CTJC Bulletin Pesach 2014
Welcome to the CTJC Pesach Bulletin Bulletin Number 110. Cover image: Red-eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) at night in Lapa Rios, the OSA Peninsula, Costa Rica by Charlesjsharp. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Redeyed_tree_frog_Lapa_Rios.JPG
Spring has taken a while deciding whether or not to arrive, but the sun certainly came out of hibernation for Purim on a Punt! You can read all about it on page and see photos below, and inside the back cover. With any luck, that was the start of things to come, and we’ll have a Pesach like the one 3 years ago – I remember a matza picnic in Milton Country Park in almost sweltering sunshine! Here’s hoping… But if you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, at least you have the CTJC Bulletin to keep you entertained! We have articles on a wide range of subjects, from whisky barrels to WWI, plus a book review, recipe, Pesach craft ideas, and more. We are always looking for new contributors to the bulletin, and would be delighted to hear from you with your articles or ideas. For instance, if you’re travelling to somewhere of Jewish interest this summer, why not write it up for the Rosh Hashana issue? To submit material, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com You can read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/pesach2014 Wishing you and yours a Pesach kasher v’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.
Left: Enjoying the Purim spirit, and a wonderful picnic on the banks of the river Cam.
In this issue… 1 - Welcome to the CTJC Pesach bulletin 3 - Communal information 4 - Chairman’s message 5 - A note from your treasurer – by Jonathan Allin 5 - Community news 6 - Religious calendar 7 - Whisky Galore Rebooted – by Julian Landy 8 - The whisky barrel conundrum – by Rabbi Reuven Leigh 9 - Diary of a visit to Dad’s birthplace in Kalusz, now in Western Ukraine – by Stefan Reif 13 - The military contribution of Cambridge-associated Jews in WWI, and the Cambridge Synagogue Ark - by Mark Harris 19 - “The Marrying of Chani Kaufman” – book review by Julian Landy 20 - The Lehrhaus 21 - CST, here for you 22 - Perilous Pesach Peripherals – by Jo Cummin 24 - Fearless Pesach cookery – by Helen Goldrein 25 - Make your own matzah placecards 26 - Purim review and photographs Country House Shabbat photos
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). You can also consult our online calendar at www.ctjc.org.uk/calendar Learning Rabbi Reuven Leigh holds a Talmud Shiur at Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AH, every Tuesday at 7:30pm. For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org A Talmud Shiur led by Prof. Stefan Reif is held on a convenient evening in those weeks when Prof. Reif is in Cambridge. For more information email email@example.com 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 Cambridge Hebrew School, 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
Chairmanâ€™s message By Ros Landy This year winter has seemed unduly long, dreary and wet with flooding in Somerset and other parts of the UK. Suddenly at the beginning of March there were crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils and blossoms on trees. Spring began to do its usual thing, lengthening the days and warming up the air. This is the trigger to make us think of Pesach, the festival of renewal. For the children of Israel it is the transformation from slavery to freedom. This was a difficult and slow transition, which was miraculously negotiated. In the West we take it for granted that freedom is ours. There are many countries in the world in turmoil. These nations have a way of life that is one of randomness and corruption which destroys lives; dictators who determine the direction of their people; a feeling of helplessness in the face of powers beyond the control of one individual. Some groups in various countries are trying to improve the day-to-day existence of individuals. In other places we see inter-faction warfare with no clear solution to the hatred underlying this situation. We cannot hope to mend the vagaries of the whole world but we can aim for Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) on a small scale; we can do our best each day to help the fragile and the disenfranchised. This not only improves the world; it gives the worker of the good deed a feeling of reward due to performing a Mitzvah. Barry and I wish you all a kosher and happy Pesach. Â 4
A note from your treasurer By Jonathan Allin, CTJC treasurer
I wanted take this opportunity to let you know how your CTJC subscriptions are spent. We are a very small community just about surviving financially. We have between 25 and 30 paid member units, which brings in between £3,500 and £4,000 each year. Our major expense is our contribution to synagogue maintenance. At £3,700 this matches our revenue from subscriptions. In addition we received about £300 in donations to the CTJC and we get some £200 in interest from our reserves. We produce three CTJC bulletins a year at a total cost of about £600. Thanks must go to Helen Goldrein for her dedication and professionalism in their editing and to Barry Landy for arranging printing and distribution. We arrange kiddushim out of term, which are essentially self-funding (thanks to some careful management by Lauren Allin, Barry Landy and others). However the CTJC also provides a kiddush at the beginning of the academic year and sponsors events during the year such as Rosh HaShannah, Simchat Torah, and Purim lunch events. We paid for two baalei tefilah for each of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The cost was just over £2,000 and was paid from reserves. Our annual subscription is lower than any other community's that I know of, however I don't think a large hike in fees is the answer. We need to increase our membership which in turn requires that we ensure the CTJC is relevant to the Jewish community in Cambridge. This needs your help. A final request: if you haven't yet paid this year's subscription, please do so!
Community News Chaim Aruchim To Leon Mestel, Leo, Ben, Rosie, & Jonathan, on the death of Louise Mestel. Refua Sheleima
To Jonathan Goldman
PESACH 2014 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. Monday 14 April Fast of the Firstborn Shacharit 7:00am Finish all Chametz by 10:20am Burning of Chametz by 11:42am Festival starts 7:41pm Minchah/Maariv 7:20pm Tuesday 15 April Shacharit 9:30am
Sunday 20 April Festival Starts 7:51pm Minchah/Maariv 7:30pm Monday 21 April Shacharit 9:30am Tuesday 22 April Shacharit 9:30am Festival Ends 9:00pm
Wednesday 16 April Shacharit 9:30am Festival ends 8:48pm
SHAVUOT 2014 Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Tuesday 3 June Festival Starts 8:58 pm Minchah/Maariv to be announced Wednesday 4 June Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv to be announced Thursday 5 June Shacharit 9:30am Festival Ends 10:20pm
TISHA Bâ€™AV Monday 4 August Fast Commences 8:45pm Maariv and Eichah at 9:30pm Tuesday 5 August Shacharit at 8:00am (expected to finish about 10:00am) Minchah 1:45pm or 6:00pm (to be decided on the day) Fast ends at 9:35pm
Whisky Galore rebooted By Julian Landy Ickworth House is a National Trust property, just over three miles from Bury St Edmunds. Within the grounds is a hotel which includes a self-contained building available for independent hire. And this was the venue for the first CTJC community weekend, on 28th February and 1st March. All told there were 28 adults and 10 kids present, meaning the event was a sell-out, with no rooms to spare. To say the event was a success would be unfair. It was a triumph. Of content and of planning. Frankly hyperbole cannot do justice to the good feelings and warmth generated in all who attended. Months of planning and days of cooking paid off handsomely. All Jewish events succeed or fail with the catering. This was done almost entirely by Helen Goldrein and Rochel Leigh. In the meaty kitchen of the Rebbitzin's home, on the day before the event, the two women spent most of the day on their feet, preparing culinary delights for us to enjoy. Sometimes interrupted by a couple of stray men and hoards of kids, this duo made, as is a prerequisite for a good fress, far too much food. From Edinburgh came nine bottles of very special single malt whiskies and an expert, Gary Press (see phto, left). For the notional purpose of the event was to learn more about different types of single malts. Our tutor gave us blind tastings and then explanations of what we had sampled. Most of us were still sensible at the end of the weekend, having tipped away excess spirit. The teaching was great though the tutor admitted he had not previously addressed such a disputatious group. Interspersed with the tastings were normal minyanim and shiurim led by Reuven Leigh. There was a separate kids programme so the youngsters were not left out of the fun. Now you must not get the idea that we were all in an alcoholic haze. On the contrary, we argued with Reuven in shiurim in the ordinary way and schmoozed as though in Thompson's Lane. But this was a stately pile. So there were guided walks around the formal gardens, huge grounds to explore and a hard quiz motzei Shabbat. In which the best team came last! Like the Scotch, this was an event to savour. No complaints about anything, universal bonhomie and no provocative leeks or daffodils on the Shabbat. A roaring success that will be long in the memory. L'chaim! Editorâ€™s note: Links to the recipes for the food served at CTJCâ€™s Country House Shabbat can be found at http://family-friends-food.com/country-house-shabbat-recipes/ Thanks to Mark Harris for the photograph. 7
The whisky barrel conundrum Â By Rabbi Reuven Leigh Having helped arrange the County House Weekend and 'approved' the whisky list, I was putting myself in a somewhat precarious situation when I included a class on the kosherness of sherry cask whisky on the programme schedule. If I would cast doubt on some of the drams still left to taste would I be confined to my room for the remainder of the weekend? To allay people's fears we combined the class with sherry casked whisky tasting intervals that helped put the whole thing into context. What we discovered from the sources was plenty of leg room for whichever position one wanted to take. There is clearly a potential problem with whisky that is matured in sherry casks that needs to be considered. If a kosher liquid, such as whisky, is placed and stored in a barrel that had previously absorbed a non-kosher liquid, such as non-kosher wine, and it improves the taste of the stored liquid, as is the case with whisky matured in sherry casks, the kosher liquid could now become non-kosher. But, of course there is a but, it is possible that the non-kosher wine that was absorbed into the barrel can become nullified in the greater volume of kosher whisky. There are differing opinions as to the ratio needed to nullify the non-kosher wine, some say 1:60 whilst others say 1:6. A further variable is whether we calculate the volume of kosher whisky against the full volume of the barrel or merely the inner surface of the barrel that touches the whisky. Therefore, if one follows the stricter opinion that the full volume of the barrel has to be considered there is an insufficient amount of whisky to nullify the nonkosher wine, however, if one follows the opinion that only considers the lining of the barrel to be relevant to the discussion then there would be not only a 1:6 ratio but probably even a 1:60 ratio to nullify the nonkosher wine. There are a whole host of other considerations which similarly have a broad range of opinions, leading us to conclude that to drink or not to drink sherry casked whisky is not the question. At which point we all said l'chaim. 8
Diary of a visit to Dadâ€™s birthplace in Kalusz, now in Western Ukraine By Stefan Reif
After successfully negotiating the hurdles at Munich Airport and seeing grand-daughter Naama safely on to the bus to the tarmac, for the flight to Tel Aviv, we thought we would be back in Salzburg within less than two hours. Alas, the whole of Europe was intent on visiting the Alps on a holiday Sunday in August and it took us almost three and a half hours to make the return journey. But then we relaxed and ate lunch and prepared 90% of our packing on Sunday evening. That was very wise. At 0711 they phoned from Austrian Airlines to say that our 1130 flight to Vienna to link with our flight to Lviv was cancelled. To get our connection we had to take the 0825 flight to Vienna! This they told us at 0711! You will not believe it but at 0815 we were sitting on the plane. I was sure that our suitcase would not make it but there it was at 1530 waiting for us at Lviv Airport! So too our Ukrainian guide Svetlana and our driver Vasily. We were taken to the hotel to unpack quickly before a tour of Jewish Lviv, taking in all the areas that once held 100,000 Jews in a prosperous and varied community. Less than 1,000 survived the Soviet and Nazi invasions. Having our own guide and our own driver meant that we could see a lot in a short time. It was a harrowing experience for the three of us to stand by the ghetto where they were herded, the railway station where they were sent to Belzec, and the camp where they were murdered. But we also saw a little of what had been a very cosmopolitan and cultured community in Austro-Hungary and in Poland before the Russians and the Germans killed it off, each in their own systematic way, sometimes with local Ukrainian help. We had a kosher dinner with a local Hasid, Melech Shochet, who funds a Jewish soup kitchen, gave him a donation for his project and then enjoyed the one night that we had booked in a 5-star hotel, before our car journey to Kalusz. We left the hotel in Lviv/Lwow/Lemberg at 0900 and drove south towards all the shtetelech of eastern Galicia, now Western Ukraine. After a few kilometres of good roads, we were on totally neglected highways that are desperately in need of repair. We stopped at a number of famous Jewish centres, some of which still had 30% or 40% of the population before 1939, and one even had 77%. In Strij and Bolechow, there are huge synagogue shells still standing and now state9
protected but most were totally destroyed by the Nazis. We also saw the market places where many of the Jews made their living and grand houses that they owned or in some cases where they hid in cellars or behind artificial walls. Contrary to what I thought, the Jews in the shtetelech were of all sorts â€“ frum, free-thinking, right wing, left wing, Polish and German-speaking as well as Yiddish, Zionist, Hasidic, with sports clubs, drama societies, musical groups etc. The country side near Kalusz is beautifully green, very undulating and within sight of the Carpathian Mountains. It is cultivated and fertile as well as being pretty in many parts. Kalusz itself is a lovely city, with some remnants of Austro-Hungarian imperial grandeur, some horrible Soviet high rises and much affluence (and pollution, now more controlled) from the Soviet chemical industry of the 1950s. We saw the town hall, the prison, the court house and the building that was once a Jewish communal centre and is now being prepared as the town museum. The director of the nascent museum was very interested in our family research and helped us a lot. She wants me to send her a copy of my fatherâ€™s life-story for the museum! We found the area where he lived and saw similar houses but it seems that the actual site of his home and that of his grandmother next door is now occupied either by newer houses or by high rises. But the area is full of the many fruit trees that he described and from which he so often helped himself! We think we also located the school where he learned Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, and German when he did not play truant! We stayed in the nearest large city, originally Stanislawow but now IvanoFrankivsk, in a Jewish hotel that is owned by Jews but ceased being kosher a few months ago. The Rav found that the kitchens had been buying non- kosher meat because it was cheaper so he closed it down. It is next door to the shool, which was established in 1888 as a reform temple by local Jews anxious to be more assimilated into the Austrian and Polish environment. Of course there were many Hasidic shools and dynasties in Stanislawow but we forget that there were also more liberal and integrated Jews. We met the local Chabad Rabbi after breakfast. He showed us records of Jewish Kalusz from about 1840 (only one volume has survived) and we found numerous Reifs who seem to have moved here at about that time, as I surmised in my family history. He told us that if we wanted more data we could probably get it by bribing local officials in the municipal archives with fifty dollars. Everything to do with government in Ukraine is apparently totally corrupt, top to bottom. 10
We then went to see the ghetto where our grandmother died of starvation in the summer of 1942. We met a local Jewish woman who gave us important information about the Jewish cemetery which we then visited. I stayed outside of course while our guide, the local woman, Renate and Sharron tried unsuccessfully to find any Reif tombstones. Everything is terribly badly overgrown and neglected and we hope to organise something to put this right on our return to Israel. A few hundred dollars may be all that is required. I did a kel male rahamim for all the Reif mishpaha. It is of course possible, even likely, that the family was too poor to afford the expense of tombstones.
We then revisited the area where we had thought my father lived and the local Jewish woman confirmed that the Jewish houses that had been there were demolished after the Second World War and replaced by high rise Soviet monstrosities. We went to a restaurant that is owed by a generous Jewish woman who operates a sort of Jewish soup kitchen for elderly Jews who are trying to live on $100 a month. We met some of these old Yidden and chatted to them with the help of our guide and interpreter, Svetlana, and heard their sad stories of Nazi and Soviet oppression. What they would really like is for us to arrange a project to clean up the bet hakevarot. Possibly a project for us to organize in Israel. We visited the railway station from where Dad (Pinkas) regularly left on his habitual adventures in his teens and twenties and to which he wisely never returned after 1938. We traced the path along which he walked, by the track, to his family home, and along which his Savta ran to give him some lekach when he left for the army in 1930. That was his last sight of her as she died a few weeks later. Very depressed by what we had heard and the destitute Jews we had seen, we left Kalusz (no doubt for the last time in our lives) but before doing so had, at my sister Cynthiaâ€™s express request, to buy some sort of souvenir. As you can imagine, Kalusz does not figure as a major tourist attraction in the area and all we could find were some bottles of beer brewed in Kalusz about 100 metres or so from where Pinkas grew up. The brewery takes its water from the river where he learned to swim as a small child. 11
We returned to Stanislawow and visited the ghetto where some 127,000 Jews were incarcerated before a proportion of them were slaughtered in a building called Rudolphâ€™s Mill. Nazi soldiers of all sorts took turns to rape the Jewish women before shooting them and assigning them to mass graves. The building is now used for storage and for offices and there is no plaque to mark what happened there in 1941-42. We have learned a lot, experienced many emotions, had an exhausting time and perhaps come to terms with our history and our origins. We certainly needed to do this. I am so glad most of the family lives in Israel... We travelled on to Halicz which was the first capital city of the whole area, a thousand years ago, hence the name Galicia or in Ukrainian Halicia. It is a beautiful little city with a castle on a hill that once protected the area and the large River Dniester that runs through it. There were thousands of Jews there in the first four decades of the twentieth century. Again, no signs that anything happened. But the Ukrainian state does support a delightful little Karaite Museum, presumably seeing the small Karaite community, which convinced the Nazis that they were Aryans and not really Jews, as less of a threat than their Rabbinic counterparts. We stopped at Rohatyn to see a pretty town square (a very common feature of the area) and to hear that it once buzzed on market days with hundreds of Jewish traders. The community was herded into a ghetto nearby and those who were not shot at once perished in the Belzec Concentration Camp that catered for the murderous needs of the Nazi regime. It is simply mind-boggling to imagine how the Nazis spared so much time, effort, manpower, ammunition, fuel and so many other resources to search out every Jew in every shtetel in such a huge area and to destroy them and their centuries-old communities within a few months. The only consolation â€“ if it is one â€“ is that by putting evil ideology ahead of pragmatic interest, the Nazis sealed their own fate. We were fifteen minutes away from the airport and ready to get out of this blood-soaked country when the guide and the driver asked if we could stop for lunch. I remember how Shulie and I felt when we left the Soviet Union and took off for friendlier climes. We felt much the same today, as we got on our flights at Lwow (Lviv) airport, happy to be going back to real democracy and to places where the locals did not have to schnorr meals and eat in soup kitchens. I can now cross some t's and dot some i's in my Reif story. I have a clearer idea of the places my father mentioned so often. I can understand him better, especially his love of beautiful countryside (we saw so much of that), his enthusiasm for growing fruit and vegetables (many do that in the Galician area), and his culinary preferences and domestic habits. But, more than anything else, I am proud of the fact that he wanted to get out of the shtetel and build a different life, be another kind of Jew, and that, unlike millions of others, he died free, dignified, and fulfilled, leaving behind a powerful and proud Jewish family to build on the foundations of freedom, independence and bravery that he in his own way (strange as it often was) laid down for us all. As a young man, as my family story explains, he tried numerous times to leave Kalusz and he finally succeeded. He got out of Kalusz and even if Kalusz never quite got out of him, no matter. Perhaps the best and most attractive aspects of being a Galicianer, of being part of a great Jewish community that was much more diverse than the haredim would now misleadingly lead us to believe, were among the wholly non-material gifts he bequeathed to us. 12
The military contribution of Cambridge-associated Jews in WWI, and the Cambridge Synagogue Ark By Mark Harris On 4th August 2014, the nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of this country’s declaration of war against Germany. The First World War (WW1) became known as, and somewhat equivocally in today’s zeitgeist, “The Great War” and for a time, but with affecting hindsight now, as “the war to end all wars”. The contribution made by British Jews serving in the armed forces was truly significant and, for sure, disproportionate regarding their percentage of the total population. During WW1, when Anglo-Jewry numbered some 300,000, an estimated 50,000 volunteered for, or were conscripted into, the services (460 served with the Royal Navy, and, rather amazingly, at least 2,250 served in the newly established Royal Flying Corps). The figures indicate sadly that 1,941 of the mostly young Jewish servicemen were killed in action fighting for Great Britain, and a larger number were wounded or maimed for life. Outstanding heroism led to the award of many medals for valour, including five Victoria Crosses, to Jews serving on the frontline; 50 Jewish soldiers received the DSO. Against this background, and in remembrance and recognition of the Jewish contribution and often sad sacrifice in WW1, my main endeavour was to research some facts about Jews who had served in the armed forces and had fallen for their country, and who had been associated, in a significant way, with Cambridge, whether as students or permanent residents (from the academic milieu or otherwise). I discovered a mention of only one Jewish soldier and actual Cambridge resident (unnamed in the reference) who had been killed in action during the 1914-1918 war. I discovered the information in a 1989 article titled, “The Jewish dead in the Great War as an indicator of the location, size and social structure of Anglo-Jewry in 1914” by Barry A Kosmin, Stanley Waterman and Nigel Grizzard. However, I believe that the “anonymous” serviceman may well have been Pte C Fellerman of the 2/2nd London Regiment, who was killed on 15th June 1917. He is noted in the “British Jewry Book of Honour” (see below), and his address was given as “32 Patriot Street, Cambridge”. Additionally, I have noted that the Trumpington War Memorial inscribes the (Jewish sounding) name “Anthony Isaacson” who was killed on 23rd May 1916. The Lance Corporal served in the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment. He is buried in Becourt Military Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, Somme region, France. In the 1911 “Trumpington Census”, he was stated to be, at age 19, a “boarder” and a “flour miller”. As yet, I have been unable to confirm whether or not he was Jewish. Very useful for my main quest, as noted earlier, was the “British Jewry Book of Honour” (published in 1922 and edited by Michael Adler, the Senior Jewish Army Chaplain, and reprinted in 1997). And more particularly, the book “Gown & Tallith”, edited by William 13
Frankel CBE and Harvey Miller; and published in 1989 to mark the 50th anniversary of Cambridge University Jewish Society. That work contains a meticulous and informative reference list (as at that year) of deceased Jewish graduates (men and women) of the university. The inventory was noted by the authors to be â€œsubstantially completeâ€?. From the comprehensive data provided, I have calculated that 40 of the male alumni (the vast majority having been commissioned officers) were killed in action in WW1, including one serving in the Royal Navy and two in the Royal Flying Corp; and that two MCs were won. (And I have noted that 10 were killed during the Second World War, two of them whilst serving in the RAF.) It is not known whether any of those who made the ultimate sacrifice had been living as residents in Cambridge immediately prior to embarkation. One of the oldest of those listed as killed in action in WW1 was financier Evelyn Achille de Rothschild, a graduate of Trinity College and a scion of the eminent banking family. He was wounded fatally when fighting the Turks at the Battle of Mughar Ridge on 13th November 1917, and he died a few days later, aged 31. It was intriguing to note the following details from the 1989 list: (1) the Neir Tamid (Eternal Light) at the Cambridge Synagogue was said to honour two brothers, Herbert Nathaniel Davis (who studied at Caius) and Clement John Burton Davis (who was at Emmanuel), killed in action in 1915 and 1917 aged 24 and 23, respectively; (2) the Aron Kodesh (Ark) in the synagogue was stated to commemorate Harold Lionel Isidore Spielmann (Pembroke), who was killed in 1915, aged 22; and (3) a Sefer Torah mantle in the synagogue, apparently fashioned from his Masonic apron, was understood to be in remembrance of Leonard Herman Stern (Magdalene), who was killed in 1915 aged 24. We must bear in mind that the Cambridge Synagogue building in Thompsonâ€™s Lane was inaugurated in 1937, almost two decades after the end of WW1. In that year, the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation, which had been founded in the 19th century, became the Cambridge University Jewish Society. And prior to that year, the congregation had attended services at different locations in the town (from 1912, it is believed, at premises 14
off Sidney Street). Having made further enquiries, I understand that the Eternal Light suspended currently in front of the Ark at the Cambridge Synagogue replaced an earlier one (probably that referred to in the 1989 list), which has been retained. The particular Sefer mantle could not be recalled. I have been a member of the Cambridge Synagogue since my family arrived in this great university-city more than four years ago. I have been delighted, on many Shabbatot, to be variously accorded aliyahs and, occasionally, to recite the Haftorah, or be given pesichah (opening the Aron Kodesh). On one occasion, I was invited to give a talk in the shul to visitors during the “Open Cambridge” event, and which I did from immediately in front of the Ark. But I have to confess (with due contrition) that despite my proximity to the Ark on such occasions and until a few months back, when it was pointed out after enquiry, I had not noticed a really quite small, vertically rectangular, enamel plaque affixed to the wall to the left of the Ark. The diminutive plaque, which is headed with the colourful crest of Pembroke College flanked by Magen Davids, confirms a note in the 1989 list that the Ark was presented by his parents in loving memory of Captain Harold Spielmann, of the 10th Battalion Manchester Regiment, who was killed at Gallipoli on 13th August 1915. He is buried in Pink Farm Cemetery at Helles. The inscription adds that Captain Spielmann (who appears to have graduated with a BA History degree in 1911) “led his men with skill and gallantry and reached his objective”. The young officer’s name appears also on the 19141918 War Memorial at Pembroke, and I have learned that there is a memorial to him in Willesden Cemetery. My researches revealed that a special service was held, on 18th June 1916, by the (then) Cambridge Hebrew Congregation (CHC) “on the occasion of the consecration of the Ark presented by Sir I and Lady Spielmann in memory of their son Captain Harold Spielmann and of other members of the CHC who have fallen in the war”. Born in 1893, Harold was the son of Sir Isidore and Lady Emily Spielmann (née SebagMontefiore). Lady Spielmann’s ancestry struck me as of possible interest with regard to the provenance of the Cambridge Synagogue’s Aron Kodesh, which was said to have come from Florence and to be around 200 years old. The young officer’s mother was a member of the Montefiore family, a leading Jewish dynasty for centuries in the city of 15
Livorno (also known as Leghorn) on Italy’s Ligurian coast. I had noted from the town’s archives that, in the 1770s, the patriarch of the family was “Moises Montefiore”. Livorno’s magnificent 17th century synagogue was damaged seriously during bombing raids on the town in WW2, and a new temple (which I learned houses the magnificent Aron Kodesh from the old shul) was dedicated on the same site in 1962. I had been seeking to locate the precise provenance of the Ark that had been transferred to and installed in today’s Cambridge Synagogue, presumably at some stage during its construction. Intriguingly, I came across an internet reference to a publication, which was noted to have consisted of eight pages, to have been “authored” by the CHC, to have been published by “Cambridge: University Press” in 1916 and to have related to a special, 18th June 1916 service to consecrate the (earlier synagogue’s) Aron Kodesh. With the kind and useful assistance of my daughter, Dr Emma Harris, two copies of the said publication were tracked down: one to the Widener Harvard Depository (Judaica Division) at the eponymous university, and the other to the British Library (BL). I have now studied the exceedingly slim, plain hard-cover volume in the “Humanities 1” section of the BL, and I managed to obtain consent to make a photocopy there. The “book” comprises the order of service (part in Hebrew, part in English) for the consecration of the Ark. Before the Kaddish and Adon Olam, there is a reference to a “Memorial Address”. Originally, I had hoped that such publication itself might have included a reference to the provenance of the Ark. I so remark because Sir Isidore Spielmann, although an engineer by profession, was, in his day, a highly respected and influential art expert and collector. My researches indicate that he was a government adviser on antiques and art, and that, for many years, he arranged art exhibitions in major capitals around the world. Indeed, he received his knighthood for services to the nation in that connection. Unfortunately, the “book” did not describe the new Ark. Nevertheless, further researches, with my daughter’s assistance, turned up a full account of the consecration service in the 23rd June 1916 issue of the Jewish Chronicle, including (somewhat excitingly) a verbatim report of the “Memorial Address”. Before citing that part of the speech, delivered by Charles Fox MA, relating to the Ark, I would like to quote a poignant extract from one of the prayers intoned by L H Spero (Downing College) in the presence of, amongst many others, the late Captain Spielmann’s parents, other family members and a detachment of Jewish soldiers from the 2/4th Northants Regiment (based in Newmarket), and in a synagogue “filled to its utmost capacity”: “Bless and comfort those who have made this gift to our congregation. May the thought of this day be to them a consolation, to us an inspiration. May it uphold them in their sorrow, and confirm our loyalty to duty, our fidelity even unto death. May this Ark, enshrining the memory of a strong and beautiful soul, be unto them and unto us, enduringly, an incentive to the strength of righteousness, a symbol of the beauty of holiness. Amen.” Mr Fox said the following about the Ark, consecrated in memory of Captain Spielmann (whom he described as “of a retiring disposition, full of hope, lovable and loving … boyish and frank … volunteering before his time to go to the front”): 16
“This Ark consists of two parts – the Ark proper and a screen surmounting it. The former is a fine old French armoire, in walnut wood, of the time of Louis XlV (c. 1675). The panels are beautifully carved, and the interior of the Ark is lined with French silk of the period. The Ark and the screen are connected with panelling, the latter being of modern construction, and made to harmonise with the Ark. Columns and pilasters with carved and gilt capital support a massive entablature running round the Ark, and a pediment, in which are the Tablets of the Decalogue, completes the structure. The colour of the woodwork and the gilding produce a very handsome and harmonious effect. The Hebrew text over the Ark is in pierced sheet metal, repoussé on foliated scroll base and richly gilt. The text chosen is from Psalm xix, 9, ‘The Commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.’ מצות ײ ברח מא׳רת ע׳נ׳םA very happy allusion is thus made to the Hebrew name (Meir) of the late Captain Spielmann. Mr. M Harris (Messrs Isaacs and Co) has taken a personal interest in the work and has largely contributed to its success. The dedicating Tablet, by the well-known craftsman, Mr. Nelson Dawson, is in enamel. It bears the arms of Pembroke College flanked by the Mogen David. The inscription sets out the circumstances of the gift in memory of Captain Harold Lionel Isidore Spielmann, ‘born January 12, 1893, killed in action in Gallipoli, August 13, 1915,’ and closes with the memorable words written by his Colonel in his report of Captain Spielmann’s heroic death: ‘He led his men with skill and gallantry, and reached his objective.’ The beauty of this tablet, both in wording and in artistic style, fits perfectly with the exquisite taste of the whole structure.” From this description it would seem that the Cambridge Synagogue Ark structure was not an Ark structure before it was put together, with the late 17th century French armoire as its Ark centrepiece, especially for Captain Spielmann’s parents to present it, in 1916, to the then shul and in his memory. (Incidentally, the silk lining has been retained.) As an internationally renowned art expert and collector, it seems likely that Sir Isidore would have selected the antique armoire to create the Ark with great care, particularly as it was to be gifted to the synagogue in loving memory of his son Harold. The website of David Harper Fine Art and Antique Auctions states: “Armoires … slowly evolved out 17
of cupboards and cabinets and were finally born in the late 17th century. Soon after they developed, French artisans made some sumptuously decorated armoires for Louis XlV. Expense was not an issue, and the King employed the most celebrated furniture makers of the time …” Recent auction and other sale prices for antique armoires, which had not been commissioned by Louis XlV, appear to be relatively modest. Only an expert in this antique French furniture genre would be able to ascribe a value to, and possibly to identify the maker of, the erstwhile armoire. Finally, maybe I can do no better than quote from the actual letter sent to Captain Harold Spielmann’s parents by his commanding officer. Maybe we can take this single, moving instance as an illustrative and representative acknowledgement and recognition of the ultimate sacrifice for their country’s cause made by numerous serving Jews, including those who had been associated closely with Cambridge. Lt-Col G Robinson wrote: “He only joined us about three weeks ago, when he arrived in command of a draft of 248 men, and I was so impressed with his keenness and energy that I put him in command of a company. My judgement was fully borne out. Your son worked hard, and I felt I could always rely on him. On the evening of the 12th inst. a battalion next to us in their trenches lost a portion of a trench on their front, and I was forced to organise a counterattack by one hundred men of my battalion under your son and two other officers. Your son was in command of his section of the attack, and carried out his orders with skill and gallantry. He reached his objective, but was immediately killed and his men had eventually to fall back under strong opposition. His death, by bullets, was instantaneous. Our men had done well, and we regained most of what had been lost, but they were done, and I lost many of them besides my excellent young officer Spielmann. It was crushing to me losing him. He was a ‘gentleman officer’ with such high notions of chivalry, honour and esprit de corps. I considered him one of my best officers, and had just recommended him for a permanent Captaincy, as I had such a high opinion of his capabilities. Your boy died a hero’s death in his country’s cause, and that must ever be a source of satisfaction and comfort to you and one in which you must all take a pride – falling in action gallantly leading his men. What more can a soldier ask for?” (Harold Spielmann was a member of the Isaac Newton University Masonic Lodge. The letter is cited on the “Masonic Great War Project” website, which acknowledges the National Archives and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as sources.) 18
"The Marrying of Chani Kaufman" Book review by Julian Landy Sometimes when you start reading a book, almost from the first page or so, you know the huge pleasure in store. You relish each chance you have to read more and get further engrossed in the volume. You may even avoid family or work commitments so you can pick up the book. I regret that this is not the case with this piece of fiction. It also further reinforces the old dictum to never judge a book by its cover. For on the paperback version, proudly shown above the title it says "Long Listed for the Man Booker Prize 2013". How did that happen? One can assume only that little judgement goes into the long list. Could the listing be susceptible to pressure from agents or publishers? This book is about part of the Charedi community of Golders Green, their customs, their institutions and the pressures of everyday life on individuals. Not, I should add quickly, Lubavitchers. We follow in particular the lives of the chatan and kallah, their immediate families and their rabbi and rebbetzin. It is all familiar territory. The story is nicely structured, with time going back and forth, covering the travails of different characters. The geography is broadly credible, backed by references to real local businesses and institutions. However, the gross failing of the novel is the writing itself. It is bland and unremarkable. Without any perceptible style or accomplishment. It lacks charm, humour or even provocation. It is so flat it is almost moribund. There is some attempt by the writer at characterization. Sadly, this reader found it leaden and unconvincing. I was entirely uninterested. Which does beg the question as to how I managed to read all of it. Yet the front of the book is peppered with glowing criticisms. Uniformly from non-Jewish critics. Well, the story does uncover the Charedi world and especially its self-regard, common to all extreme religions, and ordinary orthodox practices are explained in the course of the narrative. So it does serve a purpose for the Gentile reader. But otherwise, no, forget it. It is dreadful. 19
Reuven and Rochel Leigh look forward to welcoming you to their Pesach Sedarim and festival meals. Recommended donation is £12 per person for the seder night and £5 per person for a festival meal. No one will be turned away for financial reasons. Please make payment by cheque payable to 'Chabad of Cambridge' and send to Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AH, indicating which seder/meals you will be attending: 1st Seder Night 14 April 8:30PM
7th Night Pesach 20 April 8:00PM
2nd Seder Night 15 April 9:00PM
8th Night Pesach 21 April 9:00PM
Friday Night 18 April 8:00PM
Moshiach Seudah 22 April 7:30PM
The Lehrhaus The Lehrhaus offers a wide range of intriguing courses and seminars in numerous areas of Jewish thought. Lehrhaus hopes to provide novice learners with skills that will enable them to access the texts by themselves through attaining linguistic proficiency in Hebrew and Aramaic, together with an understanding of the context in which these texts were written. In addition, seminars, standalone talks and events will serve as a window to the regular courses on offer and will draw on the considerable talent available in Cambridge. The Lehrhaus is open to the public and is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. The following core courses are being offered: Biblical Hebrew, Biblical History, Talmud, Responsa, and Modern Jewish Philosophy. Visit www.thelehrhaus.org for more information.
CST, here for you. CST is the Community Security Trust, a charity
We are extremely fortunate that this partnership
that provides security for Jewish communities
is in place and has been for many years now.
throughout Britain and supports victims of Of course, for most of us, most of the time, issues
such as antisemitism and terrorism could not be CST ensures that we can lead the Jewish life
further from our thoughts. We want to keep it that
of our choice, with safety and confidence. CST is
way, which is why the Police, CST and communal
part and parcel of our communities, drawing upon
leadership work closely together to ensure that
a proud tradition of British Jewish self-defence.
the community has the protection that it needs.
CST comes from within our Jewish community
CST is also available, 24 hours a day, for those
and depends upon the community for everything
of us who are unfortunate enough to suffer, or
that it does: for its volunteers, for its charitable
witness, antisemitism. We support victims and
finances and, indeed, for being permitted to
work closely with Police to investigate antisemitic
operate. So, we need you to play your part.
hate crimes and support the prosecutions of offenders.
It is a sad fact that in Britain today, there are those who would seek to harm our communities.
CST can only be as strong as the communities
We may get used to the regularity of people being
we serve and we rely on you to be able to do our
arrested for terrorism, but when an attack actually
work. You can play your part by joining one of our
succeeds, the shocking reality strikes us all.
security teams, by helping to fund our work and by simply cooperating with our local representatives.
It is CSTâ€™s job to ensure that British Jews are
Finally, if you do see something suspicious or
protected from such hatred and extremism, but
antisemitic, please ensure that you report it
this requires a real partnership between CST,
immediately to CST and Police. We are both
local communities and synagogues, and Police.
there for you.
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ALWAYS DIAL 999 Non-emergency number 101
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Perilous Pesach Peripherals By Jo Cummin Last August I needed some horseradish. Unable to find it in the veg section of my local supermarket I asked where it was hiding. The assistant responded, â€œIs it that time of year again?â€? It's not often Jews get to influence what is on the shelves outside the kosher section! However, we are influenced by 'culture' around us. Take my grandmother's kneidlach. They were products of the Second World War. My grandmother was not moulded in the fashion of an archetypal Bubba. She had a frugal nature and took to WWII rationing like a duck to water. Baths never contained more than 5" of water and egg use was kept to a minimum. Her kneidlach contained no eggs. I would like to think that this was the cause of my grandfather's rushing through the Pesach service in Turbo-Hebrew. Timing was of the essence. If boiled for a moment too long the kneidlach disintegrated and we were left with cloudy chicken soup. Living out of London and having to rely on raw ingredients for Pesach goodies means that Pesach 'developments' largely passed me by. However, I have spent the last few Yomim Tovim in the US and have had just leisure to examine other peoples' preferences. A few stand out. Shopping for food on the Upper West side was a whole new experience. A choice of retailers meant that my elderly hostess instructed me to go here for eggs, there for fruit and on no account to go to another source because they overcharged seven years ago and did not admit their error. Then there was the mystery of hechshers! My hostess actually had a long, long list showing which hechshers were kosher! Because retail space is so expensive, shops (especially kosher ones) have incredibly narrow aisles. This, alongside the attitude of very bored looking Latino staff, did little to reduce people's explosive stress levels. In comparison Golders Green appears relatively civilised. Perhaps a need to replenish so much nervous energy might explain a general inclination towards horrendously sweet cakes. I will pass over what they might or might not be constructed with and focus on their colouring. I understand brown. Although the flavour was not obvious, I believe that the colour indicated the presence of chocolate. But I could not fathom why the manufacturer had chosen other hues that appeared to be based upon a child's set of poster paints. 22
Burning chometz was an interesting communal experience that took place at a synagogue across the road. I had noticed a prominent note pinned to the shul door requesting that people did not leave chometz to be burned outside the shul and that chometz should not be burned in tinned foil or plastic bags. As I approached at the appointed time I noticed two things. The first was a lot of, what I believed to be, orphaned chometz, by the shul door. The second was a very acrid smell. Black smoke appeared from behind a parked car. Its source was a cardboard box lined with tin-foil. Inside plastic bags were silently melting. I positioned myself down wind and left feeling fortunate not to have been knocked out! During Pesach I found that there were several approaches to crockery at the Seder table. Few people use 'real' crockery. There are several approaches to 'disposables'. There is the 'economy' approach. But water content will seep into the paper and one has to avoid slicing through and puncturing a host's already damp plastic table cloth. The sophisticated coordinated approach holds no problems. However, if one is of a helpful nature, the recycling approach might involve an unexpectedly frustratingly long time trying to get plastic plates grease free. I was given to understand that recycling plastic was to prevent littering the planet with unwanted waste. But plastic marks, and â€“ unless one is very clumsy, or follows certain Greek traditions â€“ has a shorter life than china. I was tempted to point this out, but decided not to offend my host. I decided that I would put it down to a foible. Something like requesting horseradish out of its 'Norwich season'. A huge advantage of Yom tov in the Upper West Side is the unbelievable choice of minyanim. We went to Lincoln Square shul, being careful to avoid the Reconstructionist minyan which is next door. Curiously, the Lincoln Square shul was forever in reconstruction. Every year, for four years, I heard: "Next year in the new building." They have now moved (before the messianic age). Nearer the flat was a minyan across the road, or the Carlebach minyan. Whatever time your Seder finishes, whatever time you roll out of bed, one is never too late for Carlebach! I have been to it, but have had to leave early to be in time for a late lunch! Left: The Lincoln Square Synagogue at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the corner of West 69th Street in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was built in 1970 and designed by Hausman & Rosenberg. The Orthodox congregation was founded in 1964. Photo by Beyond My Ken. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wi ki/File:Lincoln_Square_Synagogue. jpg
Fearless Pesach cookery By Helen Goldrein As ever, as Pesach approaches a mild panic starts to rise when one considers the catering involved. For one week of the year, there are no shortcuts – everything must be cooked from scratch. And if that wasn’t tough enough, the pool of potential ingredients has been decimated! But, far from striking terror, I like to approach Pesach cooking as an opportunity to enjoy simple meals made from fresh ingredients. Spring is in the air, and there is plenty of good eating to be had from salads, vegetables and fish. And of course, potatoes. Pesach cooking doesn’t need to be complicated, and shouldn’t, in my opinion, try to be something it isn’t – Pesach pasta is always going to be a disappointment at best (inedible at worst) so far better to do without for a week, and enjoy what is available instead. A couple of months ago I started to write a food blog, at family-friends-food.com, and I’ve published a recipe almost every day since I began. I recently looked back over the 75 or so recipes that are on there, and tagged the ones which were naturally free of chametz, and therefore good for Pesach consumption. There is now a handy tab at the top of the webpage, which will bring up a list of all these Pesach-friendly delights. They include main dishes, soups, side dishes and even a delicious mango curd, which would be perfect spread on a matza cracker for a tasty breakfast! I’ve included one of the recipes here – Hasselback potatoes. Quick and easy to prepare, they elevate a simple side dish into something beautiful, as well as tasty. Please do check the website though – more Pesach recipes will be added before and during the Chag! Ingredients: 900g-1kg small new potatoes 3 tbsp olive oil coarse sea salt (optional) Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the potatoes if necessary, and pat dry. Place a potato in the bowl of a spoon, then use a sharp knife to make parallel cuts down the length of the potato. The sides of the spoon should prevent the knife cutting right through, so the potato ends up being sliced, but held together at the bottom. I hope that's clear... Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Toss the potatoes in the oil, then arrange them, sliced-side-up, in a single layer in a baking tin. Roast at 180C for at least an hour, until cooked through and crispy. Eat your delicious hasselback potatoes! 24
Make your own Matzah Placecards Courtesy of Jen at The Crumb Factory - http://thecrumbfactory.weebly.com What You Need: Several sheets of cardstock Scissors Marker Brown crayon Glue
The How To: Start by counting the number of people coming to the seder â€“ we will be having between 15-17 people, depending on who goes to sleep. First, I drew 17 squares onto the cardstock, totally freehand â€“ and each square looked different than the others, which is okay because no two matzahs, much like snowflakes, are exactly alike. I used yellow cardstock because who ever saw a white matzah? Once the squares were all cut out, I used the marker to write a name on each square. These squares will now become our matzahs. How? By drawing horizontal dashed lines across the square. It's kind of like doing this: --- ----- --- --- ---. Did that help at all? I hope so. Your name squares should now be vaguely matzah-like. Colour the matzahs in using a brown crayon and a light touch. Cut out rectangles from some leftover paper and hold them so that the short side is on top, then fold that side down about half an inch or so. Glue these onto the backs of the matzahs to help them stand up and become placecards. 25
Purim! Night… Under the watchful eye of the great symbols of antiquity, some of the sole survivors of the ancient world gathered to recount the story of Jewish salvation from the oppressive Persian regime. The Museum of Classical Archaeology provided an ideal backdrop to relive and experience the miracle of Purim for over sixty members of the community. Wine, hamantaschen, and a guided tour of the museum by Professor Simon Goldhill kept everyone entertained and marked the evening as probably the most stimulating Purim night that Cambridge has ever seen. And day… On a glorious Spring afternoon, crowds of bemused tourists looked on as dozens of children and adults, in varying amounts of elaborate fancy dress, assembled at Scudamore’s punt hire for ‘Purim on a Punt’. Once the vast and impressive picnic, prepared by Rochel Leigh, was loaded, we set off towards Grantchester, avoiding inexperienced punters, waterfowl, and a scaffolding-clad bridge en route. Our destination was a beautiful stretch of riverbank where we ate, drank, and made merry. Rabbi Reuven Leigh gave a turbo-charged reading of Megillat Esther, pausing only for the obligatory cacophonous interruptions (and occasionally to draw breath!), children played, and not a single person had an impromptu swim. A resounding success! 26
Country House Shabbat photos Right: The Lodge, on the Ickworth House Estate â€“ venue for our first Country House Shabbat. Below: The Lodge gardens
Left: After Shabbat, Ayala Gate provided a musical treat (with accompaniment from her mother). Above: Country House Shabbat guests listened rapt, to her wonderful performance! Left: Gathered in the dining room for food, wine, and a supper quiz, after Shabbat.
Many thanks to Mark Harris for the photographs.
CTJC Bulletin Pesach 2014