Communal Information Shul services
Friday evening In term: Winter, Ma’ariv at 6pm Summer, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm In vacations: Winter, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat June-August, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm September, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat Shabbat morning 9:30am. Sunday morning 8:00am (most weeks). Learning For more information about the Lehrhaus, visit www.thelehrhaus.org or call 07830160994. Mikvah To book an appointment at the Cambridge Mikvah, please call Mrs. Rochel Leigh on 07825 126724 at least 48 hours in advance. For more information about the Mikvah please call Rochel or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hospital Visiting Contact Sarah Schechter, Tirzah Bleehen or Barry Landy if you need to organise visits, or would like to volunteer to help. Rabbi Reuven Leigh (354603) and Barry Landy can attend hospitals to read prayers. Due to concerns for personal privacy the hospital no longer informs us when Jewish patients are admitted, so if you or someone you know would like to be visited, please contact us. Chevra Kadisha Contact Barry Landy, Brendel Lang or Trevor Marcuson in the first instance. Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings, Brit Milah and other religious services Contact Rabbi Reuven Leigh or Barry Landy to organise. Children’s activities For information about the Lehrhaus for Kids, the After School Club, or Ganeinu Child Care Service, contact Rochel Leigh at email@example.com CTJC email list CTJC has an email list. To join and receive regular updates about services, events, Shabbat times etc, please email Barry Landy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jonathan Allin at email@example.com CTJC Officers Rabbi Reuven Leigh Committee 2012/2013 Chairman Rosalind Landy Treasurer Jonathan Allin Secretary Barry Landy Synagogue officer Barry Landy Education officer Welfare officer Bulletin/website officer Helen Goldrein Board of Deputies Jonathan Goldman Anyone wishing to volunteer for the vacant posts of Education and Welfare officers, or just wanting to find out more about the roles, should contact Ros Landy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the CTJC Chanukah Bulletin Bulletin Number 112. Cover image: Jerusalem Hannukah 021210.jpg By Oren Rozen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Good grief the year flies by! Having just recovered from the High Holydays, Chanukah is here already. However, we are reminded of the recent Yom Tovim by the inclusion here of Rochel Leigh’s thought-provoking Kol Nidrei address. We are also delighted to share an article from former Cambridge-resident Nitsan Machlis, who had here bat mitzvah here before moving back to Israel in 2010. Read her insights into the current ‘situation’ on page 9. Naturally, there’s also craft, food, and plenty more besides. And don’t forget to check out ‘Shalom!’ magazine on the back cover! We are always looking for new bulletin contributors, and would be delighted to hear from you with your articles or ideas. For instance, if you’ve read a book of Jewish interest why not write up a review for the Chanukah issue? To submit material, please email email@example.com The bulletin, like all aspects of CTJC, is produced entirely by volunteers. If you would like to get involved, please contact our Chairman Ros by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org You can read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/chanukah2014 Wishing you and yours a Chanukah sameach, from all at the Bulletin. Small print… Views expressed in the bulletin are the views of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or of the committee of the CTJC.
In this Issue… 1 – Communal information 2 – Welcome to the CTJC Chanukah bulletin 4 – Community news 5 – From the Chairman… 6 – A New Jewish Learning by Rabbi Reuven Leigh 9 – From Cambridge to Israel: Perspectives of a teenage girl by Nitsan Machlis 12 – Kol Nidrei address by Rochel Leigh 18 – The “Mosseri” Connection by Mark Harris 23 – The Lost – a book review by Ros Landy 24 – Another New Beginning – a poem by Mark Harris 25 – Making Chanukah Candles by Ben Blaukopf 27 – Crispy Chanukah chocolate bark by Helen Goldrein 29 – Chanukah events 30 – Calendar
Medieval hanukiah from the excavations of the jewish quarter of Lorca (Spain). S.XV. Archaeological museum of Lorca.
Community news Mazeltov to… Theo Dunkelgrun and Kathryn Levy on the birth of a daughter. Shoshana and Tanchum Yoreh on the birth of a son. Julian Landy and Annette Landy, on the birth of a grandson, born 20 November 2014. A son for Robin and Gabriella Landy, a brother for Alicia. Julian Landy to Jo Cummin, who were married on 26 November. Chaim Aruchim to… Monica Bogen, on the death of her husband Maurice Bogen. Also to their children Paul and Lorraine. Refuah shelema to… Priscilla Gee Jonathan Goldman
From the Chairman… Chanukah 2014, Kislev 5775 The end of the secular year is always brightened by Chanucah. The lights we place in the window, to declare the miracle of the oil, are a glowing sign of life, hope and renewal. In Tractate Shabbat of the Mishna we have the commandment to light one light for the household. The Mishna adds that there are some who light a candle for each member of the household. This shows one divided opinion. This is followed by the discussion and disagreement about the ordering of the lights. Bet Shammai says that on the first night we light eight lights and then we reduce the number nightly. Bet Hillel, on the other hand, says that we begin with one candle and increase the number nightly. My family and Barry’s have always followed the Bet Hillel tradition! When taking Shul tours, I point out to non-Jews who wish to learn about Judaism, that from the earliest days, the Jewish people have been argumentative and that this is an accepted form of behaviour. One does not just learn a tractate by heart but one is encouraged to note the difference of opinion voiced and to have a viewpoint oneself. In Cambridge we are fortunate to have visiting scholars who specialize in many different fields. They ask questions and we, in turn, question them. The process is one of generating ideas, flexing opinions, receiving opposing viewpoints and searching out discrepancies. These are the cerebral gymnastics of education in the Jewish world. Whichever way you light your candles, we hope you enjoy the culinary traditions of Chanukah, latkes which we had in our childhood and now the Israeli tradition of doughnuts, both of which use a goodly quantity of oil. Wishing everyone a good year in 2015, a time of peace, health and happiness. Ros Landy
A New Jewish Learning Rabbi Reuven Leigh
I have had the feeling for quite some time that we need a new type of Jewish learning. The sermon, d’var Torah and Parshah article have become predictable in their structure and very often in their content too. Throughout the history of Jewish Biblical exegesis there have been developments and changes in structure and focus, and it is my sense that our time has come. A time to think afresh about the possibilities of the text and the way in which we relate to it. Over the past few months I have been organising a group study session at The Lehrhaus that is focused on the story in Genesis 11 of the Tower of Bavel. The format of the learning has been to look at the shifts in Biblical exegesis over the ages. We started with Midrashic material that appeared to have little inhibitions or limitations in its attempt to mine the depths of the story. It interprets the elusive phrase ‘devarim achadim’ to suggest that they spoke sharp words (chadim) against G-d and against Abraham, after which the Midrash duly quotes an entirely different perspective. The Midrash appears entirely comfortable with multiple interpretations and meanings coexisting side by side in the text. After Midrash we moved on to Talmud. The Talmudic approach was far more linear in its attempt to reach a conclusive interpretation. When the academy of Shilo suggested that they built the tower in order rise up to the heavens and carve out a hole with axes so as to drain out all the rain water, the Talmud recounts that when they heard this interpretation in the academies of Eretz Yisrael they laughed dismissively, remarking sarcastically that if that was their intent they should have built the tower on a mountain instead of a valley and saved themselves some time. Although the content in the Talmud is not markedly different from that of the Midrash, there is a clear structural change that leans towards a more critical approach.
We then explored the commentaries of Rabbeinu Bahye ibn Asher (1255-1340) and Rabbi Levi ben Gershon/Ralbag/Gersonides (12881344) who both rejected the Midrashic and Talmudic assumption that the generation of the tower had done something wrong and Gd had punished them. They preferred a reading where the people made an honest mistake as to how best to advance civilisation, and G-d helped correct them by showing them the correct path which entailed settling the whole earth. Additionally, whereas the Midrashic and Talmudic comments are mainly focused on the tower aspect of the story, the Medievalists pay much more attention to the concept of the city. This Medieval approach is markedly new and different to all that came before, and begins to show us the constantly developing nature of Biblical exegesis.
Above: The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
We then came to a watershed moment with the commentary of Don Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) who is notable for his lengthy exposition. All the earlier commentaries are written as brief Â
comments whereas Abravanel spares no ink in his quest to explain the text. The more significant development in his writing is his open criticism of earlier commentators. He aggressively and confidently rejects the ideas found in the Midrash as well as the Medieval writers in a manner that is unique to him. However, he initiated a critical approach that later commentators would adopt, albeit in a more respectful way. When we moved into the Modern period we once again saw a significant change in approach. Whereas the earlier examples seemed to be preoccupied in understanding the meaning of the text, the commentary of Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) and the Lubavitcher Rebbe (1902-1994) were more concerned with using the text to interpret the concerns of their own age. In the case of the former the overbearing nature of the state and its quashing of the individual, and in the case of the latter to compare the generation of the tower that came after the destruction of the flood to our post-Holocaust generation. The typical structure of a contemporary act of Biblical exegesis whether in the form of a sermon, shiur or article tends to follow the Modern approach described above. There is often a preoccupation with interpreting the text’s relevance to our current times and dilemmas that possibly masks a very Modern insecurity about the text’s possible irrelevance. The Lehrhaus hopes to be at the forefront of this new learning and help shape it.
For more information about the Lehrhaus, please visit www.thelehrhaus.org or call 07830160994.
From Cambridge to Israel: Perspectives of a Teenage Girl By Nitsan Machlis Nitsan Machlis, 17, and her family were active members of CTJC from 20042010. She celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at Thompson's Lane in November 2009 and returned to Israel the following year. You can learn a lot about Israeli current events by analyzing the publicly accepted terminology for any politically tense period. Right now, the classic ‘’situation’’ (Hamtsav) is the phrase of preference, as in Hamatsav Lo Tov – the situation isn’t good. A headline in Ynet (Israel’s major online newspaper), calling the string of recent terror attacks a Third Intifada, was swiftly removed. Somewhat luckily, Intifada has yet to be fully reclaimed by the Israeli and Palestinian public, but its infamous presence is everywhere, waiting hesitantly to be retrieved. During the early years of the Second Intifada, my family left Jerusalem, relocating to London and then again to Cambridge in 2004. Growing up, conversations about the wars, politics and terror in Israel were frequent visitors at our Shabbat table. Then, I naively perceived these stories as some tragic, distant past of my home country. Even when visiting Israel at age 11, during Operation Cast Lead in 2008, I watched the unfolding events from a distance, unaware of the collective Israeli mentality in times of distress. We returned to Israel in 2010, after eight years abroad. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrifying roller-coaster that is daily life in Israel. For me, the latest string of Palestinian terror attacks (and counter attacks by extremist Jews) comes to me at a particularly sensitive time. Unlike my friends back in Cambridge, my 12th year of school is frequently disrupted by IDF summons and exams, as I prepare to abruptly graduate and be recruited. This comparison is one of many I find myself constantly making these days. I'm still in touch with some of my friends from Cambridge. So it's inevitable that I will contrast Israeli Jewish culture and the far-removed lifestyle that I am no longer a part of, but which largely shaped the way I think.
Unlike most Israelis I am lucky enough to have grown up in a multicultural society, vastly different from the closed homogenous communities now surrounding me. Whilst I was educated in a primary school that celebrated diversity, (St. Pauls CoE, if you were wondering) Israeli schools are strictly divided into one of four labels: Secular, Orthodox, Haredi, and Arab. I have spent the last five years since returning to Israel in an experimental mixed religious/secular Jewish high school in Modi'in called Yachad. Here in Israel, pluralism and diversity, essential basics to a functioning democracy, are still seen as provocative values. I have also chosen to expose myself to the other side of our political narrative, by meeting Palestinian teenagers through youth peace movements. I am fully aware that my experiences are unique within the Israeli public, and enable me the pleasure of experiencing political reality through a critical lens. Yet there are still many moments when I am simply lost for words, when the beautiful facets of our togetherness as a Jewish Israeli family see the light. One such moment was this past summer, when the tragic search after three kidnapped teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’er z’’l, brought every corner of our distraught family together. When the news broke that the boys had been brutally murdered, the country mourned as one. Thousands and thousands, including myself, attended their funeral. As the war raged on during the summer, the boys' mothers’ became a beacon of calm, speaking surprisingly of the need for tolerance and acceptance. In a pro-democracy memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin I participated in recently, Racheli Frenkel spoke emotionally and truthfully: ‘’Any calls for spilling blood, as far-fetched and marginal as they may be, we must erase them, and love one another. We cannot allow a protester speaking his conscience to be called a traitor, or a soldier sacrificing his life for our existence to be called a murderer.’’ Frenkel’s words are much needed right now, when the perpetual cycle of violence serves as a trigger for racism and extremism in mainstream Israel. The terrorism and hatred around us does not seem to be going anywhere, and may even be aggravated by the political troubles within Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition.
Yet this does not excuse us from upholding the democratic, pluralistic values that Israel is committed to in its Declaration of Independence. As the situation gets more and more intense, I am hearing too many racist slurs against Arabs, leftists, and peace-supporters, from my classmates and peers. The unacceptable is becoming mainstream in Israel and we should all be concerned. I still try to explain to my friends—on all sides of this conflict—that there are many sides and many truths to the much discussed situation. The other side, just like us, is more complex than a few violent extremists. But in times of stress, it becomes easier for everyone to ignore the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of the people who are at the centre of it. Having had the privilege of growing up in Cambridge and being part of a truly pluralistic Jewish community, I don't have the luxury of seeing things in black and white.
Kol Nidrei address By Rochel Leigh
Chana, mother of Shmuel Hanavi, used to travel with her husband to the Temple annually to celebrate and pray there. When her prayers were answered and her son Shmuel was born, she stayed home for a few years while he was being weaned. I too used to go to Shul regularly. When I was 22 my prayers were answered, I had my beautiful children and I stopped coming to Shul while they were young, so that I could be with them and care for them adequately. Although I did pray, it was with a different kind of Kavanah. My words were to G-d, but more often than not, my deep concentration was solely, ‘please G-d, may my children not figure out how to open the stair gate and fall down the stairs before I finish the Amidah.’ When I did come back to the synagogue, I was mainly outside the prayer hall, attending to the needs of my children and often many other children too. This year, 10 years later I was able to attend the Rosh Hashana service for the first time without interruption. Finally my children are old enough to pray beside me and I am able to engage in the services once again. But it is not the same, for I am not the same. A 22 year old is not the same as a 32 year old, and I can imagine that in 10 years from now, it will be different again. Looking at the liturgy, the poetry, the honesty and the simple brilliance of the construction of the service with the perspective of a 10 year gap has provided me with much food for thought, some of which I would like to share with you. Central themes throughout the day of Yom Kippur are acceptance, ownership, remorse for wrongdoings, forgiveness and renewal of our commitment for the coming year. It seems to me that the service of Yom Kippur was designed to assist us in achieving these states of awareness and experience. In my exploration of the service of Yom Kippur I have found the ritual of the two goats to be especially suited to trigger in us an ability to accept our wrongdoings and transform them. One of the most distinctive elements of the service on Yom Kippur when the Temple stood was the ritual of the two goats, one offered as a sacrifice, purified, elevated to a higher order, united with its spiritual
source; the other sent away, exiled, banished into the desert “to Azazel.”
They were both brought before the High Priest, for all intents and purposes they were indistinguishable from one another: they were chosen to be as similar as possible to one another in size and appearance. One did not look fine the other scrawny, one was not taller or fatter than the other, nor one healthy the other sickly. They were picked for their likeness, their similarity, their indistinguishable appearance. Lots were drawn, one bearing the words “To the Lord,” the other, “To Azazel.” The one on which the lot “To the Lord” fell, was offered as a sacrifice. Over the other the high priest confessed the sins of the nation and it was then
taken away into the desert hills outside Jerusalem where it plunged to its death. Sin and guilt offerings were common, but this ceremony was unique. Normally confession was made over the animal to be offered as a sacrifice. In this case confession was made over the goat not offered as a sacrifice. Maimonides in his Guide offers a most compelling explanation, that the ritual was intended as a symbolic drama, as he writes: “There is no doubt that sins cannot be carried like a burden, and taken off the shoulder of one being to be laid on that of another being. But these ceremonies are of a symbolic character, and serve to impress men with a certain idea and to induce them to repent; as if to say, we have freed ourselves of our previous deeds, have cast them behind our backs, and removed them from us as far as possible.” This makes sense, but questions remain. Why was this ritual different from all other sin or guilt offerings? Why two goats rather than one? The ceremony closest to the rite of the scapegoat – where an animal was let loose rather than sacrificed – was the ritual for someone who was being cleansed of a skin disease. In Vayikra 14 we read how the Kohen would take two birds and bring one as a sacrifice and the other would be released into the open fields: The released bird, like the banished goat, was sent away carrying the impurity, the stain. An impurity is not merely something physical. It also exists in the mind, the emotions and the soul. Clearly, to rid oneself of the burden and heaviness of wrongdoing, some symbolic action seems necessary and helpful. The ritual helps us to put negative experiences behind us allowing us to move on, but surely only if it is accompanied by acceptance, ownership, admittance and remorse. We cannot be discharged from all responsibility, merely through banishing goats and releasing birds. As Maimonides wrote, ‘it must serve to impress us with a certain idea, and to induce us to reflect.’ Former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks observes that the birth of monotheism changed the way people viewed the world and themselves, constantly demanding inner reflection.
In polytheism, the elements, each of which is a different god with a different personality, clash. There is tension, conflict, jealousy, resentment, and acting out among the heavenly powers. When the heavenly powers raged among themselves, there was war on earth. With monotheism, all tensions – between justice and mercy, abundant kindness and withholding, revelation and concealment, retribution and forgiveness – are located within the mind of the One God. The sages often dramatised this, in Midrash, as a dialogue between the Attribute of Justice [middat ha-din] and the Attribute of Compassion [middat rachamim]. With this single shift, external conflict between two separate forces is reconceptualised as an internal conflict between two moral attributes. He suggests that this led to a reframing of the human situation. Monotheism relocates conflict from ‘out there’ to ‘in here’, transferring it from an objective fact about the world to an internal contest within the mind. We see this internalising of conflict in the many forms of therapeutic theory and practise abundantly available to us today. In many schools of therapeutic healing, this demand for inner reflection leads to an acceptance of multiple aspects of the self. Psychodynamic and Analytic theory, divide the self into structured parts, the id, ego and superego, each presenting a self from a different perspective. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy recognises that one can learn to identify and talk back to their own punishing ‘hot thought’, argue with it, rationalise it and banish it. With Gestalt therapy a person would be encouraged to talk to an empty chair, perhaps moving back and forth between chairs to carry out a dialogue, role playing two people or both selves. Or they may draw objects and the dialogue goes back and forth between the many objects the person has drawn. These therapeutic methods seek to bring about acceptance and ownership of our multiple perspectives, multiple impulses. I get a sense that the ritual in the Temple of the two goats and reliving of it through the reading of this portion in the Torah tomorrow is similarly
seeking to bring about in us an acceptance and ownership of our complexity. The Yom Kippur ritual of the goats dramatises the fact that we have within us two inclinations, one striving for the spiritual (yetser tov), one striving for the physical (yetser hara). The two goats that are identical in outward appearance and chosen by lottery, beyond reason, demonstrate to us how our natures are not within our control to choose. We are given them as though by lottery. The struggle our natures present us with, is ours to claim, own and let go of. Both of these goats, both of these inclinations, were necessary for the service on Yom Kippur. Without the goat for Azazel, the service would not be complete. It is an integral part of the day. With only a Yetzer Tov, there would be no need for a Yom Kippur, a day of atonement at all, as Rabbi Chen, who’s Yartzeit it is today, writes: Just as wrong doing needs Teshuvah, Teshuvah needs wrongdoing.
The Talmud in tractate Avodah Zarah tells the story of Elazar ben Durdaya, a man who was such a sinner that there was hardly a sin that he
hadn’t committed, who decided one day to repent. He thereupon went about seeking help from the world, but nothing could help him. When he realised that the matter depended on his own repentance alone, it is written that he placed his head between his knees and burst into such weeping and crying that his soul departed. Then a voice from Heaven was heard saying: ‘Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya is permitted to enter.’ The Rabbinical students had a question. They were not curious as to the relationship between the divine voice and revelation, nor on the Halachik authority of a Divine voice and testimony, or how it is possible to cry one’s soul away. They had one question, ‘Since when was he a Rabbi?’ The message that Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya delivered, thus making him a teacher and Rabbi, was that ownership, regret and remorse is transformative. To the point that even a great Tzadik cannot achieve this type of Divine service, to cry one’s soul away. He was able to transform himself and his transformation was beyond that of his peers, beyond what he could have achieved had it not been for his colourful history, but this could happen only once he had taken ownership. Ironically, the scapegoat of Yom Kippur is the precise opposite of the scapegoat as it is generally known. “Scapegoating,” as we use the word today, an expression coined by William Tyndale in his (1530) English translation of the Bible, means blaming someone else for our troubles. We do not blame others for our fate. We accept responsibility. We say mipnei chata-enu, “because of our sins.” We can face our faults because God forgives, but God only forgives when we face our faults. That involves confession, which in turn bespeaks the duality of our nature, for if we were only evil we would not confess, and if we were wholly good we would have nothing to confess. The duality of our nature is symbolized by the two identical goats with opposite fates: a vivid visual display of the nature of the internal struggle. So how was it that I didn’t notice this when I was 22? Looking through the liturgy, the poetry and the piercing honesty of the service will flag up a different emphasis each year for me as it will for you. The service is the same, but we are different. As we change and grow, we can all draw upon the seemingly unending richness and possibilities of meaning available to us. Through taking ownership of our Yom Kippur service, allowing it to be the catalyst for self-reflection that it was intended to be, will ensure that no Yom Kippur service should be the same.
The “Mosseri” Connection By Mark Harris There is a large stone, commemorative, memorial plaque in the lobby of the 1937-built Cambridge Synagogue, Thompson’s Lane, which I had noted, even more particularly, earlier this year. It was an inscribed date of death (25th July 1914) that had attracted my especial attention, rather than the name of the young man in whose memory the stone had been dedicated. Originally, it must have been affixed to a wall in the predecessor synagogue (then just off Sidney Street) of the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation, forerunner of the Cambridge University Jewish Society.
The date, less than a month before the breakout of the First World War, led to the instant thought that this was the 100th anniversary of the passing in Cairo, at the woefully young age of 23, of Lionel Nissim Mosseri (born Cairo, 1891). The stone, engraved in Hebrew and English, refers to his status as a graduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge. For sure, I knew
that I had come across the name “Mosseri” previously. And then I recalled an article that I had written, a few years ago, for the “CTJC Bulletin”, and which had been based on my interviews with Professor Stefan Reif and Dr Ben Outhwaite (the former and the current director) at the TaylorSchechter Genizah Research Unit, housed in Cambridge University Library (CUL). I turned up my feature in the publication’s Chanukah 2010 issue. At one point in my recorded questions put to Professor Reif, I had asked: “I understand that Ben Ezra’s genizah was not actually ‘emptied’ by Schechter in1897. Didn’t Jacques Mosseri, a few years later, discover more fragments at the Fustat [Cairo] shul and its nearby Bassatine cemetery? Hasn’t the Mosseri family recently  made a 20-year loan to CUL of its collection, which was held for decades in a Paris bank vault [some sources suggest it was held in a trunk in the Mosseri family home]?” A huge discovery of many thousands of ancient manuscript fragments (biblical, rabbinical, liturgical, legal, medical, administrative and domestic) had been taken from the genizah (store room) of the 9th century Ben Ezra Synagogue (the Rambam’s place of worship) in Old Cairo in the 1890s. The incredible hoard (largely dating from the 10th to the 13th century CE) was brought to CUL by Rabbi Dr Solomon Schechter, Reader in Talmudic Studies at Cambridge, supported by the financial sponsorship of Dr Charles Taylor (Master of St John’s College). Professor Reif had responded: “Yes, Jacques Mosseri did take the remainder of the fragments from the genizah. And, as you say, they’re now here in Cambridge so that the items can be described, catalogued and digitised. They aren’t in a good state, having been stored in cardboard boxes, and they need conservation. In 20 years’ time it doesn’t matter where this collection goes because there will be digital images of it available on everyone’s computer.” It seemed to me, at least likely, that Lionel Nissim Mosseri had been related to Jacques Mosseri. Researches turned up a notice, under the heading “Cambridge University”, in the “Jewish Chronicle” of 10th July 1908, which stated: “Lionel N. Mosseri (son of the late Nissim Mosseri Bey, of Cairo), pupil of the Rev. John Chapman, of Great Ealing School, has passed the ‘Previous Examination’ at Cambridge University and has been entered for admission to Pembroke College. Mosseri, who has studied for the past five years at
Great Ealing School, has already distinguished himself in the Local Examinations having passed with distinctions the Senior Local Examination of the University of Cambridge in December last. He intends reading Law, in view of being called to the English Bar.” On 7th August 1914, in the then front page “Deaths” columns of the “Jewish Chronicle”, the following notice appeared: “MOSSERI.—On the 25th of July, at Cairo, Lionel, aged 23, beloved son of Mdm. Veuve Nissim Mosseri and the late Nissim Mosseri Bey.” In the “Appendix of deceased Jewish Cambridge graduates” in “Gown & Tallith” (published 1989 and edited by William Frankel CBE and Harvey Miller), there is mention of a Lionel Nissim Mosseri as having been president of the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation and having received his BA from Pembroke in 1911. The note also refers to the commemorative memorial inscription in the synagogue. Additionally, there is an entry for his younger brother, Felix Nissim Mosseri (1893-1986), who received his BA, also from Pembroke, in 1915. (I would just mention that, in one Mosseri family genealogical table, I noted that Lionel appears to be referred to as “Leon”.) Lionel’s father, Nissim Mosseri Bey (1848-1897), was leader of the very wealthy and highly successful Mosseri family, which was prominent in the Egyptian Establishment. He had been awarded the title “Bey” in recognition of his banking and financial advice and services to the government of Egypt. His middle name, interestingly, was “Joseph”. It was the general custom, in his affluent and cultural circumstances, for a man to marry a cousin. In this instance, Nissim married out of the family. His wife was Elena Cattaui, who is referred to in the Jewish Chronicle “Deaths” column merely as “Mdm. Veuve” (the widow of) Nissim Mosseri. It is understood that the Mosseri family settled in Egypt, in the 18th century, from Livorno (otherwise known as “Leghorn”) on Italy’s Ligurian coast. And apparently, they retained their Italian citizenship. Livorno had a well-established Jewish community and so did Cairo, where the family were based in the most prestigious area. Originally, the Mosseris were moneylenders. They soon became very active, and philanthropic, in the city’s Jewish community, a number becoming vice-presidents. Indeed, the Mosseris helped build Cairo’s main synagogue, the Shaar Hashamayim, which was consecrated in 1905.
Nissim and Elena had 12 children (nine sons and three daughters) though the sources concentrate, notably, on three of their sons. The eldest, Joseph (1869-1934), who was also accorded the title “Bey” for his financial services, founded a film company which became the largest in the Egyptian movie industry. The Mosseris founded the banking house of J N Mosseri at Fils Cie (and we acknowledge the French influence in the Egyptian administration) and a second finance house, Bank Mosserie at Cie, was set up in 1904. The second son, Eli Nissim Mosseri (1879-1940), headed several companies associated, amongst other things, with property and hotels. One of the corporations, with Rothschild backing, constructed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1931. Eli was also involved with the building of several other luxury hotels in Egypt, such as the Mena House Hotel beside the pyramids in Cairo. And he reorganised the Egyptian Cement Company. Nissim’s third son, Jacques Mosseri (1884-1934), apparently studied languages in Cambridge, and he secured permission for Solomon Schechter to investigate the genizah at Cairo’s Fustat shul. As I have indicated, Jacques himself collected genizah fragments, a treasure trove of some 7,000 of them, which formed the basis of the Jacques Mosseri Genizah Collection presented (on loan) to CUL by his sons Claude and Gerard in 2006. Jacques also wrote many articles relating to the finds, and also about Cairo’s synagogues. He became a firm Zionist, attended the 11th Zionist Congress in 1913 as a delegate of Egyptian Jewry, and founded the Zionist Organisation in Egypt in 1917. As an intriguing side story, another son of Jacques Mosseri and his wife Rachel Abraham (née Bril) was named Lionel. He was born in 1921 and was a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford. Sadly, he was killed on 25 November 1944 leading a French detachment of the Maquis into Masevaux, the first town in Upper Alsace to be freed from Nazi occupation. Lieut. Mosseri was a member of an SOE Special Forces team, and a book, “Lionel”, printed in English by Unicorn Press Ltd in 2013, contains letters the soldier wrote home to his family, and a foreword by his stepfather, Louis Marlio, about his stepson’s “short but remarkable life and military career”. It is somewhat startling to note that, like his namesake, his late father’s late brother Lionel, Lieut. Lionel Mosseri died at the age of 23. His death in
action is commemorated by an inscription on a Second World War memorial wall in the chapel at Balliol College. The inscription in English on the memorial stone, now affixed to a wall in the lobby at the Cambridge Synagogue in Thompson’s Lane, reads as follows: “IN MEMORY OF LIONEL NISSIM MOSSERI Of Pembroke College, Bachelor of Arts, President of the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation (1911), born on 15th January 1891, died in his home at Cairo on 25th July 1914. Erected by three friends as a record of his services to this congregation and as a tribute to his loyalty and devotion.” The Hebrew inscription on the memorial translates, poetically, as follows: “I gave you a memorial and a name in my house and within my walls. Zion will call to the soul, a youth of the people He planted in pleasantness. And this [happened] to Yehuda [Lionel] son of Leah and Nissim Mosseri, a scion of strong forefathers; he gave sustenance and was a leader of this community; swift and focused, he supported [people] calmly; he ran to the work of his Creator as a deer and a ram would speed. Suddenly he met his fate; he returned to his Creator, 23 years old [he lies] in Egypt, in the city of his birth; there he is buried; the crown of his head is refreshed. On the second day of the month of Av in the year 5674; he rests in peace; and from his glory may the Divine Spirit enjoy his splendour; and he will be complete in the Garden of Eden, kept fresh with many sparkling lights; his brightness is as the sun. The crown of his glory he will enjoy and [he will be] very pleased and his soul will be bound in the bond of life, tied in and connected in the courtyards of G-d and his habitation [will be] as beautiful growing corn.” So Lionel Nissim Mosseri was the ninth child of the patriarch Nissim Mosseri, and a younger brother of Jacques Nissim Mosseri. As I have noted, both Jacques and Lionel (and also their brother Felix) enjoyed a link with Cambridge, the Mosseri connection. Lionel Nissim’s sad and untimely passing in 1914 cut short what doubtless would have been a promising life. Whenever passing his memorial plaque in the Cambridge Synagogue, I will now give it some more focused moments of thought.
The Lost By Daniel Mendelsohn A book review by Ros Landy A note about the author: Mendelsohn was born on Long Island and has his degrees from Virginia and Princeton. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the New York Times Magazine. He teaches at Bard College. Mendelsohn has researched a missing section of his family, who perished in the Holocaust. He is faced with the fact that time has moved on and his religious grandfather, who often mentioned this lost part of the family, has passed on. Daniel uses many resources to help in his research. He aims to find out what was known of the missing people. His list of acknowledgments is impressive, including Bet Hatefutzot, the Nahum Goldmann Museum of the Jewish Diaspora and several others. He gets some results from an internet search. The book is partly journalistic, partly a travelogue. In the main it is a heartfelt search to find whatever memories remain in Bolechov, the birthplace of the missing family. The style is slow and repetitive but has a strong magnetic pull for the reader. One feels one wants to know what happened to those who were killed, who knew them, who remembered the family. Inevitably the details are sometimes harrowing. A very good read. Â
Another New Beginning – Tashlich 5775 A poem by Mark Harris, inspired by, and marking, the first “official” Tashlich in the Fellow’s Garden, beside the River Cam, at Magdalene College Cambridge (Rosh Hashanah, 5775). After Rosh Hashanah’s first day service, We followed our rabbi like an extended chorus. From Thompson’s Lane shul some thirty souls, With collected thoughts of life, pursued the calls Of young and old, of past and present, To cast their sins into a flowing torrent; And to receive the loving redemption Of Hashem’s honey sweet compassion. The golden orb in its powerful glory Lighted the way in His enduring story, From Abraham’s self-sacrifice, past flora and fauna To the knowledgeable waters of our eternal Torah; By an aching trust within our thighs, We crossed the river’s bridge of sighs. And entering awed through ancient Magdalene’s gate, Beheld a Realm to which we would relate. Our rabbi led his kith and kin along the bank, Its path, beside soft grassy edges green and dank, Taking us forward to our destination, Eden’s Garden, on that recalled day of Creation. All gathered together as a brother, a sister … a Fellow, When our journey ended beneath a weeping willow; It wept its tears, like ours, over the poignant stream; Bent and bowed, as with remorse. Was this a silent scream? The rabbi intoned the customary prayers to a merciful Hashem; They echoed the deep and hopeful pleas of our so long-shaken hem. But waterfowl and tourist punts, that glided to and fro, Reminded us of worlds beyond our focused thoughts of woe; Encircling us stood stately trees, their branches intertwined High aloft above our heads, like guardian canopies of a kind; As with Hashem’s forgiveness, they offered kindly protection Against the darkness of our elemental transgression; I stooped to clasp an autumn leaf, a curl of coppery brown. Like a page in a Good Old Book, I could not put it down. Of course not … the leaf’s inherent aim and mine were clear. I walked beyond the willow’s trunk, the river now was near. With all my heart and soul and mind, I let the leaf fall from my hand. It floated down to kiss the Cam then, fish-like, shimmied to the sea; And ever-onwards, fading to Eternity …
Making Chanukah Candles By Ben Blaukopf One criticism often levelled at Cambridge Day Limmud is that it is not inclusive enough, that there is not enough Jewish origami, or Jewish cookery. With that in mind – and since this is an “off” year for Cambridge Limmud – I have produced a craft article. Any rumours that this is anything to do with the bulletin editor collaring me in shul two weeks ago are completely untrue. Last year we had a bash at making Chanukah candles from beeswax sheets. It is not really any cheaper to do this (even compared to the more expensive boxes of candles) – but it is more fun, and kids love it. The beeswax sheets you need are easily available from eBay. It is more economical to buy the larger 8” square sheets, and we have ordered several times from ‘99petal’ on eBay – I am sure that other sellers are equally as good. Readers of this magazine might like to make sure they search for ‘beeswax sheets’, and not ‘beeswax candle kits’ which leads you such items as ‘Pagan/Wicca Candle Starter Set’! My supplier provides two metres of wick with five sheets of wax, which is sufficient for about 18 four-inch candles. You get eight candles per sheet, so we bought six sheets, and we had some extra wick left over from another project – but any cotton should work, for example strips of old t-shirt. As an engineer, I cannot do anything without obsessing about it, so as well as the wax sheets, a glass chopping board, sharp knife, and measuring tape, I also fetched the callipers from the garage. I used these to measure the diameters of a few existing candles, as well as Chanukiot holes, and discovered that a suitable candle is 9.5mm wide, while the hole is about 9mm – smaller, so that the candle forms a tight fit*. The instructions that came with the sheets said that one sheet made a 20mm wide candle, meaning that we clearly wanted a quarter-width sheet to make a 10mm candle. After all this effort, Clare then pointed out that she worked all this out experimentally last year. Never mind – I got to use my callipers. I carefully cut up one sheet into halves, and then one half into quarters. I then laid out some wick near the edge, carefully folded the edge incrementally over the wick, rolled it up, chopped the wick, and then it was a candle. So far, so good. Of course, engineers like to push things till they break, so I wondered if I could cut two triangles, and form a single candle from the two laid out together. It did work, but is not quite as pleasing an effect as hoped, because most of the join is hidden inside the inner rolls of the candle. I still look forward to seeing what it looks like when it burns. It would look better with two deep sawtooth profiles – but it would be rather difficult to roll it up, so I refrained from trying this time. Now I am wondering if I can construct a rolling machine out of Meccano.
* Apparently this is defined in RFC135.
Crispy Chanukah chocolate bark By Helen Goldrein There’s really no dressing it up – this has to be one of the least healthy recipes I’ve ever created! But it’s the holidays, so treat yourself. Three sorts of chocolate, biscuit sticks, crispy rice and a few dried cranberries to cut through all the sweetness. Yum. There’s nothing particularly Chanukuah-y about the ingredients – except maybe the chocolate coins – but the end result does have a certain seasonal charm. And it’s good to have something sweet in reserve for when you just can’t face another doughnut. Without further ado, the recipe: Ingredients: 75g white chocolate 5-6 pretzel or biscuit sticks 150g dark chocolate 25g dried cranberries 20g crispy rice cereal 7-8 milk chocolate coins Melt the white chocolate (I do this in the microwave) then spread into a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It will set quite quickly. Use a knife to cut out driedel shapes, then ‘glue’ a pretzel stick handle onto each one using more melted chocolate. I found the easiest way to make the shapes was to cut strips, then cut an X across the middle of each one to make the points of two driedels. Make the dreidels in a range of sizes. Now melt the dark chocolate. Stir in the cranberries and crispy rice till well combined – I also added the ‘offcuts’ of white chocolate. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a rectangle approx 10 x 20cm or thereabouts. Peel the foil off the chocolate coins. Arrange the coins and white chocolate driedels on the surface of the dark chocolate mixture and press down lightly. Use a toothpick and a little melted dark chocolate to paint the letters on the driedels. You can also decorate any spare dreidels. Place the whole thing in the fridge to firm up. Once cold and set, admire, then break into chunks and enjoy!
Chanukah events Communal Menorah Lighting on King's Parade Saturday 20 December, 7:00pm Join us in a public celebration of the Festival of Lights with a giant Menorah lighting on King's Parade. Together we will light the menorah and sing the traditional songs and spread the light and warmth of Chanukah. Chanukahaus @ The Lehrhaus Sunday 21 December, 12:004:00pm Chanukahaus offers children and adults an opportunity to enter into a festive atmosphere, where the holiday of Chanukah is not just celebrated, but experienced! Inside our funhouse, Chanukah comes alive with various unique centres including an intriguing hands-on olive press demonstration, a creative crafts corner and hi-tech computer centre. Children are also given the opportunity to meet Yehuda Hamaccabi, build menorahs and dreidles in Legoland and experience the joys and traditions of the Holiday in our Chanukah Theatre. Fee: ÂŁ4/child Â
Calendar Chanukah 2014 The first night of Chanukah is Tuesday 16 December. Purim 2015 (Purim is in term time so service times are approximate) Wednesday 4 March Maariv 6:30pm immediately followed by Megillah Reading, Thursday 5 March Shacharit 7:30am, immediately followed by Megillah Reading. Pesach 2015 Anyone who would like to attend a Seder, or who knows someone who would like to attend a Seder is invited to consult Barry Landy who will try to arrange a suitable host. Friday April 3, Fast of the Firstborn Thursday April 9 Shacharit 7:00am Festival Starts 7:32pm Finish all Chametz by 10:33am Minchah/Maariv 7:30pm Burning of Chametz by 11:51am Friday April 10 Shabbat and Festival starts 7:21pm Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv 7:15pm Saturday April 11 Saturday April 4 Shacharit 9:30am Shacharit 9.30 am Shabbat and festival ends 8:38pm Sunday April 5 Shacharit 9.30 am Festival ends 8.27 pm Shavuot 2015 Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Friday May 22 Sunday May 24 Shabbat starts 8:43pm Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv to be announced Saturday May 23 Monday May 25 Festival Starts at the end of Shabbat 9:59pm Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv to be announced Festival Ends 10.03 pm Tisha B’Av 2015 Saturday July 25 Fast Commences 9:02pm Shabbat ends 10:01pm Maariv and Eichah 10:20pm
Sunday July 26 Shacharit 8:00am (expected to finish about 10:00am) Minchah 1:45 / 6:00pm (TBC on the day) Fast ends 9:50pm
CTJC bulletin Chanukah 2014