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January 2014



     


From the Editor   On a cold and wet evening last week a few members of FPS joined a few members from FRS to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela. It was a very interesting group of people who got together to talk about their memories of this truly great man – and of their feelings at his passing, and of their own histories. Those who had met him shared their stories and a picture emerged of a very warm, approachable person, who was not afraid to poke fun at himself and others. It is almost incomprehensible to me how a man who has lived through such persecution can emerge without bitterness, unbroken. And so we come to the end of our diamond jubilee year – a year of reflection and celebration, of remembering and of planning for the future. The list of volunteers who helped to make this a very special anniversary year is endless, and we have gained much from each other and from coming together to celebrate. Hopefully you’ve already had an opportunity to dip into our beautiful anniversary book: Celebrating Sixty Years, with contributions from members looking back at their own histories and the last 60 years. It is absolutely gorgeous, get your copy from the office if you haven’t yet! An additional supplement is being put together with contributions that have missed the deadline for the book, you can find one of those on page 7. And, finally, here’s wishing you a peaceful winter and a wonderful 2014, full of adventure and laughter. May it be a year of freedom, peace and prosperity for all! On the cover: Cover of our new Diamnond Jubilee book. Photo by Ruth Corney Copy deadline is the 10th of each month. Please email all content to


From the Rabbi    

 I know that gratitude can be boring. I write more thank you letters than I do any other kind of letters. I make it my business to write personally always to offer thanks for gifts whether material or of time and effort. I torture my children into writing prompt thank you letters and feel a gift cannot, and should not be enjoyed until it’s been acknowledged. My colleague Rabbi Nancy Morris wrote her Ordination Address on Thank You letters. She had learned their importance from her late father. I am only too aware that this synagogue runs on the fuel of other’s interest, commitment and contribution. For that I feel real appreciation and try to express it. This year has been particularly rich in contribution and offerings. We have succeeded in our aim to renew and rededicate our community for its Diamond Anniversary with a sense of pride, joy and affection. Our community is loved and the volunteers who do so much, must be acting on that. I know from my understanding of human nature, no one does things if they aren’t getting something out of it. So we must be doing something right. Yet I also know that many, many of our members have gone beyond the call of duty in their dedication and devotion. From the start of this year with a special Rosh Chodesh gathering, a tree planting at Tu B’Shevat, our excellent Weekend Away that galvanised so many new folk into FPS involvement. Our 60th Purim Spiel created so brilliantly by director and writer duo Then we

went into our Civic Service when the Mayor of Barnet enjoyed being mistaken for Boris Johnson, our Founders Tea, out of which came many meaningful reunions and our Family Room as well! After the summer came our superb Generations Day answering the dreams of all our children here, and From Here to Eternity at the Screen on the Grove. And then our coup at the Royal Academy dinner with Grayson Perry and much needed funds raised. And finally the extraordinary book that tells our story as a community through the people within it. It’s been a really good year. We’re ready for the next sixty now until 120 years as it’s said… Every single event has been put on, and made possible by the most astounding amount of volunteers who have been quite dazzling in their commitment and hours of work for each. I haven’t listed names because there are too many. But thank you. As an appreciation Laura and I are inviting everyone in the community to a Supper Saturday 25 January over Havdalah and music. I do hope you’ll join us. Please let us know


From the Chair  

Hospitality at the heart of FPS There is a new group hard at work to ensure that members and visitors are always made to feel welcome at FPS. This should include a warm greeting, satisfying food, help when needed, inclusion in festival and Shabbat celebrations and integration of new members into the community. Hospitality extends beyond Hutton Grove and we would like to facilitate more sharing at home and ensuring that there is always a place for those attending to services at someone’s Shabbat table. 20 volunteers have signed up to help with hospitality and there is space for more. Working with others to provide food and support is also a great way to get to know people and have a stake in communal life. If you would like to help please contact Corinne Oppenheimer or me so we

     ! November 17 saw FPS at its best, as the community turned out to support projects to benefit the wider Community. The KT class were to be found outside Tiger with Simone Lee, their teacher Elliott Karstadt, and Yaz Narcin collect goods for Camp Simcha. The large heap of Tiger bags they brought back bare testament to their success! More of the KT class and their families joined volunteers lead by the Luders and Rabbi Rebecca down at Highgate 4

can add you to the group. To get us off to a good start, there will be a Chavurah Supper on January 25, together with our Havdalah service. The service will be round the table and will be followed by soup, jacket potatoes and tasty fillings provided by FPS. After supper, enjoy some singing. Please bring a pudding to share. 

Jacquie Fawcett will be co-ordinating the Contact Group which has been a bit quiet since David Aarons relinquished the post a few months ago. David did a wonderful job and Jacquie is ready to co-ordinate help to members in need, home visits, lifts to and from FPS events and other voluntary pastoral support. She will work closely with Rabbi Rebecca to ensure that help is available to members whenever it is needed. If you would like to be a volunteer with Contact please get in touch with Jacquie Enjoy the end of the secular year and I wish you a good 2014. Cemetery, clearing away the Autumn debris, while the synagogue was home to Corinne’s team of blanket stitchers, Amanda’s cooks and various bulb planters and lavender bag makers. As a result, gifts went up to Rosetrees with the musicians and the homeless shelter residents will be much warmer! The last group were the musicians who went to entertain the residents at Rosetrees. They were so welcome that we have been asked to make our visits a regular monthly occurrence. Please could any volunteer musicians contact Andrea on

Mitzvah Day   I would like to thank all the volunteers for their support; you really did contribute to Tikkun Olam, and unfortunately I don’t have a proper list of who was where. All I can say is that you were great, and made a real difference!


Diamond Jubilee Dinner  


ur Diamond Jubilee dinner at the Royal Academy of Arts was a wonderful evening. Guests had private tours of the Australia exhibition, followed by an excellent meal. Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk put our synagogue’s history in a wider historical context – starting with the 1953 coronation and going quickly through key events of each passing decade. She talked about the community’s values of inclusiveness and diversity, rooted in Liberal Jewish values and action. These values resonated with our guest of honour, the artist Grayson Perry CBE RA, whose amusing and thought-provoking talk was on ‘why we should celebrate bad art’ and be nonjudgmental towards artistic endeavours. His flamboyant attire was much admired: he took the instruction ‘celebratory dress’ to a whole

new level… The fundraising dinner was the culmination of a year-long series of events celebrating the synagogue’s 60th anniversary. We have celebrated in many ways over the year, with a new event practically every month, among them a successful Generations Day, Weekend Away, exhibitions, Film Club’s special screenings, Founders’ Tea, a commemorative mosaic, arts auction and more. A lasting memento is of course the beautifully produced book in words and pictures, documenting the history of the community through sixty stories of members describing their personal road to Finchley Progressive Synagogue. The dinner was oversubscribed, so we are planning another similar event early next year – watch this space!

Photo: Ruth Corney 6

A Note on FPS History  &  

As we were away all summer we regret that we missed making a contribution to the FPS 60th Anniversary book. May we therefore submit this short statement for the record. Our family history in the Liberal Jewish movement goes back a long way – into the 1920’s in fact. Jack’s mother Lily (Court) was one of “Miss Lily’s girls” both in the original synagogue before it was bombed and then in Whitfield Street where we first met in the ‘drama’ group. Sheila was in an LJS play staged at the Whitehall theatre. It was written by Jack’s cousin, the actor John Slater, and Jack went along to see it. Sheila had a leading role and Jack fell in love with her at first sight. Next day he joined the West Central - and the rest

is history. Anyway, both before and after the war Lily and Marian Montagu were occasional visitors at Jack’s family house and about 1937 Lily gave Jack’s mother the bass relief portrait head which now hangs in the FPS entrance. We married in 1952 and remained members at Whitfield Street forming a ‘young married’ group for Miss Lily. We moved to Finchley a few years later and were among the first members of what became FPS, introduced by our cousins Jeffrey and Rose Segal. In 1966 Sheila became Chair of the then ‘Ladies Guild’ and welcomed Frank Hellner and his family as our new Rabbi when our new community grew in size and strength.

     Every two years, Liberal Judaism assembles a vibrant temporary community drawn from members across the country at its Biennial Weekend conference. The next event, held 9 – 11 May 2014 in Reading, is already filling up fast, and the Early Bird offer (which saves you a whopping £50) is set to run out on 31 January so book now if you want your place at the reduced rate.

activities/biennial. Adult ticket £260 (or £310 after 31 January). Children £35 - £75 depending on age (also EarlyBird rates). Theme: Radical Roots/Relevant Responses.

The keynote speaker is WUPJ’s Rabbi Jonah Pesner, and evening entertainment will come from performer Rachel Mars. For more information, or to book, email Yael on or visit

Beit Tefillah   

 -  Friday 3 January

Shabbat Unplugged Service

Saturday 4 January

Shabbat Service

Friday 10 January

Kabbalat Shabbat Family Service

Saturday 11 January

Shabbat Service followed by Tu B’Shevat Seder

Friday 17 January

Shabbat Resouled

Saturday 18 January

Shabbat Service including Adam Aradi-Posylkin Bar Mitzvah

Friday 24 January

Reflective Kabbalat Shabbat

Saturday 25 January

Shabbat Service Havdalah with Guildhall School of Music

Friday 31 January

Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Saturday 1 February

Shabbat Service

    ’ Saturday 11 January Please join us for our Tu B’Shvat Seder after the Shabbat service.


Sunday 26 January 6.00pm service in collaboration with local churches at St Mary-at-Finchley, Hendon Lane, N3 1TR FPS members Abigail and David Dolan will be playing piano and flute – please join them.

Beit Knesset ď?°ď?Ľď?Żď?°ď?Źď?Ľ To Isaac Lobatto on his Bar Mitzvah

the office with: Name of the Honoree, Date of Yahrzeit, Name of Observer/s.

To Adam Aradi-Posylkin on his Bar Mitzvah

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And to Thomas Hyde on his Bar Mitzvah

Peter & Eva Rosenthal with Adam and Elias

Many members are celebrating important life milestones by hosting and accepting a mitzvah at a Shabbat service. If you have a celebration you would like to share with the community please contact the office.

Janet Barak

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To the family of Evelyn L Greene, grandmother of Richard Greene. We wish the family strength and comfort at this difficult time.

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There is an FPS Yahrzeit list from which we remind those who would like a Yahrzeit to be announced, that the date is coming up. If you do want to be reminded please provide

Gillian Merron Spencer Joseph & Rebecca Miller with Jakob Paul Lichtenstern Asher Jacobsberg Jess Lichtenstern Toby Helfman Lucy Pih Lassman essa Samson

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Beit Midrash     

Our flagship adult learning experience Thursday evenings 6.30 - 9.30pm

23 January | The Messiah of Rabbinic Thought: the third in the series on Messianism. led by Rabbi Danny Rich.

6.30-7.15pm - Pilates Get fit in our small, friendly class, under the expert guidance of Tali Swart. Cost £60 for a series of six sessions. To arrange a trial session, contact

 

7.30-9.30 pm Discussion, Debate & Culture with break for tea, coffee and cake. A voluntary donation of £5 is requested to cover costs.

  

 & :  

9 January | (R)evolution in Synagogue Music led by Cantor Gershon Silins 16 January | Chagall - An Artist in Exile led by Sara Dibb

Saturdays 9.30 – 11.00am Informal discussion over coffee and biscuits, between Ivriah dropoff and morning service. In-depth Jewish learning, Thursday evenings 7.30pm-9.30pm 7.30-8.30pm: Learning and discussion 8.30-9.30pm: Biblical Hebrew with Ofra Rosenwasswer. Everyone welcome so long as they can at least read Hebrew slowly. More advanced students will also find the teaching of grammar beneficial. The series will bring much to the reading of siddur and Tanakh.

Two of our young members on Mitzvah Day


Beit Knesset ’        

5 January @ 7.30pm | Strangers on a Train (1951) The current West End production is based on a novel and on the original Alfred Hitchcock film in which a psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder—a theory that he plans to implement. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler and starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman. 2 February | Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (USA 1994) This is a bourbon-tinted portrait of writer Dorothy Parker, a woman of rapier wit and ravenous thirst who presided over the famous intellectual Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel. The film was produced by Robert Altman and directed by Alan Rudolph, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. 2 March | Born Yesterday A million-dollar tycoon hires a tutor to teach his lover proper etiquette in this Garson Kanin play. The film was directed by George Cukor and features Judy Holliday, William Holden, Broderick Crawford. Judy Holliday won an Oscar for her role.  

Thursdays @ 12.45pm, £6, for details contact

Nicky Marzell via the synagogue office 

Mondays@7.00pm, Tuesdays @ 7.30pm Contact Richard on 020 8349 9602  

Mondays @ 7.45pm £4, for details please contact Gunter Lawson on 020 8346 5208  

The Book Club Meetings are held in people’s homes, 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of each month. Contact  

Rosh Chodesh Shvat, Thursday 2 January: ‘Women in Philosophy’, led by Dr Marije Altorf. Rosh Chodesh Adar I, Monday 3 February: ‘Musar and Jewish Humour’, led by Sarah Rosen Webb. Rosh Chodesh Adar II, Monday 3 March topic TBA.  !

There will be an outing to the Tricycle Theatre on 8 February at 3.00pm to see Red Velvet, followed by an optional get-together for a meal afterwards at a nearby restaurant. Group discussion of the play will take place at the regular meeting on 19 February at 7.30pm. For details contact the office.

Check out Finchley Progressive Synagogue Facebook Page! “Like” & become a “Friend” • Instant up to date news • Make your own comments Support the Synagogue • Need help? Call Stanley Volk 02088832265


A Tribute to Nelson Mandela         1918-2013

‘Justice, justice, you shall pursue...’: this, we sense, is what it is all about, a daunting vision haunting the imagination. What can we do that makes a difference? We have lost a man whose tenacity and courage, whose commitment to justice, whose capacity to forgive his enemies, whose ability to embrace reconciliation rather than be trapped in bitterness, stirs us to the roots of our souls. May the example of Nelson Mandela – Madiba – offer us hope: hope that in a fractured world, a world still beset with inequalities and strife, we can lead our own small lives inspired by a larger vision of what is possible. Each one of us is called to task. Gaining inspiration from Mandela’s vision that ‘what is’ can be transformed into ‘what should be’, may we each find the strength to re-dedicate ourselves to living out the ancient call: ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream...’ May the work of our hands match the feelings

     Get your copy of the 60th anniversary book - suggested donation of £25 for hardback editions and £15 for the paperback. Ideal gifts! Many people were invited to write about where they have come from and their journey to FPS – so this is our story, about who we are and how we came to be.


in our hearts, so that we can truly say, “Zichrono livracha: may his memory be a blessing.” Thanks to Rabbi Howard Cooper, who in collaboration with Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk put together this moving commemoration.





   &           

We are so blessed in the Liberal Jewish community to have this moment in our lives to offer some words of wisdom and help our daughters to take the opportunity to think about the meaning of Bat Mitzvah and coming of age as a rite of passage. A special and fascinating afternoon with Rabbi Rebecca and Philippa Carr-Woolf. Saturday 1 February 12.30-4.30pm

 &           

We are so blessed in the Liberal Jewish community to have this moment in our lives to offer some words of wisdom and help our sons to take the opportunity to think about the meaning of Bar Mitzvah and coming of age as a rite of passage. This will be a special and interesting opportunity to study with Student Rabbi Rene. Saturday 2 February 12.30-4.30pm

Pesach term 11 January – 29 March (Half term 15 and 22 February) Family Services Tots Service & Kids Kehillah craft activities for 0-4 year olds: 1st Shabbat of month, 10.15am Shabbat B’Yachad: 1st Shabbat of month, 11.00am Friday Family Service: 2nd Friday of month, 6.30pm


Happy Chanuka from Keshet, our twinned community in Mogilev, Belarus.

 

    Our first term at Ivriah this year started with the bright and warm days of fruity Sukkot, and after a sugary Chanukah it has brought us now to the shortest days of the year. As well as learning Hebrew, our topics ranged from the blessings of Shabbat to some personal family stories from World War Two. Together we have learned about the festivals of Sukkot and Simchat Torah, celebrated Chanukah and already preparations have started for Tu B’shvat which welcomes us back in January!

during our own Ivriah Tefilla (service). The past few months have also brought us some special services with the whole of FPS, as back in October we had a special confirmation for our youngest students of Kitah Aleph, and just this week (21 December) we celebrated the Kabbalat Torah of Ivriah’s eldest in a service which signifies their coming of age in Liberal Judaism. All in all it has been an enjoyable, creative and interesting term and everyone is looking forward to more of the same next term!

Our teachers have worked solidly to create some lovely and inventive sessions, lead discussions, present assemblies and play games in the garden, and to create a ruach (spirit)

Wishing all our Ivriah families a lovely winter break, and see you all on 11 January for our first session back, and the community’s Tu B’Shvat seder!

FPS at Camp Kadimah 15

Contacts  ’    

  & :

54 Hutton Grove N12 8DR 020 8446 4063

Beit Midrash (Education): Adrian Lister & Louise Gellman. Working groups with responsibility for Ivriah; Young families; Adult Education; Youth Club Beit Tefillah (Rites & Practices): Josie Kinchin. Working groups with responsibility for Shabbat; Life Cycle; Festivals; High Holydays Beit Knesset (Community): Laura Lassman. Working groups with responsibility for Contact; Membership; New members; Events Operations: Joan Shopper. Working groups with responsibility for Premises; Finance; Security. If you would like to join any of these working groups, please contact the relevant co-ordinator

Charity Number: 1071040 Rabbi: Rebecca Qassim Birk / 07939 227480 Emeritus Rabbi: Dr Frank Hellner Synagogue Manager: Pauline Gusack Community Manager: Angela Wharton 

Chair: Laura Lassman / 07957 545 569 Vice-Chair: Josie Kinchin Treasurer: Martin Silk Honorary Secretary: Joan Shopper Board of Deputies Reps: Stanley Volk & Janet Tresman Life Presidents: Clive Winston & Sheila King Lassman President: Alan Banes

Pat Lehner / Editorial assistant Sarah Aldridge

FPS is a constituent of Liberal Judaism 21 Maple Street W1T 4BE

020 7580 1663 LJY Netzer (youth dept) 020 7631 0584

 

 

 

 &        -

Commerce House 2a Litchfield Grove London N3 2TN Tel. 020 8349 5100


 

Suite 2, Exhibition House, Addison Bridge Place Kensington Olympia, London W14 8XP Tel. 020 7433 2380 /

Shofar January 2014  

January 2014 edition of FPS monthly publication