Mazal Tov to St. Kilda Shule on their lease of basement-level space in a prominent Bourke St. building and their plans to conduct regular services for CBDers.

JBD – Jews of the Melbourne CBD is now on LinkedIn. Follow us here.

Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 6:56pm and ends on Saturday night at 7:51pm. The weekly Torah portion is Tazria and Parshat HaChodesh, and it’s Rosh Chodesh. Move the clock one hour back on Saturday night and enjoy some early morning sunlight for a bit.

Mincha in the CBD: Mincha will resume on 4 April at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St. Join the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues on Wednesday at about 1.10 pm at Warlow’s Legal – 2/430 Lt Collins St. – and via Zoom. Current topic: mandatory vs contracted worker eating rights. Details here and on the WhatsApp group.

Thought of the Week with thanks to David Prins. This week is Parshat HaChodesh. “This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall be for you the first of the months of the year.” We learn from this that our months are lunar months, and we must set our calendar on that basis – originally through actual sighting of the moon; now using a fixed lunar calendar.

The Torah refers to Nissan as the first of our lunar months. Mishnah Rosh Hashanah tells us that there are four new years; among them are the first of Nissan and the first of Tishrei. There is justification in our Jewish sources for counting our months from either of these lunar months, and counting our years from either our coming out of Egypt (the system of counting in the period of the Geonim – “minyan shetarot”) or from creation (the source for which seems to date from around the time of the Rambam). There is no Jewish source for counting our months and years based on a solar calendar, which would be in apparent complete contradiction to the command in this week’s maftir, and there is certainly no justification for counting solar years and months using a calendar whose origin is connected to the founder of a non-Jewish religion.

Rav Yaakov Medan of Yeshivat Har Etzion writes: Woe to us when it comes to the Day of Judgment, when we must answer to He who commanded, at Sinai, “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt” for the sin of omitting any mention of His Kingship from the order of our time and calendar, commemorating instead the Nazerene.

I appreciate that living and working in a non-Jewish world we are required to conform with and use the calendar of the external society with which we interact. I know of no-one who says kaddish on the anniversary of the passing of a close relative based on a non‑Torah calendar. I know no-one who sets a date for a bar mitzvah using anything other than a Torah-compatible lunar calendar. Why would we celebrate birthdays 1 to 12, and 14 to 120, in a different way to the 13th birthday? Why in our personal family celebrations, do we persist in celebrating anniversaries based on a calendar that is alien to our Torah values, and only perhaps marking the date in a Torah conforming manner by having a secondary “Hebrew Birthday” or “Hebrew Wedding Anniversary”? I suggest that now is an appropriate time to reflect on our practices, and consider whether we should change to use a Torah-compatible calendar whenever we can, to match our adherence to Torah and Mitzvot in other aspects of our lives.

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