Give me a break

Give me a break

Sometimes you have to follow Plan B By: Aron Ziegler Rather amazingly, the verses in the Chumash which instruct us about the festival of Shavuot do not state that it is the festival commemorating the giving of the Torah. Instead, the Torah refers to Shavuot as, alternatively, the “festival of the harvest of the first fruits (Bikurei) of your labour”[1]; “festival of weeks…the first (- Bikurei) wheat harvest”[2]; or “(The holy convocation of) Bikurim” – ‘First fruits’ or “first offerings”[3]. Although there is what to debate[4], nevertheless tradition has us…

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Did you say dairy?

Did you say dairy?

Blintzes and crepes for Shavuos By: Richard Pearce, Owner and Head Chef Totally Kosher Shavuos is a celebration of the giving of the Torah. It is Hashem and His Torah that have preserved and been the motivating force of the Jewish people’s existence throughout the ages. Cultures, diets, languages, and countries of residence all change, yet Torah remains constant because it is founded on unconditional truth, the only kind of truth that can continue to insure the unique existence of the Jewish people despite all odds. The Torah was given…

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Sharing the spotlight

Sharing the spotlight

A broken Shabbos lamp inspires a home-grown source of illumination By Chandrea Serebro Ray Wainman is a 73-year young Jewish South African man born in Vereeniging who has a flair for all things handy. A regular amateur handyman to his family and friends, five years ago, while visiting his sister Sharon Bolel and her husband Rabbi Shem, Ray was handed his sister’s Shabbos lamp to fix. It was “falling apart” in her estimation, and she told her brother that she was on the verge of having to buy another costly…

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Buried treasure!

Buried treasure!

An unexpected discovery opens a window into the history of the Johannesburg Jewish community By Chandrea Serebro What does Johannesburg have in common with the Qumran Caves? If it were a bad pub joke, I’m sure I would have been booed off the stage by now, but you’d be surprised, and, I’m sure, eager to discover that we actually do indeed share something amazing with this group of eleven caves in the West Bank, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Like all good stories, it starts…

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We will do, and we will understand

We will do, and we will understand

  Using the apple tree as a source of strength By: Dovid Samuels At the greatest moment of our history, when we received the holy Torah at Mount Sinai, we made an important declaration to Hashem: Na’aseh v’nishma – We will do and we will hear (understand). This means that we, collectively, made a commitment to fulfil the mitzvos of the Torah, in their entirety, before even fully understanding what each mitzvah means, or whether we were even able to do it. Our Sages teach us that upon making this…

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Forever changed

Forever changed

Facing challenges head on and choosing to make a difference in other people’s lives By Chandrea Serebro “With a busy career as a casting agent in the television and film industry, there was little time to ever slow down. But, the day of my late stage breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, everything came to a screeching halt.” Addi Lang found herself “living every woman’s nightmare”: “life in cancerland – a rollercoaster experience; feelings of shock, denial, fear, guilt, and depression.” But Addi was determined to change the course of her journey,…

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Promoting a society of inclusion

Promoting a society of inclusion

Seeing children as children – not labels – despite their enormous challenges By Ilan Preskovsky Based on the ideals of “inclusion, community, fun”, Shutaf is an Israeli organisation, based in Jerusalem, which is perhaps best known for bringing the American institution of summer camps to Israeli children and teenagers – both for children with and without special needs, but catering specifically to children with physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities. As its co-founder and co-director, Beth Steinberg, is quick to stress, this isn’t a “special needs” camp where children are seen…

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The Divine Decrees of the King

The Divine Decrees of the King

By: Robert Sussman Our Sages teach a fundamental concept: the beginning of a thing includes within it everything that will come afterwards, while the end of a thing serves to reinforce the beginning. In other words, the beginning of something serves as a preface, like a general discourse on a matter, with all of the details to follow thereafter, and the end of that thing serves to emphasise and support what was contained in the beginning. With this idea in mind, let’s take a closer look at the first and…

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