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November 2012



the magazine of finchley progressive synagogue


From the Editor

From the Rabbi pat lehner

Generations – there is something about squeezing together in our FPS Sukkah, seeing all the bright faces and singing the blessings, enveloped by a green tapestry, that makes me think about time. Autumn is harvest time, and musing about the continuing cycle of the seasons, it’s not a big leap to start thinking about the seasons of our lives and even the life and growth of our synagogue. I think of everything that gets passed on down the generations – not just in terms of religion – family traditions, secrets, stories and recipes survive in a living time-capsule in what we teach the young. With the anniversary of our synagogue getting closer, I’m curious about all of your memories and stories of FPS. Did you join in the 70’s? Is your membership older or younger than Google (14 years)? Older or younger than Harry Potter? The Atari? Were you a member when Neil Armstrong took his famous first step, or when the Beatles ruled? Let us know – we want to share your memories and stories over the next year in Shofar!

On the cover: Hannah Gellman decorating the Sukkah Left: Kiddush in the Sukkah - the Mega-Challah! Copy deadline is the 10th of each month. Please email all content to 2

rabbi rebecca qassim birk

generations The rabbis have referred to Cheshvan, the month we’re now in, as Mar Cheshvan, Bitter Cheshvan because of the lack of festivals. I rather like this calm time after the flurry of the festivals in Tishri. It will be a time focused on community as November sees FPS joining a sponsored walk for WJR, our new monthly Chavurah pot luck supper, which now takes place every first Friday of the month after Resouled Unplugged – don’t miss the next one on 2 November. We’ll have B’nei Mitzvah Oneg Shabbat on 9 November, Mitzvah Day on 18 November, One World Week Tea for local churches on Saturday 24 November and our own Sue Kelvin presenting the Rose Segal lecture Sunday evening 25 November. Even without trying our community never stops to do and offer and make. In the theme of Generations that Pat has suggested for November I wanted to plant a seed for our 60th; the Grandparent Project. We have many children who don’t have grandparents nearby or in the community, and many older members who have space and enthusiasm to be surrogate grandparents in our community. This will be one of our 60 Mitzvoth for 2012 and one that will last way beyond it. So please start registering your interest now as FPS match makes, connects and introduces Grandparent’s Shabbat.

We have many children who don’t have grandparents nearby or in the community, and many older members who have space and enthusiasm to be surrogate grandparents in our community. And for all generations; we are looking for a logo that will be used for all 60th anniversary correspondence and publicity. Adults and children please submit your entries and ideas by 24 November! Have a good month. Remember Mitzvah Day 18 November Do you know anybody, elderly or not, who might need a little help with small DIY/ decorating jobs in their home? Can you paint, put up a shelf, take down curtains ets? Please get in touch so we can match up volunteers with different projects! Contact details are on page 14


From the Chair

fps presents the rose segal memorial lecture laura lassman


ovember is a quiet month in the Jewish calendar. We have had the personal and communal flurry of activity during the High Holydays and Sukkot. Enthusiasm for our good intentions and resolutions is probably waning and the long nights are drawing in. At FPS we are turning our thoughts to celebration of the 60th anniversary, thinking about those who paved the way and how to ensure continuity for our children. It is a generational moment making me reflect on the lives and events that link us over time and space. Perhaps we could benefit from making November community month – every year.

We are a mixed multi-generational bunch, a cluster of friendship and interest groups but also individuals who are loosely connected. The community best operates as a kind of extended family: at its best, members are there for one another to share celebrations and sorrows; on the flip side - just as you cannot choose your relatives - the community is there for all its members. We are a mixed multigenerational bunch, a cluster of friendship and interest groups but also individuals who are loosely connected. What if November were dedicated to strengthen the bonds that do connect us, ensuring that members in need are contacted, that new members are befriended, that life stages are celebrated, that young and


sunday 25 november, 8.00pm

old connect through a shared project and so on. In some ways, it is too late November 2012 but watch this space next year. In the meantime, there is plenty for all generations: Rosh Chodesh, youth club, Beit Midrash with its focus on Israel, Café Thursday and Shabbat Resouled. Further afield: Don’t forget to book into Limmud Conference for the ultimate inter-generational Jewish experience.

sue kelvin leading musical theatre performer

Booking is also open for the World Union for Progressive Judaism Biennial in Jerusalem in May 2013. Get ready to learn, explore, question, get involved and be inspired together with our WUPJ family from across the globe exploring how to be a righteous Progressive Jew in the 21st Century.

Mama Morton in Chicago, Golde in Fiddler On The Roof, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, as well as roles in Streetcar Named Desire, Hello Dolly, Oliver, Assasins, Rags, Onassis, Traveling Light and, of course, Sophie Tucker in Sophie Tucker’s One Night Stand and many, many more! TV appearances include Casualty, Dr. Who, Friday Night Fever, Doctors, among others. chris burgess, playwright and director, will interview our guest (his wife) and discuss the various elements of her exciting career. Sue Kelvin will sing several of the songs she performed originally in the shows listed above! All this plus wine and refreshments £12 Phone FPS 8446 4963 to reserve seats for this special evening


Letter from... sarah rosen-webb lionel lassman & darren beach

fps visit to belarus From the moment we arrived in Minsk and were met by Rabbi Grisha Abramovich we were entranced. All the stories we had heard about pre- and post- Holocaust Jewish life had to shift and make room for new facts, emotions and experiences as they flooded around us during our whirlwind tour. Whatever any of us had imagined about Jewish life in the FSU was reshaped by the realities we met during our stay.

This visit, however, was about looking forward at least as much as looking back. On Day One, Rabbi Grisha walked us around Minsk pointing out sites of Jewish importance. Sadly, most of these sites were memorials to massacres. Broken gravestones were artistically and poignantly drawn together in a central park built over the ruins of a centuries old Jewish cemetery. We stood on grass in a beautifully landscaped hollow which houses an obelisk inscribed in Yiddish, remembering the 5000 Jews murdered on that spot and buried in the pit below the hollow. We were saddened and sombre as we remembered our roots. This visit, however, was about looking forward at least as much as looking back. We shared a joyous Sukkot celebration with the three progressive communities in Minsk at Beit Simcha. The British Ambassador joined us for the launch of the WUPJ sponsored Bar/ Bat Mitzvah guide book produced to support distance teaching of Rabbi Grisha’s students in the eleven congregations he serves.


With the focus firmly on spreading wings, we travelled to the smaller city of Mogilev to meet with members of our twinned congregation. Mogilev, like Barnet, has a population of about 250,000, but is a provincial city rather than a suburb. We were enthusiastically greeted by Mila Izakson, a very talented musician and the energetic leader of the Jewish community, who took us first to visit their nursery, then to a fabulous lunch in a restaurant and next down a small alleyway to visit the dilapidated and cramped ‘office’ where members usually meet for services and social activities. On this Erev Shabbat – as for other special occasions - the service was held in a nightclub owned by a member of the community. We enjoyed the red velvet plush seating and the flashing neon lights of the venue for our early Simchat Torah service, with Elliott as Chatan Torah and Wika as Kallat Bereshit. It was followed by a big Kiddush and

concert by some very talented members of Keshet’s musical group - until the club needed to open for the serious business of dancing at about 11pm! We, along with the executive of the Keshet community, decamped to a side room to begin our serious business of brainstorming ways that our two communities can benefit each other. After a couple of hours of discussion, translation, mistranslation and more food and drink, we came up with a shortlist of projects. On Shabbat morning Rabbi Grisha guided us through a ‘Walking Shacharit’ service around this once 75% Jewish and prosperous market town. We paused at many sites - such as a once beautiful synagogue which was not destroyed during WW2, but which now houses a Boxing Club - to reflect, offer prayers and sing. ‘Now boarding Belavia Flight B2 0851 Minsk to London’. Was it really only five days ago that Wika, Josie, Corinne, Elliott, Jonty and I embarked on the FPS twinning visit to The Keshet Jewish Community in Mogilev, Belarus? Five days and a paradigm shift later we were returning to FPS with new understandings and connections to share. You can hear more about it – and sample a Belorussian style Kiddush - at the Mogilev Shabbat morning service on 3 November.

Previous page: Holacaust Memorial

From top: Sukkot at the bar, Kindergarden, Our last day at Mogilev Photos by Wika Dorosz

Last month I had the pleasure of accompanying the FPS trip to Belarus. Whilst the country itself was a fascinating experience, what was heartening was to see the unexpected vibrancy of the Belorussian community, especially their Netzer-Belarus youth community. It really inspired me to get involved, so please let me know if you want to help. Jonty Leibowitz 7

Beit Tefillah

Beit Knesset services at fps

what’s happening at fps

shabbat services - november

cafe thursday

curtain up!

Every Thursday @12.30pm

Friday 2 November

Shabbat Resouled Unplugged


Wednesday 21 November @7.30pm For details please see page 11

Saturday 3 November

Shabbat B’Yachad with Kol Kulanu

Friday 9 November

Erev Shabbat Family service

Monday @7.oopm Tuesday @7.30pm Contact Richard on 020 8349 9602

Saturday 10 November

Shabbat Morning service

Friday 16 November

Shabbat Resouled

Saturday 17 November

Tzilzalai Shabbat

Friday 23 November Saturday 24 November

Kabbalat Shabbat with student Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

Friday 30 November

Erev Shabbat service

bridge club

Shabbat Service with student Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

Mondays @ 8.00pm in the Small Hall book club

Wednesday 14 November @8.00pm, for details please call Sheila on 020 8445 3284

rosh chodesh

Celebration of the new moon by women gathering for learning and spiritual exploration (over a glass of wine). Thursday 15 November @7.30pm in the library (Rosh Chodesh Kislev): The Role of Women in Judaism

film club

Sunday 11 November @7.30pm, ‘Sunshine’ For details please see page 11

We look forward to Tziltzelai Shabbat our new Shabbat singing service on 17 November!

cafe thursday lunch & leisure every week at fps Congratulations Café Thursday on your first anniversary!!

people we warmly welcome new members

our sincerest condolences

David and Abigail Dolan with Daniel and Tom Hilary Sapire with Anthony and Nicholas Gary Anderson with Samuel

To Leon Pilpel and his family on the death of his wife Kay PIlpel

congratulations and mazal tov

To the family of Amy Grossmith-Dwek on her Bat Mitzvah


We wish the family long life.

1 November Café Thursday lunch and poetry reading Charge A contribution of £5.00 is requested to cover costs Want to help or need a lift? Please contact Nicky Marzell c/o synagogue email or phone the office 020 8446 4063


Beit Midrash

Arts at FPS learning at fps

beit midrash on thursday

Thursday 12 December: Jewish Sovereignty and leadership / Hannah Weisfeld and Daniel Reisel

NEW!! An Israel education course in partnership with Yachad – not to be missed!

This series is open to non-members as well so booking essential. £40 (non-members) £30 (members) Return completed forms to the FPS office

Thursday 8 November: Arab-Israeli relations inside the green line / Aya Ben Amos What is the status of the 20% of Israel’s population which is made up of the Arab minority population? Their situation is complex: on the one hand they have full rights as citizens, and on the other, face a level of discrimination that Jewish citizens of Israel are not subject to. Thursday 15 November: Understanding Jerusalem / Hannah Weisfeld What are the borders of Jerusalem? When people talk of dividing the city what does it really mean and can the conflict over one of the most contested cities ever really be resolved? Thursday 22 November: Bridging the Divide / Ann David This session will provide participants with the opportunity to view a photographic exhibition
and film which showcase verbatim stories taken from interviews by The Forgiveness Project with
8 members of Combatants for Peace. Thursday 29 November: Is the Talmud a blueprint for conflict resolution?/ Benedict Roth The Talmud and conflict and peacemaking in the 21st century. Thursday 6 December: The conflict and international Law / Danny Friedman


In addition, our regular program runs as before: • Beginners’ Hebrew • Advanced Hebrew • Delving into Judaism (alternate weeks), for conversion students and others. Led by Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk • Adult Bat Mitzvah class (alternate weeks). Led by Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk • Pilates for all. Led by an experienced trainer

curtain up!

daniel cainer: review

The next meeting of Curtain Up! on Wednesday 21 November, at 7.30pm features Claire Lichie.

All that hype for Daniel Cainer and, boy, was it worth it! Billed as the Jewbadour, Daniel thrilled an enthusiastic audience with a truly Jewish evening. A gifted musician and lyricist, he sang chunks of his family’s history. As promised, we laughed and we cried (and joined in some singing as well).

Claire who trained at Guildford School, is an aspiring, but unknown, young actress who is currently involved in fringe productions as she tries to climb her way up to the top. How does she secure roles? How useful is it to know the ‘right’ people? What is she working on at present? There are sure to be many questions on how and what she does to ‘make it’ and achieve a succesful acting career. In addition, Hedda Gabler, now playing at the Old Vic, will be on the agenda. All are welcome!

Tea, coffee and cake break shared by all classes

the screen on the grove

lunch & learn

11 November 2012, 7.30pm | Sunshine Director Istvan Szabo’s Sunshine is an epic tale tale that follows the Hungarian Jewish family the Sonnenscheins through five generations. It spans more than 100 years, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, exploring the history, politics and economic shifts of the time. A beautiful film with easy transitions, dramatic scenery and costumes and admirable performances. Starring Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz

Every Wednesday 12.30 – 2.00pm Hot learning topics with tea and cake – bring a sandwich or lunch. cafe ivriah

An informal and lively Saturday morning chat over coffee for Ivriah parents and others. Coffee from 9.30am, discussion from 9.45-10.45am. fps breakfast shiur

Saturday 3 November – 8.45am:David & Uriah: Temptation, Baths & Corrupt Kings / Elliott Karstadt This shiur will be based around a study of the iconic story of the temptation of King David and his abuse of his kingly trust in his treatment of Uriah. We shall then explore some earlymodern reactions to the story, and see how it has affected modern political thinking.

We heard about Daniel’s great Uncle Morry, the tailor, and his partner Monty, who together were going to be kings of the world. Morry ended up poor and forgotten, while Monty became Montague Burton. There was pathos also in his lovely song of the wandering Jew. Where did we come from and where are we going? Only God knows where. And what fun we had joining in the story of Daniel’s dad and the scandalous goings on at the Surbiton Washerama. Who would not be drawn into the tale of Daniel’s Aunt Naomi, who fell in love with a preacher at the Elim Chapel (Oy vay! Oy gevalt!), and married him. Together they do good works down in Kent. We are enormously grateful to those who made generous donations to the President’s Fund, and to Laura Lassman and Danny Rich for underwriting the evening as part of the celebration of their recent wedding. Sheila King Lassman

coming up

2 December 2012, 7.30pm | The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason


FPS Weekend Away josie kinchin josie kinchin shares her recollections of a previous fps weekend away

As someone who was still getting used the idea of being a single parent, it was with some trepidation that I signed up with two children for the FPS Away Weekend in the late ‘eighties’. Although, at that time, I’d been an FPS member for over 20 years, I had never participated in any residential programme. The venue? Hothorpe Hall, Leicestershire. But a very different Hothorpe Hall to the one we’ll be experiencing in 2013. Much more Spartan in those days, several shared bathrooms and fairly thin walls. I’ll never forget Ron Rappoport practising those dulcet tones in the room next to me! Nowadays Hothorpe Hall has greatly improved facilities, lovely rooms all with en-suite bathrooms, a beautiful Victorian dining room, conference rooms and absolutely delightful grounds. But what of my first visit? Would I feel ‘on my own’? Would I like what was on offer? Would I be bored? At the end of the weekend, I can categorically

say - No, yes, no! My kids had an amazing time too and, having recently begun to go to LJY Weekends (or in those days it was ULPSNYC) and experienced their first Kadimah, they were completely at home with this kind of event. I was delighted by my first Havdalah service, by the singing of Grace after Meals (using phonetic translation!), reinforcing my Jewish learning but, above all, being an integral part of the friendly, encouraging and supportive group of people. So much so, that I helped organise the next one and several more after that. I became a madricha (adult leader) within ULPSNYC, I started going to Liberal Judaism national conferences and these days, I cannot imagine life without my FPS Family. I’m not saying that this will happen to you after your first FPS Weekend Away because each of us finds their own level of participation but for me and for my family, it was an amazing experience. Come and join us 1-3 March next year – you won’t regret it!

To have a look at what Hothorpe Hall has to offer, see

E V A S THE ! E T DAdetails to

Spend the w eeken with y d our FP S fam the de i l y in lightfu l setti ng of Hotho rpe H all, Leices tershi re

e Mor ollow f

lig High


e fun

1st —3rd MARCH 2013

 Hav n  Lear lax e/re t a t i  Med our ow y n k o t  Get family FPS

ids the k r o f f  Stuf ls!  Bage

Finchley Progressive Synagogue 54 Hutton Grove, N12 8DR Photo by Yvonne Cooper



november at ivriah

fps youth club

Saturday 3 November (half term) 11.00am-12.30pm Shabbat B’Yachad with Kita Gimmel leading part of the service

Games, trips , food and LJY-Netzer madness! School years 2-6 3 November and 17 November, 5.00-7.00pm

Friday 9 November 4.30-6.30pm Friday Ivriah,6.30 onwards - Friday Night Family Service followed by Family Learning for Kita Vav and Zain including Chavurah supper Saturday 10 November 9.30am-12.30pm Shabbat Ivriah Friday 16 November 4.30-6.30pm Friday Ivriah Saturday 17 November 9.30am-12.30pm Shabbat Ivriah. From 11.00am Kids Kehillah (for children under 5 and their parents) Sunday 18 November Mitzvah Day @ FPS Friday 23 November 4.30-6.30pm Friday Ivriah Saturday 24 November 9.30am-12.30pm Shabbat Ivriah

If you have any questions please get in touch – or 020 7631 0584.

mitzvah day sunday 18 november it’s mitzvah day again – come join us and help make it a success.

• Children decorating plant pots & planting bulbs • KT & older teenagers: Weeding Highgate Cemetery • Musicians’ outing to a local care home • Tree planting at St Albans contact: andrea narcin sarah rosen webb

Friday 30 November 4.30-6.30pm Friday Ivriah


Saturdays 3.00-5.00pm Dance your shoes off! Contact Denny Kingston on 020 8482 2149


one world week - interfaith event

Saturday 24 November 3.00-5.00pm FPS hosts a cultural afternoon & tea with Rikkud dance group Thomas Luxon Street Dance and music by members of Shabbat Resouled

Above: Consecration service. Back row, l.t.r: Josh Hamerton, Nkem Ezeugoh, Amanda Goodman, Eli Ezeugoh, Rabbi Rebecca, Daniela Rotbande.

Front row, l.t.r.: Arella Ezeugoh, Zane Ezeugoh, Natalya and Tom Hibberd. Below, l.t.r: Baking for Sukkot, Sukkot at FPS.


Contacts fps who’s who finchley progressive synagogue

synagogue committees & groups:

54 Hutton Grove N12 8DR 020 8446 4063

Beit Tefillha, Contact, Education, Membership, Events Plus, Babies & Toddlers, B’nei Mitzvah, Hospitality Group, Security.

Charity Number: 1071040

We are represented on the Board of Deputies and Liberal Judaism. For further information, please call the office.

Rabbi: Rebecca Qassim Birk / 07939 227480 Emeritus Rabbi: Dr Frank Hellner Synagogue Manager: Pauline Gusack Community Manager: Angela Wharton executive

Chair: Laura Lassman / 07957 545 569

shofar editor

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

Vice-Chair: Joan Shopper & David Aarons 01582 792 959 Treasurer: Richard Kravetz 020 8349 9602 Honorary Secretary: David Pelham 020 8445 8111

ashley page insurance brokers

janet tresman mediator & collaborative family law specialist solicitor

Commerce House 2a Litchfield Grove London N3 2TN

consultant at newman law solicitors

Tel. 020 8349 5100

Tel. 020 8349 2655

10 Hendon Lane Finchley, London N3 1TR


Shofar November Edition  

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