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Jewish Life Centre- LIVE

Jewish Life Centre- LIVE


Chai for Chabad Strathavon


“We’re not a kichel and herring Shul,” Rabbi Ari Shishler told the crowd of 300 at Chabad of Strathavon’s 18th anniversary dinner, “Our vision is to translate Judaism into the 21st Century; to provide Judaism that is relevant, meaningful and welcoming for every Jew”.

Chabad of Strathavon started as a typical shtibel in the Shishler’s garage in 1999. At the time, many felt skeptical of the Shul’s chances of growing in an area that then had a limited Jewish population.

But, with the boom of the Sandton CBD, the rabbi’s vision proved correct and Jewish families began streaming into the area to live close to the business hub. The community began to grow and, with it, the rabbi and rebbetzin’s appetite for making a difference.

By 2009, the community had far outgrown the garage. Rather than simply renovate, Rabbi Shishler built a far larger building and launched the Jewish Life Centre. His vision included a place centre of experiential learning, a social Jewish hub and a hive of children’s activities. Today, the Jewish Life  Centre hosts over 30 classes a week and boasts a buzzing function hall and one of Sandton’s most popular playgrounds.

This past Wednesday night, the community celebrated its 18th birthday with a gala dinner, held at the centre. Popular actor and comedian, Harry Sideropoulous compered the evening, tickling the crowd with hilarious, yet powerful insights into the uniqueness of our Jewish community. Chief Rabbi Goldstein and head of Chabad South Africa, Rabbi Mendel Lipskar each lauded the Chabad of Strathavon community on pioneering a modern approach to Jewish activity and education in Sandton. The evening was both a celebration of growth and community-building, as it was a rousing call to engage every Jew in Sandton in a meaningful experience of Judaism. Rabbi Shishler highlighted that the dinner, like the Shul’s High Holiday services, did not have assigned seating, because the centre aims to provide a warm and inclusive experience of Judaism.

Laibl Wolf at Strathavon

Please join us for a weekend of mindfulness and spiritual exploration with renowned mystic, Rabbi Dr Laibl Wolf. 

Booking details here. 

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Creative Chaos!

One of the most successful branches of the Jewish Life Centre is our Women's Circle. Always creative, always exciting, the Women's Circle never fails to amaze with its slick, engaging and meaningful programmes. 

03.jpgThis month, the Women's Circle invited art counselor, Andy Cohen to run her "Creative Chaos" workshop. Andy began the evening by sharing her struggle to cope with the premature loss of her father, and how she discovered that her spontaneous art was extremely therapeutic. 

Calling on her experience, Andy has developed a fascinating workshop that helps people acknowledge that life is unpredictable and that we need to find the positive in everything.

Andy teamed the women up to produce artwork, but had a few surprises up her sleeve. By the end of the evening, each woman walked out with a personal gift that included some of her own art, as well as a meaningful life-lesson on staying positive during the tough times.  

(For more photos, click here)

Beautiful book boost for Learning Centre

Bookshelves.jpgOne of the primary goals of the Jewish Life Centre is to create Sandton's most dynamic Jewish Learning Centre. That's why we almost 30 Torah classes a week, as well as a host of one-on-one learning opportunities. 

All that learning needs a substantial library, and this week we installed the first phase of the Jewish Life Centre library. Michael Levy, an expert craftsman, hand-fashioned two magnificent bookshelves and completed installation at the begining of the week. These bookshelves, the first two of a dozen, carry almot 1000 volumes.

Now that we have somewhere to put them, we've hauled out hundreds of books we've collected and held in storage over the last couple of years. Included in the new library are two compelete sets of the Artscroll Talmud, discourses from the various Chabad Rebbes, Parsha commentators, the Shulchan Aruch and a wide range of English publications. 

All we need now is for you to come and use these valuable resources. Check our Shiur schedule or pop in to study with a partner or simply browse a Jewish book.

If you would like to sponsor books or bookshelves for our library, please contact Rabbi Shishler

Israel, Radical Islam & Antisemitism

 The war Israel cant win 01.jpgWhy is Israel villified more than any other country? 

Why does the world seem to remain blind to growing antisemitism?

How did Radical Islam become so big so quickly?

Explore ancient spiritual secrets that pinpoint the spiritual nature of the frightening times we are living through. Discover spiritual tools we should use to overcome these challenges.

Rabbi Ari Shishler, Chabad of Strathavon Jewish Life Centre, Wednesday 18th February, 8PM.

R50 per couple.

Book here

Welcome to our new teachers

This year, we are very pleased to welcome some new talent to our teaching staff.

Braun.jpgRabbi Kevin Braun has already been teaching at Strathavon for a year, but is now starting a new Chumash Shiur for men.
Rabbi Braun studied at Ohr Somayach locally and in Israel and taught for ten years at Yeshiva Maharsha school.
He is a pilot and is involved in business.
Rabbi Braun has a knack for discovering Jewish lessons in everyday life.


Youngworth.jpgBrigitte Youngworth was born in Rhodesia to a non-religious Jewish family. They lived in the Belgian Congo and moved to South Africa in 1975. She matriculated at King David VP and studied a BA(English) at the University of Cape Town. She sought spiritual fulfilment in many different religions and philosophies, believing that she would not find it in Judaism. All that changed when she was exposed to Chabad Chassidus, where she discovered the great positivity, warmth and spiritual depth of Judaism. Today she and her husband, Robert have five children and are both ba’alei teshuva. She teaches mikvah lessons to Jewish brides, has written several children’s books and talks on ChaiFM radio on Friday mornings with Mashi Lipskar.
Brigitte will be teaching "Connected Living" for young married women. 


2015 learning programme launches

General learning promo 2015.JPGOur new and improved learning programmes launches in February PG. It includes some very exciting new classes and series' and you will surely gain a fortune from participating.

As the year progresses, we look forward to PG adding more innovative and meaningful elements to our already dynamic learning programme, so watch this space for details.

Here's a great opportunity: If you have some time in the afternoons, we'll PG have some young guys available to study with you on Mondays to Thursdays.

We're also launching our new Hebrew course, so watch out for that one too!

Tuesday nights are our women's learning night, with a new shiur by Brigitte Youngworth and our Night Sem, which begins its third year.

Thursday evenings are "Yeshivah night" at Strathavon. If you have ever wanted to study Talmud, join Rabbi Finkelstein on Thursday nights for as he and his team begin their fourth tractate!

Rabbi Kevin Braun is launching a new men's shiur in Chumash- from the beginning and Rabbi Shishler's popular Tanya is back too!  

Je Suis Juif

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Please join us as we pay tribute to the memories of those who lost their lives last week in Paris.

The best response to terrorism is to stand strong and proudly Jewish, to add more light in tha face of darkness.

The programme on Friday night begins with Mincha & Tehillim at 6:00 p.m. We will also light candles in memory of the victims.

We will have a special tribute, followed by Shabbos davening and a beautiful kiddush.

May our public dedication to our Judaism neutralise those who would wish to harm our people. 

Tanya series' with Rabbi Shishler

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Tanya offers spiritual tools to succeed in tackling life's challenges.

Rabbi Shishler's Tanya classes are extremely popular, attracting dozens of people each week.  

This year, Rabbi Shishler is offering four Thursday night Tanya courses that will cover powerful and meaningful life-insights.


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Tanya October 2015.JPG 

Rosh Hashanah was spectacular!

Yes, we all know that more people come to Shul over Rosh Hashanah than during the rest of the year. But, this year was amazing! Not only were we bursting at the seams, quite literally, on the first day of Yom Tov, but we also had a whopper crowd on the second day! 

It was heartwarming to see so many new people at Shul, and even more heartwarming to have a number of people approach me after Yom Tov to become members of the Shul.

We had a great energy in Shul as well, people were engaged throughout. 

This year, we saw great team-effort that made a significant difference to the smooth running of the services. Our security team was highly professional, our children's service was age-appropriate and good old fun and it was special to have our own members lead the services and make the announcements during Shul.

Please G-d, Yom Kippur should be as meaningful and even fuller. Most importantly, Hashem should bless us all with a great year ahead! 

Five start catering this Shabbos

Another fun development at Shul, this Shabbos: We had the chefs from the five-star Moloko hotel try their hand for the first time at making kosher foot (you know, kichel and herring etc.) 

The Rebbitzen supervised them in our kitchen and Candice Kessler ran the whole process. The result: A delicious and expertly presented kiddush!

We're still going to fine tune the formula to have their help as often as possible, but we're headed in a great direction, BH.

Special thanks to Marc Wachsberger for making the Moloko staff available to us.

Challah campaign well received

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Larry Krug and co. pulled off a highly successful challah drop off on Friday. 400 challahs packaged with a note to every Jewish family in the neighbourhood were dropped at homes with mezuzos in the Strathavon area.

Dozens of members of the Shul got to work packing and schlepping and the recipients were most grateful. The emails of thanks and wonder have already come in from our thankful neighbours. Here are some sample messages: 

Dear Rabbi.  Thank you so much for the kitkahs delivered to my townhouse today.  It is very kind of you.   Wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year and perhaps a full congregation.  Yours very sincerely R. E. 

Dear Rabbi and Chabad of Strathavon Family,

Many thanks for the lovely delivery of fresh Challah to our home this afternoon.  It is appreciated as is the invitation to join your congregation for Yom Tov.

Shana Tova to you all.

Kind regards L. D.

Great AGM

Last night's AGM was well-attended, had a wonderful energy and was very contsructive. Thank you to all who participated and especially to all who gave contsructive suggestions. A special thank you to Steven Solarsh, Anthony Nathan and Shaun Levitan, who presented clearly and succinctly on the state of play and goings on at our Shul and Jewish Life Centre.

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Yoav Dogan as the new treasurer of the Shul.

One of the most important outcomes of the AGM was to have a working meeting to brainstorm various ideas and work on implementing new initiatives that we would like to develop as well as to work on areas that we need to improve in the Shul, our community and the Jewish Life Centre. 

Please diarise Tuesday, 29th July from 7-9PM for this working meeting.

The minutes of the AGM are available, if you would like to receive them, please email the rabbi.

I am feeling very encouraged by last night's meeting and very optimistic about our community's future. I hope that you will join us in making great things happen at Chabad of Strathavon. 

Night sem a first for Joburg Jewry

20140204_194655.jpgWhat does a Jewish girl do when she finishes school? She might enrol at university or take a gap year and travel Europe or the Far East. If she is a religious girl, there is a good chance that she'd study at a women's seminary in Israel, the UK or the USA.

Unfortunately, not every girl who wants to study in seminary gets the chance to do so. Many girls who want to get started on their degree would love to further their Jewish study at the same time. Typically, her choices have been black or white: Either travel abroad or put Jewish study on the back burner.

Now, thanks to the foresight and enthusiasm of Chaya Avtzon, girls will have the chance to progress their Jewish learning, as they study in college. Starting this coming Tuesday evening, girls from around Joburg, representing a wide range of communities, will join together for SA's first-ever "Night Sem". 

For now, the programme runs one night a week, on a Tuesday, but the vision is to have this unique programme grow and expand.

Semester one sees two classes, Rabbi Carlebach's on the Parsha and Rabbi Shishler's on "Stories from the Tanach that everyone misunderstands", followed by a Pilates class. 

For further information, please click here

2014 bursts into life!

These December holidays were like sitting on the runway, rumbling with the throttle of all four engines and just waiting for the pilot to let the brake go. We had a wide range of exciting initiatives just waiting for January to come so we could kick them into motion.

And it sure has been exciting, thank G-d!

We started the year with new hands on deck- both staff (driver and admin lady) and volunteer teams who are getting stuck in to fixing up admin, tackling finances and launching new projects. 

You can already see the results. Our year flew into high gear with the launch of a fascinating parenting course with the "Super Granny". Then we launched our new girls' night seminary, drawing 50 girls from diverse backgrounds for an evening of sushi-making, socializing and study. The programme will initially run on Tuesday nights and includes two shiurim and a pilates class.

Rabbi Shishler's Tanya class is back on from this week, his new series is all about "Keeping your chin up". Next week, Spirituality for the Thinking Mom gets back into the saddle on Thursday mornings.

Our most exciting project to date is the inter-community collaborative programme called "Da'as". Da'as is a learning programme that is shared by ourselves, Chabad of Sandton and the Shul of Hyde Park. Watch this space for developments around this innovative programme.

The Shul will focus inward on Friday, 14th January, with a community-building Friday night Chinese dinner. And then, Purim is right around the corner and we're hatching a great event for the 16th of March. 

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