jewish Festival and claimed that she was delighted to share in it.
She said that Chabad CBD plays an invaluable role for the Jewish Community offering a range of service to people living and working in the City and beyond.

Chabad of Melbourne CBD held their annual Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Parliament House on the 2nd Day of Chanukah. Under the direction of the Central Business District’s Shliach, Rabbi Chaim Herzog, Chabad has now been hosting the event, which takes place in the Parliament of Victoria for eighteen years.
The program featured Master of Ceremonies, Mr. David Southwick MP member for Caulfield Victoria, he has participated graciously for the past twelve years. Mr. Southwick introduced Rabbi Herzog who lit the Menorah Lights and made the blessings, followed by Rabbi Phillip Heilbrunn, President of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria who inspired the audience with Haneiros Hallolu and Chanukah Melodies. The Honourary Deputy Leader of Victoria, James Merlino MP was in attendance conveying special greetings from the newly re-elected, Premier of Victoria.
Property tycoon Mr. Albert Dadon AM, a guest speaker, said that even though he originally comes from Israel and Europe, he visits several times a year because of close family ties. He noted the rise in Anti-Semitic events toward Israel, and the world at large.
The event catered by the renowned Classique Kosher Caterers was attended by constituents of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, along with invited guests, including numerous Rabbis, community leaders, distinguished members of Melbourne’s business community and the newly elected Jewish Member to the Parliament, Mr. Paul Hammer.

Celebrating Sukkot in the city with Senator James Paterson and Liberal Party of Australia Candidate for McNamara Kate Ashmor organised by Chabad of Melbourne CBD.
The Sukkah is centrally located in the heart of the Melbourne

Lunch & Learn

Chabad Melbourne CBD Celebrates 20 Year with new Torah
This past Sunday saw History being made in Melbourne. A Sefer Torah was being given for the first time in 100 years to Melbournes Downtown City Area. The Sefer Torah was given by Mr. Sam Briskin and his Family in loving memory of Mr. Mark Briskin Z'L to Chabad Of Melbourne CBD and welcomed by it's Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog.
The Sefer Torah was completed by the Sofer Rabbi Eli Gutnick in the Block Arcade where a large sector of the Jewish Community attended.
This was followed by singing and dancing on Collins Street accompanying the Sefer Torah to the Melbourne Town Hall in the center of the City.
A catered Seudah took place in the Melbourne Town Hall where Rabbi Herzog addressed the audience and was followed by Mr. David Southwick, Member for Caulfield who spoke and danced with the Yeshivah Gedollah Shluchim to the accompaniment of live music, this encouraged the the crowd to get into the act and created an atmosphere of liveliness and happiness.
Rabbi Herzog is now about to celebrate The Chabad of Melbourne's CBD 20th Anniversary on Purim 5779 (March 2019) which he started at a very young age and was appointed it's Shliach by Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner Z'L

Prominent Queens Counsel featured at Purim in the City of Melbourne
The centrally located CQ Hotel was the venue of this year's Chabad of Melbourne CBD Purim event and festive after party (seudah).
Many showed up, as Master of Ceremonies, Chabad of Melbourne CBD's Shliach, Rabbi Chaim Herzog summarized the story of Purim and its importance to the Jewish people.
Rabbi Herzog then introduced the guest speaker of the event, prominent Queen's Counsel Mr Robert Richter QC.
Mr Richter is one of the highest profile lawyers in Australia.
He was the former Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association and a past President of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties.
The Megillah was read for everyone by a student from Yeshivah Gedolah and then the program culminated with dancing as the activities continued through the afternoon.
This was the 18th year that Chabad of the Central Business District has held its annual downtown Purim festivities

Melbourne Lights Up Parliament
Melbourne, Australia had their first Chanukah Lighting Event for 2017 take place at Parliament House in Victoria organized by Chabad Of Melbourne CBD and it's Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog.

It took place on Wednesday Afternoon, lunch time the first ever when Parliament was actually sitting. The program started with David Southwick, MP Member of Caulfield introducing the speakers, Rabbi Chaim Herzog - Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD - Premier of Victoria - Hon. Daniel Andrews MLA and Hon Matthew Guy - Leader of the Opposition Party.

In the Audience were noted members of the Jewish Community, Rabbi Yaacov Glasman, President of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and Mr. David Marlow of the (JCCV)., amongst others too numerous to mention.

Rabbi Chaim Herzog lit the Menorah Candles and made the Bracha (Blessing) with the Premier and Leader of the Opposition assisting him by lighting an Electric Menorah which will stand in Parliament for the entire 8 days.

Chazan Braun sang a Few Chanukah songs that set the audience clapping.

In thanking the Government Officials, Rabbi Herzog congratulated the Labor Government for initiating Trade with Israel on the Premier and his Party's recent visit there. He also thanked the Participants and the Audience for coming to Celebrate Chanukah.

Premier Daniel Andrews Minister of Victoria said that Chanukah is a Happy Time of Celebration and represents Acts of Kindness. This years Chanukah Celebration the 12th at Parliament House is the first on a sitting day of Parliament bringing in a delegation of quite an amount of Ministers among the large audience in attendance on a day of 36 degrees.

He congratulated Rabbi Herzog for his organization Chabad of Melbourne CBD which stages a rich diversity of activities and plays a big role in Victoria particularly in Melbourne.

He spoke of his recent trip to "Modern Israel" with a delegation of fellow Ministers that were amazed upon seeing and hearing of the advancement to Technology, Medicine, Water and Trade that Israel has made to the world at large.

Victoria is the first State in Australia to open a business office in Tel-Aviv.

On their trip Premier Andrews visited Yad Vashem, met with Prime Minister of Israel, Benyomin Natanayhu but he found his visit to the KOTEL giving him a Spiritual and Joyous feeling that it is a sacred and moving place. He stated that it was a most successful trip.

He gave thanks to Melbourne's Jewish Community to be the first people to Act against Intolerance, Hatred, and Prejudice. Mr David Southwick the Chairman than invited the audience to partake of a scrumptious lunch, claiming that whatever weight you may gain over Chanukah due to an intake of Latkes and yummy Donuts doesn't count after all, "Its Chanukah".


Parliament Dignitaries Attend Chabad of Melbourne Sukkah In the City
Chabad of Melbourne CBD hosted their 18th Annual Sukkot Luncheon in the City,
on the first business day of Cholemut in the City.
In attendance were the Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Mr. Robert Doyle who
acknowledged Chabads 18 years of Activities in the City bringing the diverse community together in a rich Tapestry of 130 different Faiths.
The Minister of Finance the Honourable Robin Scott M.P. also acknowledged the work
of Chabad in the City for the last 18 years in making it a City of Multi Cultures.
In attendance was Mr. Joel Silver Counselor of Glen Eira.
The Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog thanked the Audience for coming, wishing them a
Good Year and "Chag Sameach" and invited them back again for the fourth coming
Chanukah at Parliament House Celebration with the Prime Minister in December.

The Unjust Facebook Experiment
Attorney Nitsana Leitner wrote 2 identical posts - against Israel and against the Palestinians. Guess which one Facebook removed...

Nitsana Leitner, Israeli attorney and human rights activist, spoke to a packed room at Chabad CBD in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday.

The educational and eye-opening event was held at Chabad of Melbourne CBD and chaired by its Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog.

Leitner, founder of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Centre, is renowned for the civil actions her law firm has brought against numerous banks and institutions who have aided and abetted Islamic terrorism.

Leitner told of some of the blood-curdling stories of recent terror attacks, and at the same time of the Lod Airport massacre in May 1972 when 26 people were killed, including 17 Christian pilgrims. North Korea was the sponsor of the mission.

With the innovative creative minds of Israeli lawyers, her team found a way to ensure those involved paid for their crimes. Shurat HaDin sued North Korea against the frozen bank accounts in the US from 1972. They enforced judgements against the bank accounts and hired a lobbyist to change the law in US, she explained.

There is one aspect which is new and has magnified terrorism targeted at Israel worldwide, Leitner explained, that being social media, especially Facebook, being the major source of terror recruitment.

When Israel Law Centre asked Facebook to remove anti-Semitic posts, they refused, despite the fact that they were calculated to incite anti-Semitism and violence.

It came as a surprise to Leitner to discover there was no protection for Freedom of Speech on social media, "allowing anyone to say, and incite to do anything they want, and there are no safeguards," she said.

The second thing she found out was that was no relationship between users and the company, and no responsibility whatsoever. The minds at the Israel Law Centre set to work, creating two identical posts, one against Israel and the other against the Palestinians. They asked Facebook to take down the posts as they were offensive and incitement to hatred and more.

Facebook took down the Palestinian post and left the Israeli one, Leitner says.

Lunch & Learn

President Trump inauguration

Rabbi Marvin Hier meets Rabbi Chaim Herzog of Chabad of Melbourne CBD

Chanukah celebrations started early at Victoria’s Parliament House on Monday when Premier Daniel Andrews lit the Menorah.
Chanukah celebrations started early at Victoria’s Parliament House on Monday when Premier Daniel Andrews lit the Menorah.

Andrews, who lit the Menorah with Rabbi Chaim Herzog of Chabad of Melbourne CBD looking on, praised the community for its “focus on family, hard work, philanthropy, always fighting for fairness, for never settling for anybody being treated badly in our city and our state.”

Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Inga Peulich said that Chanukah was a perfect time to continue fighting for what was right, both within the Australian community and beyond.

“Let us share the inspiration of Chanukah, let light lead the way to goodness, let’s reaffirm our commitment to all that is good and pledge to fill homes, our community, our nation with love, wisdom and courage to always stand up for what is right and what is decent,” she said.

Sukkot in The Center of Melbourne Australia
Chabad of Melbourne CBD (Central Business District) held their 18th Sukkot Luncheon in the center of the City Square, the heart of Melbourne. Rabbi Chaim Herzog the shliach, said that this year was a special occasion being the 18th year, the number 18 represents life and with Hashems help we hope to bring you many more Sukkot celebrations.

           This years special guests were the Honorable Robin Scott MP Minister for Finance, David Southwick MP Member for Caulfield, Rabbi Daniel Rabin Minister of the North Eastern Jewish Center.

All of the guest speakers spoke about how the Sukkot unites the Jews in the city on a yearly basis and Rabbi Herzog for his work in multicultural affairs concerning the Jewish culture.

          This year 2 classes from  Yavneh-College attended the sukkah.

A catered lunch was enjoyed by all the attendees after benching  the Lulav and Etrog.

Mr. Michael Naphtali was this month’s guest speaker at Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s Lunch and Learn Session.

Mr. Naphtali spoke about the forty years that he has been in the business world. His climb of success started with his advising a number of industries including financial services, food, retail, manufacturing, and wine and beverages.

He was previously Managing Director of the Pratt Group of Companies. Michael Naphtali is an Executive Director of Credit Suisse a position he has held since May 2008.

A message of thanks was given by Rabbi Chaim Herzog the Shliach of Chabad ff Melbourne CBD followed by Lunch and Mincha Services.

18th Purim in the CBD with Chabad & Shliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog.
The event was held in the luxurious CQ Melbourne Hotel on Collins St. Melbourne. Rabbi Chaim Herzog welcomed the Audience for their Attendance and Sponsors for their participation in the Gourmet Catered Seudas Purim that was had by the large crowd. He then told the Audience the Purim Story.

A nice large crowd of Bocherem from Yeshivah Gedollah attended and one of them read the Megillah.

This year’s guest speaker was Mr. Alan Belkin.

Nearly 1 million Australian households have been positively impacted by Alan Belkin’s creations.

At 27 years-of-age, this businessman and visionary has already achieved so much.

The story though, is far from its end, as he advises and trains entrepreneurs around the country, to guaranteed success.

Alan Belkin’s story has humble beginnings as the Australian born son of Soviet Union Dissidents.

Publicly schooled, Alan was a Melbourne University early leaver, dead-set on making it as a young entrepreneur.

He founded “Electricity Wizard” with a $20,000 personal bank loan in 2010, a business that is now the Number 2 online comparison site for electricity and gas in Australia!

By 23 years of age he had his first multi-million-dollar business, AND in just 8 years of entrepreneurship total, he has established 6 businesses, employed over 500 Australians, and worked with many companies from the ASX Top 100.

The audience loved the story that Mr Belkin portrayed and we wish Rabbi Herzog much continued sucess and hatzlocha in all his future undertakings.
Outstanding Chanukah in Parliment House.
This years presentation at the Parliment House of Victoria of the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah and the Speeches given by the guest speakers organized by Chabad of Melbourne CBD and headed by its Shliach, Rabbi Chaim Herzog surpassed any of the twelve previous functions given at Parliment in past years.

The programs master of ceremony was Mr. David Southwick MP, member for Caulfield who introduced Chazzan Didi Levin and the Central Shul Choir who gave a repertoire of songs. Amongst them, “Haneiros Halalu”, “Advance Australia Fair”, and a South African rendition of “Shehechiyanu”. The choir drew tremendous applause for their performance. This was followed by the introduction of this years guest speaker, the honorable James Merlino MP, deputy leader of the labor party and minister for education, also a long time friend of Chabad of Melbourne CBD and Rabbi Chaim Herzog. Mrs. Myriam Wylie, French consular general who spoke about the devastating acts of Terrorism that took place in Paris on the thirteenth of November. Helen Kapalos, presenter on a “Current Affair” was amongst the dignitaries.

This years Chanukah program was presented in conjunction with Central Shul Chabad and its Minister Rabbi Yitzchok Reisenberg gave the vote of thanks to the audience which featured some well known community figures. To name a few, Lilllian, and Richard Frank. Lillian writes a weekly social column for the Herald Sun newspaper. Mrs. Stera Gutnick, wife of the well known philantropist Joseph Gutnick. Mrs. Gutnick is well known in her own right for the Jewish educational programs that she organizes such as Women of Valour.

Rabbi Reisenberg in his thank you made special mention of MP David Southwick, member of Caulfield and relentless helper for Jewish causes and Rabbi Chaim Herzog for his ceaseless commitment to the city community.

The evening was concluded by the lighting of two candles by Rabbi Chaim Herzog and the singing of the Bracha by him and the help of the Central Shul choir singing “Maoz Tzur”.

Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s Chanukah event in the Melbourne Parliment culminated with its signature cocktail party that was widely attented by the broader community.

Chabad of Melbourne CBD Celebrates Sukkot in the City for the Tenth Year in Succession

For the tenth successive year, Chabad of Melbourne CBD, led by Shaliach Rabbi Chaim Herzog, celebrated the festival of Sukkot by erecting a Sukkah in the very centre of the City of Melbourne. On Thursday 1 October 2015, it was literally standing room only as more than 40 people gathered to eat and drink in the City Sukkah and to hear from invited guests, including the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, The Honourable Robert Doyle.

Other speakers included Daniel Mulino, State Member for Eastern Victoria and Parliamentary Secretary for Finance and Treasury, David Southwick, State Member for Caulfield and Shadow Minister for Innovation, Energy and Resources and Renewables and Rabbi Yaakov Glasman, Chief Minister, St Kilda Hebrew Congregation.

Daniel Mulino noted that Sukkot was a harvest thanksgiving festival, which celebrates our connection to the land, something that he said is important not only for Jews but for all peoples. Especially given the connection of Australia's First Peoples to the land, he expressed his belief that this would forever remain something important that all Australians can share. Celebrating diversity, he added, is the key to Australia’s multicultural society.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle remarked that the secret to Melbourne's success was that Melbourne's population is made up of people from 200 different nations speaking over 240 different languages and dialects and practising 105 different faiths "and yet we are one Melbourne and that is quite a remarkable achievement in tolerance and diversity that I think is unmatched around the world."

The Lord Mayor noted that the Jewish community had made a remarkable contribution to Melbourne, both individually and collectively, since the city was founded in 1835. In every walk of life you will find Jewish leadership, he said - in the professions, in the sciences, in business or in civic life. "The contribution of the Jewish community is incalculable" and much appreciated. The Jewish community sits at the heart of philanthropic life in Melbourne, he added.

David Southwick, a Jewish member of the Victorian Parliament, thanked the Lord Mayor for allowing the Jewish community to erect a Sukkah in the heart of the City, something that should not be taken for granted, given that “there are so many cities around the world where what we are doing here today would not be possible. The fact that we can celebrate multiculturalism, that we can break bread together and we can do it right in the heart of the City if fantastic."

Rabbi Yaakov Glasman discussed how the period of introspection from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in which Jews are asked to take a serious look at themselves and reflect on whether they were all that we could have been during the past year, gives way to the Festival of Sukkot in which we focus not on what we are doing wrong but on what we are doing right, such as the Jewish community’s proud contributions to Melbourne life that the Lord Mayor highlighted.

“Sukkot is about everybody, regardless of their background or political persuasion, being able to come together, under the one roof, under the stars and just help each other out, just be together as a community”, he said.

Just two generations ago, the idea that it would be possible for Jewish people to sit and celebrate Sukkot together in a Sukkah in the centre of the City, licenced by Government, sitting together with the Lord Mayor and politicians from both sides of politics "would have been absolutely unimaginable, unfathomable in any way”, continued Rabbi Glasman. “This is the essence of what Sukkot is about and what makes us so proud to be Victorian.”

Rabbi Glasman thanked Rabbi Herzog for his hard work in making this annual event possible. Rabbi Herzog in turn thanked the speakers for taking the time to attend and making the occasion so special.


According to Halacha, all disputes between two Jews which cannot be settled amicably without adjudication from an outside party must be decided by a Beth Din and not by a court of law, unless leave is given to go to court by a Beth Din. For an Orthodox Jew, therefore, the choice between going to court and going to a Beit Din would be moot.

On the other hand, when dealing with wills, probate, property, trusts and corporations, one would have to go to court in order to ensure that the orders were properly enforced.

Justice Michael Sifris, a Trials Division Justice at the Supreme Court of Victoria, presented considerations that a person should take into account if they feel that they do have a choice. When does it make more sense to go to court and when is a Beth Din a sensible alternative?

From the perspective of Australian or Victorian law, having a dispute adjudicated by a Beth Din is a form of arbitration. Arbitration has some significant advantages over litigation in a court: it is less formal, quicker and possibly more cost effective, private and more flexible. The big drawback is that the stress on the finality of the decision in an arbitration means that an arbitrator’s decision is hard to appeal. A decision can be reviewed by a court but only on very narrow grounds, such as misconduct on behalf of the arbitrator, collusion, fraud or a claim of duress in entering the arbitration agreement.

In choosing a Beth Din, therefore, you have to be aware that you cannot appeal on the merits - you cannot get the Beth Din’s decision overturned because you did not like how they interpreted the facts.

A Beth Din is also likely to look at the case in a wider context in an attempt to determine justice whereas a court will look at the evidence at hand in the particular case and decide it narrowly according to the law. This may also influence one’s decision as to where to go.

In employment matters, if you want to ensure that all disputes are adjudicated by a Beth Din, it is important that this be directly stipulated in the employment agreement. Two cases involving disputes between rabbis and their congregations have clearly brought this out.

Justice Sifris spoke to Chabad of Melbourne CBD and stayed on or mincha
Rare Appearance by Justice Mark Weinberg at Chabad of Melbourne CBD

Juggling the various considerations involved in sentencing an offender, says Justice Mark Weinberg, is something that requires experience and full familiarity with the facts. A sentence needs to be proportionate to the gravity of the offence, depending upon the circumstances of each individual case. Baseline Sentencing, recently introduced into law in this State, takes this discretion away from the judge and puts it instead into the hands of politicians, something which Justice Weinberg believes is a mistake.

In stark contrast to the opinion of certain sections of the media, sentences in Australia over the past twenty years have become steadily heavier, not lighter. The idea that if it were left to the public, sentences would be longer than those currently given by judges, was questioned by an interesting study carried out in Tasmania in which juries were asked what sentence they would give if it were their prerogative. Almost every time the jurors were more lenient than the actual sentence handed down by the judge.

Justice Weinberg is a Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He previously served as a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia from July 1998 to July 2008, prior to which he worked as a criminal law barrister for almost 25 years, including three years as the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Justice Weinberg was formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Melbourne.

In addition to issues of sentencing, Justice Weinberg’s most interesting presentation covered substantive law – the definition of a crime such as murder or manslaughter, comparing the English Common Law system used in Victoria with traditional Jewish law - procedure and evidence.

Justice Weinberg pointed out that the Victorian legal system tends to turn a blind eye to what happens in hospitals, choosing not to involve itself, for example, in the complicated moral issue of palliative care under circumstances where the doctor knows that its administration will cause the patient to die sooner.

The prosecution needs to prove its case “beyond all reasonable doubt” – the highest standard known to the law. Balance of probabilities is not enough to find a person guilty. The prosecution must present its case fairly: verdicts have been overturned on appeal where a prosecutor was overzealous in pressing for a conviction.

Criminal trials today often take far longer than they did in the past. This is in large part due to the greater complexity of the law, including in particular, new developments in fields such as DNA evidence.

DNA is just one factor that is making modern trials increasingly complicated – an increasing challenge for jurors. Despite this, Justice Weinberg is not in favour of the suggestion that judge only trials should replace juries, convinced that the juries get it right most of the time and that judges would do no better.

Justice Weinberg spoke to Chabad of Melbourne CBD as part of its ten-week Law Seminar, providing continuing professional development credits to lawyers.
Jack Smorgon AO addresses Chabad of Melbourne CBD

Jack Smorgon AO delivered a lunchtime address at Chabad of Melbourne CBD on Wednesday 27 May 2015 entitled “One Never Knows What the Future Holds for Them”.

The relevance of the title became clear as Mr Smorgon described the various positions that he had held since the Smorgon Group of Companies disbanded in 1995, following his involvement that had extended back to 1954. He had served as Managing Director from 1976 until 1991.

Even before 1995, Mr Smorgon has been invited to be a member of the Committee for Melbourne, alongside The Late Richard Pratt. In 1995, he was appointed as Chairman. Earlier, in 1992, he had served as Chairman of the Committee’s Infrastructure Subcommittee, developing an interest in transportation. As a result, he was appointed by then Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett to chair the State Government’s “Freightways Melbourne”, a project which ultimately led to the building of Citylink.

Mr Smorgon told of how he had been asked to chair the Australian National Railways Commission in 1995, discovering that the ANRC as then constituted was unsustainable. Upon the recommendation of his committee, the Federal Government agreed to privatise the railways. Mr Smorgon was then appointed Chairman of the Federal Government’s “Revitalising Rail” taskforce in 1999 by then Prime Minister John Howard.

Another unexpected opportunity was to be invited to be Deputy Chairman of the Australian Defence Reserves Support Council and later National Chair. He met many distinguished military officers and thoroughly enjoyed his involvement with the Defence Reserves.

Jack Smorgon AO has always had a deep involvement with the Jewish community, especially with the United Israel Appeal/Keren Hayesod, serving as Federal President of Australian UIA for six years until 2012 and Victorian Chairman for twelve years prior to 2006. In 2001, he joined the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors and has served ever since as Chair of the Partnerships and Activism Committee.

As a result of his work, the Jewish Agency has developed many important projects that help less fortunate Israelis, helping to provide a bright future for Israeli youth who would otherwise be at risk. These include “Youth Villages”, a highly cost-effective boarding school setting for youth with severe emotional, behavioural and family problems; “Youth Futures”, providing mentoring for at-risk children; “Project TEN”, where young Jews from Israel and the Diaspora volunteer with vulnerable populations around the world and “Net@” which increases opportunities for youth living in Israel’s peripheral communities, teaching computer skills which are useful both during their IDF service and then in providing plentiful opportunities in the workforce.

Judging by Jack Smorgon’s rich and varied contribution to Australia and Israel, it appears that one indeed never knows what the future might hold.
Adam Schwab, Internet mogul, addresses Chabad of Melbourne CBD

From mergers and acquisitions lawyer to managing director of one of the fastest growing companies on the BRW list in just over ten years, Mount Scopus College alumnus Adam Schwab has quite a story to share. A very large lunchtime attendance came to hear that story on Tuesday 16 June at Chabad of Melbourne CBD – some old acquaintances and others just interested to find out how he achieved such success in such a short space of time.

The initial motivation for Adam Schwab and his old school friend Jeremy Same was simply doing something different, venturing out on their own to at least match their previous incomes at Freehills and the ANZ Bank respectively. Entrepreneurship, said Adam, was still a dirty word back in 2004 – something that has changed dramatically over the intervening years when today, many young people (and many of them Jewish young people) are looking to emulate his success.

Schwab and Same began with what Adam Schwab described as “high end backpacker apartments” – first one, then two, then ten – before realising that the low rentals characteristic of the mid-naughties could not last forever and that landlords would become reluctant to rent to them when rentals increased. They therefore went up market, moving from backpacker apartments to executive apartments that were smartly furnished and cleaned weekly. Their business, Living Corporate Apartments, reached $2M a year in turnover.

After coming to the realisation that in order to grow their income further, they would need a business that was scalable as well as sustainable, Schwab and Same came across the US-based online discount website Groupon and decided to duplicate it in Australia. Zoupon was born, offering multiple discount coupons to local businesses. Once they had found a creative way to build a customer list, the business took off. Zoupon later bought

Their next and most significant change came when “almost by accident” they stumbled across the travel business. After battling with the challenge of local merchants not always providing the quality that they had promised, negatively effecting the website’s reputation, they saw the relative merits of the travel business. Having started with bed and breakfast, they soon realised that many good hotels in places like Thailand and Vietnam had minimal opportunities to market themselves in Australia. Recognising that this was an untapped market, they moved their focus increasingly into travel – hotels, restaurants, bars, spas - with multiple websites, including Cudo and LuxuryEscapes. In the first quarter of 2015, their combined businesses had a turnover of over $200M.

So what was their secret? "Don't force an idea: let an idea come to you”, be aware of your potential weaknesses, hire good people and perhaps most of all, just be in the right place at the right time.
Premier Joins Chabad for Lighting

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews joined Chabad of Melbourne CBD for a Menorah lighting at Parliament House.

On Tuesday night, the first night celebrating the Jewish Festival of Chanukah, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews joined Rabbi Chaim Herzog and Chabad of Melbourne CBD in the lighting of the Menorah and Chanukah festivities at Parliament House in Victoria.

Many dignitaries and Jewish community leaders attended the annual Chanukah celebration, including among them well known philanthropists Graham Smorgon and Joseph Gutnick, Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and the Member for Caulfield, David Southwick and his predecessor Helen Shardey, an avid supporter of Rabbi Herzog and Chabad of Melbourne CBD since its inception over 16 years ago.

Master of Ceremonies, Graham Smorgon introduced the Premiere of Victoria, Mr. Daniel Andrews. In his speech, the Premier acknowledged Rabbi Chaim Herzog and Chabad of Melbourne CBD and what “a very special honour” it was for him to be part of such a celebration, stating that “the Jewish faith gives life to some of the oldest and most powerful traditions in our civilization.”

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy acknowledged that there had been “eight previous such (Chanukah) events organized by both Chabad of Melbourne CBD and the Parliament of Victoria including all sides of the political spectrum.”

This year’s event was hosted in conjunction with Caulfield Hebrew Congregation and Kew Hebrew Congregation and featured a special performance by renowned Cantor Dov Farkas and guest speaker Rabbi Ralph Genende. The evening also featured the Central Shul Choir led by Didi Levin.

Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s Chanukah event in the Melbourne Parliament culminated with its signature cocktail party that was widely attended by the broader community.

Melbourne Dignitaries Enjoy Sukkah Luncheon

Chabad of Melbourne’s Central Business District, under the leadership of Rabbi Chaim Herzog, hosted its annual gala luncheon in a beautiful Sukkah under the shade of some of Melbourne’s most famous landmarks at Federation Square on Monday afternoon.

An array of local businessman and visitors were graced by the presence of leading Rabbanim and politicians, including Rabbi David Rubinfeld of Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, The Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, State Liberal MP David Southwick and State ALP candidate for Caulfield Josh Burns.

Rabbi Herzog welcomed the crowd in his warm and friendly manner, and tied in the message of Sukkos with the overall theme of connecting with G-d throughout the festive month of Tishrei. The Hon. Kevin Andrews MP (Federal Member for Menzies) honoured the guests with an address which reflected his warm appreciation for the Jewish community and a special message for the Chag. MP David Southwick (Member for Caulfield) warmed the guests in his personable manner and highlighted how the festival of Sukkos encourages religious freedom in light of the fragile security situation around the world.

State ALP candidate Josh Burns warmly addressed the crowd and showed his appreciation towards his constituents by delivering a message of appreciation for the past and hope for the future.

Finally, Rabbi David Rubinfeld regaled the guests with his unique blend of Torah true messages and sense of entertainment. Within a minute of addressing the crowd, he drew everybody into an inspring rendition of the famous “Shehecheyonu Vekimonu Vehigianu” Hebrew song and then continued by delivering a message of hope and encouraged everybody present to appreciate the special obligation and opportunity we have to bring up our children with true Jewish values.

Participants davened Mincha at the end of the luncheon, and much praise and appreciation could be heard from all those leaving at the end of the event.

Is your money really yours?

Is your money really yours? While a capitalist may answer 'yes' and a rabbi may answer, "it's entrusted to you by G-d to be used in accordance with G-d's Directives", the lawyer has another answer. Experienced barrister and community activist, John Searle presented a session on laws of probate and disputed wills. His answer is temporarily; your money is fully yours during your life. Afterwards, a judge has the option to override the deceased individual's wishes in the interest of 'fairness'. The judge can award extra to some, give less than the will calls for to others and add extra people as beneficiaries of the will.

John outlined time limits for applications, principles relevant to applications for an extension of time, the meaning of 'final distribution and 'delay without prejudice' and other topics. The lecture also touched on areas of particular Jewish concern and contrasts with Jewish law. Ably chaired by Rabbi Chaim Herzog, director of Chabad CBD and arranged by rabbi Dovid Leib Shmerling, attendees, both lawyers and lay people were grateful for the interesting lecture.

One comment which expressed the feelings of all of them was, "John's presentation was engaging, clear and relevant. Thank you."

Beth Din Conversion Clarifies its Position
It may be something in the air, but for whatever reason Melbourne has a significantly higher proportionate amount of converts to Judaism than almost anywhere else. The Melbourne Beth Din overseas and sets the standards for all Orthodox Jewish conversions in Melbourne.

The blogosphere and many a Shabbat table have much to say on the conversion process and often query it’s length and difficulty. Why should they have to be more religious than the rest of us? She knows the best kneidalach recipe and can read a bit of Hebrew, he’s pro-Israel and enjoys lighting the Chanukah Menorah; why isn’t that enough?

In truth, the modern Beth din is far more stringent than the guidelines set by the Talmud and Code of Jewish law [Shulchan Aruch]. The Shulchan Aruch describes the conversion process as follows. A gentile arrives and seeks to convert. Rabbi: Why convert? Are you unaware of the persecution of Jews? Do you know that what was until now permissible enjoyment as a non-Jew will become prohibited as a Jew? Convert: I am aware, but nonetheless want to convert. The rabbi then discusses the basic Jewish principle of monotheism and prohibition on idolatry at length, skims through an overview of Jewish law and continues straight on with circumcision [for males] and immersion in a Mikva. Hence, the question seems justified even from a Halachic perspective. Why does the Beth din make it so hard?

Rabbi Glasman addressed this topic to a full room of professionals at a Chabad CBD luncheon. He argued that as most contemporary conversions are originally induced for marriage reasons or other benefits. While in previous eras, it was rare for a Jew and non-Jew to socialize intimately and very rare for a Jew and non-Jew to fall in love, today it is an everyday occurrence. The first component of conversion is a genuine desire to join in to the ‘brit’, the Covenant that G-d has with the Jewish people. A conversion for any other motive is Halachically questionable. Thus, today a more thorough process then bygone times is needed. A more intense process serves to both enhance the prospective convert’s appreciation and demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to Yiddishkeit. The Beth Din is not being extra strict in extending the process; they are being lenient in initially accepting most of today’s applicants into the process. The audience savoured Rabbi Glasman’s thought provoking and eloquent words while enjoying a catered bagel and sushi smorgasbord lunch. Following Mincha enlightened attendees returned to their offices with new found appreciation for the integrity of the conversion process.
Arnold Roth Speaks Out in Melbourne on Isreal
It was an Israel-committed group of several dozen who came to Chabad of Melbourne's CBD's luncheon with Arnold Roth. The topic was "Israel: How true to it's principles can the news reporting industry be in a war of rockets and tunnels?" Arnold's eloquent and informative presentation was accompanied by a tasty and beautifully presented lunch.

Arnold, who has addressed the UN and the European Parliament and has shared an Israeli perspective on leading T.V. & radio stations and newspapers around the globe, is the founder of the Malki Foundation. Established in memory of his daughter Malki, after her tragic murder in a Hamas massacre perpetrated in the heart of Jerusalem.

Arnold shared some insight into problems with your average international journalist reporting on Israel.

When Arnold and his colleagues ask university students studying journalism, "So, what have you learnt about 'Ethics and Journalism?' many are stumped. Others respond proudly, "We covered Plagiarism extensively."

"That's great, journalistic ethics to protect journalists," Arnold observes wryly. The ethics of honest and contextually accurate reporting appears to be a glaring gap in their curriculum.

And this is not just a minor oversight; inaccurate, inflammatory reporting can be lethal. Take the example of Muhammad al-Durrah, a Gazan boy. France 2- a government financed TV station- showed one minute of footage and said that the boy was killed by IDF fire. Many terrorists over the past 12 years have justified their killings in Israel, Iraq and France as revenge for al-Durrah's death. Problem: the raw footage records the 'dead boy' itching his forehead after his 'death'.

Journalists are expected by the public to report the truth. When they don't, their words can be deadly.

Arnold finished with a call to action. Don't wait till you see skewed articles and then write letters to the editor. Rather, explain Israel's narrative and defend it's actions to neighbours, acquaintances and most importantly to editors, producers, politicians and people of influence. Let them report ethically in the first instance.

Attendees left inspired and with thanks to Rabbi Chaim Herzog, Director of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, for arranging this special event.
Stropkover Rebbe At Chabad of Melbourne CBD

There was a buzz in the air at Chabad of Melbourne CBD this Tuesday: the Stropkover Rebbe would be addressing heimishe city professionals. Some eager attendees took off work or travelled from Caulfield to be present.

Rabbi Dovid Leib Shmerling introduced the Stropkover Rebbe, noting the long-standing close ties between Stropkov and Lubavitch over the last century and that the present Stropkover Rebbe is a graduate of the Chabad Yeshivah of Lod.

The Stropkover Rebbe's addressed a peculiarity in the Parsha. Rashi says that one should only be 'mochiach' immediately prior to his death. Isn't it sometimes a mitzvah to rebuke? The Stropkover answered that yes rebuke is sometimes a necessity; but 'mochiach' also means to prove. At the end of Moshe's life, with the benefit of hindsight , Moshe could demonstrate that the path of Hashem and Torah are the right path and the good path. And Moshe's words were not only addressed the generation of the Midbar. rather, Moshe was speaking to 'kol Yisroel' meaning all Jews of all generation, for a Tzadik's voice is eternal.

The Stropkover Rebbe also passionately discussed how lucky we are to have such a close loving relationship with Hashem, to the extent that we address Hashem in the second person, "baruch ata'" rather than the reverential third person.

Commenting on the situation in Eretz Yisorel, the Stropkover Rebbe encouraged the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Mezuza campaign and commented that we write 'Shin Daled Yud' on the visible side of the Mezuza. This stands for both Shomer Dalsos Yisroel, which alludes to Hashem's care for Bnei Yisroel and Shomea Divrei Hashem which alludes to Bnai Yisroel's dedication to Hashem.

Fascinated by a long article on the Stropkov- Lubavitch connection, the Stropkover Rebbe prolonged his visit to read much of the article and refused to leave without a copy of the five pages.

Attendees left inspired and with thanks to Rabbi Chaim Herzog the Shaliach for arranging this special event.

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