CTJC Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation Bulletin Number 116
Committee 2015/2016 Chairman Treasurer Secretary Synagogue Officer Education Officer Welfare Officer Bulletin Officer
Jonathan Allin Jonathan Allin Barry Landy Barry Landy Rosalind Landy Sarah Schechter Barry Landy
561190 561190 570417 570417 570417 329172 570417
Bulletin Committee: Barry Landy Rosalind Landy Michael Amior
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 The CTJC now has an email list. To join the list please send an email to Barry Landy BL10@cam.ac.uk, or Jonathan Allin Jonathan@jonathanallin.com
Sale of Chametz Rabbi Reuven Leigh (37a Castle St, Cambridge 354603) can arrange the sale of Chametz, or alternatively Lubavitch in Ilford send us forms which can be completed and returned to them. Look out for them in the shul. If preferred you can write directly to Lubavitch at the following address. They will send a form for you to fill in and return to them (with a donation). Lubavitch Foundation Lubavitch House 107-115 Stamford Hill London N16 5BR *******************
Front Cover The design on the front cover is by Sharon Binder who studied fine art at Queens College, New York, with a special interest in graphics and letters that was developed in Toronto and Jerusalem. Her unique combination of design, typography, contemporary graphics, and painting has been applied to the creation of major works for the home, institutions, and synagogues. The artist applies her expertise in such diverse media as painting, pen-and-ink, typography, and fabric appliquĂŠ to a wide range of projects. Wall hangings, murals, ceramic, fabric, metal and glass designs have flowed from her designs. She has exhibited widely in New York, Toronto, and Jerusalem. Her work is in private collections in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Japan, and Israel. Specially commissioned pieces have been presented to such dignitaries as the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late King Hussein of Jordan. Another example of her work is elswhere in this Bulletin. For further examples of Sharonâ€™s work, please visit her websites, www.sharonbinderart.com and www.Sharonsukkah.com.
The necessity of dialogue The news we hear seems to be unremittingly depressing. Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, many countries in Africa and other parts of the world, are essentially lawless and have reverted to naked tribalism. The life of an individual is of no account. There is little that most of us can do. Perhaps not much more than vote sensibly (that is to say with thought rather than emotion), write the odd letter to our MP, or perhaps try to learn something of the reality behind sensationalist and simplistic headlines. The last option will at least provide us with tools that we can use to influence those around us. A well reasoned and informed argument may spread and ripple out. Indeed it may prevent someone from being radicalised. Pesach celebrates our departure from Egypt. Although we left so quickly that we didn’t have enough time to bake bread, we certainly didn’t leave empty handed. We were able to exit in good order and under leadership that was well respected (well, at least for those bits of time we weren’t complaining). We also left with the hope of a land that was promised to us and that we could fight for. Today’s refugees are not so fortunate. They have no leaders and no promised land, and in contrast to the Jewish refugees who fled from persecution in Russia and Europe, too many lack the necessary tools to integrate into a new society and to contribute to that society. For me, Jonathan Arkush is a mensch. I suspect that Mr Arkush doesn’t particularly like either Vladimir Putin or Jeremy Corbin, but by meeting with them he opened up a dialogue and the possibility of normalising relationships with them. What of our own society? Do we have the tools that will enable us to contribute to it? Can we behave like menschen? Even if we might not be happy with the way someone has behaved, can we not at least create that dialogue? Perhaps being a mensch is what tikkun olam is about. Wishing you a warm (and thoughtful) Chag Sameach, Jonathan Allin (acting) Chair, CTJC
A response to Tragedy In the first four centuries of the current era, the Jews faced the angry and aggressive ambitions of the worldâ€™s most powerful empire. They fought a number of wars against the Romans, as they attempted to retain their national and religious identity, but ultimately the pagan invaders triumphed. The Jewish homeland was lost, the sanctuary burnt to the ground, the capital city Romanized, and elements of Jewish religious practice were forbidden. Large numbers of Jews were murdered, were publicly tortured and were carried off as slaves. It would have been a natural response to decry the terrible circumstances, and to succumb to feelings of utter depression. The Jews could well have resigned themselves to the failure of their religious message and opted for a pagan lifestyle. They could later have joined the newly converted Christian Roman Empire and replaced their sacred Hebrew and Aramaic texts with Greek and Latin poems, satires, cynicism and pornography. Some probably did precisely that. The rabbinic approach to these tragedies was an amazing one, and one that is well exemplified in the Passover Haggadah which developed and expanded in those centuries and in the post-talmudic periods that followed them. The rabbinic teachers chose the first evening of the festival that marked the biblical exodus from Egypt to stress the success of their religious message and to parade their confidence in its continuation. No signs here of failure, depression, bitterness or apostasy but of joy in their fate and optimism about their future. The haggadah spells it out: God has chosen us and sanctified us with religious practices. He has rescued us from bondage and given us true freedom. The meal we are enjoying is a symbolic celebration not only of the historical exodus from Egypt but of our current status as free individuals. Not only Pharaoh, not only Laban and not only the Romans have persecuted our people; every generation has seen attempts at annihilating us and the religious identity that we represent. The Almighty has rescued us from each and every one of these catastrophes. Whatever we are now, and wherever we may be, we look forward to being a free people in the land of Israel. To mark our gratitude for our survival we tell the story, in our own languages, of our departure from Egypt, and we embellish the favourable aspects of that event. We recite praises of God by way of the hallel that surrounds the festive meal, we drink four toasts to our Creator and to our historical survival, and we 5
sing songs of jubilation. What is more, we conclude by expressing the hope that we shall be in Jerusalem next year. A tragic turn of events has been transformed into a joyous declaration of faith and a belief in ourselves and in our religious and national role. This was so even in the Warsaw Ghetto and even in the concentration camps. There can be little doubt that this philosophy of refusing to give up and to give in and adhering to - even glorying in - our own notions of why we are here made it possible for many generations of Jews to survive hundreds of Pharaohs, Labans, Romans, Hitlers and Stalins and to march forward in time to a new and proud role as a free people in a free country. We fought back with literary, religious and cultural positivism until such time as we could once again fend off our enemies by the ethical strength of Jewish self-defence. We did not murder, maim and terrorize anyone, nor did we falsify the historical record. We did not look to others to plead our cause and to fight our battles. We took pride in Pesach, in the Haggadah and in ourselves, and lauded the God of Israel who stood behind all our efforts. A truly remarkable tale of how failure may evolve into success. Stefan C. Reif
Religious Calendar Purim 2016 Wednesday 23 March 2016 Maariv will be at 7.00 pm immediately followed by Megillah Reading, Thursday 24 March 2015 Shacharit at 7.30 am, immediately followed by Megillah Reading. Pesach 2016 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 354931) will take Pesach orders.
(Pesach is in University Term so times of services are approximate at this stage) Friday April 22
Fast of the Firstborn: Shacharit 7am Finish all Chametz by 10.10 am Burning of Chametz by 11.36 am Shabbat and Festival start 7.55 pm; Minchah/Maariv 7.00 pm
Saturday April 23 Shacharit 9.30 am Shabbat Ends 9.03 pm Sunday April 24 Shacharit 9.30 am Festival ends 9.05 pm Thursday April 28 Friday April 29
Festival Starts 8.05 pm Minchah/Maariv 7.00 pm Shacharit 9.30am Shabbat starts 8.07pm Minchah/Maariv 7.00 pm
Saturday April 30 Shacharit 9.30 am Shabbat and Festival Ends 9.17pm SHAVUOT 2015 Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Friday June 10 Shabbat starts 9.05pm Saturday June 11 Festival Starts at the end of shabbat 10.26pm Minchah/Maariv to be announced Sunday June 12 Shacharit 9.30 am; Minchah/Maariv to be announced Monday June 13 Shacharit 9.30 am; Festival Ends 10.29 pm Tisha Bâ€™Av Saturday Aug 13 Fast Commences 8:29pm Shabbat ends 9.19pm Maariv and Eichah 9.40pm Sunday Aug 14 Shacharit at 8am (expected to finish about 10am) Minchah 1.45 pm or 6pm (to be decided on the day) Fast ends at 9:10pm
Yom Kippur Derashah [Simon Goldhill delivered this derashah in shul for Kol Nidrei, 2015/5776] There is a story that is told from the end of the Second World War. A conference on international peace and the humanitarian crisis of post-war Europe was taking place and began with a reflection on the horrors of the Holocaust. Speaker after speaker stood up to the microphone and offered a variation of the same lament. "How could this have happened to the Jews? How could such barbaric acts be committed against fellow human beings in a civilized world? The Jews are humans just like us: how could we as humans treat fellow humans like this? The Jews are just like us." The final speaker was a little rabbi - there’s always a little rabbi in these stories. He came to the front of the hall and said sadly: ’You still haven’t got the point. The Jews aren’t like you. The Jews are different. The point is that this shouldn’t matter. The point is that you should respect them and treat them well because they are different, not because they are just like you.’ I have thought of this story often in the last few weeks as the refugee crisis has unfurled across the world, and as the violence prompted by Isis and the regime of Asad in Syria has reached new heights. But my thoughts have not taken the route you might think they would. Of course, I am sure that you, like me, have been dismayed by the images, and disgusted by recent events. When you see the destruction of a city like Palmyra, it is hard not to feel the tragic irony. Here was a city that had survived two thousand years; that was a celebrated crossing point of the Middle East, where Jews, Christians, and many other sects had met, lived together and worshipped side by side - not in a fantasy of harmony ancient cities could be brutal places - but with a livable mutual accommodation. And it was a city most famously ruled by a stroppy woman, Zenobia. To see such an icon of past civilization destroyed by a group whose very raison d’Ωtre is the violent repression of difference, the humiliation and repression of women, and the most aggressive form of refusal of mutual accommodation, is a bitter experience indeed. Even more upsetting have been the images of the human ruins that the war has produced. Anyone who is Jewish and knows the story of the ship Exodus from the end of the Second World War, the ship of Jewish refugees from Europe turned away from Palestine in the name of immigration policy, will feel an equally bitter irony when David Cameron can say, "Let’s first solve the politics of the Middle East - solve the conflict in the Middle East! - and then we can think about helping individual refugees". It looks like the British being British again - rejecting the sick, the needy and the desperate in front of our very eyes, 8
in the name of some wider policy. Of all weasel words, "first solve the centuries-old conflict and then we’ll help", is the most mealy-mouthed of promises. We should be able to say immediately in retort, as Jews, that a person who saves one life, it is as if he has saved the whole world. And what a response, what a heartening rejoinder, it was to see German individuals waiting for hours in welcome parties for the needy. Of course, the situation is complicated; of course, we need big picture solutions; of course, resources are tight; of course, Germany is rich and needs more man-power; of course Germany now needs more frontier control. But my mother always taught me, that when someone comes to your house in need, you offer food and drink first, however you can, and worry about the timeliness of the guest’s arrival later. Or as the rabbis will teach you and as Yom Kippur reminds you, tzedakah, is an obligation and, indeed, a privilege. And the best form of tzedakah is given anonymously and helps the needy to stand on their own feet. It is strange to find oneself wishing we Brits were more like Germans. I take it for granted that everything I have said so far is a version of what is said around your kitchen tables too: you might not mind about the classical city quite like I do as a professor of classics, and you might not be so quick to attack David Cameron’s leadership, for whatever reason, but the chief rabbi and pretty well every Jewish leader I have heard speak on this issue has taken this line: people are in desperate need and we should help. And it is a strong and proper response. If your Jewishness stays at the level of the cultural - a bagel, Woody Allen and a Kol Nidre most years - and does not lead you to a fuller and more active ethical life; if your Jewishness is all halacha - terrified that a light may be turned on when you walk past a shop on shabbat - and it does not lead you to a fuller and more active ethical life; then you are living a life that is not fulfilling its Jewish potential. The principle is simple, is repeated throughout the Torah, and is familiar, "you should deal kindly with the stranger, because you were a stranger in Egypt." It is, as my first story said, precisely because they are different that you must respect them and treat them well. But this is where I want to push the argument a bit further and in a direction that may be a bit polemical for you. What I want to explore is the connection between the violent suppression of difference that motivates Isis, the crisis we are facing with refugees, and the Jewish life we are encouraged to lead. Now I have ringingly endorsed the Torah’s declaration to treat the stranger kindly "because you were a stranger in Egypt" as a principle in contrast to the violent attack on anyone different by Isis, and the West’s discomfort with caring for the strangers when they look different from us. It makes for a good contrast, but things aren’t quite so simple. When you read the Talmud, you will find that in 9
many, many places where the principle of treating the ger properly - thatâ€™s the stranger -, the rabbis declare that the word ger does not mean stranger in the sense of other - acher - but a proselyte: that is a person who has converted to Judaism. I find this extremely discomforting: a great principle of caring for an other because you had the experience of being treated as an other is turned into an expression of not being nasty to someone who has joined the tribe because they were once outside. As if a great moral principle was no more than an injunction not to be sniffy about someone who wasnâ€™t frum from birth. It gets worse. One of the hated figures of the rabbis is the am ha-aretz, the person of the land. The am ha-aretz is a Jew who rejects rabbinical authority, and, in the worse case, a Jew who was once a good, rabbinical Jew but who has left the fold and mocks or attacks from outside. "It is allowed", says the Talmud shockingly, "to kill an am ha-aretz even on Yom Kippur when it is on a Shabbat." Now I recognize this as extreme rhetoric, and I know that the rabbis in late antiquity had plenty of reasons for buttoning down the hatches, and I also recognize that there are many wonderful passages of peacefulness, reasonableness, and all round goodness in the Talmud. But I have cited so shocking a sentence - out of context and without the framing I no doubt should provide - to make a first simple point as starkly as possible. Judaism is committed to an ideology and practice of separation, of boundaries of difference. We do not eat like the community around us in order to separate ourselves; we do not marry into the community around us to maintain the boundaries of our community; we are a chosen people; we are a holy people with special obligations, duties, tsoros and nachas. And we are a people reviled and attacked precisely for our difference - as my opening story recalled. So why does this separation matter? When does it become dangerous? It becomes dangerous when the extreme rhetoric of boundary drawing becomes embodied as aggressive practice. What have we seen in our community this year? We have seen a so-called orthodox man attack a gay pride march and stab people - in order to try and destroy their difference - and be praised by his community, as if he were a new Pinchas. We have seen Palestinian boys kidnapped and murdered, set on fire while alive, as revenge. We have seen a mother and baby - need I say Palestinian again - torched and murdered by Jews - by those who think they should not be inhabiting the same land as them. Jewish society in Israel - and I say this because it is true and needs saying, though it pains me - has become in my life-time increasingly racist. It is not enough to say "Oh itâ€™s those crazies; they are the extremists; my Israel is not like that". Because your Israel is like that. It is racist on an everyday level in the casual speech, casual humiliation and institutional mistreatment of others. It is 10
that everyday behavior which allows the extremists to find a foothold. And the degree to which we do not speak out against the everyday mistreatment of the ger is precisely the degree to which we are complicit with it. The racism in Israel takes place in daily offensiveness and cruelty precisely because it is not stamped out as unacceptable by us, by our religious authorities, by our political authorities. We do have a responsibility and a capability of action. Separation, that is, becomes dangerous when it is not qualified by the necessary injunction to deal kindly with the stranger. Be different, be separate, be holy, yes - but that comes along with the command to treat others in a kindly way: that is the essence of Torah. This then is the tension with which we as Jews are destined to live - with maintaining our difference without leading us into mistreating others for their difference. The command to be holy means nothing without the parallel and equally active command to treat the stranger in a kindly fashion. One result of insisting on your difference, your holiness, your chosenness without the requirement to be menschlich to those it is difficult to be menschlich towards is, precisely, racism. In Germany today, you see a menschlich response to refugees that is the result of years of education about the Holocaust and the treatment of others. In Poland today, you see nothing similar - indeed you experience regular and direct anti-Semitism - because of the same years being devoid of education in such matters. Society is changed, menschlichkeit takes shape, because enough people teach, embody, demand it. I will finish with another story. My Dutch friend Yopie Prins visited this year from America. When we swapped the usual stories about what was happening, she said calmly that she had just adopted five Syrian children. What? I exploded. Well, she said, they came over as refugees with their mother who died of cancer a few weeks after they arrived. The family would have been split up. So what else could I do? Needless to say, I thought immediately of a lot of other responses she might have had, and was in awe at her commitment, her decency, and her life-changing decision: a new family! A new, very other family. I told Theo, a Dutchman, about it, and he immediately said, I bet her family saved Jews in the war. And he was right. Her family had saved Jews what else could you do? - so now here was she saving Syrians - what else could you do? To be a mensch can be taught, passed on, encouraged. When we think this year on Yom Kippur about what we have done, I hope we can all find a space to think about what we might do to make the world a better place, not just with charity, repentance and prayer, but with the everyday acts that change lives too over time for the better. It is, as the Torah says, "not baffling, not beyond reach; the thing is very close to you, in your heart and in your mouth to do it". 11
Singing in Berlin! by Mark Harris BERLIN is an intriguing kaleidoscope of a metropolis. You can get a different perspective every time you shake it. A German author once wrote that it’s "a city for ever condemned to becoming, never to being". I kind of know now what he meant. I’ve been visiting this urban enigma since before the "Mauer" (the infamous Berlin Wall) was brought down in 1989, the oppressive Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) collapsed and reunification ensued when the Federal Republic was established in October 1990. Over recent decades, I’ve followed closely its unique and enterprising capital’s gradual reconstruction, vital redevelopment neglected during 45 years of an East German communist regime implanted after Nazism’s defeat. By the Second World War’s end, Berlin had been pummelled into a landscape of almost total ruin by Allied bombing and, during the crushing finale as Hitler raged in his Chancellery bunker, by Soviet artillery. Today you can visit the city’s renovated and iconic landmarks including the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, the Spree-flanked Museum Island (with its world-renowned Pergamon Museum) and eminent galleries, opera houses and concert halls. Some leisure time can be spent around modernistic café, pub and entertainment complexes like the Sony Centre at Potsdamer Platz; and at the nearby Kultur Forum, where I’ve enjoyed Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. Those who don’t suffer from vertigo might want to ascend the Fernsehturm, Europe’s second tallest TV tower (with a city-scanning, revolving bar and restaurant in its lofty steel and glass globe); the structure is proximate to Alexanderplatz, the downtown transport and retail hub of former East Berlin. And you may wish to pause for thought at the vast (4.7 acres) national "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" comprised of undulating arrays of 2,711 concrete steles. It’s at places like the Holocaust Denkmal, sited just a stone’s throw from the country’s centre of government, that you can almost hear echoes of the city’s turbulent, 20th century history; and feel, quite emotionally, its storm-waves of anti-Semitism and Jewish suffering. But since the early 1990s the dynamic, pre-Nazi decimated community has been gradually revivified (there are well over 200,000 Jews in Germany now, mostly from Russia) by an increasingly energetic communal, social, educational and cultural infrastructure. Berlin synagogues have been reinstated to their former architectural glory. And in common with other German cities (such as Munich and Dresden), attractive new 12
community buildings have been erected, with substantial Federal, state and city funding, for a Jewish population slowly regaining interest in its (earlier suppressed) faith. Against this extraordinary Berlin tapestry, it was an amazing experience for me and my fellow choristers of the London Cantorial Singers (LCS), led by Musical Director David Druce, to participate (alongside other Jewish choirs from Russia, Germany and Israel) in the 5th annual, four-day Louis Lewandowski Festival (LLF) in the city last December (incidentally, one of its mildest ever). The 2015 theme of this prestigious international event, sponsored or partnered by over 60 major Berlin-based companies, was inspired by the Chor Shul music of Eastern Europe’s yesteryear. But maybe no less remarkable were the chance incidents culminating in the LCS being chosen by the Festival organisers from a large number of applicants. In 2008, knowing I would be fascinated as a regular visitor to Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe, Rabbi Alex Chapper of Ilford Federation Synagogue e-mailed some photos to me. They’d been taken at a rededication service in Berlin’s magnificent Rykestrasse Synagogue, the largest in Germany. Completed in 1904 to seat over 2,000 congregants, its two-year restoration (masterminded by Israeli architects) was completed in 2007. Not long after the IFS minister’s message, I was staying in the leafy, north-east Berlin (Pankow) district of Prenzlauer Berg. The trendy neighbourhood boasts stylish jazz and other clubs, bars, cafés and restaurants together with many streets of elegant, late 19th century edifices, art and antiques emporia and designer boutiques. From my charming Altbau hotel it was just a brief walk to the truly awesome synagogue, which I attended on Shabbat. Since then, and whenever visiting the city, I’ve resided generally in this lively and atmospheric area; and I’ve come to know some stalwart and knowledgeable members of the community, like senior gabbai Dr Andras Varga. And it so happened, after a Shabbat morning service in June 2014 and during the widely customary Kiddush/lunch, that Cantor Jochen Fahlenkamp mentioned the Louis Lewandowski Festival to me. His passing reference ignited a spark in my mind; and as they say, the rest is history. Unsurprisingly, the annual LLF’s Grand Final Concert, with all cantors and choirs taking part, was held as usual in the colossal Rykestrasse Synagogue (on a Sunday evening). Its expansive capacity is well able to accommodate an enthusiastic, 1,200-plus audience that always includes a number of Berlin dignitaries. Afterwards, at a VIP Reception for concert participants and special 13
guests, I was gratified to be told by David Druce: "In all the 20 years as a choir [it was founded in 1996 by Ian Lyons] this has been our finest hour ... our greatest achievement to date." And then I recalled the look of keen anticipation on his face when, having flown to Berlin some days earlier than the choir, I’d greeted him and fellow choristers on their arrival by coach from the airport at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. David was reflecting on the LCS’s performances over the previous few days of the (advance sell-out) Festival, which had begun with an opening ceremony and cantor concert at the quaintly ornate Pestalozzistrasse Synagogue in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district on the Thursday evening. The famed Louis Lewandowski (1821-1894) was closely associated with this lovely house of worship as a composer and conductor of liturgical music. The special programme of chazanut featured eight cantors (including Cantor Fahlenkamp, Cantor Uriel Grant from Moscow and an LCS soloist, Cantor Rev David Rome, minister of Catford & Bromley Synagogue); and it focused on the works of some of Lewandowski’s celebrated contemporaries, such as the Rosenblatts, Dunajewski and Schlossberg. The Festival was opened officially by its director, Nils Busch-Peterson; welcoming speeches were given also by Michael Müller, governing mayor of Berlin, and Dr Gideon Joffe, president of the city’s Jewish community. Individual concerts had been arranged for the five choirs (Jerusalem Cantors’ Choir, Vocaliza Women’s Choir of Tel Aviv, Moscow Male Jewish Cappella, London Cantorial Singers and Synagogal Ensemble Berlin) in various locations on the Saturday evening. The LCS sang in the Forum venue at Stilwerk Berlin, an upmarket design centre. Accompanied by David Silkoff at the piano, the choir and its cantor soloists Revs David Shine, Henry Black and David Rome offered an attractively eclectic line-up of liturgical, Yiddish, Ladino and Israeli renditions by renowned 19th and 20th century composers including, of course, Lewandowski. Following their separate presentations, the choirs had been invited to attend a superb kosher-buffet reception presented jointly by Nils Busch-Petersen and Ralf Wieland, President of the Berlin House of Representatives, at the imposingly majestic Berlin Parliament Building. During our chat after Sunday’s concluding LLF concert, David Druce was thinking also of the LCS’s choral contribution to the Shabbat morning service at the impressive Joachimstalerstrasse shul, Berlin’s Central Orthodox Synagogue, which had been pre-arranged with its minister, Rabbi Yitzhak Ehrenberg, and chazan, Cantor Arie Zaloshinsky. Choristers trilled some hearty Zemirot at the subsequent, cholent-graced lunch in the shul’s halls. The previous 14
evening there had witnessed a Kabbalat Shabbat dinner in the Crowne Plaza attended by all the choirs; and during which they each performed a few musical arrangements apt for this wonderful occasion. Optional events set up by LLF organisers for the choirs’ free time incorporated lectures on the East European origins, evolution and development of synagogue, cantorial and choral music. But one of the key ingredients was a visit to Berlin-Weissensee cemetery, the largest Jewish burial ground in Europe containing over 115,000 graves, including that of Louis Lewandowski (and his wife). Very movingly, choristers gathered around the matzevah to sing his composition, Shuvi Nafshi. Shortly after the London Cantorial Singers had returned home, I asked David Druce to summarise his personal thoughts on the choir’s Berlin venture. He responded: "All in all, it has been a great experience for us. As regards our choristers and soloists, I can hardly express in words how happy I am with their performances in the synagogues and other places. The overall sound of the choir was brilliant." And he added: "From the horrors and darkness of World War Two to the Cold War era of the Berlin Wall, and then German reunification, has come the miracle of Jews returning to the city and praying again in synagogues shattered by the Nazis. I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat when, during the Joachimstalerstrasse shul’s Shabbat morning service, the Rav led the congregation through some of the prayers. There was a particularly poignant moment when they recited, B’rich Shemay. At that point, one could see the bigger picture and feel the raw emotion." This article was first published in the Pesach 2016 issue of the Essex Jewish News, and is reproduced here by kind permission of the EJN. Some photographs of the visit are on the back page.
It Is Our Duty To Remember It is our duty to remember, To keep those Memories alive, Of the atrocities in Nazi Germany, Between Nineteen Thirty Three and Forty Five. As the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Day approaches, Let our voices speak out loud, Against all Anti-Semitism and Oppression Occurring throughout the World. Let us pray for Peace throughout the World, May we All live in Peace with each other, Men and Women, Kith and Kin, Living happily, each Mother, Father, Sister and Brother. As Ceremonies throughout the Nation, Take place on this Important Day, Held on Twenty Seventh of January 2016, For the Deceased we Remember and Pray. Whatever Faith we Practice, Or even if we have none, Peace is better than War, So that Monsters we do not become. [Written for Holocaust Memorial Day, 2016] Copyright © Jonathan Goldman [JGthepoet] 22 January 2016
Burns’ Night Celebration In Israel Many Scots made Aliya in the 50’s and 60’s and are very aware of their cultural roots. Long-ago friendships flourish and occasionally there is a reunion. In January 2016 there was a celebration of Burns’ Night in Tel Aviv with the traditional address to the (kosher) Haggis. This was done by one kilted Scotsman wearing most of the Scottish traditional dress. The missing item was the Skean Dhu, the dagger normally tucked in to knee socks. It would have been 16
Muktza on Shabbat to wear these as ornaments. The gathering included the recitation of a number of Scottish poems and a talk about the Poles and Jews in Scotland in the time of WWII. There was also a play reading of an early Gilbert play (Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). This was a set of scenes written in the Scottish vernacular and which has the elements of overly romanticised relationships. The reading was well done and caused a lot of laughter. One surrealist moment was at registration for the reunion, just before Shabbat. There were two places in the entrance hall for registration: one, the normal desk to announce oneâ€™s arrival and the second, smaller desk, which had been set up to act as an office with badges for participants. Behind me in the queue was a French couple with whom I had the following dialogue: Me: Madame, ceci câ€™est la queue pour la reunion Ecossaise. (this is the Scottish line) She: Des Juifs? (Jews?) Me: Oui. She: Il y a des Juifs en Ecosse? (There are Jews in Scotland?) Me: Mais certainement, madame. Il y a des Juifs en France? (there certainly are, Madame. Are there Jews in France?). I was taken aback at the tunnel vision of a European who thinks there are Jews only in his/her own country. It is good to see the melting pot effect in Israel along with the continuation of the cultural background of the various nationalities. One always has the impression of a polyglot nation with many and varied traditions. Nowadays there is a large contingent of French people who have decided that France holds no future for Jews. Ros Landy, January 2016.
Pesach Potato Gnocchi (serves 4-6) By Helen Goldrein A good Pesach substitute when youâ€™re really craving pasta! Omit the cheese to make them parve.This recipe first appeared on Family Friends Food http://family-friends-food.com Ingredients 4 large baking potatoes (approx. 1.3-1.5 kg) 1 egg 100g potato flour + extra for rolling out 35g grated parmesan (optional) 65g grated cheddar (optional) Instructions Preheat the oven to 190C. Stab the potatoes several times with a fork, and arrange on a baking sheet. (You may like to place them on a layer of salt crystals as this helps to absorb excess moisture.) Bake at 190C for 1-1.5 hours until cooked through and soft. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Grate the flesh by hand or using a food processor, or pass through a potato ricer. Collect the potato flesh in a large mixing bowl and leave to cool. Add the egg and 100g potato flour and mix well to create a dough. If you are using the cheeses, add them now, and mix and knead to combine. The dough should be smooth and not sticky. If necessary, add a little more potato flour. Dust a surface with potato flour. Break off pieces of the dough and roll out into long sausages about the thickness of your thumb. Cut each sausage into 1-1.5cm lengths, and press the tines of a fork into each piece to create ridges. You can cook the gnocchi straightaway, or refrigerate or freeze them till required. (The gnocchi will keep for a day or two in the fridge, or longer in the freezer.) To cook, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully add the gnocchi,and bring back to the boil. The gnocchi will float up to the surface. Once they are floating, cook for a further 1-2 minutes, then drain. Serve hot with your favourite sauce.
The Parochet in the Hadassah Synagogue The parochet [curtain over the Holy Ark of the Law] designed for the synagogue in the new medical tower at Hadassah Ein Kerem is based on a concept of reaching heavenward in supplication, pleading, and seeking guidance. The Biblical verse chosen for this design, öéÄÖ çÖå öòöí çãå âöâåÇÖ ,çöÄîòÖ ÑîòéÖ ÑãòÄ Ñå Ñåíé âêêÑ Behold, I will bring her relief and healing. I will heal them and reveal unto them an abundance of peace and truth [Jeremiah 33:6]. is related to the original motto - and purpose - of Hadassah, "The healing of my people" [Jeremiah 8:22]. The crisscrossing of lines indicates the crossing of national, ethnic, and sectarian boundaries by those of various backgrounds and cultures who both seek healing at Hadassah Hospital and those who help to provide it. The lines converge onto the lower area being the key purpose of the parochet, the Aron Hakodesh [Holy Ark], the life source of the Jewish people. The lines and color patches morph into circular intersections stretching to the outer boundaries of the parochet. Each intersection representing the core of Hadassah’s far-reaching humanitarian endeavors. It takes more than medicine to heal. From ancient times, art has been used by all cultures to cope with life’s tragedies. The artist gives meaning to emotional pain and transforms it into a healing experience. This is, in essence, the Jewish tradition of healing that is prescribed as a priestly function in the Torah and is how implemented by the medical and social staff of the hospital. As expressed by the poet W. B. Yeats, "The arts are about to take upon their shoulders the burdens that have fallen from the shoulders of the priests, and lead us back upon our journey by filling our thoughts with the essence of things and not with things [themselves]." Complementing the parochet is the mapah [cover for the shulchan or reading table), with its inscription, åÖãé Öéå èÄÖ äöòÖö âÅÑÄå Åò çÖå Great peace have they who love Your law; they shall know no obstacle [Psalm 119:165] The verse will be added to the dark blue/purple area of the cloth, representing the anchoring of faith and hope the supplication for healing.á The design on the mapah is a continuation of that on the Aron Hakodesh, creating a flow of line and color from one to another in this sacred place. © Sharon Binder, Jerusalem, 15 Tevet 5772
öâÅÑ òÑ By Joe Blaukopf "Any plans for the day?" It was the last day of my visit to Jerusalem, and Michael, my son-in-law, suggested a visit to the Temple Mount. The mainstream opinion is that this is forbidden for reasons of ritual impurity. Michael, however, was all for it. As he is more intelligent, erudite, and observant than me, I went along with his decision, declining a two or three hour explanation of his reasons. He warned me that immersion in a mikva was required. "OK" "Total immersion." He smirked, aware of my loathing of cold water. "A-hah." "It’s polite to take a shower beforehand." "Mmm-hmm." "It’s wise to take a shower afterwards!" I grunted in acceptance of my coming fate. This was more washing that I usually take on, outside of July and August. Jerusalem in April can be hot, but was not. I shared the mikva with a fat gent who demonstrated Archimedes’ Principle by displacing his volume of murky water through the overflow. Michael assisted my total immersion with a squeegee. The second shower was necessary, if not welcome. Out onto the flat, stony top of the Temple Mount. In bare feet, as law required. A thin, chilly, lazy wind attended us round every corner. Local women, well wrapped up, breakfasted comfortably under olive trees. They looked a sight less out of place than I felt. As well as the wind, we were attended by a member of the Wakf, or Muslim Religious Police. His job was to make sure we didn’t engage in any religious activity, but were bona fide tourists. The policeman was the Right Kind of policeman; lazy, flabby, and blatantly venal. I was tempted to ask his tariff for a short psalm - maybe one of the Songs of Ascent, or perhaps åÅÅ öÖòÑê åí [By the waters of Babylon]. The holiness of many public places in Israel - bus-stops, pubs, shops, even synagogues impressed me. Up here, I felt "nothing". Like Pompey the Great, who broke into the Holy of Holies to see the Jewish God, I can report nothing at all. The weather, and the immoderate use of cold water, left me with a low-grade fever for the next month. I now incline to the majority opinion that visits to the Temple Mount are forbidden, until the coming of the Messiah, speedily in our days.
A KADDISH FOR THE SHTETL Mirosl´aw A. Supruniuk [Torun University in Poland is currently exhibiting a large collection of paintings by artists of the stetl. This article explains some of the rationale and is also an introduction to the collection. A friend in Torun writes: "Dr Supruniuk is a director of the Torun University Museum and is interested amongst other things in Jewish culture and is, as they say nowadays, creative. Torun also has an "Advanced School of Hebrew philology"- the only one in Poland; there too they have various exhibitions. I was there once on the occasion of the presentation of a medal to one of the "righteous among the nations" . This was awarded for the grandfather of my friend whose mother received it on behalf of her father. She herself, in addition, took part in saving Jews during WWll in Lvov." What follows comprises two extracts from a long article; for the full article and a list of the artists, please see http://www.muzeum.umk.pl. this link points to the article which is in Polish (first) and then English (second); scroll through to find the English version.] Art and religion have been closely correlated for ages. They both stem from our deepest emotions. That is why both the artist and the religious leader were able to satisfy many of humanity’s basic needs . Art is, indeed, a form of religion; it is creative, spiritual and it generously grants great power. Experiencing it may create a bond as strong as the one created by sharing a prayer. "For the longest of times I have been stimulated with religion, sometimes I was totally absorbed with it" - wrote Ira Moskowitz in a tome titled ’Shtetl’. And he added - "’From my childhood I remember the dominating atmosphere of religion. On both sides my family was descend from a long line of religious leaders, dating back to the times of the great rabbinical schools of middle age France. [...] Often I was absolutely captivated by the prayers of my maternal grandfather, whom I especially admired. A lot of what he was saying was inconceivable to me, though his deep voice had a big influence on me." Moskovitz painted his own memories, described in "the Shtetl" with such detail. During his childhood he was not encouraged to draw and create likenesses of people, though he sketched the people visiting the house, who he met in the synagogue - a place of emotion and inspiration - in secret. Later, in America, after finishing his artistic education, despite travelling the world and countless emotions he persistently 24
came back to the theme of the shtetl. The exhibition ’Shtetl life in Polish-Jewish art in Exile in XXth Century’ is devoted to artists such as Moskowitz. It is hard to determine the number of Jewish artists who were active in Poland from the end of the XIXth century until 1968. Many of them left Poland in various years, seeking their luck; many died in subsequent hecatombs, which had no mercy for Middle Europe, some lived to see 1939; many have been murdered in German concentration camps and Soviet gulags; many died in Poland, Russia, Romania, and Germany, sometimes after the war, on their way home. Their fates have been described by Magdalena Tarnowska in the study "Jewish Artists in Warsaw 1939-1945 (2015)". Few remained in Poland after 1945 or emigrated. The last were forced to leave Poland in 1968. The number of those who emigrated during the XXth century remains unknown.
******************* Useful Quotations! "While a Zionist has a built-in pride of where he belongs, he doesn’t mind if he doesn’t belong elsewhere. A non-Zionist feels that doors are locked to him because of his origins." George Weidenfeld.
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." Mark Twain
Clever translations Mulling over how clever the translators of classic entertainment are when it comes to Hebrew translations, I mentioned to Jonathan Allin that the famous song in "My Fair Lady", The Rain in Spain.. is translated as çÖòÉÅ Éòâ ÉòÅ ÅòíÅ Éòîë "Barad Yarad b’Drom Sfarad HaErev"; literally the Rain came down in Southern Spain tonight. The meaning is somewhat changed but the rhythm fits perfectly.
Jonathan came up with another beautiful piece of Ivrit. It is the advertisement for blood donors which says: çÉâöéòö Taramtidam In correct ivrit really "Taramti Dam" meaning I gave blood. Again the rhythm of the wording is beautiful. Hurrah for translators! Ros Landy
COMMUNITY NEWS Mazeltov
To Simon and Shosh Goldhill on the marriage of Daniel to Sarah Barth To Julian Landy and family on the engagement of Imogen to Charlie Gluckman To Sarah And Arie Schechter on the birth of a daughter to Navit To Joel and Miriam Peck and family on the barmitzvah of Jacob Welcome
To Michael and Neta Amior Tombstone Settings
The Tombstone settings for Maurice Bogen and Priscilla Goldstein (Gee) took place in October
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 27
CTJC Bulletin Pesach 2016