Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candlelighting at 5:35pm, ends Saturday night at 6:33pm. The weekly Torah portion is Shoftim.

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 Rabbi Menachem Wolf. Parshat Shoftim- There Will Be No Civil War
This week a number of dire warnings were published on the web from different ‘spiritual’ sources (both Jewish and other) about civil war in America and the inevitable ‘Armageddon’. These were less religious in nature and more predictions made by spiritually gifted individuals focussing on the strife that exists within the USA and the wider western world. I generally don’t look at spiritual predictions unless they are explicitly stated in Kabbalah and interpreted by Kabbalistic scholars (in a consensus form) and that sort of stuff never happens, so basically, I pay little attention to any predictions. What we have in our tradition is that there will be a better future with Mashiach and it will be because of positive work in the now that is performed by a minority of humanity that will influence the majority. But perhaps my mind was sensitive to all this online chatter and able to be triggered because the Parshah of the week (Shoftim) speak about witchcraft and idolatry and last week’s Parshah spoke about the idea of false prophets. I am happy for anyone to predict anything and do not deny that there is truth in some people’s visions but I am not scared of predictions. There is a story in the Nach (writings of our prophets) about a prophet and king who had conflicting prophecies and both were correct as each was looking at the future based on different variables and each could see a future based on their next move. But neither future was certain to manifest because neither had made a move since the prophecy.

The chances of civil war in the west must be considered a real possibility but we can definitely create a change in the future by changing the now – currently there is no civil war so the dire predictions of what could happen in a civil war are irrelevant. We live in one of the greatest periods of history where anyone can have the influence that changes the way millions think just through a video, meme or tweet. So I call on you to use social media to create bridges for people to cross so they can meet new people and ideas. I ask you to fight the senseless hatred and bigotry online by creating lightning rods for tolerance, the sharing of ideas, explanations and the facilitating of curious discussion.

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