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December 2016 / January 2017



the magazine of finchley progressive synagogue

Kabbalat Torah trip to Budapest

From the Editor pat lehner And so a long, eventful and often challenging year comes to an end. Post Brexit and Trump, we find ourselves in a world that’s changed, maybe in ways we would have thought impossible this time last year. In my family our Sunday breakfasts have become a place for searching questions and discussions and it’s not always easy to talk about the news with our children. Here at FPS there is lots of space to come and get involved – opportunities to come and volunteer, learn, share and discuss. There is always a need for practical help and action. So this is an invitation to all, to join in the conversation, which ultimately leads us back to the question of who we are and crucially, in this new world, who we want to be. This edition of Shofar is a double issue, and so I wish you all a happy winter season and a very happy new year. Here’s to 2017,


may it bring peace and freedom to all! Shofar is back in February. chanukah at fps

24 Dec 1st Night - “An evening with Frank”: Musical Havdalah with Stanley Volk followed by candle lighting 30 Dec 7th Night – we light 7 candles followed by Chavurah supper

Shofar is always interested in including photos of FPS members, either at synagogue events, with their families or on their travels near and far. Please remember to send them to us:


A panel discussion at Finchley Progressive Synagogue explores how mixed-faith families manage the winter festive season Saturday 10 December, 1pm We are delighted to confirm our special guest for this event, award-winning comic songwriterstoryteller Daniel Cainer! Cover: Kabbalat Torah trip to Budapest.

Copy deadline is the 10th of each month. Please email all content to

From the Rabbi rabbi rebecca birk chanukat habayit

At Yom Kippur I spoke about the anniversaries and rededication in our lives. They are the most important moments. As we approach Chanukah this month, that festival that celebrates the rededication (not the dedication) of the Temple that was until 70 CE the central focal point of being an early Jew. Since the first century when synagogues became more established as the means of Jewish engagement, the festival has still been celebrated. And this year Chanukah again lends itself to Chanukat HaBayit, a rededication of our house, our synagogue. I never stop hearing how welcoming, warm and vibrant we are as a community for those who visit, and one would hope for those of us who live here too! And we owe it to our founders to keep building, renewing and developing. Rick Warren, notorious American evangelical preacher, who has succeeded in creating strong, dynamic growing churches in the USA declares; Evaluate your Faith institution and ask “what is our business?” “What is still working, what is not?” “What do we need to ensure everyone connected with FPS can contribute and receive what they need? Our community owes such debts of gratitude to all those who have contributed so much to the building, the garden, the governance and religious component of the congregation. We must appreciate also the current newer membership who are ready to contribute and participate and walk in the steps of those who have done so already. This is our leadership. Those who will carry and guide our

synagogue. The success of a synagogue is the joy and business of its members. Our productivity, how we care for each other and listen and act. Our mission is: • To reach out to and involve people in the Finchley area who have or may have an affinity with Liberal Judaism

I never stop hearing how welcoming, warm & vibrant we are as a community for those who visit, & one would hope for those of us who live here too! • To create positive meaningful Jewish experiences • To make a difference both within the Jewish community (Tikkun Am) and the wider world (Tikkun Olam). Are we fulfilling that? Please let me know your thoughts. In the pages of this month’s Shofar we will be clarifying and illuminating all the groups and projects there are working to keep the synagogue going.


From the Chair alex kinchin-smith


he first night of Chanukah falls on Christmas Eve this year highlighting the dilemmas many of us face over the holiday period, particularly those of us with children and/or in mixed faith families. How do we approach Christmas? Do we give gifts

for Chanukah, Christmas or both? Do we come to Shul on the 24th or stay home in front of the fire? When is that family get together? (or indeed do we have to see our in-laws twice!). If this includes you, then join us for a fun and thought provoking session on the subject, entitled ‘How the Maccabees Stole Christmas’ after the service on 10 December. Whatever your approach, I wish you a happy Chanukah and hope you enjoy the holidays.

From the Community Development Manager gabriel webber I’ve been at FPS for almost five months now, and not only am I really enjoying my work here, I’ve found the community to be really warm and welcoming. I feel as if I’ve found my place here. The way we embrace new members of our community is really important. People join us for all sorts of reasons, but the vast majority want not just formal membership – the right to attend services and vote at the AGM – but to be welcomed and included and to feel part of the whole. And equally, we want to integrate new members quickly, because our synagogue


depends on the efforts and dedication and volunteering of FPSniks. So one of the things I’ve been working on is a strategy for welcoming new members. A group of volunteer ‘welcomers’ got together and worked out a timetable for all those entering our community: first a meeting with our rabbi, then a coffee with a welcomer to help point them towards synagogue activities, opportunities and more that may appeal to them. We’ll be designating a few FPS events each year as especially suitable for new members. We’ll be creating badges for welcomers to wear at services and beyond so that visitors know there’s someone friendly and helpful to chat to. This can be the year that we get our welcoming game into gear. Please do be in touch if you’d like to get involved!

From Our Members living alone?

Keep the weight off your feet A few years ago, I was in a meeting with three consultant geriatricians. I asked them “If you could give only one piece of advice, what would it be?” Without hesitation they answered: “Keep your weight down!” Then followed the dreaded list: hips, knees, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, I could go on... This was followed by a warning not to aim at being a ‘stick insect’ which had its own list of ‘nasties’. It isn’t fair! As we get older, we give up so much and food can provide the comfort and treats we crave. So moderate exercise has to be added to the requirements. Then, apart from replacing fat

with muscle, we may produce endorphins which make us feel good. I’m a great believer in ‘the middle way’. Yoyo diets do us little good. A healthy diet and smaller portions are a more sensible solution as is sitting down for cooked meals, no snacking on the hoof – even if you are alone. You deserve it. Perhaps draw up a pathway of small, attainable goals. Either tick off on a chart as they are achieved, or use some other reward. Following this idea, a man I know, when his wife lost her first half stone, bought her a big box of chocolates!! As my L.A. cousin would say ‘Go figure!.’ Rochelle Simmons

desperately seeking suburban jewry

Would you like to take part in an exciting research project about our community? Rabbi Miri Lawrence is currently examining the story of East-End Jews who moved into the London suburbs after the Second World War. This project aims to listen to the voices of the Jewish community in the post-war years as they moved out of the intimate environment of the East End and established the Jewish community in the suburbs. Although life in the East End has been richly documented, the experiences of life after the war is less researched. Through oral history interviews and workshops, Miri aims to explore the changes that took place for the community by listening to personal stories and memories. Participants will be invited to take part in oral history interviews and/orworkshops.

If you or your family moved from the East End after the Second World War, or you grew up in these suburbs and are interested in being involved, Miri would be delighted to hear from you. She can be contacted by email at this address:

Chanukah Lunch Nicola invites the community to the early Chanukah lunch she is hosting for Café Thursday on Thursday 15 December RSVP Nicola 07831 690992



Social Action andrea narcin mitzvah day

night shelter

Thank you so much to all those who turned out for Mitzvah Day. Photos and write up will be on the website in December!

This year the Shelter will run on Tuesday evenings from 13 December - 14 February (not 27 December but speak to Andrea Narcin if you can help with the 4-day Christmas Shelter hosted by FRS).

the christmas homeless shelter

The Christmas homeless Shelter will be taking place this year from 2 - 28 December at Finchley Reform Synagogue. We are now looking for volunteers to cook, host, entertain and sleep over. Volunteers would also be appreciated for the week after the shelter to open HABS so that guests are able to access showers during the period that HABS remains closed for the Xmas break. FPS will also be putting together Christmas stockings. As we need to ensure that all the stockings have the same contents, please contact me if you would like to sponsor small gifts (eg bars of soap, toothbrushes, packs of cards....). Please contact Andrea Narcin / 07969 471522 for more details and the links to the rota. Thank you!

If you have not volunteered for us in the past, training will be taking place at HABS, Woodhouse Road, on Monday 28 November at 7.30pm. Peggy Sherwood who is organising the volunteer rota is looking for people to fill the following slots: Overnight Sleeping – Tuesdays 24 January (1 man needed), 7 February (1 man needed), 14 February (2 people needed, one of which needs to be a man) Breakfast Shift – Wednesday 4 January (1 person needed) Bag transport to Hendon Reform Synagogue – Wednesdays 25 January, 1 February To add yourself to the rota, please email Peggy:

Foodbank goodies


Beit Tefillah services at fps

services - december-january Friday 2 December

Kabbalat Shabbat service

Saturday 3 December

Friday 9 December

Kabbalat Shabbat service

Saturday 10 December

Shabbat service 7.30pm Musical Havdalah: Symphonova concert, see page 13

Friday 16 December

Shabbat Resouled

Saturday 17 December

10.15am Tots Chanukah activities Shabbat service

Friday 23 December

Kabbalat Shabbat service

Saturday 24 December

Shabbat service 1st night Chanukah – musical Havdalah: “An evening with Frank” with Stanley Volk followed by candle lighting

Friday 30 December

Kabbalat Shabbat service 7th night Chanukah – we light the seventh candle, followed by Chavurah supper for those who choose to stay

Saturday 31 December

Shabbat service celebrating Myfanwy Greene’s Bat Mitzvah

Friday 6 January

Kabbalat Shabbat service

Saturday 7 January

Shabbat B’Yachad

Friday 13 January

Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday 14 January

Shabbat Service & Kiddush in honour of the late Maurice Needleman & welcoming new members

Friday 20 January


Shabbat service

Shabbat Resouled

Beit Knesset people congratulations & mazal tov to

Hannah Luder & Michael Rosefield on the birth of their son, grandchild for Hilary & Bob, great grandchild for Shirley & Joseph

Jack Hirsch who marks his 80th birthday, David Pelham who marks his 70th & Bob Luder who marks his 60th birthday in December. Happy birthday also to Jackie Marks who turns 70 in January In December, Peter & Diane Block celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, Hugh & Doreen Isaacs their 50th & Myra & Gunter Lawson their 55th condolences

Dina Rickman & Laurence Durnan who will be married in December

To Marianne Karton on the death of her father Harold in November

fps thanks

Rabbi Rebecca writes: Every month we’ll acknowledge and appreciate folk and their leadership at FPS. Let us know about our members!

Adrian Lister & Lesley Urbach for the superb Beit Midrash series “People who make a Difference”

Carmen Menagazzi for gathering members at the Paddington March at the home office Ofra Rosenwasser on her award by Citizens UK for her work with Syrian Refugees; Cathy Burnstone & Lesley Urbach for the preparation for the Drop In Paul Silver-Myer for leading FPS to second place at the LJ Community Quiz

Andrea Narcin for organising us all for Mitzvah Day Wika Dorosz for her vital contribution to building the new web site Peter Rosenthal for his support and encouragement of our Havdalah concerts & Abigail Dolan for bringing Symphonova to FPS Maureen Lobatto for working creatively with the FPS staff team

services - continued

Saturday 21 January

Shabbat service celebrating Isabella Angel’s Bat MItzvah

Friday 27 January

Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday 28 January

Shabbat service celebrating Sadie Gellman’s Bat Mitzvah 9

Midrash Winter Autumn  22017 016  presents   FPSFPS   BeitBeit   Midrash Presents  

Making a  Difference  

A series  of  meetings  with  inspirational  leaders    

1 December  –  Elizabeth  Harris-­‐Sawczenko  (Deputy  Director,  Council  of  Christians  &  Jews)   “The  Council  of  Christians  and  Jews  (CCJ)  is  the  leading  nationwide  forum  for  Christian-­‐Jewish   engagement,  celebrating  the  history  and  diversity  of  both  communities  and  facilitating  constructive   dialogue”.      

8 December  –  Jonathan  Cohen  (Executive  Director,  Conciliation  Resources)  “Conciliation  

Resources provides  practical  support  to  help  people  affected  by  violent  conflict  achieve  lasting  peace.  We   draw  on  shared  experiences  to  influence  policies  and  improve  peacebuilding  worldwide.”  www.c-­‐        

15 December  –  Dr  Edie  Friedman  (Founder  &  Executive  Director,  Jewish  Council  for  Racial   Equality)  “JCORE  is  the  leading  Jewish  voice  on  race  and  equality.  We  work  for  a  multi-­‐ethnic  Britain.”    

Coming in  January:  The  Jewish  Contribution  to  Modern  History   12  January              The  Moguls  of  Hollywood 19  January              The  Manhattan  Project 26  January     Holocaust  Memorial  Day 2  February              Today  I  am  a  fountain  pen! 9  February              The  Nobel  Prize  exploded. 16  February          The  Political  Element 23  February          Why  the  Jews?  

Series presented  by  Lionel  Lassman.  7.30-­‐9.30pm,  refreshments  served,  £5  donation  on  the  door   or  £25  for  whole  series  payable  in  advance  to  synagogue  office.

All meetings  at  Finchley  Progressive  Synagogue  7.30-­‐9.30pm  

£5 donation  on  the  door  (for  the  charity  concerned).  Refreshments  will  be  served   This  series  is  part  of  a  programme  of  events  to   commemorate  Eleanor  Rathbone  on  the  70th   anniversary  of  her  death  


Beit Knesset arts at fps cafe ivriah

rosh chodesh

Coffee & discussion Saturdays 9.45 – 10.45am during Ivriah term. book club

Celebration of the new moon by women gathering for sharing, learning and spiritual exploration. We usually meet in the FPS Library.

The Book Club meetings are held in people’s homes at 8.00pm on the second Wednesday of each month.

30 November Rosh Chodesh Kislev meeting: exploring forgiving with Rabbi Rebecca Birk 29 December Rosh Chodesh Tevet meeting...

We choose a wide variety of books, many – but by no means all – of Jewish interest: the only condition is that the person who recommends a book has read it (and loved it!) and that it is available in paperback. For more information contact Sheila King Lassman on or Edgar Jacobsberg on

walk & talk @ cafe kenwood is taking a winter break during December and January and will resume in spring 2017


Tuesdays @ 7.30pm Contact Richard on 020 8349 9602 cafe thursday

Thursdays @ 12.45pm, £6, for details contact Nicky Marzell via the synagogue office. bridge group

new! learn followed by lunch

on Thursdays, 12.00-2.30 From Thursday 11 January at 12.00 pm, Rabbi Rebecca will lead an hour’s learning in the small hall which will be followed by lunch hosted by Nicola for anyone who chooses to stay. We hope that this will drum up more interest so that those of you who choose to learn can stay for lunch and that those who come to lunch can come to learn beforehand. The learning topic will be Covenant & Being A Modern Jew and all are welcome to join in.

Mondays @ 7.30pm £4, for details contact Gunter Lawson on 020 8346 5208

lj quiz night On Sunday 13 November, FPS took part in the annual LJ inter-synagogue quiz, this year hosted at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue. Our Team, made up of Paul Silver-Myer (Captain), Tony and Dorothy Hills, Bob Luder, Nigel Fawcett, Philip Karstadt, Gabriel Webber and Robert Lobatto, took an early lead breezing through rounds on Geography, History, and the rather unexpected Airline tailfin designs. Fortified by an impressive tray of bridge rolls at the break, we entered the second half confident

but aware of strong competition on our shoulder. A slightly under-par Marathon round allowed Elstree to ease past us, and despite some inspired answers on Music, Sport and ‘The Dead’, in second place we stayed. Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks for my fellow Finchleans for their teamwork, patience, and ability to dig out obscure nuggets of information from their brains on a perfect autumn afternoon. Robert Lobatto 11

Letter from Lima laura bonneff london to lima


he last month has been very quiet for us in Lima but things are about to change with visitors coming to spend Christmas with us in the sunshine. However, before that, Lima is hosting Obama, Putin and Xi Jinping amongst some of the many dignitaries expected to arrive next week for APEC 2016. In order to clear the roads of the terrible traffic, the Peruvian government has instructed all businesses to close so we have a 4 day weekend! Unbelievably the kids only have another month of school left until they break for their two and a half month summer break! The kids will have completed 2 academic years in Lima. It feels like yesterday that I was writing my first newsletter wondering how I was going to cope with living here. Millie is looking forward to an exciting summer and will be spending two weeks in Curitiba, Brazil organised by Hanoar Hatzioni, Latin America. She then goes to the Panamanian Jungle for 2 weeks in February to study plant life. She won this trip via her


school but it is all being paid for by World ORT which is the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training non governmental organisation. She is so excited and we are not sure if it is because she gets to spend time away from her parents or to meet so many new kids from all over Latin America. Whichever it is, we are happy that she finally gets to reap the rewards of having worked so hard to integrate. And finally, I have started to say ‘yes’ to everything and so went to the Shabbat Project Challah Bake Off 2016 which united all types of Jews within the community and all over the world in baking Challah and celebrating a Shabbat together. I was amazed, as around 200 women and children gathered in the school hall with all the ingredients set before them, all weighed out as we made Challah together. It really was a wonderful experience. I then took my dough home and made 3 challahs and 8 rolls, enough for a few Shabbats to come! Love from the Bonneffs

Finchley Progressive Synagogue


10 DECEMBER 2016 7.30PM

SYMPHONOVA ORCHESTRA SHELLEY KATZ, conductor DAVID DOLAN, piano PROGRAMME Havdalah Service led by Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk with reflection on the question: can technology and spirituality meet? Mozart Piano Concerto in E flat major K. 449, 1st mov. The Symphonova An Introduction by Shelley Katz Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Maurice Ravel)

Finchley Progressive Synagogue 54 Hutton Grove London, N12 8DR Tickets: £15. Early booking advised at 13

myfanway greene bat mitzvah

sadie gellman bat mitzvah

Hello! My name is Myfanwy and my Bat Mitzvah is on 31 December. My parasha is Mikeitz and it is about Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams. It is a very exciting and interesting portion so please do come along and celebrate with me. I enjoy playing football and the trumpet, hamsters, reading and learning languages. I hope you can join me for my Bat Mitzvah!

I am looking forward to my Bat Mitzvah and celebrating with my family, friends and FPS community. I have been coming to Ivriah since I was about five and go to LJY-Netzer. I have been studying for my Bat Mitzvah with Student Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen and really enjoy my lessons and the discussions we have together.

isabella angel bat mitzvah

My name is Izzy and I have been coming to FPS for a few years now. I have a great passion for animals, I have a dog called Maddie, I used to have a three legged cat, and I sometimes go Horse riding. I’m 13 in December and having a Bat Mitzvah here marks a new chapter in my life. I have learnt many things here and I’m sure I will always remember them. My portion is the story of the burning bush. It is all about how Moses is told by God to go to Egypt and free the Israelites, but he has trouble speaking. My portion has a theme of insecurities as Moses was embarrassed about his speaking problems. For my tzedakah project I want to raise money for an animal charity. I hope I see you on 21 January for my Bat Mitzvah.


My parasha is Va’eira, I will be leyning the section where God tells Moses to ask Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery and leave Egypt. For my tzedakah project I am fundraising for ChildHope which works with street and working children in dangerous and abusive situations, empowering them to take control of their lives and helping to ensure their environments, including home and school, are safe and nurturing. Worldwide, millions of children are forced into labour which deprives them of dignity, health and education. ChildHope’s approach is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: protection from harm; access to healthcare, education and welfare provision; and participation in making the decisions that affect their lives. I love cooking, especially baking, and I am compiling a cookbook to support the important work of ChildHope. Please let me (or my mum, Louise) know if you would like to submit a recipe (cakes, biscuits, deserts) or if you would like to buy a copy when it has been printed.

Three of our young people on their Kabbalat Torah trip in Budapest finding the plaque for Ella’s great great grandfather who died in the Budapest ghetto during the Second World War.

kt weekend

Every year the Kabbalat Torah group goes away for a weekend run jointly with other Liberal synagogues, to meet other KT students and have some fun. This year’s event will be held at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue from

the evening of Friday 28 January until Saturday 29 January. It’s very local, there won’t be any need to miss school and it will be a really enjoyable experience. We hope that our KTniks will be able to attend!

introducing...zoe jacobs

Hello! My name is Zoe Jacobs, and I am a youth and community worker. I moved to London just before the High Holy Days, having been brought up in Maidenhead, and then living in Glasgow for 6 years. I am grateful to have been welcomed so warmly, thoughtfully and wholeheartedly at FPS. It’s scary moving to a new city and to have somewhere I know I feel at home is wonderful. I am also delighted to be working for the shul, creating a personal, kind and friendly space for the youngest members of the community. We are running Shabbatots, a monthly tots service

especially designed to introduce the synagogue and the service in a musical and interactive way, and we’re also on the path to creating a weekly event too. I hope to show the same warmth and kindness to the under 4s as everyone at FPS has shown to me. Please do get in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions about what would make FPS even better for you and your child!


Contacts fps who’s who finchley progressive synagogue

54 Hutton Grove N12 8DR 020 8446 4063 Rabbi Rebecca Birk - Emeritus Rabbi: Dr Frank Hellner Ivriah Principal: Gabriel Webber Musicians in residence: Franklyn Gellnick, Dean Staker Synagogue Manager: Pauline Gusack Premises Manager: Howard Hamerton executive & council

Chair: Alex Kinchin-Smith - Treasurer: Martin Silk Honorary Secretary: Josie Kinchin Vice-Chair: Louise Gellman

ashley page

President: Alan Banes Life President: Sheila King Lassman Vice Presidents: Renzo Fantoni, Josie Kinchin, Lionel King Lassman, John Lewis, David Pelham, Paul Silver-Myer, Andrea Rappoport, Joan Shopper contacts

Board of Deputies Reps: Janet Tresman, Stanley Volk Beit Midrash (Education): Adrian Lister, Louise Gellman Beit Tefillah (Rites & Practices): Michael Lassman, Josie Kinchin CafĂŠ Thursday: Nicky Marzell Website Editor: Gabriel Webber Shofar Editor: Pat Lehner -

janet tresman

insurance brokers

mediator & collaborative family law solicitor

Commerce House 2a Litchfield Grove London N3 2TN

Altermans Solicitors 239 Regents Park Road, London N3 3LF

Tel. 020 8349 5100


Council members: Jacquie Fawcett, Wika Dorosz, Samantha King, Simone Lee, Maureen Lobatto, Phillip Raphael

Direct dial: 0203 1820121 Email:

Shofar Dec 2016  
Shofar Dec 2016