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RBS (Read Before Shabbes) – Osher, Destruction, Timmy, and Yaron

November 6, 2015 – 11:16 amNo Comment

movemberHere’s what you need to read about before Shabbes….

1) Osher on moustaches
2) Timmy being awesome at Jewish Care
3) Women destroying the (rabbinic) joint
4) Yaron on paranoia


1) From the inimitable Osher Gutnick:

‘I dropped in on mum on the way to work today, and with one look at the smeary stain on my top lip asked if was doing “moustache in November” I didn’t have the heart to correct her of course….

So there’s quite a funny side to ‪#‎Movember‬, least of which is my incredibly poor attempt to cultivate a bristly lip monster…

The serious side is of course the vital work the #Movember fundraising and awareness campaigns do around prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health and physical inactivity.

Please click on the fundraising link below to help support my efforts to create a world where we are doing the best job possibly to tackle major men’s health issues.

As a bonus for your support, I will share a new page of this great little book – see below – as we pass each fundraising goal!’

Click here to donate.

From FB – with permission


2) We received this email from Jenna Chaitowitz from Jewish Care and thought we should share it with you – not least because it involves the very wonderful Timmy Rubin….

‘I wanted to make contact about Jewish Care’s recently-held 19th Annual Generations of Women Brunch, as I thought this could be of interest for Galus Australis.

Over 200 women attended the event held at The International in Brighton on 28 October, which included an inspirational address by the charismatic Timmy Rubin, who is well-known for running Melbourne’s Lubavitch mikveh and being Australia’s only Jewish female prison chaplain.

Over $60,000 was raised on the day that will go towards Jewish Care’s Housing Support Program, which supports individuals and families at risk of homelessness. ‘


3) There’s been a lot of talk around the Rabbinical Council of America’s ban on women serving as religious leaders.

You can see the rabbis’ statement here.

Read some commentary here.

But what you really need to see is this response to the ruling. WARNING: VIDEO BELOW FEATURES AUDIO OF A WOMAN’S VOICE! SINGING! (hat tip Mandi K.)

4) Yaron Gottlieb writes:

‘On Yom Kippur at a shule in Melbourne the time clock wasn’t set correctly, and the lights went off in the middle of maariv. Even though there was a perfectly innocent explanation, a lot of people’s first thoughts turned to terrorism.

As a community we seem to be living inconstant fear of anti-Semitism and terrorism. But the reality doesn’t match our level of concern.

Yesterday there were reports of a horrific attack on a member of the community. He was bashed in his driveway and his car was stolen, and predictably there was talk (although not from the leadership), about the Islamist and anti-Semitic threat in Melbourne. Advice ranged from keeping up vigilance to fighting back against the Muslims.

All this skipped over important questions – was this a criminal action with no connection to religion? If it was a hate crime was it organised or a lone wolf, and are we justified in painting an entire religious group as criminals (imagine our anger if a Jewish lone wolf tarnished the entire community)?

Thankfully the CSG did a great job in calling this a criminal act thus taking the oxygen out of the hate speech that was coming from some quarters.

However, this raises a more significant question – what are the costs of being on high alert and hyper-sensitive to potential attack on the community?

The field of epigenetics has new insights into the role that our environment and interactions have on our genetic makeup, by either switching certain genetic markers on or off . There is new research looking at the role of stress on future generations, and it is definitely a trait that can be inherited by future generations.

In fact it’s quite likely third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors have an epigenetic inheritance from their grandparents’ trauma.

When John Howard told us over a decade ago to be alert but not alarmed, I have no doubt that bred the over the top hyperbole of Tony Abbott. Being constantly on alert helps nobody, and creates a culture in the community that can quickly descend into paranoia [see bottom of post for Achinoam Nini’s music video, Paranoia].

The crime figures in Australia are very low, but they still far outweigh the incidents of terrorism. The reality is that terrorism in Australia cannot lay claim to a body count in double figures since 9/11.

And serious anti-Semitism is almost as rare (unless the AJN are grossly under-reporting, which I struggle to believe). The truth is that you are far more likely to get mugged than be involved in a hate crime, so the government’s over-reach to protect us really creates unnecessary stress and paranoia.

I am not suggesting that we switch off and ignore real threats. That was the genesis of the 9/11 attacks. But rather we should be aware of the reality in which we live and not overstate the threat, or overreact.We should act on evidence based research and at all times be proportional.

Many people point to Europe and the clashes between Muslims and Jews there. The simple response is that we are not in Europe. We are in Australia and the Muslim population here is vastly different to the one in Europe. We should be responding to the Australian experience and not the one in Europe.

Alternatively we could push the Muslim community into a corner, and help create an environment where the European experience will be replicated. And then we really will have something to fear.

Disclosure: Yaron Gottlieb is the editor’s husband, but is otherwise a reputable character.’


And if you’re still upright after the last video, we’ve got some more footage of a woman singing. There’s not much better than Achinoam Nini singing about paranoia… Gut Shabbes!

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