22 October 2019 - 23 Tishri 5780 - כ"ג תשרי ה' אלפים תש"פ
Hong Kong's Carmel School - Learning OutsideThe Classroom E-mail

A very interesting initiative involved the  Middle School attending the Jewish Cemetary in Hong Kong, a project for community service and outreach.

With the co-operation of Howard Elias and under teacher Mark Davidson’s supervision, the students presented a beautiful compositing box to beautify the cemetery by providing the fertilization materials and nutrients necessary to beautify the flower beds and gravesites.  These cemetery enhancements will help dignify the beauty of the Jewish Cemetery.


The students designed and constructed this special wooden box container which will provide the natural ecological and organic approach to beautifying the environment and respecting the natural surrounding.  

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What Is Out There? - A Star Visitor's Perspective E-mail

Rabbi Chasdai Crescas (14th century) wrote, that nothing in the Torah precludes the existence of life on other worlds. The verse “Your Kingdom is one, which encompasses all worlds... (Psalms 145:13)” implies the existence of more than one world.

According to the Talmud there are 18,000 (at least!). The existence of these other worlds and the fact that they rely on Divine Providence make it reasonable to assume that life does exist there!

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Lessons from an insurance broker Print E-mail

Amongst the many things that end up on the “To Do Tomorrow” list (a.k.a. the “Procrastination List”) is the purchasing of medical insurance. Last week I reconfirmed my suspicion that this wasn’t something I wanted to do today.  

Nevertheless, thanks to a very patient insurance broker we got through the exercise.  While recuperating from this experience, it struck me that there is more to medical insurance than meets the eye.  Some of the intricate details of the policies we studied actually carried within them very important life messages.

Individual and Group Plans

When signing up for an individual plan, the insurance company reserves the right to exclude coverage of pre-existing conditions. Fair enough.  This clause, however, is often waived when you sign up as part of a group.

“Do not disassociate yourself from the group.”  So says the Mishna in Pirkei Avot (2:4)

We often feel that we want to be individuals.  We want to be seen as an entity onto ourselves and judged on our personal merits. This is quite understandable when things are going well.  Though, how does that work out for you when you hit a low moment?  
Imagine that it’s your lucky day and someone hands you a bag of coins.  Amongst the many coins there are a few that are quite nicked and worn.  Chances are that you’ll overlook them. How about if someone hands you one single coin and its appearance seems problematic?  You’d probably ask for a replacement.

In balance, sticking together with a group is the better route to go.  Within a group we find the support we need and can give support to those who need it.


The insurance company will pay the majority of certain medical expenses – provided that the patient takes responsibility for a small percentage of the charges.

When G-d set about to create Man, He said, “Let us make Man.” (Gen. 1:26)  Who was He talking to?  According to some commentaries, G-d was talking to Man himself.  He was inviting Man to become a partner in his own creation.  

When an elephant is born he cannot choose to be the biggest elephant in the zoo. A monkey can’t choose to be better than the monkey sitting next to him on the log.  Only humans can actively decide what they want to be and how they want to contribute to the world around them.   

G-d gave us most of what we need and the bit that we can contribute to society is up to us.  Life works on a co-payment basis. 

G-d will deliver his majority share.  We’ve got to pitch in with our little bit, too.

Silver, Gold and Diamond Plans

Within the very same company there are different types of coverage available.  While the policy doesn’t state it clearly, it all really boils down to how high a premium you are prepared to pay.  

Make no mistake – no one wants to pay more.  However, those that truly want the best recognise that it comes with a higher price tag.

Everyone wants to live a life that is meaningful and worthwhile.  It is similar to mountain climbing. The altitude we achieve is based on how much we are willing to exert ourselves.  

The choice is ours.  Only willing to take the path that is rated “easy”?  You’ll get minimum benefits and most of what you experience may only have minimal meaning. You’ll get the coverage of the Silver Plan.  Want a life of true meaning and fulfillment? Want Diamond coverage?  You will need to pay the price. But it will be effort well spent.

That’s what the Good Care Insurance Policy states.  That’s what the ultimate insurance policy, Torah, states, as well.


The above thoughts were inspired by Asaf Hochberg of Libra Insurance – insurance broker par excellence.

Supplied by Goldie Avtzon, Shlucha of Chabad Hong Kong

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