CTJC Bulletin Rosh Hashana 2013
Welcome to the CTJC Rosh Hashana Bulletin Bulletin Number 108. Cover image: ‘Apples on Tree’ by Éamonn Ó Muirí. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apples_on_tree.jpg
Like Yomtov, the bulletin comes early this year. As I put the finishing touches to this issue, we are not yet into August – however our contributors have managed to put themselves in a festive mood and write a selection of interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining articles. Mark Harris brings us the denouement of his researches into Huntingdon’s Jewish past, and the Peck family share the details of Rachel’s recent Bat Mitzvah with the community – mazel tov! Plus all the regular items you’ve come to expect – news, calendar and much 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’ve travelled to somewhere of Jewish interest this summer, why not write it up for the Chanukah issue? To submit material, please email email@example.com The bulletin, like all aspects of CTJC, is produced entirely by volunteers. If you would like to get involved with any aspect of CTJC, please contact our Chairman Ros by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org You can read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/roshhashana_2013 Wishing you and yours a Shana Tova, from all at the Bulletin. Small print… Views expressed in the bulletin are the views of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or of the committee of the CTJC.
In this issue…
A very big Etrog! Photo taken at the western wall Hol Hamoed Succot by Eliel Joseph Schafler.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionShare Alike 3.0 Unported license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:THE_HOLIDAY_OF_SU CCOT_IN_JERUSALEM.jpg
2 3 3 4 6 8 10 11 13 15 17 18 19 19 20 21
Communal information Chairman’s message Community news Solid foundations in Jewish education, by Reuven Leigh Rachel Peck Bat Mitzvah Dvar Torah A report of Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah, by Joel Peck Matzeva, gravestone setting, by Ros Landy A quest for Huntingdon’s synagogue, part 5, by Mark Harris An alternate view of exegesis, by Barry Landy Summer holyday cooking, by Helen Goldrein Minutes of the CTJC AGM Report of the CJRA Chevra Kadisha Follow on with AJEX CST and Jewish Life Cambridge Friends of MDA Cambridge Day Limmud is back!
Make an edible Sukkah! Religious calendar
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or Jonathan Allin at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
Chairman’s message When one reaches Rosh Hashanah one’s thoughts move in directions both retrospective and prospective. Looking back over the past year one sees any actions which could be improved and one (usually) decides to do better next time. One also hopes and prays for a good year. Recently our middle son, David, was doing research into the matrilineal side of Barry’s family. There were documents from Yad va’Shem written in Yiddish which I translated with the help of a friend. It made me think yet again of all the people the Jewish nation has lost. Six million is not an easy number to contemplate. Shortly after the Yiddish documents were translated, Aron, our eldest son sent us an article on Stolpersteine, the brass plates placed in concrete in the streets of Germany and Poland where Holocaust victims used to live before they were transported to the gas chambers. For more information on this see online: http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/places/andreaskluth/stumbling-over-past It made me think that the Jews exterminated by the Nazis were not given a chance of another year of life. In general they were gassed or were sent to slave labour camps where they ultimately died of disease and starvation. In contrast we have, we hope, the possibility of another year ahead in which to work and to enjoy life’s good moments. This is a blessing we pray for in the Rosh Hashanah services. It is something one should not take for granted. Above: Stolpersteine for Chaim Schattner. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stolperstein_Bamberger_Str_3_%2 8Wilmd%29_Chaim_Schattner.jpg
Good wishes to all the local and far-flung families for a happy Chag and a year full of health and happiness. Ros Landy, Chairman.
Community news Mazel tov… To Simon and Shoshana Goldhill on their 30th anniversary To Noomi Melchior and Eviatar Natan on the birth of their daughter, Alumah To Yehudit Harris and Simi Bauernfreund on their wedding To Rachel Peck and family on her bat mitzvah To Toni and Robert Marcus on the birth of their first grandchild, a son for Rachel and Michael Leventhal And welcome, to Laura and Michael Attar on their wedding and move to Cambridge Chaim aruchim… To Barry Landy, who unveiled the tombstone in Jerusalem for his mother, Gertie z'l, who passed away in August 2012
Matzeva – gravestone setting By Ros Landy
Barry and I went to Israel in July 2013 for the setting of the gravestone of his mother, Gertie Landy, z’l, who passed away 11 in August 2012 at the age of 100. Barry asked two grandsons to speak, our eldest son, Aron, and Sacha Stern, the eldest child of Barry’s late sister. Both speakers were under strict instructions to keep their speeches short as the temperature in Jerusalem in July is high. In fact, on the day it was 29˚C which was slightly less than the preceding days. Both grandsons outlined their memories of their grandmother. Rabbi Vivian Berman, a close friend from Barry’s student days, read Psalms and the Hebrew acrostic on the gravestone. This was composed by Barry. Barry and his brother, Francis followed this with Kaddish. People milled around a little after this in order to see the stone and to chat to the Avelim/Mourners. After that we all went to the Inbal Hotel for a prepared brunch. Barry had set up a slide show with photos of important moments in his mother’s life. At the brunch both Barry and his brother Francis spoke movingly about their mother. There were three ladies from Emunah/women’s Mizrahi movement who spoke of the great leadership shown in Emunah by Gertie Landy. She had been a wonderful fundraiser and supporter of many homes for mothers and babies and disadvantaged children. The last home Emunah opened was Neve Landy, set up with a grant from Gertie Landy in her late husband’s name. This home is in the South of Israel and takes in boys who are found on the streets or are in trouble with the police. The boys are psychologically very disturbed and need a lot of loving care. The home offers a loving atmosphere and a firm framework with the aim of getting the boys back on track for a life of normality. They have had a number of amazing success stories. During the brunch and at the end of it people spoke to one another. There were groups of cousins, some cheder friends of Ros from her childhood, some friends of Barry; some friends of Gertie; some friends of Francis. About 70 people came. It all went very well and was a fitting memorial to a great person.
Above: The tombstone for Gertrude Landy. The inscription (which is an acrostic of her name) reads, “She did good deeds to the poor, Her home was always open to guests, Her heart dwells in Zion, She established foundations in the Land” 4
Solid foundations in Jewish education By Rabbi Reuven Leigh
'That must be so difficult,’ ‘I could never do that,’ ‘Is it legal?' and 'How do they socialise with other children?' are just some of the responses we get to home educating our children. In truth, the choice Rochel and I have made not to send our children to school is not as rare as it once was, if the burgeoning home educating groups and forums in Cambridge alone are anything to go by. Our choice not to send our children to local schools was primarily out of a desire to provide a type of education for them that was not available locally. Over the years, as we have developed our curriculum and really immersed ourselves into the world of home education, we have come to realise that the education we aspire to for our children is not so readily available outside of Cambridge either. In fact, having to think about what a Jewish education should be from first principles has given us an insight that we hope can be of benefit to the schooling community too. I personally have come to the realisation that a solid foundation to Jewish learning is a proficiency in Biblical Hebrew. From time immemorial the early education of a Jewish child has involved learning how to read Hebrew. At a recent trip to the Genizah we saw a number of manuscripts close to a thousand years old with Hebrew reading exercises for children. The importance of Hebrew reading as a necessary first stage in Jewish education is self-evident, an ability to read the Biblical texts as well as the prayer book are essential to the everyday life of a Jew. Bizarrely, however, an ability to read Hebrew has in many cases become the main objective of a Jewish education rather than an introduction to studying the structure of the language and its usage in the classical texts. A quick look at the curriculum of many Sunday schools informed me how beyond reading proficiency there is little attempt to teach children the structure of the language they are now able to read, rather a smattering of modern Hebrew words, that do not provide them with access to the texts. The situation is not much better in Jewish primary schools, where there is a lack of a structured and well-prepared Biblical Hebrew curriculum. When Biblical Hebrew is taught in the Jewish schools, it is taught at the same time as the children are taught Chumash, where the teacher will highlight matters of grammatical relevance. This preferred immersive approach has left me unconvinced, as this approach introduces only a small random collection of grammatical principles, largely confined to the use of prefixes and suffixes in the texts. I am yet to find a graduate of such a system that has even a basic proficiency in the language that enables them to confidently translate passages without assistance from translations or commentators. This reluctance to teach the grammar of Biblical Hebrew appears to be a legacy of the Jewish Enlightenment. An area in which the Maskilim wished to distinguish themselves was through promoting the usage of Biblical Hebrew in preference to Rabbinic Hebrew and Yiddish, thereby eliciting the reactionary response of the traditionalists to avoid the study of Biblical Hebrew grammar. The contemporary traditional scene has seemingly overcome its aversion to including grammar in the curriculum, however, there clearly remains a great reluctance to embrace wholeheartedly the importance of grammar and its role in reading the texts confidently. A familiar objection is that it is not possible to teach grammar to young children, yet my experience has taught me that children are far more able that we often give them credit for. The curriculum in Biblical Hebrew that I developed for my children was piloted this past year in the CTJC Sunday School and in the upcoming year it will be offered as a course to children and adults across the community as a stand-alone course. Many people are often intimidated by the challenge of learning Biblical Hebrew, however, the approach I use is a little bit like jolly phonics for early readers. The phonics reading programme
teaches some rules such as the letter 'A' is called an 'a, as in apple' and the reader will only be presented with the letter 'A' in words that are consistent with this rule. So the words 'ant' and 'at' are introduced, but the word 'all' is taught later as an exception. In this way the reader gains confidence in rules that work in all the materials they are presented with, and is very gradually taught exceptions. This builds fluency, which is essential for the young reader. Likewise, the Biblical Hebrew Curriculum I teach offers a set of rules and practice materials that are consistent, which allow the learner to trust their knowledge and gain confidence, with exceptions introduced gradually. It is certainly not harder than learning to read English.
Above: The title page of A Grammar of the Hebrew Tongue published by Judah Monis, published in Boston in 1735, specifically for "the ... use of the students at Harvard-College at Cambridge, in New-England," for whom Hebrew was a required subject.
More details about the course will be shared shortly and I hope you will find it enticing.
Please join us for a communal Simchat Torah dinner and celebration for the entire family! Thursday 26 September at 7pm, in the shul.
Congratulations to Jonathan Goldman who has become our representative on the Board of Deputies Â
Rachel Peck Bat Mitzvah Dvar Torah, Jerusalem, June 5 2013
Thank you everyone for coming today. It is a great honour that so many friends and relatives have come to be here today. I’m very grateful that Rabbi Mandel could come, with his son Yonotan. Rabbi Mandel and his wife Sarah were Chaplains in Cambridge, and they were very kind and supportive to me on many occasions, as they hosted various events at their home, and in synagogue. My brothers, my Dad and I live in Cambridge, in England, and when we were relatively recent arrivals to Cambridge, Simon, Sarah, and their kids made us feel welcome, and helped us to figure things out. Of course, I’m also very grateful to my parents, who worked very hard to make the arrangements for me and my brothers to be here, and who have also done so much to raise us, to educate us, to play with us, and to help us to understand the difference between right and wrong. Thanks also to Shira and to my uncle Yoav, who have been heavily involved in the arrangements for this family trip to Israel. And, finally, thanks to everyone else for so kindly taking your time to come celebrate with us, and to make this a special event for our family and friends. This celebration is about a bat mitzvah – the coming of age as a Jewish girl - that’s me - becomes a Jewish woman. In many ways, I feel uncertain and unready for the responsibilities that go with growing into an adult. But then, I remember what my bat mitzvah teacher and my parents have told me – that this is not some sort of graduation ceremony. It’s about the beginning of a journey into adulthood. I hope that I will always be learning more about what it means to take responsibility for my actions, and that I will always be learning to do what needs to be done more skilfully. I also feel very lucky. Lucky to be part of such a wonderful family! Like lots of kids my age, I sometimes have upsets. Like when someone at school says something rude to me, or when I don’t get the marks I was expecting on some test. However, my brothers and my Mum and my Dad always make me feel better. They always have words of comfort for me, or they get me involved in some fun goofing around, so that I forget about my troubles. As I prepared for this time in Israel, I have been reading the parsha called Korach, which is the parsha for this week, and also the haftorah that goes with Korach. In some ways, it seems to me that the transition that is now happening in my own life is mirrored by what we read in the Torah this week. I have to admit that, during my early childhood, I did some very silly and thoughtless things. For example,
when I was about seven years old, I got angry at my brother Jacob, and I threw a foam-covered baseball bat directly at his head. Hard. Needless to say, Jacob was not terribly amused by this. In fact, he ran around the house, screaming his head off. Fortunately, he was not badly injured, just a bit bruised. Back when I threw that bat I didn’t really understand that my actions, good or bad, have consequences. I did not really understand the rule that Rabbi Hillel used to sum up the whole Torah – that we must not do to others what we, ourselves, find hateful. Now, I do understand this, or at least, I understand the importance of Hillel’s rule much better than I did when I was a child. So, it makes sense that the Rabbis decided that a 12-year-old girl should take over responsibility for her actions. We pre-teens may not understand everything, but we know enough to realise that inconsiderate behaviour has consequences. Similarly, it seems that when our Ancestors left Egypt, they were immature. They were not ready to take on the responsibility of being true carers and guardians of the Land of Israel. In this week’s parsha, we have a powerful symbol of the possible terrible consequences of that lack of preparedness, as Hashem causes the Earth to swallow up some of the Israelites. Today, we know that the Jewish people are still very imperfect. We are still not completely mature. However, the usual haftorah for this week’s parsha offers us some comfort. It tells us – and I quote: “Fear not!” And it goes on, a bit later: “Hashem shall not cast off his people for the sake of his great name; for Hashem has sworn to make you for a people unto him.” And so, similarly, while I will certainly never be a perfect person, I do hope and pray that I will be a good one, and that my efforts to do the right thing will be acceptable to Hashem. There is another theme in the haftorah for this week, which really gets to the core of what I love about Judaism. This is the theme of equality. Judaism seems to have a complicated bunch of things to say about equality, but some of those things seem to be strongly in favour of equality as a principle. The most famous example is, of course, the story of Jacob and the favouritism he showed to Joseph. The story relates the terrible consequences of that inequality. But in the Hafotrah for Korach we are also reminded, by Samuel the Prophet, that Hashem would prefer that we, the Jewish people, all be equal before him, and have no king to rule us. He would prefer that we have Torah as our King, and that each of us fulfil the promise of our bat mitzvahs and bar mitzvahs, and act in a kind and responsible manner. If we did this, the maybe we would not need any rulers at all. At my dinner table at home, especially on Shabbat, we talk a lot about right and wrong, and various moral dilemmas. It’s interesting to think about these things, and to try to work out the right thing to do in various puzzling situations. And that sort of interesting moral discussion is another thing I love about my Jewish heritage. However, even though this is a celebration about becoming more of a grownup, I sure hope that being a grownup doesn’t mean not having fun! Because, fun is a big part of what I love about being a Jew! Learning and profound insights and all of that are great! But I also love the joy of celebrating the Torah on Simchat Torah, the laughter and screeches of delight as we play dreidel on Chanukah, and the quiet happiness of Shabbat dinner with family and friends. And, of course, I’ve learned that Judaism encourages this fun – these joys, even for those of us that have reached the age of bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah. So with that in mind, I would like to thank you all, once again, for so kindly coming to celebrate with me, with my brothers, and with my parents. And I would like to say L’chaim to all and everything that the future holds. L’chaim to the joys, and also, L’chaim to those difficult moments. To all that God has planned for us. L’chaim!
A report of Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah By Joel Peck
My daughter, Rachel Peck, was bat mitzvah on June 5 of this year (27 Sivan, 5773). The celebration for this happy occasion occurred at Te’enim, a lovely vegetarian Restaurant in Jerusalem, which overlooks the walls of the old city. At Te’enim, family and friends gathered from three continents. We had wonderful food, along with heartfelt speeches and Rachel’s dvar Torah. There was also an original song which two of our Israeli relatives created specially for the occasion. Another highlight of the trip was Rachel’s reading from the Torah. This took place at the Davidson Center, which is an archaeological park that occupies an area where the Western Walls and the Southern Walls of the Temple mount meet up. We reached the Davidson Center by walking on a route that included parts of a recently discovered “Pilgrims Path” – a Herodian road which leads from the Shiloach Pool to the Temple Mount. Rachel leined beautifully from the Parsha of the week, using a sefer Torah provided by the Davidson Center. Afterwards, she received blessings from family members, and accepted the gift of a siddur. Before these events in Jerusalem, my children and I toured various sites in the Northern half of Israel. We started with a stay at the guest facility of Kibbutz Ein Gedi. This is a lovely place, with dramatic views over the desert landscape. It also made a good jumping-off point to explore the shores of the Dead Sea, and to go bathing there, in order to have that impossibly-buoyant feeling that comes from immersing in water with a very high salt concentration. During the stay at Kibbutz Ein Gedi, my two sons (Moshe and Jacob) and I went on an earlymorning hike to see The Valley of David, where fresh water comes down the valley, producing patches of startling lush green vegetation in the otherwise stark and dry Judean desert. It was a very hot day, and we had to walk for quite a long time before we got to the nature reserve where the Valley of David is located. Fortunately, we had plenty of water with us, and we got to see the remains of an ancient synagogue along the way. We were pretty tired when we finally got to the nature reserve. However, after a snack at the reception centre (and the purchase of additional large bottles of water) we felt refreshed, and carried on up the valley. The heat began to get to us again, but we then found an idyllic pool, fed by the fresh water coming down the valley. The boys went in, and they didn’t have to work too hard to convince me to join them. We lay our heads back in the mini-waterfall, and had lovely natural showers. We floated, swam, and generally messed about. It wasn’t long before we felt fully refreshed. After we got out, we had lots of energy, and carried on up the valley, eventually looping around and coming back down. In the meantime, Rachel explored the Kibbutz some more, and hung out at their pool. Wise girl.
Next, it was off for less exotic pleasures in Tiberius. We stayed overnight at Gai Beach Hotel, which has a beach on the Kinneret, and also a water park. The water park includes at least one rather terrifying slide, which seems to put users into free fall for quite a substantial drop. We all enjoyed it, and the water was a relief from the heat. The next day, it was up early to go further north. We arrived in Hurfeish, a Druze village near the border with Lebanon. Hurfeish is at an elevation of about 600m. I’m not sure if it was the altitude, the latitude, or just the changing weather systems, but now, finally, we got some relief from the heat. We checked into a local B&B there, where I have stayed before. This was, by far, the least expensive place we stayed in Israel, and in some ways, the grandest, at least in terms of space. We had a balcony and lots of room to spread out, including an enormous living room with lots of ornate seating cushions on the floor, in the Arab style. We spent that evening with my Nephew Tal and his family, who live on Kibbutz Sasa, which is very close to Hurfeish. In the morning, we were up bright at early for a walk about the summit of Mount Meron with Tal. After that, we toured the Kibbutz, and worked for a while in the apple orchards. This was followed by lunch in the Kibbutz Dining hall – a noisy and busy place, with lots of interesting food for all of us to explore. In addition to these adventures, we spent time exploring Jerusalem, hanging out with friends and relatives, and drinking in the Israeli spirit and atmosphere. It was an unforgettable trip that strengthened our understanding and appreciation of our people and our history. However, as usual, the time abroad also helped us all to appreciate more deeply the lovely, learned, and supportive community that we all enjoy together in Cambridge.
A Quest for Huntingdon’s Synagogue (Part 5) – The Denouement By Mark Harris
At the conclusion of my feature, A Quest for Huntingdon’s Synagogue (Part 4), in the Pesach 2013 edition of the CTJC Bulletin, I posed a question based on the evidence resulting from my researches, which originated in the summer of 2011 when I interviewed Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon and CTJC member, for a newspaper article. The question was: Are there reasonable grounds to advocate that the area on which part of the ‘Muttongate’ residential development [fronting St Clement’s Passage, Huntingdon] now stands marks the location of a medieval mikveh, and quite likely also of the town’s medieval synagogue? After publication of the Pesach issue, I submitted my research findings to Dr Sharman Kadish, and included a copy of the relevant parts of the Cambridgeshire County Council Archaeological Field Unit’s 1999 ‘St Clement’s Passage’ report (as referred to in “Part 4” of my Quest). Dr Kadish is a scholar, author and historian specialising in British Jewish history. She is a graduate of University College London and St Anthony’s College, Oxford. From 1986 to 1987, she was a Scheinbrun Visiting Research Fellow at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Subsequently, she has worked at the Royal Holloway College, Bedford New College (London University) and Manchester University. Dr Kadish is the director of Jewish Heritage UK (based in Manchester, and which she founded in 2004). It is the only organisation in the country with the specific task of safeguarding the built heritage of British Jewry. The organisation provides independent professional support, monitors synagogue closures, protects disused shuls and Jewish cemeteries, promotes the appreciation of our Jewish cultural heritage and plans strategically for its long-term conservation. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Amongst her many published and learned works are, Building Jerusalem: Jewish Architecture in Britain (1996), Jewish Heritage in England: An Architectural Guide (2006), and, most recently, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland: An Architectural and Social History (2011). The 1996-published book, which Dr Kadish edited, includes a chapter by her titled, ‘Eden in Albion’: A History of the Mikveh in Britain. One afternoon in May, I received an e-mail that Dr Kadish was on her way from Manchester to Cambridge to give a lecture the following day on synagogue architecture, and wanted to see me. We arranged to meet that evening, and in response to the question I had posed, she considered that (on the basis of the evidence available) my research findings presented “a very convincing hypothesis” and “on a balance of probability” her answer was positive.
Dr Kadish stayed on in Cambridge for a few days to attend her nephew’s award of a Master’s degree at Senate House, and she attended the Shabbat morning service at Thompson’s Lane. During the Kiddush, I introduced her to various community members, including Professor Simon Goldhill (to whom she mentioned that my conclusions from the Huntingdon research were based on “good circumstantial evidence”). Dr Kadish mentioned that she knew another of our congregants, Professor Stefan Reif, (who, incidentally, on his last visit from Israel had remarked to me that my research conclusions appeared “logical” to him). Back in 2011, the Huntingdon MP had presented me with an implicit challenge which, if fulfilled, would prompt his seeking the affixing of an appropriate plaque proximate to the relevant location. Following the comments from Dr Kadish, I had prepared and forwarded to him a comprehensive report of my research findings and conclusions, together with a copy of the 1999 archaeological report and including a note of the Jewish Heritage UK director’s helpful view on the evidence I had gathered. As a result Jonathan Djanogly has spoken, and submitted my report, to the mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor William Hensley, who happens to be the managing director and station manager of Huntingdon Community Radio (recently awarded an Ofcom licence as a full-time community radio station). Undoubtedly and necessarily, Cllr Hensley (as we have urged) will seek to consult and elicit the advice of the material departments of Cambridgeshire County Council, including its archaeological services and library and archives sections. It may be that we will hear the outcome of that consideration between the submission of this article (as it stands) and its publication shortly before Rosh Hashanah. Clearly, there is no absolute certainty about the end result here, but, hopefully, there may be a positive conclusion in due course.
Right: St Clement’s Passage, formerly Mutton Alley, Huntingdon.
An alternate view of exegesis By Barry Landy
When we interpret the Torah we normally look for cause and effect; as an example we can consider the story of the Garden of Eden: Eve ate the apple and gave it to Adam and that is why they had to leave the Garden. This also suggests that, as it were, God did not know what was going to happen. I want to suggest a possible more holistic approach and apply it to three particular stories in the Torah: the Garden of Eden, the 12 spies, and the life story of Moses. First I will outline the basic stories as told in the Torah. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden are tempted to eat of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (incidentally, not an apple; the type of fruit is not named but the Midrash suggests a fig). Because of that they are expelled from the Garden “in case they eat of the fruit of the tree of eternal life" and are condemned to "normal life" – Adam to work and Eve to bear children in pain. The 12 spies are sent by Moses to see what the Promised Land is like and 10 of them come back so afraid of the battles ahead that they persuade the Children of Israel to want to go back to Egypt. As a result the people have to wander in the desert for 40 years until all except two of the people have died and then they are allowed to enter the Promised Land. Moses leads the people out of Egypt. After Miriam dies the people once again have no water; Moses and Aaron are instructed to speak to a rock but instead Moses strikes it with his staff. Because of this Moses and Aaron have to die in the wilderness and not enter the land.
Above: Moses Smiteth the Rock in the Desert, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902), gouache on board, 7 3/8 x 11 1/16 in. (18.7 x 28.2 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York.
All these stories seem to have a common feature. God's plan is disrupted because of the inadequacies of human beings (respectively eating a fruit, being cowardly, losing patience) and God has to move His plans onto a different track.
Now in a conversation with Rabbi Leigh it struck me that this is itself a very human way to look at these stories, as if it is saying that “if God were human this is how He would react”. However God is not human and cannot be taken by surprise. So how should we interpret these stories? The suggestion is to look at the story as a whole and see if the outcome is the right outcome, instead of focusing on the details of how this outcome is achieved. For the Garden of Eden we must ask whether God intended mankind to live there forever. Where then is mankind – there was no birth and no death in Eden, just a static society of two people. Is this what God really intended for his universe? With no people there is no Torah; is that what God intended? We have to answer "no"; God must have intended all along that Adam and Eve would leave the garden at some point. In which case there is no "original sin" but actually however it looks to us, God's plan is carried out faithfully all along. When we consider the story of the twelve spies, we must again focus on the result and ask if it is the right one. Had the Children of Israel gone directly from Egypt to the Promised Land (via Sinai) would it have been successful? Again we have to answer "no". As one of my Rabbis was very fond of saying "to merit the Holy Land it was not only necessary to take the Jews out of Egypt, it was also necessary to take Egypt out of the Jews". The people born in the wilderness were different to those who left Egypt; they did not have a slave mentality and were prepared to take the initiative and stand up for themselves. So again we see that it must have been God's plan all along to take the time necessary for the people to be renewed by natural causes and that the cowardly spies did not cause a change of plan so much as give a rationale that the people could understand. Right: Spies sculpture in Petah Tikva, Israel, by Dr. Avishai Teicher. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wi ki/File:PikiWiki_Israel_20016_Spie s_sculpture_in_Petah_Tikva_Isra el.JPG
And finally, when reading the story of Moses and Aaron we see that the stated reason(s) why Moses (and Aaron) were not allowed to enter the Promised Land are very weak; explicitly recognised as such by the Midrash. So once again let us ask instead if the story has the right outcome. Once again it is clear that the team who were exactly the right people to lead the people through the wilderness would not have been the right team to lead them in the Promised Land; different skills were needed and new fresh blood. So we should not think that Moses and Aaron were punished but instead that they had done their jobs and were allowed to retire with dignity and fame and to pass on their baton to those who followed. I offer this methodology as a different way of reading the stories with which we are all so familiar, and wish every one a Happy New Year looking forward to once again starting to read about Adam and Eve.
Summer holyday cooking By Helen Goldrein
The high holydays fall early this year – only just in September – so the traditional holiday foods of roast dinners, kugels and hot soups seem inappropriate. However, there are a great many delicious salads that use traditional Rosh Hashana foods such as carrots, gourds (e.g. courgettes or summer squash), beetroot and pomegranate. An easy example is below. Last year, we made a traditional Italian Rosh Hashana dish of Tortelli de Zucca – pasta filled with pumpkin. Although quite time-consuming to make, they can be done in advance and frozen, then simply cooked in boiling water when required. I think they would be perfect for a Succot menu, when ‘stuffed’ foods are usually eaten. We spent an enjoyable evening making them, and ultimately had quite a production line going – Tim rolling and cutting the pasta dough, while I filled, folded and sealed the tortelli. They were quite delicious simply served with melted butter and freshly ground black pepper. (This recipe is adapted from one in Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks, which is a wonderful vegetarian Jewish recipe book.) Beetroot, orange and pomegranate salad A variation on a delicious salad I first made at Pesach! You can roast and peel the beets yourself, or save time by buying them ready cooked. Serves 4 as a starter or side dish. 4 medium or 6-8 small cooked beetroot 1 small red onion 3 small oranges (ideally blood oranges) 1 cup of pomegranate seeds 3-4 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional) Above: pomegranates. Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Cut each beetroot into 6-8 wedges and place in a bowl. Peel and finely slice the onion and add to the beetroots. Peel the oranges over the bowl so you catch the juice. Remove all the skin, pith, and membranes. Cut the segments, leaving the internal membranes behind, and catch the orange flesh and juice in the bowl. Squeeze as much juice as possible from the membranes before throwing away. Add the remaining ingredients and mix everything well to combine. Allow to stand for a while before serving for the flavours to mingle.
Tortelli de Zucca For the pasta dough: Approx. 320g 00 pasta flour 3 large eggs, lightly beaten Good pinch salt Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the eggs and process until the dough forms a soft ball which comes away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add flour a spoonful at a time, until the right consistency is achieved. If too dry, add a few drops of water at a time. Form the dough into a ball and knead for 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. (If the chilled dough is too firm to roll, allow it to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature before continuing.) To roll, divide the dough into 2-4 pieces and dust with flour. Roll out with a rolling pin or pasta machine until as thin as possible, approximately 1.5mm or 1/16 inch. For the filling: 900g-1kg pumpkin or butternut squash 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk 50g grated parmesan (or similar style hard cheese) OR 40g ground almonds Ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste Peel, seed, and dice the pumpkin or squash and steam for around 15 minutes until tender. Puree in a food processor then transfer to a saucepan and cook, stirring, until dry – this will take a while, especially as you need to use a low heat or the mixture with erupt volcanically and splatter the cook, cooker, walls etc! You will ultimately have around 2 cups of pumpkin/squash. Allow to cool, stir in the cheese or almonds, and season to taste.
Above: pumpkin. Image courtesy of twobee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
To assemble: Cut out circles of pasta dough roughly 8 cm (3 inches) in diameter. Place a dessertspoonful of filling in the centre, brush the edges with water, and fold in half to make semi-circles, pressing out any air bubbles before crimping the edges together to seal. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover with a towel, and allow to stand until the dough feels dry but supple – about 30 minutes. At this point, the tortelli can be transferred to boxes or bags and frozen for up to a month. To cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil, add the tortelli and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until they float to the surface – about 7 minutes. (If cooking from frozen, the tortelli will take around 12 minutes.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with melted butter and black pepper.
Minutes of the AGM of the CTJC Sunday 7 July 2013, Fitzwilliam College Present: Ros Landy, Barry Landy, Jonathan Allin, Jonathan Goldman, Helen Goldrein (The AGM was non quorate so all items requiring a vote will be put online) Apologies (none) Minutes These are accepted as correct and signed. Matter arising Constitutional motion: In the discussion in July 2012 it was stated that there had been a previous reduction in quorum size from 12 to 10; this is not correct; the original quorum in the constitution was 10. Chairman's report Ros Landy reported on a steady year. We should encourage shul attendees to join. Treasurer's report See report attached to minutes. Membership units at 29 is the same as last year. Loss on Kiddushim is down (due to saving on costs and better collection of money due). Synagogue costs are very large and we need to cap the amount we pay. There are various initiatives which may help with these costs, among them some attempts to reduce electricity costs. The accounts are not yet audited, but auditing will take place in the near future. Helen Goldrein: To attract members we ought to outline the benefits of joining. Barry Landy presented accounts for the Trust for 2010-2013 Approval of Auditors This was agreed (subject to online approval) Membership fees Full family
£186.00 (up from £180.00)
£124.00 (up from £120.00)
£128.00 (up from £124.00)
£81.00 (up from £78.00)
Agreed (subject to online approval) It was suggested there should be a communal meeting to discuss the problem of financing the synagogue expenses. Other reports Education Rabbi Leigh and Rochel are going to change the emphasis and replace the 2 hour Sunday morning sessions with focused courses that children will sign up to. These might be Sunday or other days, perhaps in the evening. This will provide focused education. They are also considering a GCSE class. Synagogue No Friday evening services but shabbat morning minyan is OK. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be organised by Reuven.
Bulletin Bulletins are very good and much appreciated. Rosh Hashanah bulletin will be A4 format rather than A5 to make a statement but the other two bulletins of 2013/4 will be A5. Copy is still needed for this bulletin. Elections Chairman R landy Treasurer J Allin Secretary B Landy Bulletin H Goldrein Synagogue B Landy Education S Schechter Welfare Board of Deputies J Goldman continues in office (all subject to online approval) AOB Date of AGM We should consider reverting to an earlier date (possibly May) when more people might attend. Electronic acceptance of motions All motions to be put to the membership electronically using "survey monkey" Meeting ended 1120
Report of the CJRA Chevra Kadisha for the CTJC AGM 7 July 2013 For the past year I report the death of the following members of the CJRA: Helena Markson, who came to Cambridge in 2011 and died suddenly and unexpectedly in August 2012, and is buried in the Adath Yisroel Cemetery, Cheshunt Irene Tuchfeld, in September Of those connected to members of the CJRA and of the Jewish community, I report the deaths of: Jill Young’s mother Miriam (Micky) Gilbert in May 2012 Dr Ben Milstein, in April Barry Landy’s mother Gertrude Landy in August Etel Shephard’s husband Bill Shephard in September Benigna Lehmann, a good friend of the Jewish community, in February. She was the widow of Prof Herman Lehmann who was among the founders, and was chairman of the Cambridge Friends of Magen David Adom Joseph Gross, a member of the Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue, in May In the last year there were stone settings for Bella Robinson-Zel and Dr Patricia Baldwin. ‘Even a long life ends soon, but a good name endures forever’ May their memories be for a blessing. Brendel Lang, Secretary
FOLLOW ON WITH A.J.E.X. The Association of Jewish Ex-‐Service Men and Women was formed after the First (1914-‐18) World War and rapidly increased its membership after the Second (1939-‐45) World War. Membership was further supplemented by the post war period of National Service. Although gratifying further new membership of post regular members of the armed forces has since trickled through, with the advent of limited life cycle total membership has seriously dropped. It has become vitally necessary to arrest the decline in membership. In a similar manner by which the Royal British Legion is accepting membership of those who have not served in the armed forces, AJEX has devised its ‘Follow On’ project and invites younger generations who have not served in the armed forces to become members if they subscribe to the three main objectives of the Association . REMEMBRANCE to ensure that the sacrifices of the past are never forgotten WELFARE to help and support Veterans in need EDUCATION of Youth of all denominations of the Jewish contribution in world-‐wide conflicts. This is an invitation to all generations to become members in order to ensure the necessary continuation of AJEX and possibly honour a deceased ex-‐service relation. Commitment need be for support at events only as and when able. For a joining Application form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8202 2323 with your full name, & address with post code and mention ‘Follow On Joining’. If you wish to discuss any points please be free to telephone Jack Lewis on 020 8952 3020. You are urged not to put this matter aside for action later. Please act now. Thank you.
CST and Jewish life CST is the Community Security Trust, a charity that provides security for Jewish communities throughout Britain. CST ensures that we can lead the Jewish life of our choice, with safety and confidence. CST is part and parcel of our communities, drawing upon a proud tradition of British Jewish self-defence. It is a sad fact that in Britain today, there are those who would seek to harm our communities. We may get used to the regularity of people being arrested for terrorism, but when an attack actually succeeds, the shocking reality strikes us all. It is CST’s job to ensure that British Jews are protected from such hatred and extremism, but this requires a real partnership between CST, local communities and synagogues, and Police. We are extremely fortunate that this partnership is in place and has been for many years now. Nevertheless, it requires everyone to participate. Please, contact your local CST representative and ask what part you can play in supporting our local security teams. CST is also available, 24 hours a day, for those of us who are unfortunate enough to suffer, or witness, antisemitism. We need to share responsibility, together. This means understanding why we do security and cooperating with our local teams. CST can only be as strong as the communities we serve. We need you play your part, by reporting information to us; and by joining our local teams or helping to fund our work. Sharing responsibility also means keeping a healthy sense of perspective. Physical and political threats do exist, but that should not stop any of us from appreciating and celebrating the overall excellence of Jewish life in Britain today. We thank you all and warmly wish you a Shana Tova.
Cambridge friends of MDA Cambridge Friends of Magen David Adom are delighted to report that their latest fund raising events – a musical soiree organised jointly with the Cambridge branch of Technion UK on Sunday 5th May at the Bateman Auditorium in Gonville and Caius College, and the annual Garden Party held on 30th June by kind permission of the Sansom family – have together raised the magnificent sum of £2000 for MDA UK. This year, 2013, marks the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel. Cambridge Friends of MDA was founded in 1968 in response to the 6-day war in 1967, to raise funds for Israel's emergency medical needs. Magen David Adom pays for ambulances, maintains and equips them and trains staff to operate the ambulance service generally. This ensures that all Israeli citizens can call an ambulance when the need arises. In 2013 MDA UK set itself the further target of raising funds to allow the surviving Holocaust survivors still alive in Israel (about 250,000 people, many very elderly and poor) access to free medical and dental care generally. The soiree was a great success and over 90 people heard some wonderful young musicians perform, before everyone adjourned to the College Master's Lodge for refreshments thanks to the kind invitation of the Master Sir Alan Fersht and Lady Fersht. The weather was lovely and we were honoured to be able to see the Master's garden in the early evening as well as meet in the dining room of the Lodge. The Garden Party was well attended with visitors from all sections of the community and again the weather on the day was wonderful. There were strawberries and cream, pita and falafel and tea and home-made biscuits to eat and drink. The Kol Echad choir sang beautifully and several of the youngsters entertained those present with their singing and playing musical instruments. There was plenty to buy including home-made produce, garden plants, books and jewellery. There was plenty to see and many activities for the children to do – many organised by the children themselves. The Sansom garden was beautiful to see and the host family made all the visitors very welcome. The committee of the Cambridge friends of MDA UK worked hard not forgetting the wonderful help and assistance of those visitors who helped on the day. You know who you are and heartfelt thanks to everyone for making the afternoon a delightful occasion. The next event, jointly organised with the Cambridge branch of Technion UK, is on Sunday 29th September, again in the Bateman auditorium at Gonville and Caius College, starting at 3pm. Professional musicians Peter Fisher (violin) and Peter Hewitt (piano) are playing Brahms complete sonatas for violin and piano. This wonderful concert will include tea and cake in the interval, in the room next to the Auditorium. Entrance price is £10 each. To book a place please contact Valerie Berkson by e-mail email@example.com or telephone 01223 844503 or contact Barry Gold by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to the College Master Sir Alan Fersht and Lady Fersht for giving their kind permission to hold the concert at Gonville and Caius. Above: Peter Hewitt and Peter Fisher.
Cambridge Day Limmud is back! Last time, it was the biggest one-day Limmud in Britain, with nearly 700 participants – and the most important event in the Cambridge Jewish educational calendar. Why? Because of the wonderful list of presenters that truly provided a Cambridge education is just one day. We are just as proud of this year’s line up which promises a really special occasion. We have a huge range, as ever, but this year, playing to one of Cambridge’s unique strengths, we have a particularly fantastic team to talk about Jewish history in all its guises. Our headliners are a wonderful mix of the best of Jewish cultural, political and intellectual life. Edmund de Wahl’s combination of biography and art have made him a sell-out lecturer throughout the world. Leading us in the literary sphere, we have George Steiner, one of the greatest critics in Europe – and Meir Shalev, one of Israel’s star novelists. Bethany Hughes is a marvellous presenter on all matters historical – and she is going to talk about Divine Women (a topic close to all our hearts). She was a sell-out at Jewish Book Week. We think Jonathan Freedland is one of the very few journalists who can be relied on to speak with intelligence and fervour. Is there a cooler Talmudist than Daniel Boyarin? A sharper and more insightful writer on the mind than Stephen Grosz, another sell-out at Jewish Book Week? From Israel, we have Levi Lauer, one of Israel’s most influential and charismatic agents for social reform – and Joshua Sobol, undoubtedly Israel’s leading man of theatre. And, fascinatingly, we will be welcoming Gershon Baskin, the negotiator who arranged Gilad Shalit’s release. We are making a special showcase of the history of the Jews: our team is led by Sir Richard Evans, the greatest living historian of the Second World War, who is currently working on antiSemitism. David Abulafia, author of the best-selling history The Great Sea: a Human History of the Mediterranean will be speaking along with favourites from radio 4, Miri Rubin, and the controversial David Ceserani. Naomi Tadmor will change the way you understand the words of the Bible (the English ones especially), and Jonathan Price will open your eyes to the excitements of life in the first century. That’s not all. By popular demand, Philippe Sands, brilliant QC and biographer of his own lost family, is returning. Anthony Clavane, whose book Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? was taken to heart by all football-loving Jews. And Yona Sabar, whose biography My Father’s Paradise opened a wonderful vista on to a lost life of Aramaic–speaking Jews in deepest rural Iraq. And what would Limmud be without Rafi Zarum, educator extraordinaire? We think this is a marvellous list of presenters – and hope you will too – and will come to Cambridge on November 3rd, 2013, to make it the biggest and most stimulating single day of Jewish learning in Europe. For the full programme of all our 36 star presenters, and for registration, go to www.limmud.org.
Make an edible Sukkah! What better thing to eat while sitting in the sukkah, than an edible sukkah! Sweet, or savoury, you can rustle up a delicious sukkah-themed snack in no time. You will need: Sukkah walls – 4 square/rectangular biscuits or crackers e.g. petit beurre biscuits, square rice cakes, cream crackers, matza crackers (wrong festival?) ‘Glue’ to hold the sukkah walls together e.g. icing, melted chocolate, cream cheese, peanut butter ‘Schach’ – e.g. pretzel sticks, chocolate finger biscuits, carrot sticks, green beans, celery sticks, parsley or other leafy herbs Decorations for the sukkah – e.g. jelly beans, chocolate drops, fruit pieces, raisins/dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, olives Put a blob of your ‘glue’ onto a plate and use it to secure one of the crackers/biscuits to the plate to create the floor of your sukkah. Spread glue along the back and side edges of the floor, and position the remaining three crackers upright, to make the walls. Spread glue along the upright joins at the corners too, to hold everything together. Gently lay your schach across the top of the sukkah. If necessary, use blobs of ‘glue’ at the edges to hold it in position. Decorate the roof and inside of your sukkah. Admire your handiwork, then tuck in!
Photo credit: Bible Belt Balabusta –http://biblebeltbalabusta.com
Religious Calendar EREV ROSH HASHANA Wednesday 4 September Festival commences 7:25 pm Ma’ariv 7:15 pm ROSH HASHANA 1st Day Thursday 5 September Shacharit 9:30 am Minchah & Ma’ariv 7:15 pm Candles for 2nd day lit 8:22 pm ROSH HASHANA 2nd Day Friday 6 September Shacharit 9:30 am No afternoon or evening services, Shabbat commences 7:20 pm SHABBAT SHUVAH Saturday 7 September Shacharit 9:30 am Shabbat ends 8:20 pm EREV YOM KIPPUR Friday 13 September Afternoon service 1:30 pm Shabbat and fast commence 7:04 pm Kol Nidrei 7:20 pm YOM KIPPUR Shacharit Reading of the Law Yizkor (approx) Afternoon Service Neilah Fast terminates
Saturday 14 September 9:30 am 11:30 am 12:00 noon 5:30 pm 6:50 pm 8:03 pm
EREV SUCCOT Wednesday 18 September Festival commences 6:52 pm No afternoon or evening services SUCCOT 1st Day Thursday 19 September Shacharit 9:30 am No afternoon/evening services; candles for 2nd day are lit 7:48 pm SUCCOT 2nd Day Friday 20 September Shacharit 9:30 am No afternoon or evening services; Shabbat commences 6:48 pm HOSHANAH RABBAH Wednesday 25 September Shacharit 7:00 am Festival commences 6:36 pm Minchah & Ma’ariv 6.30 pm SHEMINI ATZERET Thursday 26 September Shacharit (& Yizkor) 9:30 am Minchah 6:30 pm Ma’ariv 7:15 pm Candles for 2nd day are lit 7:30 pm SIMCHAT TORAH Friday 27 September Shacharit 9:30 am No afternoon/evening services; Shabbat commences 6:31 pm Shabbat Bereshit Shacharit Shabbat ends
9:30 am 7:20 pm
Saturday 28 September
Above: Shofar by Alphonse Lévy (1843-1918) Below: Examining the Lulav by Leopold Pilichowski (1869–1934).