Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 8:25 pm and ends on Saturday night at 9:31 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Shemot.

The next Shabbat starts on Friday 31/12/21, at 8:27 pm and ends on Saturday, at 9:32 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Va’eira and Shabbat Mevarchim Shevat. Rosh Chodesh in on Monday.

The Shabbat following that starts on Friday 7/1/22, at 8:28 pm and ends on Saturday, at 9:32 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Bo.

This newsletter is in recess and will resume in mid-Jan.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha is in recess for the summer. We look forward to opening up next year when people return to their offices and we have sufficient numbers. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur is now in recess – returning in late January. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to Geoff Bloch. Anti-semitism on the rise? It all started in this week’s Torah reading. Our arch-enemy, Pharaoh, was the first to issue an edict of genocide, condemning Jewish males to be drowned in the Nile at birth. But he was also the first to refer to us as Am Bnei Yisrael. From the very first moment of our nationhood, we have been targeted for annihilation.

When properly analysed, this juxtaposition of nationhood and persecution should be a source of inspiration rather than a cause for fear and despair. How so?

What has become of our violent adversaries? The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans, the Persians, the Greeks, the Crusades and, in living memory, the Third Reich have all vanished as God exacted midah k’neged midah – measure for measure. Over the broad sweep of Jewish history there is a clear pattern of subjugation and survival which defies all secular logic.

No other nation on earth has been persecuted so relentlessly yet seen off all their enemies. No other nation on earth has survived for so long, let alone re-established its homeland barely three years after its darkest hour. But then again, no other nation on earth received the brit olam (Bereshit 34) – the Divine promise that they would always endure.

Surely that is something to celebrate and reflect upon, with gratitude to God, this Shabbat.

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