CTJC Bulletin Rosh Hashana 5771/2010
In this issue… Welcome to the CTJC Rosh Hashana Bulletin
Religious Calendar – festival and service times for the High Holy Days
Turning down the heat instead of raising the volume – by Simon Goldhill
In praise of tradition – by Rabbi Reuven Leigh
Bat Mitzvah dvar torah – by Beth Djanogly
Transcript of an address by Stefan Reif at the funeral of Shulie Reif, Bet Shemesh, Israel, 19 February 2010
Rabbi Reuven Leigh’s Talmud Shiur – by Jonathan Allin
Back to der Heim – by Mark Harris
A fishy new year: Rosh Hashana foods – by Helen Goldrein
Sharing Responsibility – by the CST
BP and the business year – by JABE, Jewish Association for Business Ethics
The j-Phone – by Ben Blaukopf
Image: ‘Shofar at demonstration for Izrael in Prague, 2009.’ Credit: Martin Kozák
Welcome to the CTJC Rosh Hashana Bulletin Bulletin Number 99. Cover image: Runny hunny.jpg Credit: US Dept of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service.
Shana tova and welcome to the latest issue of the CTJC Bulletin. This edition contains a plethora of interesting articles, features, recipes, and community news and information. We hope you enjoy reading it. 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, email email@example.com Thanks to those who have already contributed, and in advance to those who plan to send in a submission for the Chanukah issue. You can also read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/roshhashana_2010 Wishing you a sweet and prosperous year and well over the fast, 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.
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
Committee 2010/2011 Chairman Treasurer Secretary Synagogue officer Education officer Welfare officer Bulletin/website officer Officer without portfolio Board of Deputies
Simon Goldhill Ben Blaukopf Jonathan Allin Gedalya Alexander Sarah Schechter Rosalind Landy Helen Goldrein Barry Landy position vacant
The new CTJC committee.
L-R: Ben Blaukopf (with Abigail), Barry Landy, Ros Landy, Simon Goldhill, Helen Goldrein, Sarah Shechter, Jonathan Allin.
COMMUNITY NEWS Mazeltov To Tikva Blaukopf and family on her engagement to Michael Schein. To Beth Djanogly and family on her Bat Mitzvah. To Miriam and Gedalya Alexander on the arrival of daughter Shoshana Tova. To Benjamin Allin, who has graduated MBBS at Imperial College Medical School. Welcome To Daniel Weiss, who has moved to Cambridge to take up a position as lecturer in Divinity. Refuah Shlemah To Jonathan Goldman. Farewell To Annette Landy, who has moved to London. To the Machlis family, who have returned to Israel. Mikvah After a lengthy planning application process Chabad of Cambridge was granted permission on appeal to build the first mikvah in the city. We are ecstatic at the news and are finalising plans with our architect with the intention to start construction in the autumn. The mikvah will be a significant contribution to married Jewish life in Cambridge and we look forward to sharing more good news about its development in the near future. - Rabbi Reuven and Rochel Leigh
COMMUNAL INFORMATION Shul services Friday evening In term:
Winter, Ma’ariv at 6pm Summer, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm
September-May, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat June-August, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm
8:00am (most weeks)
Membership of CTJC The membership year starts on Rosh Hashana. New members should contact firstname.lastname@example.org Learning Rabbi Reuven Leigh holds a Talmud Shiur at Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AH, every Monday at 8pm. Parking is available in the Shire Hall car park. 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 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! http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/roshhashana_2010
Religious Calendar Your handy cut-out-and-keep guide to high holy day times EREV ROSH HASHANAH, Festival commences Evening Services
Wednesday 8 September 7.16 pm 7.15 pm
ROSH HASHANAH 1st Day Morning Service Afternoon and Evening Services Candles for 2nd day are lit
Thursday 9 September 9.30 am 7.15 pm 8.15 pm
ROSH HASHANAH 2nd Day Morning Service Afternoon and Evening Services Shabbat commences
Friday 10 September 9.30 am 7.15 pm 7:12 pm
SHABBAT SHUVAH Morning Service Shabbat ends
Saturday 11 September 9.30 am 8.10 pm
EREV YOM KIPPUR Shabbat and Fast commence Kol Nidrei
Friday 17 September 6.55 pm 7.20 pm
YOM KIPPUR Morning Service Reading of the Law Yizkor (approx) Afternoon Service Neilah Fast terminates
Saturday 18 September 9.30 am 11.30 am 12.00 noon 5.25 pm 6.45 pm 7.54 pm
EREV SUCCOT Festival Commences Afternoon and Evening Services
Wednesday 22 September 6.43 pm 6.30 pm
SUCCOT 1st Day Morning Service Afternoon and Evening Services Candles for 2nd day are lit
Thursday 23 September 9.30 am 6.30 pm 7.41 pm
SUCCOT 2nd Day Morning Service Afternoon and Evening Services Shabbat Commences
Friday 24 September 9.30 am 6.30 pm 6.39 pm
HOSHANAH RABBAH Morning Service Festival Commences Afternoon and Evening Services
Wednesday 29 September 7.00 am 6.27 pm 6.15 pm
SHEMINI ATZERET Morning Service (& Yizkor) Afternoon Services Evening Service Candles for 2nd day are lit
Thursday 30 September 9.30 am 6.30 pm 7.15 pm 7.25 pm
SIMCHAT TORAH Morning Service Afternoon Service Shabbat Commences
Friday 1 October 9.30 am 6.15 pm 6.22 pm
SHABBAT BERESHIT Morning Service Shabbat ends
Saturday 2 October 9.30 am 7.20 pm
Turn down the heat instead of raising the volume By Simon Goldhill Since my father-in-law died last year, I have started to read some different e-mails. For reasons I won't explain now – though you can certainly imagine them, I am sure – I have been receiving e-mails from some fairly charedi figures about England. These e-mails are all sent in good faith and from some worried relatives. They are all concerned with our life in England and in Europe. They think we are in severe danger.
traditions for conflict resolution – that is, as we have known for a while, you can go to the Beth Din without going to the High Court. This principle shouldn't have worried the Jews too much, though of course it led to some rather over-heated prose in the press of the "Bishop Accepts Sharia Law!!!" type. But what upset me was the fact that apparently my charedi relations took at face value the extraordinary claim that Britain was now governed by sharia law. It was another telling "fact" in their antipathy to Islam – though I would be surprised if any of them had actually talked to a Muslim, especially about the principles of sharia law.
The most recent contained a statement from a Dutch politician (whom I wouldn't care to have dinner with, and I have eaten with some pretty rum characters) in which he exploded in rage against England for
adopting sharia law. Now, this you will probably recognize as a deeply distorted version of a speech from an English bishop in which he recognized without too much concern that England accepted as a legal position that local faith communities, when they agreed, could use their own legal
This is not only a phenomenon in American religious circles, and not only a phenomenon that a brief factual correction can deal with (though it is a good start). We are also familiar in England ourselves with rather hysterical claims about the turning of London into an Islamic enclave, or with
equally misjudged claims about the license allowed Islamic speakers, or Islamic schools. You can go to a lecture where the speaker will sneer at Islamic people being allowed to wear special clothes or have special food in public institutions – whether schools or prisons or whatever – from the self-same people who would be outraged by the suggestion a Jew should be prevented from wearing a kippa or from getting kosher food in prison.
there was a space to say again and again, clearly and directly, that the "peaceniks" on the ship were armed, ready and violent, and that self-defence was a part of the event: there were pictures, videos, which were clear enough. It was also possible to say again and again clearly and directly that the principle behind the blockade is not punishing those in Gaza but protecting Israel, and that it is possible – as has since happened – to change the rules of the blockade to make this clearer and fairer.
Now, it is the case that there are some well-attested and profoundly upsetting antiSemitic remarks made by some profoundly upsetting and anti-Semitic figures – some of whom are Islamic thinkers, terrorists, or rent-a-quoters. No-one wants to deny the deep distaste we all feel for the press in the middle East when it turns to promoting violent, distorted and distorting hate speech. No value is gained by denying that there is a long history of unpleasant and indeed horribly murderous activity against Jews in the Middle East and, of course, elsewhere.
I do hold the Jewish community to a higher standard than anyone else because it is my community. We have a duty and a responsibility to hold on to what is the truth and to express it again and again in the face not just of lies but also of half truths, which are equally destructive and unpleasant. But one consequence of our desire to be perceived in a fair, just and historically informed manner, is that we have the reciprocal duty to treat others in that way. When you get the e-mail or read the blog that is distorted against Israel or the Jews, it is easy to raise a voice in anguish and rejection. This is a necessary part of a continuing response to the English press and its version of the world. I would suggest two further routes are also necessary. First, it is important to raise one's voice in a decent, corrective and fair way, even against the loonies: you won't ever win over the loonies, but others are watching who might be persuaded by reasonableness rather than an equal and opposite reaction of uncontrolled rage. Second, it is important to raise one's voice against the distortions and aggression within our own community, whether it is against Muslims, charedim, progressive Jews… It may be hard and emotionally unnatural to do, but lowering the heat of the conversation will get further than raising the volume.
But it doesn't seem to me that there is any value in swapping nasty, incorrect and violent attitudes for nasty, incorrect and violent attitudes. To circulate the fear that England is slipping under the influence of sharia law is a familiar rhetorical strategy – Jews have long been accused of a worldwide conspiracy to corrupt the values of civilization and lead the world towards its own laws, its own view of society. To isolate and stigmatize a religious group as unacceptable has been the strategy under which Jews have suffered for centuries: the Jews should not be complicit with re-playing it. Indeed, it is hard to see with what authority Jews can complain about the nonsense that is written about Israel and about the community itself here, if it does not wholly and completely stand up for a standard of decency, intelligence and accurate representation.
At this time when we are meant to think about what we have done wrong in the community and to our community, it might be a good time to think about our contribution to a public debate which is of major importance not just to us but to our children too.
The affair of the re-direction of the boat from Gaza was a good example of where Israel may have made some mistakes, but where its enemies made a great deal of distorted gain in the reporting. It was hard for anyone to control the mix of the hostility to Israel from its enemies, the regret of some of Israel's supporters, and the strong support from Israel's friends. But
Chag sameach, Happy New Year and well over the fast.
In praise of tradition By Rabbi Reuven Leigh It is human nature to have preferences. Even though life demands of us to do many things, some of them we do out of love and some of them out of duty. It is no different in our Jewish lives; there are many aspects of Judaism that will resonate with our own sensibilities, however, there are others that will seem completely irrational and irrelevant which we will either dutifully observe or quietly ignore. The Talmud even gives some recognition of this human condition when it cites the question (TB Shabbat 118a) “With what [commandment] was your father most careful?”, i.e. there will be aspects of Judaism that will elicit more scrupulous observance than others. The area where people feel most comfortable to contest the validity of a practice is in the area of minhagim (customs). The vast array of additional observances that have been accrued over the years that have been the result of either social norms or mystical insight and sometimes even both. We can often feel extremely detached from the original inspiration and whether it be swinging a chicken, eating the head of a fish or emptying our pockets of sins at a river, the High Holidays are packed full of the weird and the wonderful our religion has to offer. On one side of the coin we have the Rishonim (early commentators [1000-1500]) who argue that the minhag has the force of halacha and must be observed as a law and yet on the other hand we have the warning that the word minhag consists of the same letters as gehinom (hell). The deciding factor is always the source; if the source of a custom is a renowned scholar of a pious disposition it is to be taken seriously whereas the products of the chattering classes are best left ignored. As an example let us look at the custom of Tashlich. It is customary on the first day of Rosh Hashana to visit a body of water (sea, river, lake, pond etc.) that contains fish and recite prayers that reflect the intent of the verse "cast away our sins in the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). Even though it is now a widely accepted practice amongst both Ashkenazim and Sephardim (except for the Spanish and Portuguese variety) it was originally only to be found amongst the Ashkenazim and was first mentioned by Rabbi Yaakov Moelin (Maharil), a late 14th/early 15th century German scholar. He explains the custom as a reference to the Akeidat Yitzchak (the binding of Isaac) where the Midrash says a river was placed in front of Abraham by Satan to prevent him from performing G-d’s will. Since the Akeidah is remembered throughout Rosh Hashana it would seem that this custom arose as a further attempt to imprint the Akeidah into our collective consciousness as a most significant moment in our history. The minhag is further documented by the leading Ashkenazic scholars in the next few hundred years adding further commentary on the purpose of the custom. The Levush (Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe 15301612) explains the need for a body of water with fish since on Rosh Hashana we are caught up in the ‘net’ of judgement, whilst others reflect on the fact that fish don’t blink symbolising the ever watchful eye of G-d. The custom then receives a dramatic transformation in the hands of the Kabbalists. The practice assumes the role of enacting the process of repentance and forgiveness that permeates the day of Rosh Hashana. The water is symbolic of kindness and through the recitation of verses corresponding to the 13 attributes of mercy with kavannah (intention) we can achieve forgiveness. They add that at the moment we say the verse "cast away our sins in the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19) we should hold the hem of our garment and shake it. Due to the widespread influence of Lurianic Kabbalah, the custom spread to encompass even the Sephardi communities as well. Not everyone was excited about the mystical transformation of the Tashlich custom. The opposition of the Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Elijah of Vilna 1720-1797) is well known, and to this day there are loyal adherents to his cause that do not practice the custom. However, it would be safe to say that it is a well-established custom of near universal practice amongst the Jewish people. I am of the firm belief that our customs provide a tremendous amount of colour to our lives and they serve to accentuate aspects of the holidays that need to be highlighted. Admittedly, there are some that require more faith than others in the integrity of their originators, however, I think our festivals are greatly enhanced by these customs whether it be swinging a chicken, eating the head of a fish or casting away our sins into the River Cam, for it forces us to focus on the integral themes of the day that may otherwise become overlooked.
Beth Djanogly Bat Mitzvah Dvar Torah, 3 July 2010 Before I start I would like to thank you all for coming to my batmitzvah, I know most of you do not live in Cambridge so I would like to pay a very special thank you to all of you who have travelled a long way to get here. It’s especially nice to have Grandmas Geula, Carol and Birdie and Grandpa Harry joining us today. I am very lucky to have grown up in a loving Jewish environment where I have been able to learn about the Shabbat, all of the festivals, how to be kosher and read Hebrew. Thank-you Mummy and Daddy for all you do and always being there for me. During the past few months I have been working hard to write my Dvar Torah. Jewish study of the Torah is quite different to other religions as often there is not just one correct interpretation of a passage or a line. Rabbis across the centuries often argue with each other and interpret the Torah differently in the Talmud, the Sifrei and the other commentaries that I have studied to write this Dvar Torah The Parsha from the Torah this week is called Pinchas and amongst other things discusses the laws of inheritance. The Parsha tells the story of a man called Tzelofchad who died. He had many daughters though no sons, so as normal at that time the money and land would be inherited by Tzelofchad’s brothers. The daughters thought that this was very unfair and so went to Moses and asked him if they could share the land and money among themselves as well as the brothers. Moses then instead of judging this himself went before G-d to ask him what he thought. G-d then told Moses that the daughters were right and that the money should in fact go to them and not their uncles. G-d also made a new scheme for the laws of inheritance. The land was first to go to the sons and if he has no sons then to the daughters and if he has no daughters then to the uncles and if they have no uncles then to the nearest relative. This all seems perfectly fine then (to me as a girl anyway). Indeed this might be seen as an early of example of G-d moving the Israelites in the direction of women’s rights as it must have been seen as very radical at the time. So G-d might be seen here to be giving a politically correct judgment. Back however to this week’s parsha. The question that Rabbis over centuries have discussed however is why didn’t Moses reply himself? Why did he need to refer to G-d to answer this question? There have been many different answers from different scholars and rabbis over the centuries who feel that the answer to this question lies in the line from the text saying that the daughters stated that their father ‘was not… in the company of Korach, but he died in the desert of his own sin’. To me, ‘died of his own sin’ could mean anything such as he was an alcoholic, a robber, a glutton, or maybe just made a few mistakes in his life then died of old age; however many rabbis have made differing interpretations of this one line. Some time before there had been a rebellion against Moses led by a man called Korach. (Korach’s rebellion had been specifically against Moses and not against G-d.) It is thought that Tzelofchad was suspected of being involved with Korach. This would explain why Tzelofchad’s daughters therefore claim that their father was not part of Korach’s rebellion in order to win the favour of Moses. The Eighteenth century Rabbi Chida however has said that Moses might have been seen to be influenced in the case by his suspicion of Tzelofchad colluding with Korach’s rebels. To avoid anybody thinking that there was an element of bias on Moses behalf, Moses decided to remove himself from the case. As the justice system at that stage was hierarchical, this meant that the case could only be heard by G-d himself as he was the only judge above Moses. Nobody had dreamt up the European Court of Human Rights at this stage.
Meanwhile the Zohar has another interpretation. This explanation also focuses on the daughters saying, ‘Our father died in the desert… of his own sin.’ Died in the desert in Hebrew is Ba-midbar but the Hebrew alphabet does not have vowels. The vowels appear as dots under the consonants but they are not usually written. So Bamidbar can be Be-me-daber. Now that would mean that he died with his words. This could mean that Tzelofchad had slandered Moses. Because of this history between their father and Moses, the daughters themselves requested that their case be heard by G-d. However in the Sifrei, an early rabbinical commentary, there is another explanation. A few chapters earlier in the Torah there is a story about a man who was caught picking up sticks on the Shabbat. Some rabbis think that Tzelofchad is that man. Picking up sticks to make a fire is a form of work which is banned on the Sabbath under Jewish law. His punishment was that he was killed by stones being thrown at him. Maybe they weren’t so politically correct after all… The early Chassidic Rebbe of Kotzk transferred this discussion to the passage itself, by saying that Tzelofchad’s daughters claimed that they should inherit because their father was righteous and had only committed his crime of picking up sticks on the Sabbath out of the purest intentions. Now only G-d could truly know what was in Tzelofchad’s heart, hence the need to consult with G-d himself. This rabbi is surely saying only G-d can know what is truly in our hearts. But now I have my opinion of why Moses needed to consult with G-d. Whatever the sins of their father were, the daughters of Tzelofchad wanted to be able to inherit from their father rather than be reliant for their survival on their uncles and relatives. What the daughters of Tzelofchad were asking for was logical and fair.
Above: The Daughters of Zelophehad, illustration from The Bible and Its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons. Edited by Charles F. Horne and Julius A. Bewer. 1908. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Daughters_of_Zelophehad.jpg
Moses knew this was the right thing to do but couldn’t marry this up with what was considered usual at that time. Therefore he needed to turn to G-d for the answer. Maybe Moses did agree with the Daughters of Tzelofchad but felt that it was sooo radical that it would cause uproar and possibly rebellion amongst men, who felt that only they should be entitled to inherit. We read earlier in the Torah that Moses had experienced near rebellion from the Israelites on several occasions. Moses in addition to being a religious leader was also a political leader and as a political leader he needed to avoid revolt. Moses may therefore have
felt that only with the backing of G-d himself could he maintain order and oblige people to follow this new and radical rule. The Haftorah, which along with the Torah is also read every week in synagogue, covers the story of the Israelites after Deuteronomy. The Haftorah however is not read in chronological order in the way that the Torah is read. Parts are picked out which have relevance to that week’s portion of the Torah and they are matched up together. This week’s Haftorah begins the book of Jeremiah, to whom G-d appears for the first time and orders to prophesise. Jeremiah initially says no... “Ah, Lord G-D! behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child.” But the LORD said unto me: “Say not: I am a child; for to whomsoever I shall send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak” “Be not afraid of them; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD” The obvious comparison here is to Moses, who was himself reluctant to become a prophet – Jeremiah claims that he cannot be a prophet as he is a child and Moses had said that he could not be a prophet as he was not a good speaker. Both were similarly reassured by G-d that they would be protected and guided. However this Haftorah of Jeremiah has not been matched up with the correct part of Moses’ story, so maybe a comparison between Jeremiah and the daughters of Tzelofchad themselves might be more appropriate. Without a father or husbands, with no inheritance or influence, they demanded the support of G-d himself for their brave cause, and G-d gave it to them. Maybe in standing up to the male dominated customs of the day the daughters of Tzelofchad were as brave as Moses himself had been in standing up to Pharoah in the Egyptian court or indeed Jeremiah had been in preaching to the Jewish people that they needed to return to the ways of G-d even when they threatened to kill him for saying things that they did not want to hear. Jeremiah was attacked by his own brothers, beaten and put into the stocks by a priest, imprisoned by the king and threatened with death. Yet G-d was faithful to rescue Jeremiah from his enemies. Jeremiah needed G-d’s help and guidance at that time and he received it as did the daughters of Tzelofchad. In my studies I have found the daughters of Tzelofchad to be a most interesting story. Let’s just take a minute and think: How radical were they? How many men did their ideas disturb? Whilst just a footnote in the great story told in the bible they very much challenged the orthodoxy of the day which said that only men could inherit. How brave were Tzelofchad’s daughters to be saying that they should be allowed to inherit rather than only the men? I feel today that I in some small way I have proudly followed in the footsteps of the daughters of Tzelofchad and I would very much like to thank the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation for making it possible and helping me to make this ceremony happen in the way that I very much wanted it to. As I understand it is one of the first if not the first time that a batmitzva ceremony has been conducted in this way in an orthodox synagogue in England. There are many lessons to be learned in today’s reading. The most important for me is that G-d will always be there to guide you through all of life’s difficulties. Studying for this Dvar Torah has also shown me how the Jewish tradition is strong enough to embrace and respect differing opinions. I would like to take this opportunity to particularly thank Simon Goldhill, Mr and Mrs Landy and everyone involved with the Cambridge synagogue who have helped today to happen and who welcomed our family so warmly when we arrived here 10 years ago. Many thanks also to Ben Crowne for preparing me for my Bat Mitzvah and guiding me through all of these very complicated rabbinical explanations so that I could finally make them clear in my head and write this Dvar Torah. Thank you everyone for listening to my Dvar Torah and Shabbat Shalom.
Address by Stefan Reif at the funeral of Shulie Reif Bet Shemesh, Israel, 19 February 2010 Although I have spoken in public hundreds of times in my life, I have no doubt whatsoever that this tribute to my wife Shulie is the most difficult speech I have ever had to deliver. You will have to bear with me if my emotions sometimes make it difficult for me to continue. But however difficult it is, I know I cannot shirk this last responsibility to the one who never shirked any responsibility towards any one of us in the close and wider family and among her dearest friends. Shulie was born in the Wellbeck Clinic, in central London, in the UK, on 11 November 1945, just 64 years ago. She was named Shulamit Devorah, her first name for Shaye Shmuel Stekel, her father Edmund’s father, and her second name for Dov Low, her mother Ella’s father. Both families had Hassidic backgrounds in Galicia and had moved to Vienna at the outbreak of the First World War when Galicia saw some of the most fiercely fought battles, always with cruel results for the Jews. The men, though they adapted a little to the Viennese lifestyle, remained very observant and concerned to maintain the traditions of the shtetl, but always with questioning minds, lively ideas and a sense of humour. That was even more true for the women in the two families who were very modern in their outlook on the female role, most independent-minded but at the same time highly efficient with regard to their domestic and Jewish responsibilities. The members of the family were also passionate Zionists when few religious Jews were committed to that ideology. When it became obvious to Shulie’s mother that her daughter was not receiving sufficient intellectual stimulation at the local Jewish school in North West London, she was sent to the fee-paying South Hampstead School for Girls. There she made excellent progress and won a free place to the senior school. She appears to have been a happy child, as all the photographs demonstrate, and she obtained, until the age of sixteen, outstanding results in her school examinations and in her piano-playing. She was then unable, because of curriculum problems, to study together the subjects she had chosen (German and Mathematics) and she always blamed the school’s lack of accommodation to her preferences for the fact that it took her longer that it might have done to gain entrance to the University of London. Before studying for her teacher’s degree she and her London friends spent a long summer in Israel at ulpan in 1964 and fell in love with the Jewish state. She was at the age of 19 a very attractive, very bright young woman with many suitors but with a totally independent mind, a supreme sense of fairness and a powerful conviction about right and wrong. It was while she was an undergraduate and I was a doctoral student that we met at Jews’ College in London. There it was that we fell in love over morning coffee in February 1966 and came to spend many hours together each day for the next eighteen months. We married on 19 September 1967 at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue in London. The service was beautifully arranged and conducted by Rabbi Cyril Harris ז"לand Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen ילח"טand some of our other College friends. The theme of the derashah was Shulamit and Shelomo in Shir Ha-Shirim. Rabbi Harris described this love story and, referring to our Hebrew names of Shulamit and Shelomo, predicted that we too would have an outstanding love story. How right he proved to be! Last motsae shabbat, after a lovely day with the children and the grandchildren, Shulie said that it had been a wonderful day with the family and that she thought that it would turn out to be our last shabbat together. I responded by saying that we had enjoyed a truly remarkable love-story and she said that she felt that the story was now reaching its final pages. She left her studies to teach in London and then in Glasgow, where I had my first University appointment. She also later undertook private teaching of Hebrew and Jewish studies in Cambridge. All this because the paltry salary of an academic was never enough to make ends meet. She was also active in the promotion and running of the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation. Perhaps more importantly than anything else, she took on board, in the Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library, many of the tasks that others shirked because of their difficulty and complexity. She loved the challenge of putting right the neglect and disorder of decades by careful planning and industrious application. Among her many achievements (too numerous to mention here), she edited and prepared for publication the Unit’s volumes that were published by Cambridge University Press; she co-operated with me in compiling an extensive catalogue of the nonGenizah Hebrew manuscripts at the Library; she prepared for the press a volume of essays on the Cambridge Genizah Collections; and she laid the foundations for what became an essential tool of research, namely, an
inventory of all 140,000 Genizah fragments in Cambridge. She played a central role in organizing a major Genizah exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem in 1997 and, despite the gloomy predictions of some, that display was seen by over 70,000 visitors. For over forty years she proof-read my texts. She had a brilliant eye for errors, inconsistencies, redundancies and lack of clarity. I submitted everything to her and always received wise, honest and helpful criticism. This speech today is the first text I have composed that has not had the benefit of her careful oversight (other than when she was in hospital). She would definitely have improved it. In Ingrid Wassenaar’s review (TLS, 4 July, 2008, p.23) of a volume by Evelyne Bloch-Dano about the Jewish mother of the famous French writer, Marcel Proust, she makes the following remarks: “Madame Proust raises fascinating questions about the nature of maternal love, and the degree to which motherhood necessitates self-effacement. As the author insists: “We have to admit that this supremely intelligent woman had no other ambition than the happiness of her loved ones. She wouldn’t have conceived of her role as sacrificial, but let’s hope there were some secondary benefits. To understand Jeanne [Proust], we must put aside our twenty-first century feminist values.” Whatever she achieved professionally, Shulie was never in any doubt that her most important, and most loved, role was that of wife, mother and family builder. Shulie loved to tell the story of the Glasgow woman who met her pushing a double push-chair with Tanya and Aryeh and told her to enjoy those days to the full because it would represent the happiest time of her life. She always claimed that her years with the children at home were indeed in many ways the best years but they returned when she had grandchildren. She loved us all with a great passion and would tolerate no negative comments about any of us. She took great pride in everything that we achieved, quietly knowing (but never needing to trumpet) that it had come about with her direct encouragement and selfless assistance. She wanted each of us in the family to have the same high standards that she set for herself and when we strove to reach such levels, she felt drawn even closer to us, to each and every one in a specially relevant way. Shulie was totally loyal to friends and family. She always did everything she possibly could to do the right thing in her relations with both my family and hers, as also with friends and acquaintances, but was immediately suspicious of anything that she thought to be self-indulgent, shallow, selfish, artificial or unfair. When I published a book in 2006, she had been very ill and yet when we talked about the dedication she suggested that the appropriate thing to do would be to dedicate it to the “other women in my life”, to my sisters, Cynthia and Sharron, to my mother Annie z”l and to my granddaughter Naama who had not yet been born when an earlier book had been dedicated to the other six grandchildren. She was scrupulously honest and fair in dealings with everyone, industrious and totally perfectionist in everything she tackled. She was not concerned to have wealth and possessions, to enjoy luxuries, to travel on expensive vacations, or to indulge herself in the higher standards enjoyed by many of her friends. She regarded the love and the achievements of those closest to her as the most important thing in life. She maintained exemplary standards of yiddishkeit in what she considered central, including shabbat, kashrut, kibbud av va-em, and open-minded Torah study. On Pesach she perhaps achieved her highest standards of traditional observance, making no compromises whatsoever even when halakhah provided valid opportunities for doing so. She could turn her hand to almost anything – editing, teaching, planning, running a household, needlework, knitting, handiwork – and she was always on hand to prevent me from doing the wrong thing in whatever I took on in household maintenance, car servicing, gardening and other practical endeavours. She entertained many generations of students and countless visiting scholars at the University of Cambridge to delicious shabbat meals. She once catered lunch at home in Cambridge for 62 people on Simhat Torah and at Aryeh’s barmitzvah she prepared shabbat dinner and lunch for 36 family and friends in a tiny house which seemed to expand to accommodate the guests and her superb meals. Shulie knew her own mind, was sure of the path she had chosen, and did not seek approval or fear criticism. She was perhaps the most truly independent-minded, confident and self-contained person I ever knew. She tried hard to teach me throughout our 42 married years together to pay no attention to those inadequate people who had achieved less, who were jealous of talent, but who had somehow been granted all sorts of recognition. I can only say that I wish I had truly learned that lesson. There are very few people who can fight off lung cancer for as long as four and a half years. Her battle was never for the sake of her own plans and ambitions but always in order to act conscientiously as wife, mother, grandmother, sister-in-law, niece, mother-in-law, aunt, cousin and close friend. Her only regret was that she would not be here to enjoy future achievements and family semahot. But the truth is that every one of us will carry her in our hearts and minds forever because she set such impeccable standards in what she loved to do and we shall never forget the lessons she taught us by example. She was my professional collaborator, my guide and mentor, my best friend, my cuddly dolly, my lover, the centre of my life and she generously gave me 42!! years of joy and happiness for which I shall be eternally grateful – ! !!$&##-!!&.!"*,'.&"!!"#$%&!'('!!'&!!)*'!!&#+!($,!!#"*/(#,! $#-#+*3!2*(!"!(1!0-#*/"!#)"#'!!0/*(!"10#!21+!&#+! ! !%&'!()*!+,-.!&//,01&2'!-+!&..!3(*,-4(!,-*!*)0&52524!.56)+! !8&4)"!72(#1!01#!!"1/7!#)$.0(!#)"'4&!#)"*'!0*/"!!"/,)!'!",!!
Rabbi Reuven Leigh's Talmud Shiur By Jonathan Allin We started the Talmud Shiurim with Rabbi Reuven Leigh last October and meet once a week for an hour or so. It's been an intense and demanding learning experience, but of course rewarding. I can imagine that the shiurum also challenge Rabbi Leigh: the Cambridge community has its fair share of very bright people. The motivation for me includes improving my understanding of our deep and long history, an increased exposure to Hebrew, and of course the intellectual challenge. This is my first real experience of Talmud. There is an enormous amount to learn just to understand the background and some of the "tools of the trade", and discussions in the Talmud often assume significant a priori knowledge. Talmudic learning is challenging for one used to learning through text books. It doesn't start with foundations and first principles that are then built upon. To the beginner the Talmud lacks any sense of organisation or structure. It is associative and will often drift away from a subject apparently at random, but will eventually return to the original problem1. To accurately follow the many threads of discussion and logic we should probably use whiteboards and post-its. However so far we've avoided this level of rigour in order to keep the shiurim informal and enjoyable. Of course this only works because of the tremendous effort Rabbi Leigh puts into preparing and researching the lessons before hand. Structure of the Talmud The Talmud is essentially made up of two components: the Mishnah, which is the first written summary of the Oral Law, and the Gemara, which is an explanation and commentary on the Mishnah. The early Mishnaic scholars were the Tannaim and the early Talmudic scholars were known as the Amoraim. The Talmud in its present form was frozen towards the end of the 4th century CE by the Babylonian scholar, Rav Ashi. The exercise was completed 150 years later. The Talmud is organised around the Mishnah, and accepts the Mishnah as incontrovertible fact. The Mishnah comprises sixty tractates, divided into six major sections, called סדרים, or "orders", however the accepted division comprises sixty three tractates as the tractate Nezikim ("Damages") is divided in four: the additional three tractates being Bava Kamma, Bava Metzia, and Bava Batra ("First Gate", "Middle Gate", "Last Gate"). Also the tractate Makkot ("Lashes") seems to be a continuation of Sanhedrin. Tractates are then broken down into chapters, though the division into chapters is not entirely standardised. The six Orders are Zeraim ("seeds"), Moed ("festivals"), Nashim ("women"), Nezikim ("damages"), Kodashim ("holy things"), and Teharot ("purity").
Much of the background for this article comes from "The Talmud: a reference guide", Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz 1989, ISBN 0‐394‐57665‐9
Rashi script Learning Rashi script2 turned out to be useful. The script is actually a printed version of the Sephardi cursive Hebrew script:
Almost all commentaries on the Talmud are printed in Rashi script, including that of Rashi and his students (the Tosaphists). However they never actually used it themselves but instead used Ashkenazi cursive writing, from which the contemporary Hebrew script developed. Rashi script appeared because the first books printed in Hebrew were published by Sephardi Jews, and when they printed the Bible with a commentary in 1475 they used "Rashi" script to distinguish the commentary of Rashi and others from the biblical text, the latter using traditional square Hebrew letters. An extract from Kiddushin We have been studying Kiddushin ("betrothals"), which is the last tractate of Order Nashim ("Women"). We have so far covered about 15 folios (ie about 30 sides), but to put this in perspective Kiddushin comprises some 82 folios! Apparently Kiddushin is a relatively complex tractate, but not the largest. I have a little familiarity with Biblical Hebrew and Ivrit (which, thanks to Eliezer benYehuda, are reasonably similar to each other). However I hadn't appreciated before we started how different Rabbinic Hebrew was to either of these, being a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, with the odd bit of Greek thrown in. For example, on 11a we have the word קוביוסטוס, translated as "rogue". The assumption is that this has a connection with κύβοι, a Greek word for dice. The Talmud is also written in a very compact form, making extensive use of abbreviations and omitting much text that might be superflous. Here is an extract from Kiddushin, folio 14, amud beth ("side b")3: MISHNAH. A HEBREW SLAVE IS ACQUIRED BY MONEY AND BY DEED; AND ACQUIRES HIMSELF BY YEARS,3 BY JUBILEE,4 AND BY DEDUCTION FROM THE PURCHASE PRICE.5 A HEBREW MAIDSERVANT IS MORE [PRIVILEGED] IN THAT SHE ACQUIRES HERSELF BY ‘SIGNS’.6 HE WHOSE EAR IS BORED7 IS ACQUIRED BY BORING, AND ACQUIRES HIMSELF BY JUBILEE OR HIS MASTER'S DEATH. GEMARA. A HEBREW SLAVE IS ACQUIRED BY MONEY. How do we know this? — Scripture states, [he shall give back the price of his redemption] out of the money that he was bought for:8 this teaches that he was acquired by money. We have [thus] learnt9 it in the case of a Hebrew slave sold to a heathen, since his sole method of acquisition is by money:’10 how do we know it of one sold to an Israelite?11 — Scripture states: Then shall he let her be redeemed:12 this teaches that she deducts [part] of her redemption money and goes out [free].13 We have thus learned it in the case of a Hebrew bondmaid: since she is betrothed with money,14 she is acquired with money; how do we know it of a Hebrew Slave? — The Writ saith, If thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years:15 thus a Hebrew manservant is assimilated to a Hebrew maidservant. We have now learnt it of one sold by Beth din,16 since he was sold against his will;17 how do we know it of one who sells himself? — We learn [identity of law from] the repeated use of ‘sakir’.18 ….
I downloaded the Rashi font from http://fonts.goldenweb.it/pan_file/l/en/font2/Rashi.ttf/d2/Freeware_fonts/c/r/default.html 3 An excellent website for the Babylonian Talmud is http://halakhah.com/. This has links to the entire Talmud in English (Soncino), in facsimile, and in pointed Hebrew (menukad) including the commentaries.
(3) I.e., when he has served six years. Ex. XXI, 2. (4) If this intervened before he had completed his six years of servitude. (5) At any time by a pro rata repayment, taking into account the time he still has to serve. (6) Of puberty. (7) I.e., a slave who refuses his freedom at the expiration of six years; v. Ex. XXI, 5f. (8) Lev. XXV, 51. (9) Lit., ‘found’. (10) It is stated infra 26a, that movables are acquired by meshikah (v. Glos.); this, however, holds good only of a Jewish purchaser, not a Gentile, who can acquire them only by giving the money. (11) The whole discussion turns on the question which act formally consummates the transaction. Though a purchase is naturally effected by money, in the case of some property the delivery of money does not consummate the transaction, and both sides may retract. On the other hand, meshikah (q.v. Glos.) in the case of movables completes the transaction even before the delivery of the purchase price, which ranks as an ordinary loan. Hence the question here: how do we know that the delivery of money consummates the purchase of a Hebrew slave? (12) Ex. XXI, 8. (13) [R. Tam: Just as she acquires herself by money so is she acquired by money.] Rashi: Since Scripture writes, ‘then shall he let (or cause) her to be redeemed’, not, then shall she be redeemed, it shews that the master must help her redemption by accepting less than he paid for her, on a pro rata basis, as explained on p. 59, n. 6; hence she must have been bought with money — otherwise, from what is a deduction to be made? Of course, as pointed out on p. 59, n. 12, it is understood that money was paid. But the point is this: This exegesis shews that immediately on repaying the money she becomes free and no other formality is necessary. But if the purchase itself required some form of acquisition apart from the payment of the purchase price, e.g., deed, she would require the same on buying herself back (Maharam). (14) Which is also a form of acquisition. (15) Deut. XV, 12. (16) For ‘if thy brother be sold’ implies by someone else, viz., Beth din, for theft: v. Ex. XXII, 2. (17) Therefore, a strong form of acquisition, e.g., the symbolical act of hazakah (v. infra 26a and Glos.) is unnecessary, and the delivery of money suffices. (18) Hired servant; this word is used in connection with both. One who sells himself, Lev. XXV, 39f: And if thy brother . . . sell himself unto thee . . . as an hired servant (sakir) he shall be with thee. One sold by Beth din, Deut. XV, 12-18: If thy brother . . . be sold unto thee . . . it shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou lettest him go free from thee; for to the double of the hire of a hired servant (sakir, E.V. ‘hireling’) hath he served thee six years. The use of ‘sakir’ in both cases teaches that the same method of purchase holds good in both cases.
Talmudic exegisis Talmudic thinking and logic is very different to Platonic logic, but none the less has its own axioms and rules. Much of the Talmudic discussion is about reconciling apparently differing views of the Tannaim or earlier Amoraim. I'm perhaps more interested in understanding how the Talmudic sages (the Amoraim) thought than in their conclusions, and indeed many of their discussion were on areas of the law that would not have been applicable to them post Temple times. There are also aspects of the halakhah that run counter to our modern, Western, sensibilities; for example in Kidushin we have discussed a father selling his young daughter as a bond maiden, and an impoverished Jew selling himself into slavery. Hillel gathered together seven rules of Talmudic exegesis4. The most used appear to be Kal v'Khomer and Gezerah Shavah: Kal v'Khomer "Simple and complex": The full name should be "simple and complex, complex and simple". For example if a parent would punish their child should the child return home with scuffed shoes, surely the parent will punish their child should the child return home with scuffed shoes, ripped trousers, and a torn shirt. However it does not follow that the child would receive a more serious punishment in the latter case.
From the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmudical_Hermeneutics
There is also an example of a Kal v'Khomer in Kiddushin (15b), where it is argued that because a Jewish slave sold to a Jewish owner cannot be redeemed early by his relatives but goes free after six years, therefore a Jewish slave sold to a non-Jewish owner who can be redeemed early by his relatives must also be able to go free after six years.
Gezerah Shavah "Similar laws, similar verdicts": This may be described as argument by analogy, which infers from the similarity of two cases that the legal decision given for the one holds good for the other. The gezerah shavah attaches to a word in one passage the entire sequence of ideas which the same word bears in a second passage. For example5, the Torah uses the term bemo'ado ("at its appointed time") to indicate the time of the Pesach sacrifice and the same term is also used for the daily tamid offering. Bemo'ado is not defined in the passage about the Pesach sacrifice, but its meaning can be deduced by reference to what is said about the tamid. The Torah explicitly states that the tamid offering is to take place at its appointed time every day and even on Shabbat. this definition, explicitly operative in the description of the tamid offering (the "parent" law), is analogously posited to describe the Pesach sacrifice (the "orphaned" law), where the term bemo'ado also occurs and is now seen to imply "even on Shabbat". Since this term is utilised only in the tamid and Pesach passages, only these sacrifices, and no others, can override Shabbat. Kiddushin uses a Gezerah Shavah at the very beginning (2a), using the facts that the word "to take a woman" is the same as the word "to take a field", and that the Torah states explicitly that the field is taken by money, to conclude that the woman can be taken with money.
The other five rules are: Binyan ab mi-katuv echad "A standard from a passage of Scripture" Binyan ab mi-shene ketubim "A standard from two passages of Scripture" Kelal u-perat and perat u-kelal "General and particular, particular and general" Ka-yotze bo mi-makom acher "Like that in another place" Davar ha-lamed me-inyano "Something proved by the context"
And next? With one lesson a week we can do no more than scratch the surface of the Talmud. However it's both a fantastic learning experience and a discipline in clear thinking. I hope I will manage to continue with Reuven's shiurim and would encourage others to join us.
From http://www.jstor.org/pss/1486669, a review of Gezerah Shavah: Its Various Forms in Midrashic and Talmudic Sources by Michael Chernick, Cambridge University Press
Back to der Heim Mark Harris has made many trips to Poland, the homeland of his ancestors IN June 1999, as my aircraft landed at Warsaw’s Okecie Airport (now renamed after the late Polish Pope John Paul), I became tearfully emotional. This was a first pilgrimage for me to the land of my forebears, who’d possessed the remarkable prescience, and courage, to leave the gritty industrial city of Łódź for an alien England as long ago as the 1870s. I’d reflected that my sentimental response related as much to the Nazi Holocaust of millions of European Jews on Polish soil between 1939 and 1945 as it did to the timely salvation of at least some of my relatives, moving me to make a personal statement about Jewish identity and continuity. In more recent times, since Poland joined the European Community, I’ve returned to the country often, concentrating on Warsaw, Łódź, Poznan, Cracow, Lublin and Wrocław. In September 1939, when Germany’s jackbooted armies invaded, between three and four million Jews lived in these cities; and in shtetls and villages across the Polish nation. At the end of Hitler’s war, 78,000 Jewish refugees gathered in Wrocław and a ghostly remnant of camp survivors sought to return to the areas from which they’d been driven. Only to be met with local pogroms, notoriously in Kielce, and a maliciously unsympathetic, anti-Semitic and Soviet-sponsored regime that hardly encouraged the early restoration of Jewish communal life. State persecution reached a head in 1968 with wideranging deprivation of Jewish livelihoods and confiscation of communal properties. Jews who had not emigrated earlier (many to Israel) were now forced to leave the country. Today, an estimated 8,000 (and possibly thousands more “lost”, “hidden” or crypto) Jews live in Poland (mainly residing in Warsaw, Cracow, Łódź and Wrocław) out of a total population of 38 million. In the museum of hilltop Lublin castle, which once dominated the town’s Jewish ghetto, I viewed a remarkable painting. “The Reception of Jews in Poland” by Jan Matejko depicts the admission of Jewish refugees by Prince Władyslaw Herman in 1096. As I contemplated the large canvas (and, undeniably, on my journeys around the country) I felt a compelling sense of national affinity, despite the complex, ambivalent history of Polish-Jewish relations (Yad Vashem recognises some 600 Polish “Righteous Gentiles” who rescued Jews during the war). This strangely incongruous feeling could originate from a belief that my roots lie deeper, and my European Jewish heritage extends further back, in Poland than in Britain. Indeed, my birth certificate reveals my
Polish surname as “Lezefsky”, which my father later changed by Deed Poll. Even though the Jewish presence in Poland is now statistically diminutive, there has been a gradual but inspiring revival of communal life in some of the major cities, especially since the demise of communism in 1989, engineered primarily by Lech Wałesa’s pro-democracy “Solidarity Movement” born in the Gdansk shipyards. In April 2008, I was in picturesque (most Polish old town centres have been attractively restored) though touristy Cracow when the Prince of Wales opened a Jewish Community Centre in Kazimierz, the city’s old Jewish Quarter. In his speech at the dedication ceremony, the prince (who’d contributed financially to the project through World Jewish Relief) observed: “You have borne witness to some of the darkest clouds of human history right up to today, when a new and important chapter is opening.” Thadeus Jakubowitz, president of the community since 1997, remarked that the new building was “a dream come true.” Maybe surprisingly, many enthusiastic Gentiles have contributed to the renewal, preservation and continuation of Poland’s Jewish cultural heritage. One example of this is the organisation of the month-long, summer Jewish Festival in Cracow, where several ancient shuls, mostly museums now, are open to visitors. Also, the Jewish Cultural Centre in Kazimierz has a number of non-Jewish staff. Its April 2008, 65th anniversary screening of archive film about the ill-fated Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had an audience that included just a couple of local Jewish people (and me). Another illustration is the capital’s 390-seat Yiddish Theatre where a majority of the repertory company, as well as audience members, are not Jewish. I’ve enjoyed some excellent productions there, including a wonderful musical about the artist Marc Chagall. Unfortunately, on my last visit to Warsaw I’d narrowly missed a new staging of “Fiddler on the Roof”. I’ve davened on Shabbat in several and various synagogues in Poland. These have ranged from the first city’s beautiful 19th century Nożyk Synagogue, which singularly survived (as a fodder warehouse and stabling facility) the German wartime occupation and the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, to the smallest, oldest, quaintest and most atmospherically active Orthodox shul in the country. This is the famous Remuh Synagogue in Kazimierz. The father of the legendary Rabbi Moses Isserles who famously authored “The
Tablecloth” (a combined religious and legal work concerning Ashkenazi customs) founded the house of worship in 1553. The Isserles family is buried in the centuries’ old, now painstakingly restored cemetery that arcs around the synagogue. One of the warmest community welcomes I’ve received in Poland was in Łódź (the city of my ancestors and once home to virtuoso pianist Arthur Rubenstein), where I experienced an exhilarating Purim last year. In an enclave not far south of what was the town’s infamous wartime ghetto of “Litzmannstadt” (in which area you can today see many of its dank, decaying but amazingly still lived-in tenements interspersed with rows of drab Stalinist housing blocks) stands the lively Jewish Community Centre. One Shabbat, I worshipped in its white-walled prayer room alongside 16 men, with a handful of women seated in the adjoining partitioned area. With no Levi present, I (an “Israelite”) was accorded the honour of second aliyah. On the bimah I met the Polish-born, ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Simcha Keller, who has achieved so much in revitalising the town’s 500-strong community during his 15 years as its spiritual leader. I witnessed some marvellous instances of this charismatic minister’s comforting and inspirational efforts at the Purim festivities. The Megillah Esther recitation was actually filmed by Polish National Television for broadcast the following weekend. Luckily I had the opportunity to view an early edit, including footage of Rabbi Keller in his streiml and long black coat dancing spiritedly around the small traditional shul (with me grasping his arm). Several young families enhance the community, which boasts a cheder for about 12 children. On Purim night (in the colourful and typical costumes of kings, queens and cowboys) they delighted everyone. After the reading, some 50 congregants attended
a splendid sit-down supper in the Centre’s professionally managed and truly superlative kosher “Café Tuwim” (I loved its tasty jellied carp), named after the city’s once eminent Jewish poet Julian Tuwim. As the vodka and slivovitz were poured (commendably generously) by the Israeli owner, Rabbi Keller entertained us with heartfelt Purim zemirot, followed (until the early hours) by some soulful and poignant old melodies which he played, amazingly expertly, on his tuneful flute. Sitting together a mere few hundred metres from the boundary of what had been the wartime ghetto, and relishing the community’s cosy celebration of Purim, I pondered how incredibly the spirit, faith and hope of Judaism were alive again in Łódź. Sadly but perhaps not unexpectedly, this wasn’t quite the situation in other Polish towns. When my eyes first alighted upon the pathetic, dismal and emasculated hulk, which is all that remains of Poznan’s magnificent former Great Synagogue, I couldn’t stop their salt droplets from welling up. After the German army’s blitzkrieg into this principal city of North Western Poland, the Nazis desecrated the gloriously copper-domed synagogue, consecrated in 1907 for 1,200 members, and converted it into a swimming pool and rehabilitation centre for Wehrmacht troops. The town’s 2,000 Jews, whose history went back 800 years, were deported to death and concentration camps or slave labour sites. A few hundred Shoah survivors trekked home after the war, but were thwarted from re-establishing a viable community. Until relatively recently, the building continued to serve as a municipal pool. In 2002, ownership of the depressingly grim-looking and neglected structure was transferred back to the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland. Apparently there has been a long and heated controversy about future use of the huge concrete and brick shell. The lengthy debate may stem from the fact that
Left: The remaining hulk of what was the Great Synagogue in Poznan.
there are barely 60 Jews now residing in Poznan, a leafy sophisticated metropolis of art, culture, international trade fairs and 200,000 people. As I understand it, a decision has been made to develop this last substantive evidence of the city’s Jewish inheritance into a “Centre for Tolerance” (whatever that may mean precisely). There’s an active Jewish prayer room in a redbrick house near the degraded stump of the shul, though I found the tiny community somewhat elusive. I discovered a similar story playing out in Lublin, a busy university-city in South East Poland once steeped in Jewish heritage and Torah learning. Jews had lived here through the vagaries of good and bad times for over 600 years. In the late 18th century, the town became a vibrant receptor of Hassidism. A plaque in what had been the old Jewish Quarter recalls the long-vanished Hassidic prayer house where the renowned Rabbi Yaakov Yitshok ha-Levi Horowitz (“The Seer of Lublin”) resided. The equally famed Rabbi Shlomo Luria (d.1537) founded the community’s main synagogue, named Maharshal-shul in his honour. Annexed to it was a smaller place of worship called the Maharam-shul in memory of Rabbi Meir ben Gedalia (d.1616). Below Lublin castle a small stone monument marks the site of the two buildings, which were destroyed by the Nazis. By 1900 a thriving and prosperous Jewish community made up 50 percent of Lublin’s population, its more successful members (as in other Polish cities) living in mansions beyond the ghetto areas after the granting of residence rights. In 1939 there were 38,000 Jews in the town; almost all of them perished in the gas chambers of Belzec and Majdanek. Miraculously, a few important Jewish buildings survived including the orphanage (wartime HQ of the Germancontrolled Jewish Council) and the hospital (now a gynaecological clinic). Orphans, medical staff and patients were all murdered by the Nazis in cold blood. But perhaps most notable is the impressive edifice of Yeshiva Hakhmei Lublin, founded by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1930 (a superb echo of the original established by Rabbi Shalom Shakhna). While the SS burned the Torah academy’s 22,000 prayer and study books and 10,000 learned journals, the structure was largely unharmed. Only recently was it returned by the authorities to the Jewish community. There’s another building in the one-time ghetto area, a house of worship created by the guild of Jewish undertakers and the sole post-war survivor of some 100 local shuls and shteibls. Sadly, with only a couple of dozen mostly elderly Jews now living in Lublin, a regular minyan is impracticable. Unfortunately, there was no Shabbat service during my stay, though special arrangements are made when large touring groups from the USA or Israel arrive in the city. From the opposite side of
the road, I could simply gaze forlornly at the tantalising Star of David in one of the first floor prayer room’s four arched windows. I’ve wandered intrigued through many ancient (and “new”) Jewish cemeteries across Poland (the oldest stone dating from the early 13th century). Decades after the Nazi violations (thousands of gravestones were smashed or removed for road, wall and camp construction) several of the burial grounds are renovated and maintained with funding from various Jewish charitable foundations. Hundreds still visit the memorials of great rebbes from eras long past, the hugely imposing 19th century marble mausoleums of wealthy manufacturing tycoons (like the impressively massive tomb of 19th century textile magnate Israel Poznanski in Łódź) and the unpretentious headstones of more humble Jewish folk. But millions of Polish Jews had no burial plot, no final tribute and no monument on or by which to place a pebble of remembrance. I’ve recited Kaddish in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Majdanek and other Nazi death camps in Poland where Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered on an industrial scale. Invariably I leave behind the watchtowers and barbed wire, wooden barracks and workshops, SS quarters, cells and execution walls, gas chambers and crematoria physically chilled (even on a warm day), my mind a maelstrom of thoughts, emotions and prayers. Maybe the uplifting and evolving resumption of Jewish life, spiritual and traditional (in varying degrees), in modern and new generational Poland projects a hopeful future for the community. Certainly, Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Shudrich has worked conscientiously to encourage and accomplish the progress in Judaism and Yiddishkeit that has been made so far, however modest in some places. Though apparently and perhaps unavoidably, there has been some conflict or dissent regarding the nature and implications of religious affiliations and developments in certain communities. Rabbi Shudrich was, indeed, one of the early prime movers in the restoration of the White Stork Synagogue (WSS) in Wrocław (Breslau until 1945), South West Poland, Lower Silesia’s main city of 700,000 people which I visited last May/June. There could be up to 1,000 Jews in the area (whether all or most are halachically Jewish may be a relevant question, but about 350 are registered with the community). The magnificent neo-Classical synagogue was built in 1829, when Prussia ruled the area during the period of Polish “Partition” shared with Austria and Russia. This was a time of the “Enlightenment”, Jewish civil emancipation, the growth of Liberal and Reform groupings and rapid assimilation and acculturation that brought a Jewish affluence and influence that
was carried into the 20th century under post-1870 German government.
and a sit-down chicken lunch prepared by the Centre’s kosher kitchen.
Originally used by the Liberal community, the WSS became home to the Orthodox kehillah in 1872 when the cathedral-like Great Synagogue was opened. That city landmark was set ablaze by the Nazis on Kristallnacht in November 1938. Standing in an off-street courtyard in close proximity to Aryan residences, the WSS was saved from destruction. Though the Nazi occupiers desecrated the shul and employed it as a garage/workshop. Post-war the building fell into ruin, was expropriated in 1974 and returned only in 1996.
As I understand it, and in common with many other places in Poland, there are no kosher outlets in the city. Such products are generally transported from Warsaw, or even Berlin and Munich. Interestingly, there’s a “Jewish-style” restaurant/café (“Sarah”) whose tables (in the warm weather) spill onto the WSS courtyard. Sadly, the community’s Minister (and Chief Rabbi of Lower Silesia), Rabbi Yitzhak Rapoport, was away at the time of my visit. Significantly, he’s also an emissary of Shavei Israel, an Israel-based organisation which aids “lost Jews” who yearn to rediscover their religion and heritage.
The Bente Kahan Foundation was established in the city by the eponymous Norwegian Jewish singer, actress and producer in 2006 to complete the reconstruction of the White Stork Synagogue (named after a Jewish inn that had stood on the site) and to administer the Wrocław Centre for Jewish Culture and Education located in its building. Funds were raised to the tune of 2.5 million euros, and the exquisitely renovated, double-galleried synagogue was rededicated on 6 May 2010. Cantor Joseph Malovany was brought from New York to sing with the shul’s (mixed) choir at the ceremony, and at subsequent concerts with the city’s philharmonic orchestra. The idea occurred to me that my choir, The London Cantorial Singers, might perform in concert for the Wrocław Jewish community in the WSS. To that end, I discussed the proposition with staff at the Foundation offices (unfortunately Bente Kahan was in Israel). Happily, the outcome looks very positive and encouraging. I’d attended a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a WSS choir concert at the tail end of the community’s 12th annual “Simcha” Jewish cultural festival. About 200 people were present (I suspect principally for the concert rather than the service). I also prayed (alongside some 30 other worshippers) at an Orthodox service in the Jewish Community Centre’s Beis Hamedrash, followed by Kiddush
Some notion of the character and ingredients (sometimes paradoxical or contradictory) of the Jewish revival in Poland, decades after the greatest human tragedy in the history of our people, may now be apparent. The ramifications of the current situation sometimes require sensitive understanding, and the need to make certain allowances, bearing in mind the often problematic circumstances of Polish Jewish communities. With all the efforts that are being to made to develop and improve the community’s knowledge of religious observance and practice and the rich culture and heritage of Judaism, rigorously denied by Poland’s communist rulers for almost 50 years, the future does look promising. But the difficulties to be overcome, legacies in material part of a complicated and often destructive and tragic history of Polish-Jewish interaction should not be under-estimated. There are still some extremist elements and incidents of anti-Semitism, which I’ve witnessed occasionally in the form of daubed swastikas. But it would be wonderful if my choir could, albeit in a small but hopefully significant way, contribute to the heartening and ongoing process of Jewish community renewal in the superlative religious yet educational and cultural space of the White Stork Synagogue.
Right: The reconstructed White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław.
A Fishy New Year? Symbolic Rosh Hashana Foods explained by Helen Goldrein There is a plethora of symbolic food suggested for Rosh Hashana. Perhaps the most well known is apple and honey, which carries the wish for a sweet new year. Other symbolic foods are a little more obscure, and some of the explanations behind them are somewhat fanciful. Nonetheless, incorporating them into a festive menu will ensure that you get plenty of fruit and veg! Some symbolic Rosh Hashana foods and their explanations are below, followed by a couple of new recipes you may like to try. Beetroot The Hebrew word for beet – silka – is similar to the Hebrew word for remove – siluk. They are eaten in the hope of removing our adversaries. Carrots The Yiddish word meren means both ‘carrots’ and ‘to increase’. Carrots symbolise our hope that we increase our good deeds in the coming year. In Hebrew, the word for carrot is gezer, reminiscent of gezera, or ‘decree’. Dates The Hebrew word for date – tamar – is close in spelling to the Hebrew word tamri – ‘consumed’. Dates express our desire that our enemies be consumed. Fish heads (Or gefilte fish – which as everyone knows has a carrot (see above) on its head.) The head of a fish symbolises the head of the New Year. The head also symbolizes our hope that the Jewish people will lead other nations through their righteous acts – becoming the head and not the tail. Leek or cabbage Leek and cabbage are known as karsi, which is close to another Hebrew word – kares – which means to ‘cut off’. These vegetables appear on the menu as a wish to cut off our enemies. Pomegranate On the second night many people eat a new fruit, one that has not yet been eaten this season. A commonly used fruit is the pomegranate, as its seeds are said to number 613, the number of mitzvot in the Torah. Pumpkin or gourd In the Talmud, Rabbi Abaye mentioned gourd because of two puns that may be made on its Hebrew name – k’rah. The word means ‘read out, proclaim’ as in ‘May our merits be proclaimed before God.’ It also means ‘tear up’ as in ‘May harsh decrees be torn up.’ Spinach Spinach in Hebrew is selek, which can also mean ‘to remove decisively’ again expressing the wish that our enemies be removed, decisively. You may have noticed that many of these explanations rely on soundalikes or puns. For this reason, some contemporary Rabbis have offered suggestions for additional foods, for instance: Peaches – hoping for a peachy new year Chillies – hoping for a red hot new year Raisins and celery – hoping for a raise in salary! 21
Carrot and dried apple cake with honey icing A delicious and moist carrot cake – you can also double the raisins and omit the apple for a ‘standard’ carrot cake. Glace icing made with orange juice, or a sweet cream cheese topping, are both good with this cake. 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar 175ml/6fl oz sunflower oil 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 145g/5oz grated carrot 60g/2oz raisins 60g/2oz dried apple rings, cut into pieces Grated zest of an orange 175g/6oz self-raising flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 120g/4oz icing sugar 2 tbsp clear honey Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Oil and line the base of an 18cm square tin. Put the sugar in a bowl with the oil and eggs and lightly mix. Stir in the carrots, raisins, dried apple pieces and orange zest. Sift the flour, bicarb and spices into the bowl and lightly mix until evenly amalgamated into a runny mixture. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until firm and springy to the touch. Cool 5 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack. Once cool, mix the icing sugar with the honey and a little hot water and drizzle this over the cake to decorate.
Chocolate date cake A very yummy cake, made extra moist by the dates, and extra chocolatey by the liberal use of chocolate chips. Mmmmm. 200g/7oz stoned dates, chopped 200g/7oz margarine 225g/8oz caster sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 175g/6oz plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 1 tbsp cocoa powder 100g/3.5oz plain chocolate chips, divided into two halves Pour 225ml/8fl oz of boiling water over the dates and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Liberally grease the base and sides of a 25cm/10inch ring tin. Beat the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, bicarb and cocoa together well to form a smooth batter. Stir in half the chocolate chips and the cooled date mixture and pour into the greased tin. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top. Bake for around an hour until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin. Slice, serve and enjoy!
SHARING RESPONSIBILITY Above all, the purpose of CST, the Community Security Trust, is to ensure that any member of our community is able to lead the Jewish life that they choose. CST is part of our community, so it can only succeed if our community takes its share of responsibility.
responsibility for the physical security of the community; and provide a professional and confidential reporting service for the minority of people who are unfortunate to suffer antisemitic hatred. It is not CST’s wish to tell individuals how they should feel about the situation. How you react to all of this is up to you. Some people regard it as unimportant, but others feel real fear and are deeply concerned for their own, or for their children’s, wellbeing.
Sharing responsibility means a whole range of things. It means contacting your local CST and asking what role you can play with our local security teams. It means understanding why we do security and co-operating with our local teams.
Because of our work with the victims of antisemitic crime, CST regards its work as being about people’s physical and emotional well-being, not about statistics. It is the human aspect that makes us all the more determined to work against antisemitism; and against the fear that antisemitism causes.
Sharing responsibility also means keeping a sense of perspective about where things stand. Antisemitism should not define our lives as British Jews, not now and not ever. Today, our community is largely able to express its Jewishness in whatever way
We want to deter those who wish to harm our community, and we work with politicians, police and others in ensuring that our community’s concerns are understood, heard and acted upon.
it wishes. That can be religious, cultural, political, charitable, sporting or whatever sort of Jewish life you do, or do not, wish to have. Our community is, on the whole, successful and well integrated into the rest of society. We have come a very long way indeed since the newly arrived immigrant generations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
CST, however, can only be as strong as the community that we serve. We rely upon the community for our volunteer personnel and for co-operation with our work: whether that is in schools, synagogues, community events and rallies, or wherever.
However, we often see rises in antisemitic incident levels when Jews or Israel are in the news. These are mainly directed against the most vulnerable and visible parts of our community, whether it is people, property or community groups.
In total, we secure over 1,000 events each and every year, across the community. In the last two years we have installed security upgrades at hundreds of communal buildings, including shatter-proofing for windows. We do not charge the community for our services and rely upon charitable donations for our running costs.
In recent years, the threat of terrorism is something that all of our society has come to understand and find a way of living with. The fact that these terrorists have also targeted Jews is what underpins all of CST’s work.
All of this relies upon partnership between CST and our Jewish community. We want you to join us in that partnership.
We sincerely hope that CST’s efforts help our community to feel confident that someone is standing up in defence of its rights. We take
BP and the Business Year by Daniel Greenberg, honorary consultant to JABE, Jewish Association for Business Ethics. Among the lessons to be learned from the main business story of the last year, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Jewish business ethics have something to contribute. In a world increasingly dominated by legalities and litigation, BP might have relied on the rules of the American Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, according to which their liability for damages (as distinct from restoration work) would have been limited to $75 million. But in fact, at an early stage BP announced that they were not intending to rely on this legal limitation of liability, but would establish a fund to compensate anyone harmed by the disaster, a fund whose assets currently total $20 billion. Of course, it is not unreasonably cynical to speculate that this massive gesture may have owed more to commercial and political pressures and realities than to ethical commitment; but it does reflect Jewish ethical teaching. The one feature of Jewish business law that is at most striking variance with secular commercial law throughout the modern world is the complete absence of the concept of limited liability. In Britain, the development of limited liability companies began with the need to finance industrial growth, and they have become a feature of the commercial world taken for granted by the entire business community. But while limitation of liability is the norm for the secular commercial world, with the courts prepared to “pierce the corporate veil” and impose personal liability on directors only in very limited circumstances, the halachic presumption is the reverse, with limitation of liability only being permitted as a rare exception. The notion of liability and responsibility is the essence of Jewish business ethics and, indeed, of the Jewish world‐attitude generally. Judaism encourages entrepreneurial endeavour; but the more my activities take me into areas that affect other people’s lives, the more I am required to accept responsibility for their lives, and to ensure that I do not do more harm than good for those with whom I come into contact. The spiritual stock‐taking which Jews undertake on Rosh Hashanah, in regard to our business and other activities of the previous year, includes checking that if we have inadvertently harmed others in the course of our activities, we have also done everything possible – and not just everything convenient or required by secular commercial law – to put things right.
JABE is a registered educational charity that aims to raise standards of honesty, integrity and social responsibility through: • Educating young people about moral dilemmas they will face in the workplace through our highly acclaimed ‘Money & Morals’ school programme • Seminars & educational events for business people and professionals • Thought provoking publications on key moral issues For further information please contact JABE on 0208 905 4048, e‐mail: email@example.com, www.jabe.org 24
FESTIVAL FUN! Can you spot 10 differences between these two pictures? Circle the differences on one drawing, and then colour in the other drawing.
Solly Cohen goes to the same restaurant every day for lunch, and always has the soup. One day the manager asks how he liked his meal. Solly replies, “It was good, but you could give a little more bread.” The next day, the manager tells the waitress to give Solly four slices of bread. “How was your meal today, sir?” the manager asks. “It was good, but you could give a little more bread.” Next day the manager tells the waitress to give Solly eight slices of bread. “How was your meal today, sir?” the manager asks. “It was good, but you could give a little more bread,” says Solly. The manager is determined that Solly will say that he enjoyed his meal, so he goes to the bakery and orders a 6ft long French loaf. When Solly comes in the next day, the waitress and the manager cut the loaf in half, butter the entire length of each half and lay it out along the counter, right next to his bowl of soup. Solly sits down, and devours both his bowl of soup and both halves of the 6ft loaf. The manager now thinks he will get the answer he is looking for. When Solly comes to pay for his meal, the manager asks in the usual way, “How was your meal TODAY, sir?” “Well,” says Solly, “it was good as usual but I see you are back to giving only two slices of bread!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The j-Phone? Ben Blaukopf reviews Jewish iPhone apps for every occasion… The use of technology to aid Jewish practice goes back at least as far as the Sanhedrin. Rosh Chodesh could only be declared on the basis of eyewitness testimony, and this testimony was validated by the Sanhedrin using their knowledge of the lunar cycle (R.H. 25a). Rabbi Gamaliel (Av.Z. 43b) kept pictures of the moon in all its possible shapes for a similar purpose. No doubt the Tanaim and Amoraim would have had something to say about computers – after all, they did have something to say about just about everything else (Ber. 2-64a et al). While some may have banned the internet, as other Gedolim have done, no doubt Shmuel Yarchinai (Shmuel the Astronomer) would have appreciated the benefits of a website giving zemanim for various cities around the world. If not for himself, then for his father who was a silk merchant, and travelled as part of his job. In later years, Hillel II published the calendar which we still use today, and which you can find in the luach that accompanies the printed version of this bulletin. What Hillel achieved for Jewry around the world in the 4th Century CE, Steve Jobs has brought to the Apple fanbois. The Pocket Luach application for iPhone fits, as promised, in your pocket, and gives you a calendar, a siddur, and zemanim all-in-one. Iguerot Kodech (French only, I was unable to find an English version) is a collection of 9000 letters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Its interest to this column derives from it including the equivalent of Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button, which in this instance randomly selects a letter for your edification. Rather prosaically, though, the functionality is described as "Tirage d'une lettre par la divine providence (Goral haGra)". With no other app seeming to include Goral haGra functionality, that secured this app a mention. Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, we find Love Calulator, which claims to be based on the ancient secrets of Kabbala. Enough said. Tefilla Pack is a rather curious application. While it does include the fairly mainstream Tefillas Haderech and Birkas Hamazon, it bills itself as containing "the most effective tefillos and segulos", such as Shir HaShirim, for those wanting to recite it for 40 days in hope of meeting their beshert. This raises two questions. The first, obviously, is how was the effectiveness tested? Secondly, are we to assume that we should not bother with other tefillos, as they are ineffective? Those still interested will doubtless be pleased to know that it includes a segula for finding a lost object. Sounds great – until you lose your phone... On a more cultural level, Jewish Mother provides you with useful hints about your iPhone, such as "this phone could also be used to call me, you know", and "I don't need you to marry a doctor. But your grandmother, she set her heart on it". Needless to say the app is not free, and one review says, "the only app you can't uninstall". Taking a brief diversion from funny stuff to something practical, iTalmud does cost £11.99, but will give you a full, searchable, shas text. £14.99 buys you the English translation as well. Shabbat Clock is a clock with an alarm which auto-cancels after one minute, and Siddur does what it says on the tin. Finally, no self-respecting j-Phone addict would be happy without something to help keep kosher. Instead of the Jewish Food Guide, which might be genuinely useful and consequently does not exist, what you get is iKosher. This allows us to "appreciate several sources of kosher fruits and veggies" – as opposed, presumably, to the non-kosher ones?
SNAPPED! Right: Annette Landy enjoyed sunshine and cake at a farewell brunch as she prepared to leave Cambridge for London. Photo: Jonathan Allin
Left and below: CTJC Members enjoy themselves at the Annual Cambridge Friends of MDA Garden party. Left: 2/3 of the Leigh family. Below, L-R: Ann Git, Sarah Schechter, Tim Goldrein, Yoav Git and Ayala Git.
CTJC Rosh Hashana Bulletin 2010