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CTJC Bulletin Pesach 5770/2010 !

Inside: ! Sell your chametz! ! Kafka the Jew! ! Pesach recipes!

! Sustainable Pesach! ! Matza wordsearch! ! And more‌ !


CTJC Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation Bulletin Number 98 Bulletin Cover image: Armoracia rusticana, Brassicaceae, Horseradish, inflorescence; Karlsruhe, Germany. The fresh rootstock is used in homeopathy as remedy: Armoracia (Coch. ) by H. Zell This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Armoracia_rusticana_002.JPG

In this issue… Welcome to the CTJC Pesach Bulletin Community news Sale of Chametz An Englishman in New York – by Professor Simon Goldhill Kafka the Jew – by Rabbi Reuven Leigh The Four Businesses – by the Jewish Association for Business Ethics Sustainable Pesach – top tips to Green your festival Pesach recipes – provided by Lauren Allin When little things become big things – by Helen Goldrein Antisemitism in Britain Today – by the CST Communal Information Religious Calendar Pesach Wordsearch & information about children’s activities Snapped!

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Welcome to the CTJC Pesach Bulletin Thank you for your kind comments on the new look bulletin. We hope this second issue lives up to your expectations. It contains a wealth of interesting articles, Pesach recipes, and community news and information. The Bulletin is always happy to accept articles, essays, opinion pieces, travel journals, book/film/music/theatre reviews, reminiscences, recipes, photographs, knitting patterns... To contribute to the bulletin, please email Helen Goldrein. Thanks to those who have already contributed, and in advance to those who plan to send in a submission for the Rosh Hashanah issue. You can also read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/pesach_2010 A hearty Pesach kasher v’sameach from the Bulletin committee! 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.

CTJC email list CTJC has an email list. To join the list and receive regular updates about services, events, Shabbat times and other useful information, please email Barry Landy or Jonathan Allin. CTJC Officers Rabbi

Reuven Leigh

Committee 2009/2010 Chairman Treasurer Secretary Synagogue Officer Education Officer Welfare Officer Bulletin Officers Board of Deputies

Simon Goldhill Ben Blaukopf Jonathan Allin Graeme Alexander Sarah Schechter Rosalind Landy Barry Landy Helen Goldrein position vacant

www.ctjc.org.uk!

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COMMUNITY NEWS Mazeltov To Simon and Sarah Mandel on the birth of their daughter Liora Hadar. To David and Helen Stone on the Marriage of Judy to Jason. To Michael and Mali Salmon on the Batmitzvah of their daughter. To Elisheva Machlis on being awarded a PhD. To Robin & Veronique Morris (California) on the birth of their daughter. Welcome to new members Mark and Sharon Harris and their daughter Emma. Colin and Tamara Berkley. Refuah Shlemah To Jonathan Goldman. Condolences To Stefan, Tanya and Aryeh Reif and families on the death of Shulie.

Looking for a Seder?

Rabbi Reuven & Rochel Leigh invite you to join them for the Seder night on Monday 29th March at The Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge, CB30AH. For more information contact Reuven at rabbi@cuchabad.org. Alternatively, 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 who will try to arrange a suitable host.

Pesach Orders

Derby Stores (Tel: Cambridge 354931) will take Pesach orders.

Replacement of CJRA Youth Bursary Scheme

The CJRA committee has decided to replace the Youth Bursary Scheme, with immediate effect, by one that benefits all the youth in the Cambridge Jewish community. Since the Scheme’s inception over three years ago, we have received only two eligible applications, which were funded. In its place, we envisage a scheme to involve our young people in a Jewish educative day of activities on the lines of a Youth Limmud. It will be organised by Cambridge people primarily for Cambridge youth, but will also be open to young people outside Cambridge, to allow wider social contacts. CJRA will fund most of the expenses. If it is successful, we would like to see it become an annual event. We will keep you informed of developments, so watch this space. If you would like to volunteer to help organise this exciting venture, please contact Carol Burns.

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Sale of Chametz If you would like Rabbi Reuven Leigh to sell your chametz, please complete the form below and return it by 25 March 2010. If you have any questions, please call or email rl324@cam.ac.uk.

Delegation of Power to Sell Chametz Pesach 5770/2010

I the undersigned, fully empower and permit Rabbi Reuven Leigh to act in my place and stead, and on my behalf to sell all chametz possessed by me, knowingly or unknowingly as defined by the Torah and Rabbinic Law (e.g. chametz, possible chametz, and all kind of chametz mixtures). Also chametz that tends to harden and adhere to inside surfaces of pans, pots, or cooking utensils, the utensils themselves, and all kinds of live animals and pets that have been eating chametz and mixtures thereof. Rabbi Reuven Leigh is also empowered to lease all places wherein the chametz owned by me may be found, particularly at the address/es listed below, and elsewhere. Rabbi Reuven Leigh has full right to appoint any agent or substitute in his stead and said substitute shall have full right to sell and lease as provided herein. Rabbi Reuven Leigh also has the full power and right to act as he deems fit and proper in accordance with all the details of the Bill of Sale used in the transaction to sell all my chametz, chametz mixtures, etc., as provided herein. This power is in conformity with all Torah, Rabbinic and Civil laws. Name: Address:

Signature: Date: Please return this form to Rabbi Reuven Leigh not later than Thursday 25th March 2010.

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An Englishman in New York …and other strangers Sometimes when you travel a good deal, the change of scene lets you look at familiar events around you with a different eye. This year, as I have rushed around America, between snow storms, lectures and lovely lunches with friends and family, I found myself reflecting on the difference between the American community and our own in a context that made such reflections particularly vexing. The differences between Judaism in New York and in Cambridge are, of course, so many and so obvious in their magnitude that it hardly bears discussion. The millions of Jews of all types, the hundreds of shuls, the dominance of the cultural airwaves by a pervasive Jewish shtick, are immediately obvious in the Big Apple, and it was really nice to be in a shul with hundreds of children on Purim – the level of noise was pretty impressive – where 10 young guys leyned the Megillah, and a big pizza and ice cream party followed. And very nice to see our former student and chum Alex Kaye, now assistant rabbi, helping with the young people there, while his wife, Lynn works in a similar role (without the same title) in a frum shul up the road. The sheer comfort and assuredness of the Yiddishkeit all around was as striking as the wealth and comfort of the congregants. But you don't get to work on Greek tragedy for all these years without finding a dark undertow to most every event (or of you prefer, you don't get to go to a Jewish wedding without breaking a glass). This year, the context of Upper East Side splendour brought home to me very forcibly the contrast between Parsha Zachor read on Shabbat morning and the Megilla read just after shabbat went out. In Parsha Zachor, we are enjoined to remember to blot Amalek from our memories. The paradox always strikes me as profound: remember to forget, as it were. What did Amalek do wrong? Amalek killed the stragglers of the Israelites as they proceeded through the desert towards Canaan, we are told, and for this heinous crime of destroying the weak, is the epitome of the enemy of the Jews, and must be crushed in turn. We institutionalize the recollection of the threat of Amalek and our response every year on this Shabbat. One question that we don’t ask as often as we might, however, is why there were these stragglers. The Israelites were marching through the desert, they were on a forty-year journey, they had an organized form of marching and camping, they were developing a system of government, they were the receivers of the law code of the Torah. Why did they allow some weaker members of the group to lag behind and not support them or keep the whole group together? Perhaps some of the vitriol we reserve for Amalek is because he also reminds us of our own failure to support the weakest members of the group, a failure which allows the assault in the first place. The passage I find most moving in the Megilla, by contrast, is when Esther is pushed by Mordechai into trying to save the Jews. She does not rush into the opportunity, but when she commits to the action, she does so with the memorable words, "If I die, I die". From her position as the pampered queen at the centre of power, washed in unguents and perfumes for months on end, rich and envied, she risks her life to save her fellow Jews. She turns back to keep the stragglers, the weak, from ruin.

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The least homely part of the Megillah, however, follows, where the Jews of Shushan and elsewhere proceed to kill their potential persecutors. The children of Haman are hanged with relish on the gallows prepared by their father. Like Amalek, they are blotted out. Of course, revenge is a solid motive in the ancient world until Christianity made turning the other cheek a positive value; and of course there are apologies that have been made to explain the killing of so many of the Persian empire; but to many a modern reader, the violence is an awkward and even distasteful end to the carnival atmosphere of the Megilla. Once the plot of Haman is foiled, his decree rescinded, and he (and his family) killed, it is less clear that the potential murderers of the Jews can be killed in anticipation with quite such gusto, without leaving a moral qualm. Support for the weak of the community cannot be separated as an issue from the use of power when you have it: it is part of the same dynamic. At Pesach – for Parsha Zachor and Purim lead swiftly to Pesach – this idea is repeatedly emphasized in the idea of the ger: you should treat the stranger well because you were a stranger in Egypt. Because of your Detail from Egyptian Chess Players by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) experience when weak, you must understand what the proper use of power is. I do not need to stress, I hope, what the political implications of such a commandment are – but they are far-reaching both for one's personal life and for the behaviour of a state. It was in America that I heard the claim – it is one which you can find in the sources – that actually ger only means a Jewish convert and you should treat converts well. Nothing to do with "the other". Leave aside the current treatment of converts by the London Beth Din and the offensive articles in the JC. What is truly offensive about such a claim is the attempt to escape from one's moral responsibility by such an interpretation. The interpretation is flawed not least because the verse insists "you were the ger in Egypt", and thus, unless you believe that the Jews were all converts in Egypt, to understand ger as convert is untenable. But the motive behind such an interpretation is more worrying. It is an attempt to think that only Jews matter. And it is the attitude that lets us forget about stragglers, and lets us revel in the use of power even for murderous ends. It is an attitude that comes from the enjoyment of wealth and splendour without moral responsibility, without the feeling for the other – not the self – that is the basis of true morality. "Loving one's neighbour as oneself" is the whole Torah on one leg…And that means, as the great Jewish philosophers Levinas and Buber both understood, cherishing and exploring the other, and recognising how it is in one's relation to the other that one's moral self is formulated. This Pesach, when we narrate and study in the Haggadah how the Jewish people became a people, it would be worthwhile to think of the role of the ger in the story, and what it means for how we should live our lives as individuals and as a people. I wish you a happy and kosher Pesach. Professor Simon Goldhill, Chairman, CTJC

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Kafka the Jew Over the past few months I've been reacquainting myself with the pleasure that is Franz Kafka and more specifically his impressive novella The Metamorphosis. Having first read The Trial and some short stories more than half my life ago it has been an interesting experience rereading from an adult perspective.

so important to him I suggest that there is probably more to discover within the text. Although conscious that Kafka probably never read any Hasidic literature, I found many themes and illustrations in The Metamorphosis that reflected the predicament of the human psyche as described by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi in his seminal work The Tanya.

Something that has sparked my interest is the relationship and influence of Judaism on Kafka's work. It is well known that shortly before he wrote The Metamorphosis in 1912, Kafka was exposed to a Yiddish theatre group and he developed a keen interest in Yiddish culture which led to a more general interest in Judaism. Additionally, one of Kafka's close friends was Jiri Langer who had transformed himself from a westernised and assimilated Jew into a Hasidic follower of the Belzer Rebbe. This friendship opened up to Kafka a whole new world of religious observance that he had previously never encountered and motivated him to study Hebrew and be aware of Jewish practice, to such an extent that Max Brod writes in Kafka's biography that "of the papers he left behind, the papers filled with Hebrew exercises are not much fewer than those covered with literary works in German." It has been suggested that this Jewish awakening or awareness was a major influence on The Metamorphosis. Having read so many Yiddish stories Kafka would have certainly been familiar with the concept of 'Gilgul' (reincarnation) as well as the possibility of a person being reincarnated in the body of an animal as a punishment for something or other. I recognise this to be possibly true, however, it leaves much of the nuance of the text unrelated to any Jewish theme and at a time in his life when Judaism was

'Franz Kafka' by Hans Fronius

When Gregor Samsa finds "himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin" he is most definitely not entirely transformed and retains his consciousness and capacity for rational deliberation. He is hindered by his animal self, he finds he has "numerous little legs, which were in every different kind of perpetual motion and which, besides, he could not control", yet still manages to

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get himself off the bed, thinking, "he had better not for the life of him lose consciousness...yet the most rational thing was to make any sacrifice for even the smallest hope of freeing himself from the bed."

longer has complete autonomy of himself, in the beginning of the second section, he crawls to the bedroom door: "Only after he got to the door did he notice what really attracted him - the smell of something to eat". The gradual descent in becoming more animal than human is confirmed by his family's increasing rejection of him, "You just have to get rid of the idea that it's Gregor" declared his sister Grete "Believing it for so long, that is our real misfortune. But how can it be Gregor? if it were Gregor he would have realised long ago that it isn't possible for human beings to live with such a creature."

As the first part of the story develops we are led to view Gregor as a thinking mind trapped inside an animal body unable to fully express himself. A prevailing attitude in 18th century Judaism was that a person was either a Tzadik (righteous person) or a Rasha (wicked person) as defined by their actions, if they were predominantly good they were righteous and if not they were considered wicked. With the publication of The Tanya in 1796 Rabbi Shneur Zalman introduced a new perspective on personal piety. He argued that everyone possesses two souls, a G-dly soul and an animal soul. The G-dly soul provides the inspiration and desire to be attached to G-d whereas the animal soul provides the craving for material and worldly things. Life consists of the battle between these two forces. When a person manages to vanquish or transform their animal soul they are considered righteous and when the animal soul has control over the person they are considered wicked. He then developed a third alternative, the beinoni. The beinoni on the one hand always ensures that the G-dly soul overcomes the animal soul in all facets of life, but the animal always remains and is constantly provoking the person. We are given a lengthy description of the nature of this dualistic experience that defines the average person, someone who can sincerely pray and be devotional and at the same time harbour strong desires and lust for the forbidden, a tormented person constantly trying to assert themselves over the animal within.

The eventual death and disposal of Gregor is a sad and disturbing ending to the plight of the human condition and even Kafka expressed displeasure at the "unreadable ending". Whilst recognising the tension in the nature of human existence and the need to cope with conflicting impulses, The Tanya proposes an honest and workable solution that, while never ultimately freeing oneself from the animal within, allows us to not be held captive by it either. Rabbi Shneur Zalman urges that while being aware of our faults and impure self we must never lose consciousness of our core inner goodness and we need never feel restricted to express the innate holiness that comes with being a Jew, in fact, he suggests that the happiness and satisfaction that comes from the religious experience of an embattled soul is more intense and profound than that of the righteous. In the world of The Tanya we all wake up every morning to the horror of our animal self but we endeavour to cause a metamorphosis of that self into the G-dly realm. Maybe Kafka's Jewish awakening made him sensitive to some of the challenges inherent in being a faithful Jew and similarly exposed him as being still inexperienced in the solutions to those problems.

I felt a very strong illustration of this predicament in The Metamorphosis. As the story progresses we see Gregor becoming increasingly overwhelmed by his animal self to the point where he no

Rabbi Reuven Leigh

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The Jewish Association for Business Ethics

The Four Businesses A Seder Discussion Piece by JABE

A family are sitting around the Seder table, sharing Pesach for the first time since their father passed away. The family shop was sold years ago, and now they are in business for themselves. During the meal talk begins to turn to everyday matters. The Clever Brother says that from his point of view the recession has only hurt the people who are too stupid to deserve to succeed. For example, his clothing business has actually done better than ever. "The squeeze on profits made us really look at our bottom-line costs, and we ended up by moving to a supplier in the far-East who was able to undercut our old supplier by about 15%. My daughter asked me whether the factory out in China uses child labour - so I told her it was about time she grew up and realised that in the real world you can't go around asking suppliers the age of their labourers - 15% is 15%!" The Wicked Sister can cap that story with one of her own. She deals in plastic components and managed to find a UK supplier who uses dodgy immigrant labour, which means he can match the prices offered by the far-Eastern importers. "Better than that, I got him to cut the delivery charges almost to nothing. Between you and me, he knows I've worked out how he does it and I think he's just a tiny bit worried that unless he comes down to my figure I might have a word or two to say to the immigration authorities! Maybe Dad wouldn't have approved of that," she grins, "but let's be honest - things have moved on a lot since his day!" The Simple Brother went into partnership with a cousin, and finds that his partner's practices are "a bit fast" to keep up with. "Would you believe it," he asks, "we spent all last year selling at a loss in our main shop, just because he told me it would finally break our main rival down the road, and then we'd be able to buy him up and run both shops at a profit! I thought he was mad, but from something a contact of his in the bank told him about our competitor's

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takings the other day, it looks like he was bang on. Like you" he turns to the Wicked Sister, "I can't imagine telling Dad about a dodge like that - but as you say, what choice do we have these days?" The last sister listens to them and her eyes fill with silent tears. Something dreadful has happened to her family, and she knows that if Dad was still here he would have a few things to say about it all. But somehow without him she doesn't know where to start or what questions to ask - so she stays quiet. The common theme around that Seder table is that if standards of business ethics have dropped over the years it's the fault of business practices and the market; nobody is to blame for being realistic about modern economic conditions. And that's a good theme for the Seder. If the essence of slavery is the inability to make choices for myself, and the essence of freedom is the ability to decide my own standards of behavior, these businesspeople seem to be in the grip of a slavery to their profit-margins. The Clever Brother's "real world" prevents him from taking moral responsibility for his own actions, and from realising the Talmudic principle that "machzikei yedei ovrei aveiroh" - those who support wrong-doers - share responsibility for their wrong-doing: if nobody bought goods made by child slave-labour, child exploitation would cease to be profitable. The Wicked Sister knows exactly what her father would have said: that it is a key Jewish religious obligation to obey the law of the land - dina d'malchuso: but her commitment to making money "forces" her to turn a blind eye to, and even profit from, exploitation of illegal immigrants. And the Simple Brother may be simple, but even he could, if he chose, allow himself to appreciate the force of the Mishnaic idea that lowering prices is praiseworthy unless predatory, at which point it becomes anticompetitive rather than a result of healthy competition. The Talmudic saying that forms part of the Seder service challenges us to see the Seder not as a historical commemoration but as a personal re-enactment of the exodus. In our attitude to business, as well is in other ways, the Seder is a chance to confront ourselves and ask whether any part of our mind has become less free than it ought to be; whether we are allowing ourselves the freedom to form and act in accordance with our own moral judgments, made in the light of Torah principles, rather than becoming willing slaves to commercial convenience. Kindly written for JABE by Daniel Greenberg. JABE seeks to encourage high standards of integrity in business and professional conduct by promoting and teaching the Jewish ethical approach to businesses For more information about JABE, to become a member or be put on our mailing list please call: 020 8905 4048 or visit our website: www.jabe.org

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Sustainable Pesach Top tips to Green your festival…

1. Consider your cleaning Many household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals which have undesirable effects on both humans and the environment. Consider using gentler, more environmentally kind cleaning products, such as the Ecover or Bio-D ranges.

2. Minimise the foil Many people are in the habit of covering all their kitchen surfaces with thick foil, which is thrown away at the end of the festival. While it may be necessary to cover certain surfaces with foil, such as the cooker, counter tops may instead be covered with lino or oil-cloth which can be cut to shape and re-used for many years. If you decide you simply must use foil, please recycle it after the chag.

3. Ditch the disposables Disposable cutlery and crockery may be convenient, but it’s troubling to think that it will still be around when our great-grand-children are celebrating Pesach. Ikea, Tesco, Argos and others all sell inexpensive crockery and cutlery which can be washed and reused indefinitely. If you feel you can’t do without disposables – making seder for 30 people? – then consider wooden cutlery and paper or plant fibre plates, which can go into the green recycling bin together with any leftover food, and will be compost by Shavuot. A quick google search will bring up many internet retailers selling these products – www.dukesvalley.co.uk has a good range.

4. Think global, eat local At Pesach, the emphasis is on food. Why not use this Pesach to discover local, seasonal vegetables and fruits, helping to minimise food miles and, perhaps more importantly, enjoying the delicious flavours of produce that has been grown for taste, rather than shape, colour and shelf-life. The Cambridge Organic Food Company (www.cofco.co.uk) will deliver a box of locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables to your door. Alternatively Cambridge Farmers Outlet on Lensfield Road has a fine selection of local produce. For further information, visit: www.biggreenjewish.org

www.canfeinesharim.org

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www.coejl.org


Pesach Recipes It wouldn’t be a Pesach bulletin without some recipes for chametz-free treats. Here, Lauren Allin shares her recipes for almond biscuits and a decadentsounding chocolate roulade. Pesach Almond Biscuits 4oz / 100g margarine 4oz / 100g caster sugar 8oz / 225g ground almonds Grated rind of 1 lemon Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add ground almonds and lemon rind. Roll mixture into small balls the size of a walnut. Place well apart on a greased baking tray and flatten with a knife. Place in oven Gas no. 3 /170 degrees and bake for around 10 minutes until golden brown.

Chocolate Roulade 6oz (175gm) plain chocolate 5 eggs, separated 5oz (150gm) caster sugar 1/2 pt double cream Line a swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Melt chocolate either in microwave or over a pan of boiling water. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Fold in melted chocolate until smooth. Whisk egg whites until stiff, and carefully fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared tin and smooth into corners. Bake in pre-heated oven 180 degrees /gas number 4 for 20-25 minutes. Cake should be well risen and firm. Sprinkle a sheet of greaseproof paper with caster sugar. Invert the roulade on to the paper and peel away the lining paper. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to cool. Whip cream until stiff. Spread over cool roulade and roll. Decorate with icing sugar and grated chocolate.

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When little things become

BIG things…

It’s time for a confession. My name is Helen, and I eat kitniot. There, I’ve said it. I hope people will still say hello to me in shul… To most British Jews, myself included, kitniot is a fairly recent concept. As a child, my family bought the limited KLP (kosher l’Pesach) range of foods available and that was what we ate. There was perhaps a vague notion that Sephardim ate rice on Pesach and Ashkenazim didn’t, but that was about the extent of it. I believe that the kitniot issue only really arose in the UK when supermarkets began to import humous and other Israeli products for Pesach, which although certified KLP, contain kitniot. Many people initially delighted in this expanded range of products, never having heard of kitniot. However, it didn’t take long before our communal Rabbis stepped in to point out the error of our humous-eating ways. The word kitniot is often translated as ‘legumes’ but this is misleading. ‘Kitniot’ is derived from ‘katan’ and literally means, ‘little things.’ This vague definition has enabled the term to be used to encompass everything from pulses and beans to sweetcorn, garden peas and even mustard seeds. As we all know, the significant mitzvah of Pesach is not to eat chametz. The gemara tells us that chametz can only come from the five grains that can be used in the production of matza (wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt), and nothing else can be chametz. Kitniot cannot become chametz and therefore may not be used for matza. According to the Rambam, even if one kneads flour made of rice with hot water, and processes it so that it rises and looks very much like regular dough, and bakes it, one may still eat this product because it is not chametz. The origins of the kitniot custom are not clear, although the two main theories seem to be that a) these foods were often made into products which resemble chametz (e.g. corn bread), or b) they were stored in the same containers as chametz and may become contaminated. A third possibility is simply that certain Rabbis had a dislike of these foods! Rabbenu Manoah (Provence, 13th century) wrote an opinion in his commentary on Maimonides (Laws of Festivals and Holidays 5:1) that, "It is not proper to eat kitniot on holidays because it is written (in Deut. 16:14) that ‘you shall rejoice in your festivals’ and there is no joy in eating dishes made from kitniot." Clearly not a humous-lover! However the custom has not been without critics from the outset. Rabbenu Yeruham ben Meshullam (Provence, 14th century) said, "those accustomed to not eating rice and various kinds of cooked kitniot on Pesach abide by a stupid custom which makes it harder on themselves (to observe and enjoy the festival) and I have no idea why they do so." Similarly, Rav Yaakov ben Asher (1269-1343) rejected the custom, saying "it is an excessive restriction and improper." Rav Zvi Hirsch Ashkenazi (1660-1718) and his son Rabbi Yaakov Amdan (1697-1776) also opposed the custom and wanted to eliminate it. They called it, "a restriction that has no rhyme or reason for ever existing." Despite their protestations, the custom shows no sign of going away, or even diminishing. Although the original custom developed in the 12-13th century, the list of prohibited foods has expanded over time, even taking in new world crops which would have been unknown to the originators of the practice. Peanuts are one example – and they are considered kitniot by some, by not all authorities. Rav Moshe Feinstein was of the opinion that peanuts are not kitniot. He reasoned that kitniot is not a halacha but a minhag (custom) and argued that a minhag cannot be extended beyond what was included in the original custom. Since peanuts were not in common use in Europe when the minhag of kitniot was instituted, there is no halachic basis to extend the minhag to include them, even if they are arguably identical to other kitniot in form and use. He also suggests that the list of kitniot was kept deliberately short because the reasons for prohibiting kitniot are weak.

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There have been some victories for common sense. By any logical reasoning, potatoes should have gone the way of maize, since they were introduced to Europe at around the same time, and are used to make a flour that could be confused with wheat flour. The Chayei Adam does include potatoes in the category of kitniot, although he notes that in 1771 rabbis permitted their use on Pesach due to famine. Fortunately for us, the ban on spuds has subsequently fallen by the wayside. There are also some strange linguistic reasons that some foods have been added to the banned list. Many people avoid green beans or string beans because they sound like dried beans. Corn (maize) was unknown to the medieval rabbis, but the Indo-European word for bread or wheat and the Yiddish word for rye is Korn and there was a concern that people would get mixed up. Some rabbis have permitted the use of kitniot derivatives such as oils on Pesach, but in recent years even this leniency has been tightened. I am certain that my Mum used sunflower oil on Pesach when I was young, but this is no longer available KLP, having subsequently been deemed kitniot. Certain authorities have also banned rapeseed and cottonseed oils, despite the seeds from which they originate not being used for food in and of themselves, and therefore unable to be classified as kitniot. Clearly the kitniot issue is a thorny one, and it is (obviously!) a minhag that I have quite a few problems with. Firstly, it seems to be a potentially bottomless pit, into which more and more perfectly good KLP foods can be thrown, to make life more difficult and to limit enjoyment of the chag. Cooking on Pesach is limiting enough, without building ‘fences around fences’ for no logical reason. As Daniel Sperber, kitniot expert and professor of Talmud at Bar Ilan University, has said, “The attitude in the last few decades has changed and become stricter to the point of absurdity.” I also find it ridiculous that a custom that arose to prevent confusion over things which may appear to be chametz, now sees mange tout and baby corn banned, but permits Pesach breakfast cereal, Pesach lokshen, and Pesach pancake mix. But the tide may be turning. Rabbi David Bar-Hayyim, head of the Beth Midrash Machon Shilo, declared in 2007 that Jews living in Israel were permitted to eat kitniot, regardless of their background. He believes that those who cling to the minhag are irrationally attached to the past and that their approach is “not halachic” and possibly even “anti-halachic.” “Just as it is forbidden to allow what is prohibited, it is forbidden to prohibit what is allowed,” he said. Rabbi David Golinkin, Professor of Jewish law at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (a Conservative rabbinical seminary) published a responsum in the late 1980s which stated that “… there are many good reasons to do away with this "foolish custom": a) It detracts from the joy of the holiday by limiting the number of permitted foods; b) It causes exorbitant price rises, which result in "major financial loss" and, as is well known, "the Torah takes pity on the people of Israel's money"; c) It emphasizes the insignificant (legumes) and ignores the significant (hametz, which is forbidden from the five kinds of grain); d) It causes people to scoff at the commandments in general and at the prohibition of hametz in particular - if this custom has no purpose and is observed, then there is no reason to observe other commandments; e) Finally, it causes unnecessary divisions between Israel's different ethnic groups.” Whether or not you like his brand of Judaism, his argument is flawless. So what’s the conclusion? Unfortunately, the debate rages on. Many of the articles I read in preparing this one presented all of the anti-kitniot arguments above only to conclude that we must abide by the ban on kitniot regardless, simply because it has been observed for so long. So, whether you decide to join me for matza with humous, or stick to established Ashkenazi traditions, I hope that you have found this article food for thought. Chag sameach! Helen Goldrein

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ANTISEMITISM IN BRITAIN TODAY Last month, CST released figures that showed the number of antisemitic attacks recorded in Britain during 2009 had reached a record high. Much of this was because of the extreme reaction in some quarters to Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza in January, and it continued the pattern whereby events in the Middle East can trigger outbreaks of antisemitism against Jews here in Britain.

to the windows of hundreds of communal buildings, especially synagogues and schools. During the Gaza crisis, an attempt was made to burn down a synagogue in London by smashing a window and setting fire to the inside of the building. The attackers could not smash the glass, which was protected by antishatter film, and instead set their fire outside the building. As a consequence, there was light damage to the exterior, but the community was spared the awful sight of a fire gutted shul.

In addition to the increasing number of actual antisemitic incidents, Britain is also facing up to the fact that the threat of actual terrorism will most likely be with us for many years to come. This pro-Al Qaeda terrorism targets all of our society but we should be in no doubt that it includes a murderously antiJewish streak. Politically, two British National Party members now represent our country in the European Parliament, and situations such as the proposed academic boycott of Israel add to communal unease. Take all of this together and it is no wonder that some people are anxiously asking what the future may hold for British Jews

Modern antisemitism is a complex matter, and it is important to understand it properly in order to fight it successfully. It is false to assume that antisemitism comes from one source - be it “the Muslims”, “the left” or “the right” - or that anti-Israel feelings or right wing nationalism are the sole motivating factors. Even using such general terms is misleading: antisemitism from a Muslim source certainly does not mean that all or even most Muslims are antisemitic, any more than neo-Nazi antisemitism means that most white people hate Jews.

As the stakes increase, however, it becomes even more important to keep these problems in proportion. Antisemitism does not, and should not, define the British Jewish experience. Consider the vast range of opportunities that now exist for British Jews to express themselves, be it in a religious, cultural, political or charitable manner and you will see that antisemitism should not be allowed to dominate our thoughts and actions. Britain is a liberal democratic society, with all the freedoms that implies and the Jewish community is, generally speaking, successful and integrated. Indeed, there are many parts of British society where antisemitism has a minimal presence.

Antisemitism is more prevalent in Britain today than it was a decade ago, but the appropriate response is to keep a sense of proportion and balance. It is just as damaging to imagine antisemitism everywhere, as to pretend that it does not exist at all. Better to recognise antisemitism for what it is when it does appear, and find ways to combat it, but not to let it overwhelm our lives. The fight against antisemitism is part of a wider fight against racism and bigotry and in defence of democratic values, and we have many friends and allies in this work.

CST works with British Jews across the political and religious spectrum in order to protect all of these positive aspects of our Jewish lives. We make sure that the police, government and other agencies are sensitive to episodes of antisemitism if and when they occur. We spend our working days thinking about antisemitism and putting security strategies in place, precisely so the rest of the Jewish community can spend their time living their Jewish lives without having to worry about bigotry or prejudice. For example, CST has helped to install anti-shatter window film

IN AN EMERGENCY ALWAYS DIAL 999 Then call CST London 020 8457 9999 Emergency 24h. 07659 101 668 Manchester 0161 792 6666 Emergency 24h. 0800 980 0668

www.thecst.org.uk

Community Security Trust registered charity number: 1042391

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Communal Information Shul services Friday evening In term:

Winter, Ma’ariv at 6pm Summer, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm

In vacations:

Winter, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat June-August, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm September, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat

Shabbat morning

9:30am

Sunday morning

8:00am (most weeks)

Learning Rabbi Reuven Leigh holds a Talmud Shiur at Chabad House, Cambridge, every Wednesday at 8pm. Parking is available in the Shire Hall car park. 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 chevra@ctjc.org.uk Hospital Visiting Contact Sarah Schechter, Helen Stone, Tirzah Bleehen or Barry Landy if you need to organise visits, or would like to volunteer to help. Rabbi Reuven Leigh 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.

Read the bulletin online in full colour! Visit http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/pesach_2010

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Religious Calendar – A handy cut-outand-keep guide to the months ahead PESACH 2010 Monday March 29 – Fast of the Firstborn: Shacharit 7am 10.38 finish all Chametz; Burning of Chametz by 11.55 am Festival starts 7.13 pm; Maariv 7.15 pm Tuesday March 30 Shacharit 9.30 am Minchah/Maariv 7.15 pm; First day ends 8:16 pm Wednesday March 31 Shacharit 9.30 am Minchah/Maariv 7.15 pm; Festival ends 8.18 pm Saturday April 3 Shacharit 9.30 am Shabbat ends 8.24 pm Sunday April 4 Festival Starts 7.23 pm; Minchah/Maariv 7.15 pm Monday April 5 Shacharit 9/30am Minchah/Maariv 7.30 pm; Seventh day ends 8:27 pm Tuesday April 6 Shacharit 9.30 am Festival Ends 8.29pm SHAVUOT 2010 Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Tuesday May 18 Festival Starts 8:37 pm; Minchah and Maariv times to be announced Wednesday May 19 Shacharit 9.30 am Minchah/Maariv to be announced Thursday May 20 Shacharit 9.30 am Festival ends 9.54 pm TISHA B'AV Monday July 19 Fast Commences 8:55 pm; Maariv and Eichah at 10 pm Tuesday July 20 Shacharit at 7 am (expected to finish about 9 am) Minchah 1.45 pm; Fast ends at 10 pm

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Pesach wordsearch! How many of the Pesach words can you find in the ‘matza’ below? R

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Photo of machine-made Shmura Matzo eaten during Passover week by Yoninah. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Machine-made_Shmura_Matzo.jpg

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Afikoman Chametz Charoset Desert Dip Egg Egypt Elijah Exodus Four sons Frogs Haggadah Karpas Kasher Lamb Maror Matza Miracle Moshe One goat Pharoah Salt water Seder plate Shankbone Slaves Ten Plagues Wine

Children’s activities Cambridge Hebrew School The Cambridge Hebrew School is an innovative Sunday school that provides an enjoyable and stimulating environment for children to receive a broad knowledge of Judaism. Our school welcomes every Jewish child regardless of religious background, affiliation or level of observance. No synagogue membership is required. For more information contact Rochel Leigh at rochel@cuchabad.org

After School Club This special programme provides another opportunity for children to study and socialise in a warm Jewish atmosphere. Sunday Hebrew school attendance is not required to join in and benefit from the club. For more information contact Rochel Leigh at rochel@cuchabad.org

Ganeinu Child Care Service At Ganeinu we are dedicated to providing a warm and secure environment where children of all backgrounds can feel comfortable exploring their heritage and be proud of who they are. The classroom is built around a variety of learning centres where the children develop motor, cognitive and social skills. The class structure is always playful, active and imaginative. Using a fully integrated Judaic and general approach, core Jewish values of love, respect and unity are taught alongside the national standards of inclusion and anti bias attitudes. For more information contact Rochel Leigh at rochel@cuchabad.org

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SNAPPED! Right: Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks with Rabbi Simon Mandel at Thompson’s Lane, 16 February 2010 Photo: Mark Harris

Left and below: Children enjoying the Purim party at Thompson’s Lane on 28 February 2010. Photos: Reuven Leigh

Right: (R-L) Tzemach Leigh, Levi Leigh, Shilo Salmon, Yonatan Mandel.

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CTJC Bulletin Pesach 2010