Hello again!

Well, High Holydays is over, and we are slipping down into summer mode here – long hot days calls for nothing more than a ice tea or coffee, and a great book from the Library to read. As always you can look for books here (a constant work in progress, but helpful if you want to see if we have a particular book) or you can email me to ask.

Auckland Jewish History

Recently I learnt of an exciting project to create a record of the rich cultural history of Auckland Jews. Read on for more information…
We are working on an exciting project to create a book about Auckland Jewry, by Auckland Jewry.  We wanted to update you and invite you to contribute to an important chapter of Jewish History in Auckland.Our aim is to create a record of Auckland’s more recent Jewish History to both preserve it and learn from it.  It will be a third volume in the published ‘Identity and Involvement- Auckland Jewry, Past and Present’ series.

We are looking for written contributions from individuals, families, community leaders and organisations. We are not looking for literary works – just authentic stories.

There is no formal template as to how contributions should be made. We want to capture, recognise and celebrate the great diversity which we have spiritually culturally and politically. They may be existing articles, eulogies, speeches, research or interviews, or something written especially for the book. They could range from a page to an extended essay. They could include the history or origin of the family/organisation, their experiences coming to the community, and their contributions, their reasons for coming and/or leaving, their  wider community contributions and roles and awards, or an event or experience that stands out.

We want to hear from all the different organisations within the Jewish communities in Auckland, about their activities ,what they are trying to do and what they have achieved ,and how their orientation and needs have changed over time.Ideally contributions would be between 400 words up to 2500 (especially in the case of extended families or organisations who have made noteworthy contributions to the local or  wider community).

Contributions need to be received by the 31st of January 2019.Please help us circulate this information both locally and overseas .

We want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile project. Please share this opportunity widely.

With promises that this will be a worthwhile project.Shalom,

Ann Gluckman and Deb Levy (Co-editors)

Contributions to be sent to Deb at auckland.jewry@gmail.com

If you have any questions, or if you like to be involved in the editorial process, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please feel free to contact Ann +64 9 5240047 or agluckman@xtra.co.nz or Deb +64 272 575 676 or auckland.jewry@gmail.com


Of course, the Library has the two previous volumes along with other books, all of which show a strong and rich Jewish cultural history in Auckland and beyond.


Hannukah in the Bays

This year your favourite community event is back and in a new location! The organisers have made a decision to have the event at Orakei Domain, in Okahu Bay so that it’s easier for people to get to. So come on down, Sunday December 9th, 5pm onwards, schmooze with your friends, listen to music, grab something to eat from a range of food, and hang out until the Menorah lighting around 8pm.

In Wellington -Sunday 9 December in the Soundshell at the Wellington Botanical Gardens: Hannukah 2018!

Come celebrate the Festival of Lights with the New Zealand Jewish Community from 11am – 3pm. Food & Drinks, Children’s Entertainment and more fun for the whole family. See you then!

Amigos of RFL are invited to attend the following event!

A Taste of Mexico

Jewish culture has thrived in Mexico for over 500 years

We will be sampling fine tequila while enjoying delicious Kosher
Mexican Cuisine

Hand crafted Margaritas will be flowing all night

A bueno opportunity to celebrate Mexican Jewish culture

Amigos of Raye Freedman Library can celebrate the fiesta

Thursday November 22nd
7 PM to 9 PM
Suggested Donation $10
Enquiries: office@rfl.org.nz



A grab bag of NZ authored books this month. I came across ‘Days are like Grass’ when, at a meeting, someone exclaimed that it was the most Jewish book she had read, while Julie Thomas follows up her two previous books with “Levi’s War”, about a young Jewish man, sent to London just on the outbreak of war, who is then recruited to go back into Germany as a spy. Heather Morris has come out with a book of outstanding historical fiction in “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”, based on the real story of Lale and Gita.

“Poetry and Exile” written by Nelson Wattie chronicles the last years of Karl Wolfskehl, a towering literary icon in Germany, forced out by the Nazis, who died in Auckland in 1948. This book will be of interest to those who are interested in mid-century European literature. Finally, one of NZ’s best writers, Vincent O’Sullivan, uses that well known path of Kiwi boy brings home English bride to uncover the legacy of Shoah on families.

As a result of LIMMUD 2018 (who went? Who had an amazing time? click on the link to see more) I managed to get a hold of Jessica Tamar Deutsch’s book “The Illustrated Pirkei Avot”. Richly drawn, Deutsch draws on her experience of reading the Pirkei Avot, and re-imagining them as wonderfully and fantastically drawn illustrations to produce this interesting book. I read through this book and picked up a lot more of the ethics covered in Pirkei Avot. So, if you struggled with reading Pirkei Avot, I highly recommend this graphic novel as a fresh way of approaching the text!

Kosher Visibility

In other news, a small but vital thing – we are throwing our weight behind a plan to have Countdown Supermarkets in East Auckland have Kosher shelves – where a section of shelves are identified as having Kosher products. There are already a number of kosher products in the supermarket already, but it would be helpful to have them all in the one section so we don’t have to wander each aisle. Also, having Kosher shelves helps raise the visibility of Jewish life in the Eastern Suburbs.

To do this we need people in Auckland, and particularly East Auckland, to email Countdown to ask for Kosher shelves.

Feel free to use and modify the text in the linked email (click above), and add any comments you may wish to make. For instance, I added that I was aware that Ugly Bagels 4 pack product (where their bagels are in packs of 4) are kosher, but they are not stocked by my local Countdown, which is annoying as it limits the variety of kosher meals I can have (besides, who doesn’t love lox and cream cheese?).

Your help in this campaign is appreciated! The success of this campaign can help in achieving kosher visibility in East Auckland.

Jewish Book Month

I discovered that November 2nd to December 2nd, in the month before Hannukah, is Jewish Book Month in the US.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says”I have devoted a good part of my life to Jewish literacy, the subject of a book I wrote twenty-five years ago. It’s only through this sort of literacy that we Jews can maintain a shared language and shared set of values (even if we sometimes disagree on how those values should be applied).

Study is sacred for us. An old book saved from the millions that the Nazis burned, now at the YIVO Library in New York, bears the stamp “The Society of Woodchoppers for the Study of Mishnah”. That the men who chopped wood, an arduous job with low social status that required no formal learning, still met regularly to study Jewish texts explains why we—these men’s grandsons and granddaughters and great-grandsons and great-granddaughters—have pursued reading and study with such avidity.”

Or L’Simcha Congregation, Pittsburgh

Like so many around the world I was shocked by the shootings committed at this Synagogue. We pay respect to the 11 that were murdered, pray that their memories be a blessing, and pray that the affected may be comforted. Though a limb has been torn from Or L’Simcha, we sill flourish.

Death is an ever present part of life. but there are rich resources that help us deal with this shocking event. For instance, this book is a meditation on the Kaddish that is said by mourners.

I wish you good shabbat where-ever you are, and the best for the rest of the calendar year.