Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candlelighting at 5:17pm, ends Saturday night at 6:17pm. The weekly Torah portion is Va’etchanan and Shabbat Nachamu. Tu b’Av in on Monday (7/8).

Upcoming Event: Wednesday, August 9th: Lunchtime lecture with Yedidya and Lital Slonim on The Political Conflict in Israel” Journey Between the Past, Present and Future. A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Land Redemption in Israel Today. Mincha at 1:00pm and lunch/lecture at 1:10pm at Level 5, South Tower, 459 Collins Street (cnr Williams).  RSVP for catering purposes to events@jbd.org.au by COB Monday, 7th August. For more information click here for JBD’s Facebook page or here for the JBD website.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha continues at 1:00pm at 459 Collins using the SMS system as a reminder.

New Mincha Minyan: A second mincha minyan is running Mon-Thu at 1:15pm at Empress Diamonds, Level 10, Suite 7, 55 Swanston St. Join the WhatsApp list with Gabi Yitshaki 0413 145 577

Study: Wednesday shiur & lunch is on Wednesday at about 1.15pm at Billing Bureau, following mincha.

Kosher Food in the CBD: Unfortunately, due to lack of demand there is no longer kosher food being sold in the CBD. Glicks, we want you back!!

Thought of the Week with thanks to Geoff Bloch. This week’s haftarah (Isaiah 40:1), which we always read in the wake of 9 Av, commands us to be comforted. Although our behaviour can be prescribed, Rabbi Riskin poses the question: How can our moods and attitudes be regulated? How can we, in every generation, be commanded to be comforted and to feel optimistic?

One answer may lie in the parasha rather than in the haftarah itself. Moshe says: (Devarim 4:31) “The Lord is a compassionate G-d, who will never forsake or destroy you; He does not forget the eternal covenant He swore to your fathers.” That covenant is the everlasting covenant struck with Avraham and his descendants, to be their God for all time.

Over the broad sweep of Jewish history, there is a very clear pattern of subjugation and survival. Despite our tiny numbers we have seen off the great Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires of ancient times and, in living memory, the Third Reich which was supposed to last a thousand years.

So in the wake of 9 Av we are commanded to be comforted because we have survived and continue to flourish in defiance of exile and persecution. 9 Av is a symbol not so much of our vulnerability as it is of our eternity.

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