CTJC Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation Bulletin Number 119
Committee 2016/2017 Chairman Treasurer Secretary Synagogue Officer Education Officer Welfare Officer Bulletin Officer CUJS Liaison Kiddush Officer Committee Member
Jonathan Allin Jonathan Allin Barry Landy Michael Amior Rosalind Landy Sarah Schechter Barry Landy Jo Landy Jonathan Harris Neta Amior
Bulletin Committee: Michael Amior Barry Landy Rosalind Landy Board of Deputies
Dr Robert Marks
Views expressed in this bulletin do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or of the committee of the CTJC. The Editors express their grateful thanks to all contributors.
CTJC email list To join the CTJC email list please send an email to Barry Landy BL10@cam.ac.uk, or Jonathan Allin at Jonathan@jonathanallin.com The cover picture is a 1944 P51 Mustang which will fly past the memorial service at the Madingley Road American Cemetery on May 17.
Contents List Message from the Chair Board of Deputies report Book Review Calendar Eulogy for Elihu Lauterpacht Joke Memorial Service at the Madingley American Cemetery Pesach Recipe Travelogue: 6 shuls in 5 weeks Travelogue: the Rangoon shul Travelogue: travels in New Zealand Remininscences: Metzias Social and Personal
3 26 24 5 10 19 7 21 12 14 18 16 6
From the Chair Pesach 2017 The bible can be read in many different ways: a history, a moral code, how a nation was forged from a rabble of tribes, an assertion of our covenant with God. God made us with free will. Which is where at all started to go wrong. Clearly God started with high hopes. Peace loving vegetarians who, with our free will, would remain close to God. But from the outset we thwarted his intentions. As a consequence we were thrown out of Eden and went on to kill our brother. We generally got ourselves into trouble and were only rescued from complete destruction by Noah. After that we decided that vegetarianism and friendly relations with the animals was too difficult, so God let us kill animals for food. The Tower of Babel was another turning point: it was the last time God explicitly attempted to stop a civil engineering project that would otherwise distract us from our relationship with him. At this point God had pretty much given up on humanity. Moral behaviour is now very much the exception, the exception of course being Abraham. But even Abraham had to go through the ÑÉâóí, so that he, and we, understood that child sacrifice was no longer acceptable. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all have their stories to tell, they all had to struggle to do the right thing before maturing into statesmen. 430 years pass between Abraham’s first visit to Egypt and the Exodus. Then the moaning really began. Oy, did we kvetch. We forgot about the misery of slavery, the very inability to exercise our free will. Suddenly life in Egypt was sitting around bubbling pots of food. We complained 3
about lack of water, of food, of meat. We were so greedy that we ignored öÅ and went out to get extra portions anyway. God got so fed up that (in òÅÉéÅ) he said "you will eat meat ... until it comes out of your nose". A most unpleasant image. And the problem, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks might say, is that kvetching makes you a victim. You can’t be free if you spend all your time complaining. Moses attempts to keep us on the straight and narrow, but the moment he turns his back on us we forget everything we’ve agreed to, and make ourselves a Golden Calf to worship. Which makes me think that another way of looking at the bible is that even though we continuously fail to live up to God’s expectations, He nonetheless continues to forgive and to compromise. So what does ÖêâöÖòá èéÜ mean? What is this freedom for? We have opportunities to travel unprecedented by earlier generations. The wonderful travelogues in this bulletin are only possible because we have this freedom of movement. In çâòÖÉ we learn that one of the first commandments on entering Israel was to set up a judicial system, a far reaching and enlightening mitzvah. A judicial system is the bedrock of a society. In Israel, America, and the UK we have seen the importance of our courts in controlling the excesses of our presidents and prime ministers. It is the righteous judgement, impartiality, and independence of our courts that ultimately will protect our freedom. The alternative is despotism. Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, as we learn from Rabbi Opennheimer’s ÉîëÑ, understood the importance of our judiciary in enabling and protecting our freedom. For most of us, providing no-one is actually breaking down our front door, we don’t care too much about what’s going on outside. Just give us our daily pizzas and game shows, and we’ll be content. But this cannot be enough. Freedom must be more than the right to pizzas and game shows. Freedom is a precious responsibility. The memorial service this summer at the American Cemetery might be an opportunity to reflect on that responsibility. Maybe ÖêâöÖòá èéÜ is to give us the opportunity to help make things right. To help deliver çÖåí èÖóö. Perhaps God has stood by us through thick and thin in the hope that we will use our free will, and our freedom, to put the world back together and to live up to His expectations. This is a big ask. So perhaps, as a small step, we could consider ’ÇÉâòÅéó èÖóö. We mustn’t take our Cambridge Jewish community for granted. The "pizzas and game shows" don’t just happen. If we want to meet our own expectations for a supportive and thriving community, we need to be involved. In a few months we will hold what I think will be the most 4
important CTJC AGM for many years. A chairman, treasurer, and secretary need to be elected. We need people to edit the CTJC magazine, manage the website, help with shul maintenance, and so on. Please, please, make every effort to attend the AGM and help ’ÇÉâòÅéó èÖóö. . Please enjoy this magazine. With thanks to Barry Landy for bringing it together. Together with Lauren, Benjamin, Daniel, and Victoria, may I wish you áéÓÖ òã Çá. Jonathan Allin, Chair, CTJC *******************
Religious Calendar Purim 2017 Saturday 11 March 2017 Maariv will be after shabbat at 7.00 pm immediately followed by Megillah Reading, Sunday 12 March 2017 Shacharit at 8 am, immediately followed by Megillah Reading. Pesach 2017 Anyone who would like to attend a Seder, or who knows someone who would like to attend a Seder is invited to consult Mr Barry Landy (C. 570417) who will try to arrange a suitable host. Derby Stores (Cambridge 354391) will take Pesach orders. Monday April 10 Fast of the Firstborn: Shacharit 7am Finish all Chametz by 10.24 am Burning of Chametz by 11.45 am Festival starts 7.34 pm; Minchah/Maariv 7.15 pm Tuesday April 11 Shacharit 9.30 am Wednesday April 12 Shacharit 9.30 am Festival ends 8.41 pm Sunday April 16 Festival Starts 7.43 pm Minchah/Maariv 7.30 pm Monday April 17 Shacharit 9.30am Tuesday April 18 Shacharit 9.30 am
Festival Ends 8.52pm 5
SHAVUOT 2017 Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Tuesday May 30 Festival starts 8.54pm: Minchah/Maariv to be announced Wednesday May 31 Shacharit 9.30 am; Minchah/Maariv to be announced Thursday June 1 Shacharit 9.30 am; Festival Ends 10.15 pm Tisha B’Av 2017 Monday July 31
Fast Commences 8:52pm Maariv and Eichah 9.30pm
Tuesday August 1
Shacharit at 730am (expected to finish about 930am) Minchah 1.45 pm or 6pm (to be decided on the day) Fast ends at 9:40pm *******************
COMMUNITY NEWS Mazeltov
To Michael and Neta Amior on the birth of Eitan To Sarah Schechter on the birth of her granddaughters Ayana and Beau-i To Ayala Gate who is celebrating her Batmitzvah on Purim, March 12 To Moshe Peck who is celebrating his Barmitzvah Shabbat Parah, March 18 To Daniel Allin and Anna Dimitrieva and their families on the occasion of their wedding
To Amalya Zeller after her life saving operation Condolences
To Helen Goldrein on the death of her father Gerald Montague Morris
Unique memorial event in Cambridge Mark Harris IN EARLY summer this year, a unique commemorative ceremony, with a significant Jewish content, will be held at the American Cemetery and Memorial located just outside Cambridge. Lead organisers the Major Clive Behrens Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) in Leeds, supported by the city’s branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England (JHSE), have teamed up with an informal group (led by Marilyn Fersht, chair of the Cambridge Jewish Residents Association) representing the city’s Jewish community in a proposal "to honour all those remembered at the cemetery, with the Jewish dead particularly in mind". The immaculately tended, 30.5-acre site, situated between the villages of Madingley and Coton, is the only United States, Second World War (WW2) military cemetery in the United Kingdom. It was set out temporarily on this land, donated by the University of Cambridge, in 1943. But at the end of the conflict, the area was chosen and established as the permanent garden of remembrance for fallen American service personnel. Dedicated officially in 1956, the grounds are owned and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (which is a principal supporter of the planned event). The cemetery’s lawns hold 3,812 graves, including those of 80 Jewish servicemen whose headstones are distinguished by a Magen David. All those interred here had been based in Britain during the war; and were killed mainly on missions during the Strategic Bombing Campaign over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe, or in the Battle of the Atlantic. A lengthy wall bearing the ’Tablets of the Missing", which overlooks the Great Mall’s reflecting pools stretching from the flagpole platform to the memorial chapel, is inscribed with the names of 5,127 American personnel (mostly air crew), the majority of whom have no known resting-place. A 4,000 square-foot Visitor Centre, containing a museum, was inaugurated in 2014. Last January, in the William Thatcher Room at Fitzwilliam College, an introductory meeting in connection with (what has become designated as) ’The Leeds-Cambridge Initiative" was convened between Cambridge Jewish community representatives and some of the Leeds organisers. These included Alan Myerson (chairman of the city’s RBL branch, all of whose members apparently are Jewish) and Malcolm Sender (of the Leeds’ JHSE branch). The Cambridge attendees included Ros and Barry Landy (who’d also kindly arranged the accommodation), Lauren and Jonathan Allin and Jewish student chaplain Mordechai Zeller; I was invited to come along, too. Unfortunately absent from the Leeds’ delegation was RBL chaplain Rabbi Anthony Gilbert. He’s also a minister/chazan at the Etz Chaim Synagogue in the city, and had to officiate at a levoya that afternoon. We’d learned earlier that the special commemoration is planned for Wednesday, 17 May 2017 with a noonday start-time. So far as concerns the tribute’s content, it’s proposed that Rabbi 7
Gilbert will lead a memorial service. Although an annual ’Memorial Day" ceremony is held at the American Cemetery, there has never been an observance dedicated distinctively to the Jewish airmen whose remains lie within the Cambridge burial ground. I’d attended last year’s ’Memorial Day" event alongside Alex Bloom, chairman of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX), who subsequently invited me to join the Association (despite my lack of a personal military/National Service history). I accepted. (I believe I’d mentioned that my late father-in-law had served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the war; and that I visit the American Cemetery about once a year to recite Kaddish at each of the Jewish servicemen’s graves.) A highlight of the 17 May 2017 occasion will be a scheduled ’Fly-Past" (or, in USA-speak, ’Fly-Over") by two genuine World War 2 aircraft. One of them is a 1944 P51 Mustang, ’which had provided the USAAF and the RAF with a fighter that could, for the first time, escort the bombers all the way to Germany and back". The Leeds’ organisers observe that, ’many of the young pilots buried or remembered at the American Cemetery would’ve flown on such escort duty in Mustangs - introduced in 1943". The vintage P51 (based at North Weald Airfield) is owned, and will be flown, by Peter Teichman (with whom I’ve exchanged emails), the only Jewish display pilot registered with the Civil Aviation Authority, whose ’Permission" documentation for the 17 May fly-past is being sponsored by Leeds City Council; and he’s thought to be the only such flyer in Europe. The organisers note: ’This is the first time that such an event, with fly-past aircraft written into the official service [compiled by Rabbi Gilbert], has ever taken place in Europe, and probably the world." Jeff Brownhut MBE (who tells me that ’Peter’s mother was a Holocaust survivor") was one of the Leeds’ delegates at the Fitzwilliam meeting. He’s Lead Director of the Northern Ireland International Air Show, and an expert on WW2 military planes. I’ve exchanged several emails with him; and he has kindly supplied the photographs accompanying this article. He says: ’The introduction of the Mustang, a British-designed plane iou with its Packard-built, Rolls Royce Merlin engine was instrumental in changing the course of the war iou It cut the losses to enemy fighter action by a large amount, and crippled Hitler’s industrial war effort by enabling the bombing of factories deep inside Germany and even further". At the forthcoming air display, the polished aluminium-finished P51 (current value, I’m told, approximately £1.75m) will be bearing authentic insignia of US fighters of the war years. (Incidentally, Jeff has mentioned that, ’Mustangs played a big part in the defence of Israel, right up to the advent of jet aircraft into the IDF".) He has spoken also of the other wartime aircraft that will be participating in the fly-past performance: a Boeing Stearman radial engine biplane of the 1940s. Jeff remarks: ’A large percentage of the young Americans buried at Madingley would’ve trained on Stearmans, both here and in the States, and then would’ve graduated to Mustangs." The Stearman is owned by Dave Marshall, and will be piloted by Simon Ducker on 17 May. 8
After the memorial service officiated by Rabbi Gilbert (who’s also chaplain of the Leeds’ AJEX branch), there will be a ’Parade and March-Past" preceded by standard bearers. And following the ’Fly-Past" finale, guided tours of the cemetery will be available for those who wish to take part. Wooden poppy emblems will have been placed as markers at each of the Jewish headstones. It’s envisaged that a number of dignitaries, and representatives of various organisations, from around the country will be attending the event. It’s understood that other supporters of this special commemoration include Leeds City Council, Members of Parliament, the Royal Air Force, the United States Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Leeds Rifles Association, the Gurkhas and AJEX. And I’ve noted that ’a group of Sikhs from Birmingham" is likely to be attending, too. Early on, Jeff had told Marilyn Fersht that ’the American media looked to be very interested in the event". And that ’a plea might be put out for any relatives of the 80 Jewish airmen buried at Madingley to make contact with the Leeds’ organisers". He’d added that, ’the Leeds and Manchester Jewish Genealogical Society is working on something similar". For further information, you can contact: leedscambridge17May@gmail.com One of the planes that will fly past, a Mustang, is shown on the front cover and the other, a Stearman trainer, is on the back cover.
Educational visits We have become a popular source of Jewish education for schools and other groups, whether visiting the schools or hosting visits at Thompson’s Lane. Groups have been varied in age and organisation. We have talked with groups from the state and private sector, both primary and secondary, and we’ve also hosted members the scouting movement. The importance of educating young people about different religions has become a focal point for statutory and voluntary groups. Hopefully by encouraging visits to the Synagogue and providing talks about Judaism our community is helping contribute towards a more understanding and accepting population. Thanks must go to Ros Landy, Ben Blaukopf, and Lauren Allin for their work in making this outreach possible.
Sir Elihu Lauterpacht 13 July 1928 - 8 February 2017 [This is the eulogy that was delivered by Rabbi Dov Oppenheimer at the funeral of Sir Eli Lauterpacht] We are gathered here today to say a fond farewell and to bring to his final resting place Eli Lauterpacht, Elihu ben Zvi He was an unforgettable person, someone we all loved and who loved all of us. It’s not at all easy to find the right words for an occasion such as this. But I am spurred on by the knowledge that Eli wanted me to lead his funeral service and felt confident that l would do and say the right things! My relationship with Eli spanned nearly half a century and was in a series of different guises: first as his fledgling student at Trinity (where he patiently taught me how to write essays!) then as a legal translator working for him, later as associate editor of the "ILR", fellow of the "Research Centre" and finally, after I became a Rabbi, as his sounding board on matters Jewish. And over all this time, as with so many people he knew, our friendship developed and deepened. Today I have been asked to look beyond Eli’s contribution and legacy as an international lawyer, advocate, academic, writer, editor, publisher & research director. These were Eli’s achievements. He was modest about them. But they were remarkable. There will no doubt be other occasions when these will be chronicled & assessed by persons more qualified than I am to do so. But a eulogy or hesped should not focus on a person’s achievements iou what they did in their life iou but rather on what they were and how they lived. Eli himself wrote an intimate & absorbing biography of his father Hersch at the end of which he added a short final chapter entitled "Epilogue: The Man". That is exactly what I feel I need to try to provide today, however inadequately. So what were the forces that shaped the personality of the Eli we knew and loved? He described his childhood years in London as happy and comfortable. In 1940, in the midst of war and on a dangerous journey by ship, his parents moved him to America where he spent his key adolescent years, enabling him to considerably broaden his outlook and build his confidence through having to fend for himself. He received an excellent secondary education in America and then came to Cambridge & Trinity at the end of the war, ready for the next stage of his development, with the towering personality of his father at hand to help and support him in mapping out his future course in life. The fact that he was an only child with an intensely close relationship with his extraordinary parents could have spelled disaster for his development. But their love, care and expectations did not crush him. Far from it! He maintained a lifelong reverence and respect for them which shaped and informed many of his key decisions. His sense of filial duty was remarkable. His father died when Eli was in his early thirties and he subsequently dedicated a number of his 10
major accomplishments to him. This included an annual series of memorial lectures by leading international lawyers which he organized for many years. One year he gave the series himself and published his lectures "in loving memory of my parents". In his last active years, rather than consolidating his own legacy to international law, Eli chose to spend time consolidating his father’s legacy, continuing to edit and publish his father’s papers and then writing a detailed and fascinating biography of his father’s life. I also remember his devotion to looking after his mother in her final years (she was a widow for nearly thirty years and lived close by). On one occasion we were in the middle of a meeting when the phone rang. He apologized for having to interrupt our meeting: his mother was confused with the days of the week and wanted him to come and make the Friday night Kiddush for her, even though it was Wednesday, and he felt he should go right away! The Jewish sages make an interesting observation: Bra Kara de’Avua iou a son is the leg of his father. I never really understood this. But I think one can say that Eli personified it. A leg is an extension of the body. It raises the body and enables it to move on and go further. This is exactly what Eli did. He took the body of his father’s teachings, consolidating and building on the heritage he received from him and doing his best to take it further, bring all his considerable gifts of intellect and sharp insight to the task. There was another aspect of the heritage that he received from his father which was also important to Eli. He wrote about it in the first section of his "Epilogue: the Man" to which I referred earlier. He described this aspect of his father as follows: "He was imbued with a Jewish spirit that was not expressed in truly local terms ... he absorbed from his parents the ritual of the orthodox Jewish faith without being inclined to follow it in detail. But he came to synagogue on the High Holydays and especially the Day of Atonement. He celebrated the Passover in traditional style with a melody that still rings in my ears even though I cannot repeat it." In this too Eli followed his father. He was intensely proud of his heritage and his roots. I remember a couple of years ago he saw that the Chief Rabbi had brought out a new Machzor for the Day of Atonement and he asked me to obtain a copy for him as he felt it would help to make the day more meaningful. He also much enjoyed participating in the Passover celebrations. He regretted very much that he never had the opportunity his father had to learn Hebrew or to be able to read the prayers fluently. But he had the greatest respect for orthodox Jews and was mindful of the fact that his grandparents had been devout and perished in the holocaust. Let’s now turn to a discussion of Eli’s character (members of his immediate family have helped me with this section). Although most of our regular contact was by phone or later email, for many years I came up to Cambridge several times a year and our meetings were always special. In addition to our work together he would ask me in detail about how my family was doing and give me news of his family as well as other people whom we both knew. These exchanges revealed two aspects of his character which I think were pivotal. The first was the interest that he took in other people. He always saw the best in others and rejoiced in their success. Whenever he could he would try to help others to get onto the career ladder or to achieve new positions by giving advice, mentoring, using his extensive contacts or even offering work to those who needed it, if he saw an opportunity. For him the law was a passion and part of that 11
passion was putting himself out to help others to succeed at it. The second aspect which struck me was his love for each and every member of his family and his many dear friends. Of course this was a reflection of something deeper. Eli had a warm and caring approach to everyone which came from the fact that he was a person with an exceptionally generous spirit. His wit & charm, his engaging manner, his kindness & thoughtfulness for the needs of others were all aspects of this. He connected well with people of all ages, right down to his smallest grandchildren. And he had a character full of goodness which endeared him to others and meant that he had so many longstanding friendships. In short he was one of those rare individuals, a genuinely outdwelling person. As the years went by and his health declined it wasn’t at all easy for him. His infectious zest for life was tempered by his increasing physical failings which were a burden hard to bear. Nevertheless Eli didn’t lose his spirit. King Solomon says in the Book of Proverbs: ruach ish yikalkel machaleihu iou the spirit of a person sustains him when he is ill. He always had a positive attitude and was a good raconteur. He never lost his ability to appreciate and tell good jokes, especially Jewish ones! And he was full of gratitude for the fact that, despite his growing ill health, he was fortunate to have had a long, happy and productive life. Of course this last period hasn’t been easy for the family. Cathy cared for Eli tirelessly in her loving and devoted way, always looking for ways to lighten his burden. All the family did their very best to ensure that Eli’s wish, to remain at home as comfortable as possible until the end, could be fulfilled. And it was. There is one final thing I would like to mention. Eli loved Zion & Jerusalem. It personified for him the universalistic optimism and idealism which he inherited from his father, who was an active Zionist in his early life in Lvov & Vienna. It also reflected the deep love for the Land of Israel which Eli inherited from his mother, who was part of a distinguished Jerusalem family. The traditional blessing given to mourners is "May the Almighty comfort you amongst the other mourners for Zion and Jerusalem". This blessing looks forward to a better time of peace and harmony in a world without sorrow. May the wonderful images we all have of Eli in the midst of life sustain us now and in the future and may his memory be a blessing. (Rabbi) Andrew Oppenheimer MA (Cantab)
Six shuls in Five Weeks On our recent holiday to the far East we visited six shuls in five weeks, and I leyned in four of them. The first shul was Cambridge, the week before we left. From Cambridge we flew to Singapore and while there we visited the Maghain Avoth synagogue which was built in 1878 and is the oldest surviving place of worship for the Jewish 12
Community (see 2 pictures). This synagogue is still in use for daily services so I think there is a large expat community there. We also visited the next door kosher restaurant for an evening meal. The synagogue is influenced by the British Baroque synagogue style and feels very familiar to any visitor from the UK. The only unusual feature I noticed was that the very large ark had three separate coverings side by side. After two days in Singapore we embarked on a cruise that took us through the Malacca Strait and went North to Burma, stopping at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Georgetown (Penang) and Phuket (Thailand) on the way up. We spent two nights in Yangon (Rangoon), while on the way back South we visited an island called Lankawi (a real hightlight of the trip), and Malacca. This cruise offered us a great deal of variety, very nice food (with very careful explanation of all the ingredients and no problem with eating vegetarian), and good company. As part of the programme the cruise offered an "unhosted Jewish Friday evening service". We naturally went along. This was our third shul, and turned out to be the card room converted into a meeting room. The ship provided kippot, kiddush wine, challot, candles (electric), and the strangest siddur I have ever examined. It appeared to be a reform version which attempted to cater to as many different possibilities as possible in one volume. So as an example, there were more than ten different versions of the Friday evening service, not one of them any use for my purpose. Of course Ros and I had our own siddurim; there were more than 10 people present, but there was no minyan as such. I was begged to conduct the service which I did; a very helpful Australian did his best with calling page numbers. After the service we had kiddush and everyone was very happy and grateful. For the second shabbat I contacted our son Aron to see if he could source a better text. He found a specific "beginners" friday night service (from the USA of course) under creative commons copyright, so we could have it copied. That worked much better for the second shabbat. While in Yangon we visited the 19th century shul (shul number 4). This the highlight of our 3 days in Yangon. We took the ship’s shuttle into Yangon, and then a taxi to the local synagogue (we were accompanied by the ship’s port guide, who by chance is a New York Jew). The Jewish community here dates back about 125 years and the shul we visited is the second synagogue to be built in Yangon. The community has dwindled to a very small number (8-10 people), and there are about 100 Jewish expats to swell the minyan. The man who used to run it and who lived next door to the shul unfortunately passed away in 2015 and his daughter is now in charge, We met her in the shul. She explained that it used to be orthodox with women in the gallery but now they have mixed seating. Apparently they get a rabbi (reform?) for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and also for Pesach. I did not ask how they manage for food. It was a complete privilege to visit this beautifully maintained building and to be able to read from their very old torah, as well as to blow the two shofarot that were on display. Ira Feldman (the ship’s port guide) had previously visited 5 years before and was delighted to see it so well maintained. So that was the second place I leyned (!).
After the cruise we flew to San Francisco, and as is now my normal custom, I leyned in the local chabad shul (number 5) on Shabbat morning. This shul is even smaller than Cambridge, holding about 40 people; it is a concerted house next door to where the Rabbi lives and is also home to a Jewish primary school. And from San Francisco we went to New York where we stayed with friends in Woodmere Long Island (over Chanukah and New Year). I again offered my services, and so I leyned for a second week in the USA. By contrast the shul in Woodmere is purpose built, large, and overflowing. I leyned in the Hashkamah (early) minyan which starts at 715 am (not for some!); that minyan has about 60 attendees. So 6 shuls in five weeks; Cambridge, Singapore (short visit); the temporary shul on board ship; Rangoon (short visit); San Francisco, and finally Woodmere Long Island. *******************
The only shul in Burma Burma has only recently emerged from a long period of military rule. The country has been left impoverished but there is evidence all over of glorious monuments raised in the past. One jewel is the Shul in Yangon, formerly, Rangoon. One should add that there is only one Shul in the whole of Burma. For many years the Yangon community was quorate and numerically sound but nowadays the community numbers nine men. The minyan is padded out by ex-pats from around the world. There is a set of services for the Yamim Noraim, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and again for Pesach. We talked to the daughter of the man who looked after the building for years. She informed us that they import a Rabbi for these festivals. She added that the ladiesâ€™ gallery is no longer used because of the paucity of numbers. It was not clear whether women sit downstairs separately or mingled with the men. The building itself (a picture of the interior is on the next page) is a gem, tucked behind a busy, narrow street, with cars and motorbikes moving purposefully along. There is a regular sized doorway leading to a courtyard with a short flight of steps up to the entrance. Inside the layout is traditional, with the exception of a large walk into ark which contains two beautiful Sephardi Sifrei Torah. The cases containing the scrolls are rigid columns and open like the pages of a book. We were permitted to enter this ark where we found the scrolls open and Barry did a practice leining. In addition Barry blew a couple of the Shofarot which lay on the reading desk. It felt good to put the artifacts to good use. Some photographs of the synagogue give an idea of its serenity and beauty. Ros Landy
Metziyas There was a time in the late 1960s and 1970s when my father Albert and Barry’s father Harry drove together to work. Both lived in the stilled and stilted environs of Hampstead Garden Suburb in North-West London, where there were no pubs, no buses, no plebs and not much of interest to me. Though I had long ago left and so, of course, had Barry. If my father had any sense of self-preservation he did the driving. For though he was a really reckless driver, his brother Harry was significantly and markedly worse. Much worse. I once was a passenger in the back of his car on a journey to South Wales and died many times. He drove with abandon. By which I mean he ignored other road users, traffic lights and "give way" signs, in favour of the principle of rights of way. He had the rights, always. He survived to a good old age probably because at some stage he gave up driving. [Barry cannot resist a comment. I was never frightened in my father’s car, and he only stopped driving after suffering a stroke. I was however frequently terrified in my mother’s father’s car, but that is a different story.] These were two of seven siblings brought up in relative poverty in South Wales and for both of whom every penny counted. Not for nothing did Albert teach me to collect threepenny bits. It wasn’t for their aesthetic attractions. The fights that my pesky little brother and I had tended to revolve around cash. The half crown I stole in 1957, but didn’t, being only one example. So it should not have been a surprise to anyone that both Albert and Harry loved a bargain above all other shopping pleasures. They both bought wholesale whenever possible. Retail was for goyim. Except on Friday afternoons. On the days when they had to leave their respective offices earlier than usual to get home before Shabbat. In my imagination I think they both experienced a pre-Shabbat sense of release, a dissolving of work tensions and what I can only describe as a consequent temporary loss of judgement. At least, that was how it appeared to this observer, and to my siblings. They stopped on the drive home in front of whichever supermarket in Kentish Town Road caught their attention. (In those ancient days you could park anywhere you wanted on main roads. You may recall Golders Green Road, where, if you were Jewish, you could triple park.) The loudest brassiest shop posters got them interested, though I suspect Albert did his Friday afternoon research earlier in the week, while being driven by Harry and trying to keep his gaze anywhere but the road ahead. And they bought. Anything and everything that was a metzia, a bargain. The oddest things. A dozen huge tins of peaches or pilchards. Tinned salmon was a favourite of Albert. Salmon still had the cachet of a rich man’s food forty years ago. Paper tissues or toilet paper by the gross. If it was a metzia and might be vaguely useful they bought.
Now I cannot vouch what happened when Harry took his treasure home. You’ll have to ask Barry. But I was present a few times when Albert arrived home. He would come into the house empty-handed and called for me and my brother to come out and schlep. Once the goods were safely in the hall he would try to bluff it. "It was such a bargain." Or: "It was too cheap to ignore". Or the ultimate accolade: "It was cheaper than wholesale." Albert wanted to bring them into the kitchen to show my mother, like a hunter bringing home dinner. My mother’s response was totally predictable and almost universal. After all, it was Erev Shabbat, she was up to her ears in chicken soup, chopped liver and lockshen pudding and all she wanted was twenty packets of Persil? Actually she wanted flowers, but they were a rarity. "No Albert. Not in here. Put them away out of my sight. Now!", or something along those lines. Not abusive or rude, but certainly firm and commanding. This was her kingdom and all day Friday was the peak cooking time of the week. She didn’t even want to see the goods yet alone fall over them in the hall. So, it being Erev Shabbat they were stuffed into that wonderful facility, "under the stairs", along with the Hoover, the shoe-cleaning stuff and the family wellingtons. Come motzei Shabbat, once we had heard the football results, it was another shout to my brother and me to come upstairs to help Albert. To move his bounty to the loft. Albert would crouch at the top of the loft hatch while muggins would pass him the treasure. And mostly, that was that. Sometimes the useful items like washing-up liquid or the tissues would gradually reappear in drives and drabs over the following years. Other items never re-emerged. After both my parents had died we had to finally sort out the loft and all the remaining metzias. The yellow flat toilet paper was useful for Shabbat and taken by my brother and me and used for over a decade or so. The giant tins of peaches had all blown and were thrown out. The box of whisky presented a bigger problem. It was 12 bottles of Johnny Walker Black Label. Albert in his lifetime always maintained he was keeping it for my sister’s wedding. In the event, when she got wed, the venue didn’t allow booze from outside to be used. So it had been left. My sister said she wasn’t going to schlep it back to New York and my brother doesn’t drink. So I inherited this treasure. And like Albert I had a daughter. Who might get married.So, like father like son, I kept it, in my loft. For Imogen’s wedding. And guess what? When she married, in July last year, the venue didn’t want booze brought into the premises. So time passed and then I found a whisky auction website and sold it. Much to my amazement, this blended whisky from 1976 is a collector’s item in Singapore. And the moral of the tale? Buy it! It’s a metzia! Julian Landy 17
Notes from a distant land In our busy part of England I now know more than ever just how spoiled we are in our religious practices. After all, we have a shul building which will probably fall down before it is closed from disuse. We have the metropolis on the door-step, where we can buy any kosher food we want. We are blessed with Derby Stores to deliver for us and a thriving Jewish activities of many types. We really only lack consistent numbers for our minyan. In New Zealand, from where Jo and I returned before Purim, things are much the same but also very different. Shechitah is effectively banned, as by law animals must be stunned before slaughter. Meat is therefore all imported. There are kosher food outlets in both the biggest city, Auckland and in the capital, Wellington. There are also very small communities in Dunedin and Christchurch. However, the shul in the latter has "gone temple", which my informant explained, means become progressive and has grossly depleted numbers since last yearâ€™s earthquake. Dunedin holds services but only for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We went to shul on Shabbat in both Auckland and Wellington. Both fairly familiar to any dati-lite UK Jew. In Auckland there were perhaps a hundred people present in a beautiful airy and spacious building, that incorporated a community centre and a kindergarten. One congregant was celebrating his 80th birthday and made a big kiddush for all the minyan, so perhaps numbers were swelled by his relatives. Apart from the lack of decent whisky (it was Johnny Walker red label!), the kiddush was magnificent. Frankly, if you had been greedy you could have skipped lunch. The davening was only a little odd. Several people had an aliya for yahrzeit. Each time the whole shul was asked by the young Israeli rabbi to stand during "Ayl Moleh Ruchamim". The rabbi was curiously the only person wearing a suit and tie. There was schnoddering, and all gave. There was no mechitza but women sat behind the men. I suspect the regulars were too involved with the big birthday to bother much with the two of us. In the afternoon there was minchah and a sueda shlishit in shul. There was a Chabad rabbi in addition to the communal rabbi. We arrived in the capital city on a Friday afternoon but with loads of time before Shabbat. We took a bus across the city and then a cable car up the hillside to the Botanical Gardens. What was Jewish about this? Well the lovely garden runs all the way down a steep hillside, at the base of which is the first European cemetery in the country. And in the midst of the cemetery is a Jewish section. The graves are largely in a good condition and date to the late eighteenth century, around 1770 onwards. The names meant little to us. The history is that these Jews came to New Zealand from all over the globe, with the first waves of other European immigrants, largely to facilitate the early settlers with their everyday needs, food and household goods. And stayed and prospered. 18
Wellington Shul had significant differences. The building is forty years old and has a community centre, kindergarten and holocaust memorial centre. The kindergarten has recently closed due to lack of numbers. The shul has a balcony for women, but due to lack of numbers women have now been invited to sit downstairs, on one side, with men opposite. With a dinky mechitza of potted plants. The service was very similar to Thompson’s Lane, except the prayer for the monarch was omitted. They had about thirty people present and admitted to a rapid decline, people leaving for Auckland, Sydney or Melbourne. Kiddush was appropriate for the numbers there, but no whisky. They were however very welcoming to us and an impressively busy community. They seemed to have at least one social activity every week. The rabbi was a young and rather shy American. Outside of shul Jo found a restaurant in Shore Street, Auckland called "Ima", which we enjoyed. Run by Israelis, and not kosher, but good food. New Zealand is a great country to visit, just much busier than my first visit in 2004. So many Chinese tourists, it reminded me of home. If you have the inclination and the time, say four weeks minimum, go. Julian Landy *******************
Are there Jews on Mars? Two astronauts land on Mars. Their mission: to check whether there is oxygen on the planet. "Give me the box of matches," says one. "Either it burns and there is oxygen, ....or nothing happens." He takes the box, and is ready to strike a match when, out of the blue, a Martian appears waving all his arms... "No, no, don’t!" The two guys look at each other, worried. Could there be an unknown explosive gas on Mars? Still, he takes another match... and... A crowd of hysterical Martians is coming, all waving their arms: "No, no, don’t do that!" One of the astronauts says, "This looks serious. What are they afraid of? Nonetheless, we’re here for Science, to know if man can breathe on Mars." So he strikes a match -- which flames up, burns down, and....NOTHING HAPPENS!! So he turns to the Martians and asks, "Why did you try to prevent us from striking a match?" The leader of the Martians says,.... "It’s Shabbos!" 19
Pesach Vegetarian Main Course This recipe is taken from Helen Goldrein’s website: http://family-friends-food.com. Helen’s book ’Helen’s Delicious Pesach’ which has lots of easy and delicious recipes for Pesach is available on Amazon. Helen makes this dish all year round, but it is a perfect Pesach dinner. Helen says "Unlike lasagne or other bakes where some element has to be omitted or substituted on Pesach, moussaka contains no grain-based ingredients. Or rather, it doesn’t when you use this easy yogurt topping instead of a bechamel sauce. Frankly, I prefer the flavour of this version anyway, and not having to faff about making a bechamel is not exactly a hardship!" Vegetarian moussaka Serves 4 Prep Time 1 hr Cook Time 1 hr Total Time 2 hr For the grilled aubergines 2-3 medium aubergines (eggplant) (550-750g total) 100ml olive oil For the tomato sauce 1 medium onion 2 tbsp olive oil 2 x 400g tins tomatoes 1 tsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried oregano 1 bay leaf Pinch salt Pinch pepper For the potatoes 1kg floury potatoes For the topping 200ml natural yogurt 1 egg 100g feta cheese Ground cinnamon (optional)
For the aubergines Wash the aubergines (eggplant) and trim off the stalks and leaves. Cut the aubergines lengthways into 6-8mm thick slices. Heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and arrange as many as will fit on a baking sheet. Cook under the grill for 3-5 minutes until starting to brown. Turn the slices over, brush the other side with oil, and grill for 3-5 minutes on that side. When both sides are browned, and the slices are soft, remove to a plate and continue with more aubergine slices until they are all cooked. For the tomato sauce Peel and dice the onion. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion over a medium flame until starting to soften. Add the tinned tomatoes, thyme, oregano and bayleaf, and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and cook, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes until thickened and cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce sticking to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. For the potatoes Peel the potatoes, and cut into 4-5mm thick slices. Wash in cold water and drain. Place in a large saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes until just tender to the point of a knife - donâ€™t overcook or they will be impossible to handle when you come to assemble the final dish. Once cooked, drain the potatoes in a large sieve or colander. To assemble the moussaka Put a thin layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish and spread out. Cover with half the aubergine slices, then half the potatoes, in even layers. Spread over half the remaining tomato sauce, then the remaining aubergine, and finally the remaining potato slices. Finally, spread the rest of the tomato sauce on the top. To make the topping, whisk together the yogurt and egg. Carefully pour/spread this mixture over the top layer of tomato sauce, taking care not to mix them together too much. Crumble the feta cheese over the top, then sprinkle over a little cinnamon, if liked. Bake the moussaka at 180C (350F) for at least an hour, until it is thoroughly heated through, bubbling, and the top is golden. Serve hot. The final baking time will depend on the temperature of the moussaka when it goes into the oven. If the different elements have cooled down before assembly, it may take longer than 1 hour to heat right through. If in doubt, bake for an hour and a half, but loosely cover the top with foil after an hour if it seems to be getting too brown.
Short stories by Jesus: the enigmatic parables of a controversial Rabbi by Amy-Jill Levine Many will have attended Amy-Jill Levine’s excellent talk at the last Cambridge Day Limmud. Inspired by her talk I purchased her book, "Short stories by Jesus: the enigmatic parables of a controversial Rabbi". The book is written as Levine speaks. The overly chatty style was somewhat patronising and it made the book difficult to read. The Limmud lecture was a close replica of the book, even down to Fluffy the Sheep. But this is a small gripe. Levine talks lucidly about how the church used the parables for its own ends, taking them out of context and allegorizing them. In doing so the original meaning, and the original context, is lost. They become tools for denigrating the Jews and the synagogue, the wrathful and terrifying God of the old Testament versus the new Testament God of love, that the Jews glorified wealth while Jesus invented social conscience, that the Jews promoted self interest over love thy neighbour, that the purity laws were designed to protect the hegemony of the priesthood. Levine’s book left me with a distrust of allegories. The stories of Jesus were intended as parables for a Jewish or local audience, to make them think about their own lives and their own behaviour. Jesus wouldn’t have written the parables down and would have adapted the way he told a parable to the audience. The knowledge and context we have comes from the later writings of Paul, Matthew, Mark, and Luke in particular, who were keen to allegorize them and turn them into predictions by Jesus of the future, and condemnation of Israel and the Synagogue in favour of Christianity and the young Church. The book dissects a number of New Testament parables: Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son The Good Samaritan The Kingdom of Heaven Is like Yeast The Pearl of Great Price The Mustard Seed The Pharisee and the Tax Collector The Laborers in the Vineyard The Widow and the Judge The Rich Man and Lazarus I found the analysis of the "Labourers in the Vineyard" to be the most intriguing. However the Good Samaritan is perhaps the easiest to discuss, and this is the parable I’ll talk about. Jesus relates the story of the Good Samaritan in response to a question posed by a lawyer, "Teacher, (by) doing what eternal life will I inherit?", and then goes on to ask "And who is my 24
neighbour?" Most of us, when we think of the lawyer in The Good Samaritan, instinctively picture a modern-day lawyer in a court. Luke had a strong antipathy to lawyers, using a Greek word for lawyer, with no immediate Hebrew equivalent. Lawyers as understood by a Jewish audience, would have been positive figures, that is someone well-versed in the Torah. Levine’s analysis suggests that in Luke’s version of the parable, the lawyer uses "teacher" in a negative way when addressing Jesus. "Lord" would be the preferred address. The first of the lawyer’s question is a trick question. There is no single "do" action that will "inherit" eternal life. The parable wouldn’t have been about eternal life and the kingdom of heaven. The Torah is more concerned with life on Earth than the afterlife. The lawyer’s second question has legal merit. One needs to know who are neighbours, and so under the same legal system as us, and who are not. In Leviticus 19, "?????? ???? ????", you shall love your neighbour as yourself, the word used for neighbour is ???, which can also be translated as friend or even lover. The person who is not a neighbour could be a "??", which is sometimes translated as "stranger", as in (a few verses further on) "for you were strangers in the land of Egypt", and sometimes as proselyte. However interestingly proselyte originally meant "one who comes forward", it didn’t mean a convert. However in the context of love, the lawyer’s question is not relevant. According to Leviticus, love has to extend beyond the people in one’s group. Leviticus 19 insists on loving the stranger as well. Which makes it clear that the parable of the Good Samaritan wouldn’t have been about neighbourly love. The Jews didn’t need to be told to love their enemy or their neighbour. Purity arguments are made by modern Christians, not by Luke or Jesus. However the parable couldn’t have been about ritual impurity. While contamination with a dead body leads to ritual impurity, the impurity can be cleansed. It doesn’t prevent touching a dead body or a half dead body. Given that the priest was going down (that is, away) from Jerusalem, to Jericho, impurity wouldn’t have been a problem. The priest certainly wouldn’t have been flogged or otherwise punished: the Torah is very clear that anyone, priest or otherwise, would be expected to check the person was alive and if he was to help him. And of course such an argument is irrelevant for the Levite, who is not bound by laws of ritual impurity. Though ironically Samaritans were bound by the same laws of ritual purity. Nor does allegorizing the parable help. The idea that the priest and the Levite represent Judaism and the Samaritan the Christian church, once again promulgates anti-Jewish prejudice. Who, or what, was the Good Samaritan?
The purpose of a parable is to disturb the audience, to make them think and reflect. Levine talks of the "rule of three": after the Priest and Levite turn up, the audience would have been expecting an Israelite. Instead they get a Samaritan, which would certainly have come as a surprise. Samaritans were the enemy, so what was a "good" Samaritan? Jesus was certainly aware of the enmity between Jews and Samaritans, indeed Jesus was refused lodging in a Samaritan village (Luke 9.53). The Samaritan is not a victim. He has money, freedom of travel, and influence. The parable becomes a story about hatred between people who have similar resources. We, and the audience of the time, can only conjecture as to why the Priest and Levite passed by. Perhaps it was the fear of being mugged themselves. Would they, or we, have also passed by? However, the Samaritan, the enemy, stopped, bound up the victim’s wounds, and took him to an inn where he paid for him to be looked after. Jesus tells the lawyer to do as the Samaritan, to act mercifully to your neighbour. The lesson may be that the only ones who can save you are those that want to kill you. To end this review I can do no better than quote Levine verbatim: "Samaria today has various names: The West Bank, Occupied Palestine, Greater Israel. To hear the parable today, we only need to update the identity of the figures. I am an Israeli Jew on my way from Jerusalem to Jericho, and I am attacked by thieves, beaten, stripped, robbed, and left half dead in a ditch. Two people, who should have stopped to help, pass me by: the first, a Jewish medic from the Israel Defence Forces; the second, a member of the Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA. But the person who takes compassion on me and shows me mercy is a Palestinian Muslim whose sympathies lie with Hamas, a political party whose charter not only anticipates Israel’s destruction, but also depicts Jews as subhuman demons responsible for all the world’s problems. "Or if Jesus had been a Samaritan, we’d today have the parable of the "Good Jew", told in the streets of Ramallah. If people in the Middle East could picture this, we might have a better vision for choosing life. Can we finally agree that it is better to acknowledge the humanity and the potential to do good in the enemy, rather than to choose death? Will we be able to care for our enemies, who are also our neighbours? Will we be able to bind up their wounds rather than blow up their cities? And can we imagine that they might do the same for us? Can we put into practice that inauguration promise of not leaving the wounded traveller on the road? The biblical text, and concern for humanity’s future, tell us we must." ******************* REPORT ON BOARD OF DEPUTIES, PESACH 2017 This report is a short summary of recent activities, there is much more information available 26
on the website https://www.bod.org.uk . Politics One of the Board’s key functions is to represent the interests of the Jewish community to government bodies in the UK. The Board holds regular meetings with officials, ministers, and politicians at both local and national level. The Board has produced a manifesto for the Assembly elections in Northern Ireland, asking politicians to sign up to ten commitments to counter the recent rise in hate crimes. This follows in the footsteps of previous Jewish Manifestos published by the Board. At the February Board meeting in London Sir Eric Pickles, the government’s Post-Holocaust Special Envoy, launched a nationwide consultation for the UK Holocaust Memorial which will be built next to the Palace of Westminster in London. There are ten competing designs, and more information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ukholocaust- memorial-foundation . Education The Board aims to support Jewish schools and to ensure the needs of faith schools are protected. The Board contributes to panels at the government’s Department for Education, meets regularly with ministers, and works closely with other faith communities on areas of common interest. The government has decided to lift the 50% cap on faith-based admission to religious schools, and the Board supports this change. The Board has been working with the Institute for Jewish Policy Research to document statistics of Jewish education, shul membership, and births and deaths. The first report, on education, is available for download from the Board’s website. Since the 1950s the number of Jewish pupils in Jewish schools has increased by a factor of five. There are now about 140 Jewish schools, with over 30,000 Jewish pupils. The Board has recently published "Judaism GCSE Religious Studies - The Definitive Resource", written by Clive Lawton (available from the Board’s website). This was intended as a guide for teachers of GCSE religious studies, but it is also very useful for students. It describes the diverse beliefs of the UK Jewish community and highlights important issues. Educating the wider community about Judaism is also an important part of the Board’s work, with frequent visits around the country to non-Jewish schools and communities. The Board’s ôJewish Living Experienceö exhibition tours the country, and made a successful visit recently to St. Albans (organised by the St. Albans Masorti Synagogue) where it was displayed in the Cathedral. Countering antisemitism There have been well-publicised reports of intimidating and aggressive protests at universities, and the Board is working with the UJS and others to combat this antisemitism. UCL has published a report into the disturbances last October, and Jewish community leaders, including from the Board, met the UCL Provost to discuss the implications. The UK government has become one of the first to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. This was announced by the Prime Minister at the end of last year. 27
CTJC Communal Information Services in the Synagogue Friday evening
In Term: Winter Ma’ariv 6.00 pm, Summer Minchah and Ma’ariv 7.30pm In Vacation: Check the website Shabbat Morning 9.30 am in the Synagogue Sunday Morning 8.00 am in the Synagogue (most weeks) Learning Talmud Shiur Usually 8.00 pm at 23 Parsonage Street, led by Prof. Stefan Reif. The group is currently studying ÑñâÅ öãëé (Masechet Betza). The shiur is held on a convenient evening in those weeks when Prof Reif is in Cambridge; for more information email email@example.com. Kosher meat and groceries Derby Stores (26 Derby St, Newnham, 354391) stock prepacked Kosher groceries and meat, and will buy to order. They get fresh from London midday Thursday, and stay open till 8pm. Sainsbury’s in Coldham’s Lane also stocks a range of Kosher Goods including frozen chicken legs. Ocado has some Kosher foods in its delivery list. Hospital Visiting Contact Sarah Schechter (329172), Tirzah Bleehen (354320) for coordination if you wish to volunteer to help, or need to organise some visits. Barry Landy or Rabbi Reuven Leigh (354603) are prepared to attend hospitals to read prayers. Note that because of concerns for personal privacy the hospital no longer informs us when Jewish patients are admitted, so if you wish to be visited, please let one of the above know when you are about to enter hospital. Chevra Kadisha Contact Barry Landy (570417) Brendel Lang (353301) or Trevor Marcuson (520045) Religious Services, Barmitzvahs, Weddings, Brit Milah etc. Contact Barry Landy (570417) or Rabbi Leigh (354603) CTJC Web Site: our web site is at WWW.CTJC.ORG.UK