Times: Yom Kippur starts on Wednesday at 5:52 pm and ends on Thursday at 6:50 pm.

Shabbat starts on Friday at 5:54 pm and ends on Saturday night at 6:52 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Ha’azinu.

Mincha in the CBD: We will seek to resume mincha at L2/430 Lt Collins after DST starts if there is demand. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Wednesday Weekly Shiur is in recess and will resume on 6 Oct with a lunch to celebrate the completion of the chapter and the volume. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Mandi Katz. The renowned biblical scholar Marc Brettler describes the book of Yonah which we read on Yom Kippur afternoon as “word for word the best book ever written”. High praise indeed for this minor prophet, and praise which seems at odds with the strangeness of the story.

It is perhaps the capacity of this book to be understood in so many ways that makes it so remarkable.

There is an obvious connection between the story and teshuvah in Yonah’s mission of persuading the people of Nineveh to repent, but Rabbi Alex Weisman reads a lesson of optimism in the book that may be less obvious.

While he is on boat to Tarshish a terrible storm takes place and Yonah gives up in despair and avoids reality by trying to sleep (who hasn’t tried that?!). But the captain of the boat wakes him and asks him to “Call out to your God. Perhaps  – ulai –  the God will give some thought to us that we may not perish”.

Rabbi Weisman focuses on the power of maybe – we need hope even where outcomes are far from certain. And it occurs to me that hope without evidence that things will change can be naïve and even empty – but where hope gives us reason to act in spite of uncertain outcomes, that becomes optimism. ‘Maybe’ is never a reason to give up – the hope of ‘perhaps’ and a commitment to act gives us optimism – the most powerful tool we have to face the worst of ourselves and the things that trouble us in the world. May we, like Yonah, arise from stupor to realise personal and collective spiritual growth in these coming days.

Gmar tov to all.

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