Page 1

October 2012



the magazine of finchley progressive synagogue

Beyond N12...

From the Editor

From the Rabbi pat lehner

After the introspection of the High Holy Days it is time to look beyond our own patch to see what this fresh new year might bring us, and what we might take into the wider world beyond N12. In this sense, I’d like to highlight our forthcoming Mitzvah Day which will be returning in November – a little bit more about what’s being planned on page 9. And before that, we are looking forward to the FPS trip to our twin community in Mogilev at the beginning of this month. Of course, many of us have already travelled quite a distance, both geographically and spiritually, to get to this corner of N12. Our FPS family has ties, historical or personal, that stretch all over the world. In some cases, the journey seems almost miraculous. I’m looking forward to learning more about our individual journeys, and I can’t wait to see what follows next. On the cover: Hula Valley, Israel Left: Another Olympic memory: Ruben, Dora and Rafael with the torch Copy deadline is the 10th of each month. Please email all content to

A big thank you to Sarah Aldridge and Paul Lichtenstern for the FPS calendar which is adorning many FPS homes and provides a great advertisement for the synagogue. 2

rabbi rebecca qassim birk

beyond n12 Beyond N12 is the theme of this Shofar. And Jewish life beyond our experience in North Finchley. It’s so easy to experience Judaism in a parochial way closed in to our British and London story of being a Jew. But there is, as we know, so much more. I recently led the funeral service for Bella Walls, a stalwart member of FPS who together with her husband Jack had been so key to the life of FPS and its gardens. Bella’s journey from Germany to what was Palestine to Finchley captures the wanderings that many of our members have had to get here. We have members from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Romania, the US, Poland and Peru to name a few. And all have a story that follows them. I love that about our community and I hope that during our anniversary year the stories of our many Jewish journeys will emerge and perhaps create a map of the world leading to Hutton Grove. In the next few months our community is making several trips beyond our synagogue. A group will be heading to Mogilev, our twin community in the Ukraine, taking practical Jewish goods and bringing back news from the East, as it were. Another group will be joining with Nottingham Progressive to visit Austerlitz where our Czech scroll is from. Neil Pike from NPJC has spoken here at FPS about the past Jewish life and history of the town and now the group will be making positive and creative connections with the existing town and community. It promises to be an important and exciting trip. Paul Anticoni of WJR is planning an informative trip for Liberal

rabbis and members to see the work that his WJR does for the vulnerable in the Ukraine. In May 2013 the WUPJ holds its Jerusalem conference and I hope a delegation will take the opportunity to represent FPS and see the intensity of progressive connections beyond our own island.

We have members from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Romania, the US, Poland & Peru to name a few. There is a an enjoyable tension between being happy and content where we are and having that irritable reaching after and towards somewhere else to explore and seek knowledge and experience the other, and when we connect with it, all the better. It was Proust who said; ‘When I went to Venice I found that my dream had become – incredibly, but quite simply – my address!’


From the Chair laura lassman

Several years ago I went to Israel on a Liberal Judaism tour along with several other Finchley members and Mark Goldsmith who was our Rabbi at the time. It was a last minute decision to go as my Jewish engagement rarely extended beyond N12. I was either at FPS or celebrating Shabbat and festivals with family. My children were far more adventurous than me having enjoyed LJY weekends, Kadimah, Israel and Kayyitz tours while I was content to stay home. Our ancestors all went on journeys of discovery that were predicated on a change of scenery and I wondered whether I could journey spiritually without physically going anywhere. That Israel tour changed everything. Mark and I stood in the glass-domed rooftop of Beit Shmuel, Jerusalem, the Culture and Education Centre of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and realised that we were part of a remarkable and large organisation. FPS, a constituent of Liberal Judaism, is affiliated to the WUPJ along with the Reform movement here and in the States, progressive communities from Europe, South America, South Africa, FSU, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. From Jerusalem, the group journeyed to the desert where I had a profound sense of those ancestral journeys and an understanding of how that environment might bring one closer to God. The location provided the first steps on another journey – on the back of a camel – with Danny.

Stepping beyond N12 into the wider Jewish community is enriching, enlightening and heartening. A year or so later, I went with him to the European Region conference in Hamburg which provided an opportunity to meet so many people from both new and established communities spanning our continent. There is so much to learn from our sister congregations and much also we can offer. Stepping beyond N12 into the wider Jewish community is enriching, enlightening and heartening. We are part of a major Jewish movement that is committed to social action as evidenced by the Religious Action Centre in Washington, to renewal through the growth of congregations in Germany and the Former Soviet Union; one that acts for justice and equality, democracy and peace, personal fulfilment and collective obligations. Its doors are open and you might wish to consider connecting in Jerusalem in May 2013 (

60th anniversary celebrations After the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic feel-good comes FPS’s 60th anniversary. We are gearing up for a year of celebration and building for the future. Over the coming months, events, activities and projects will be scheduled to make 2013 a year to remember in the life of the community. We want to ensure that there is something to appeal to everyone. Make sure you complete the card to tell us what you would like by way of celebration and commemoration or email It can be any idea that appeals to you. If you want to help organise or contribute to one of the projects please let us know by email ( or post to Jacquie Fawcett c/o the synagogue office. We are looking for: Designers Researchers and archivists Project,managers Photographers Games makers

Sales people Caterers Bottle washers Fund raisers Singers

simchat torah invitation

Sunday 7 October at 6.30pm & Monday 8 October at 11am Danny Rich & Laura Lassman will be Chatan Torah (reading the last verses of Deuteronomy/Devarim) and Kallat Torah (reading the first verses of Genesis/Bereshit) and hosting Kiddush in celebration of the festival and their recent wedding. Everyone is invited to join them



Sukkot at FPS lionel lassman & darren beach

erev sukkot

Sunday 30 September 4.00pm - Make the Sukkah wonderful! Bring your greenery, flowers, fruit, decorations, offerings for the Kiddush table so that the we have a feast for all the senses. 6.00pm - Smoothies and nosh 6.30pm - Family service and kiddush

The last verses of Devarim (Deuteronomy) will be read by the Chatan Torah Rabbi Danny Rich. The first verses of Bereshit (Genesis) will be read by Kallat Torah, Laura Lassman. The whole congregation is invited to join them for the service which will be led by Rabbi Rebecca and for a celebration kiddush to mark their recent wedding.

sukkot morning

Monday 1 October 11.00am - Festival morning service 12.30pm - Lunch in the Sukkah chol hamoed sukkot

Saturday 6 October A very full Shabbat starting with Shabbat B’Yachad when we will welcome our new students into Ivriah, giving them their own miniature scroll 11.00am - Consecration Service and kiddush 5.00pm - Youth Club and Sukkot sponsored sleepover when our young people will consider homelessness and raise money for those who do not have a roof over their heads 7.30pm - Daniel Cainer in concert, a fund raiser for the President’s Fund




Sunday 7 October An opportunity to celebrate continuity as we end the Torah readings and start again under the Chuppah 5.00pm - Come and decorate the chuppah 6.30pm - Bring your flags and miniature scrolls to join the party

pr es

Sponsored sukkot Sleepover

simchat torah

Monday 8 October 11.00am - A more reflective morning service as the cycle ends and begins followed by Kiddush lunch 12.30am - Simchat Torah Kiddush hosted by Laura and Danny



Sukkot, a festival of colour, full of ritual and warmth occupies the first week of October. We have a very full schedule and everyone is invited to join the celebrations

simchat torah


t en

make it a week to remember!

h ut o

b clu

8 october 5pm have fun & raise money for charity! raise 15 pounds for the event! the proceeds go towards world jewish relief

Grab a sponsorship form from the synagogue or email Sam if you have any questions at all! Please email if your children are coming so we have an idea of numbers

for school years 2-6


Beit Tefillah

Beit Knesset services at fps

what’s happening at fps

shabbat services - october

cafe thursday

curtain up!

Every Thursday @12.30pm

Friday 5 October

Kabbalat Shabbat Kiddush in the Sukkah


Wednesday 17 October @7.30 pm. ‘The Last of the Haussmans’. For details please see page 13

Saturday 6 October

Shabbat B’Yachad with Consecration of our newest students at Ivriah

Friday 12 October

Family Kabbalat Shabbat

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

Friday 19 October

Shabbat Resouled

Saturday 20 October

Shabbat service & Martin Zucker Bar Mitzvah

Friday 26 October Saturday 27 October

Kabbalat Shabbat with student Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

The next Open Mic Night will be on 21 October

bridge club

rosh chodesh

Mondays @ 8.00pm in the Small Hall

Our friendly woman’s circle, we welcome the new month with spirituality, warmth, good conversation and the odd glass of wine. For details: Wika Dorosz,

book club

Saturday 13 October Special Singing Shabbat & Mogilev Expedition to speak

open mic night

Wednesday 10 October @8.00pm, for details please call Sheila on 020 8445 3284 We are reading ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes film club

Sunday 14 October @7.30pm, ‘The Browning Version’. For details please see page 13

Tuesday 16 October (Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan): Jewish Healing Thursday 15 November (Rosh Chodesh Kislev): The Role of Women in Judaism Thursday 13 December (Rosh Chodesh Tevet): Jewish women in politics

Shabbat Service with student Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

mitzvah day is here again! Put sunday 18th november into your diary and help fps join others across the country (and across the world!), to go out and work to improve our communities.

people we warmly welcome new members

our sincerest condolences

Debbie Dwek and Ben Hyde with Thomas and James Hyde

To Sarah Rosen Webb on the death of her mother Gertrude Webb in Boston To the family of Molly Walter, mother of Meynell and Naomi To the family and friends of Bella Walls, widow of Jack Walls And to the family of Pearl Barnett, mother of Wendy Coleman

congratulations and mazal tov

To the family of Martin Zucker on his Bar Mitzvah To Benji Aarons and his wife Tehila who got married in Israel in August And to Danny Rich and Laura Lassman who celebrated their wedding in September

Current projects (to be confirmed) include: entertaining the elderly potting tulip bulbs follow up the visit tidying and weeding a cemetery tree planting with the woodland trust painting and decorating More details to follow! If you have a project near to your heart that you think we should become involved in, contact sarah or andrea. this is your chance have fun and help others! contacts: andrea narcin / sarah rosen webb /



Beit Midrash learning at fps cafe ivriah

An informal and lively Saturday morning chat over coffee for Ivriah parents and others. With the new earlier start to Ivriah, Café Ivriah will now offer coffee from 09.30am and discussion from 09.45-10.45am. beit midrash on thursday

Our flagship evening of Learning has an outstanding programme for this term. On Thursday evenings 4, 11, 18, 25 October, 7.30-9.30pm (note new time) we will offer:

along to the first session. Places for Pilates need to be reserved and paid in advance – please contact Adrian as soon as possible. lunch & learn

Every Wednesday 12.30 – 2.00pm Hot learning topics with tea and cake – bring a sandwich or lunch. Starts again 10 October with an outing to the British Museum fps breakfast shiur

Tea, coffee and cake break shared by all classes Entrance is free with voluntary donation to cover the cost of tea and coffee. Pilates is charged at £40 for the four sessions.

Saturday 20 October – 8.45am / Professor Mark Pagel – What made us human? Human beings share over 98% identity in the sequence of their genes to chimpanzees and over 99% with the now extinct Neanderthals. Why, then, did this one species – Homo sapiens – go on to occupy the world and produce art, music, religion and technologies while all others have remained essentially unchanged throughout their existence? We will explore the uniquely human invention of cumulative cultural adaptation and how that invention has moulded our species psychology, morality and behaviour. Mark Pagel is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Reading and an External Professor at the renowned Santa Fe Institute in the USA. He has travelled the world studying evolution and the spread of cultures, is the editor-in-chief of the award winning Oxford Encyclopaedia of Evolution, co-author of The Comparative Method in Evolutionary Biology, and author of articles in many journals. His new book Wired for Culture was published March 2012.

Important: If you wish to attend October Beit Midrash, please inform Adrian Lister on or just come

Breakfast Shiur in November: Eliott Karstadt – David and Uriah: Temptation, Baths and Corrupt Kings.

Science and Religion – conflict or compromise? Led by Adrian Lister, formerly Professor of Biology at University College London and now a Research Leader at the Natural History Museum. Tohu Vavohu Formless and void (Gen 1: 2): A Rabbinic perspective on evolution. Led by Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism. 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


At FPS on Saturday 6 October at 7.30pm In aid of the President’s Fund Tickets: £15.00 in advance; £20.00 at the door Refreshments: Cheese and Wine included


Yoga for Spirits

Arts at FPS richard kravetz

When Rabbi Rebecca asked me to conduct a workshop on the above topic it sent me scurrying to research and establish links between Yoga, Judaism and Spiritualism. I asked myself 3 questions. 1. What is Yoga and why participate? 2. What is Judaism and why go to Shul? 3. What does Spiritual mean? I could answer the first relatively easily, with over 20 years’ experience teaching yoga students. However, as a synagogue attendee I struggled with my reasons and, more specifically, wanted to take a closer look at the nature of my relationship with my place of worship. It is here that I established links between Yoga and Judaism. I went to both as a place of refuge from the chaos of everyday life, to spend quality time in a place that felt safe and raised

my spirits and feeling of well-being. I felt good about attending and uplifted as a result of participating. I also established that there were spiritual undertones to both - Yoga (viewed as physical) is ultimately a preparation for Meditation (Stillness of mind), a practice where words have no relevance, but being present without distraction does. Regular Meditators talk about experiencing a Higher State of Consciousness and I would advocate that parts of a Synagogue service or powerful sermon can resonate in a similar way. In Yoga there is a word “Sankalpa” which means an intention to change something in your life. Concentrating on this during Meditation helps sow the seed inside you and to strengthen the resolve - It compares in my view to the introspection that takes place during the High Holy Days . A wonderful Indian Swami I had the privilege to meet on my first trip to India talked about happiness and sadness as impermanent states and that we yearn for the former to remain and the latter to end. I believe when the dips occur then a spiritual connection has a part to play to redress the balance and bridge the gap. People are generally hard on themselves and suffer pain, stress, fear, and ailments that are undesirable – both Meditation and Prayer can be powerful antidotes - I would encourage you to delve deeper and take up our Rabbi’s CHAI challenge to come to Synagogue 18 hours more than we normally do.

curtain up!

sophie tucker

Meetings for Curtain Up! are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm, and the next meeting is scheduled for the 17 October.

A few years ago, Sue Kelvin, who is a brilliant actress and singer, did a one-woman show at the much missed New End Theatre in Hampstead, where she played the legendary Sophie Tucker. Her songs were heard round the world and her voice was unique. Sue has reproduced Sophie Tucker to the life, in a show written by her husband, Chris Burgess. It’s funny, sad and very moving. Anyone who saw it at the New End will not have forgotten the experience.

The play for discussion is The Last of the Haussmans at the Lyttelton. Note that it closes on 11 October. Also note that a live performance from the National Theatre will be shown at the Phoenix Cinema on 11 October.

the screen on the grove 14 October 2012, 7:30 pm | The Browning Version The Browning Version has recently been presented in the West End in a superb revival and was the topic of a Curtain Up discussion. Written as a short, one act play, it may well be the finest work by playwright Terence Rattigan. When the decision was made in 1951 to create a full length film version with Michael Redgrave in the lead, Rattigan was asked to extend the play. He agreed to do so and the result is one of the great British films of all time. Whether you saw the West End production or not, it will be fascinating to see how Rattigan expanded his masterpiece so successfully.

Now FPS member, Sue Kelvin, is reprising the show at The Arts Depot N12 Wednesday 24 October 3pm Matinee & 7.30 pm, Thursday 25 October, 7.30 pm Not to be missed!

coming up

11 November 2012, 7:30 pm | Sunshine (2007) with Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz 2 December 2012. 7:30pm | The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason

Rosh Hashana Family Day



october at ivriah


kabbalat torah

Friday 5 October from 4.30 pm Friday Ivriah followed by Friday night service

LJY Netzer is the Liberal Judaism Youth movement. LJY’s main event is Kadimah, the 2 week annual summer camp. At camp we do things which anywhere else would be seen as weird but not on Kadimah... We pretend to be ninjas, play the strangest games, sing crazy songs, sing slightly more normal songs, sing all other kinds of songs, eat amazing (vegetarian) food, meet the best people ever, learn about Judaism, Israel and many other things, pray, practise leadership skills, learn completely random, unnecessary skills such as how to eat a doughnut without licking your lips and what to do if you ever find yourself sleeping in a tent with a very large spider. At the end of your first Kadimah you say “those were the best two weeks of my life” and every year those words are repeated. I don’t know how they do it, but somehow LJY manage to top themselves every single year. Why wait... sign up for the next camp!

Hannah and I were very excited to welcome our new Kabbalat Torah students this weekend, as we joined the community in preparing for the High Holy Days. The first session was only the start of a whole term of exciting activities we have lined up, which we hope will leave our young adults with Jewish friendships, Jewish memories, and Jewish learning. Activities over the following months include visits to the Jewish Museum and to Hoop Lane Cemetery, contributing to the community’s Mitzvah Day efforts, playing a day-long wide game across

Saturday 6 October from 9.30 am Shabbat Ivriah Shabbat B’Yachad Service including Kita Aleph Consecration Service Friday 12 October from 4.30 pm Friday Ivriah followed by Friday night Family Service KT weekend trip to Prague (home on 14th) Saturday 13 October from 9.30 am Shabbat Ivriah Friday 19 October from 4.30 pm Friday Ivriah followed by Shabbat Resouled Service Saturday 20 October from 9.30 am Shabbat Ivriah Shabbat Service including the barmitzvah of Martin Zucker Kids’ Kehillah Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October & Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November Ivriah half term

Jess Lichtenstern



Saturdays 3.30-5.30 Dance your shoes off! Contact Denny Kingston on 020 8482 2149

mini-rikud Saturdays 12.30-2.30 Bring a packed lunch!

Young People of FPS! Come and get involved in a brand new youth club!


Elliott Karstadt


Young People of FPS! Come and get involved in a brand new youth club! Games, trips, food and LJY-Netzer madness!

Between 5pm and 7pm on : September 22nd October 6th: WJR sleepover night October 20th November 3rd November 17th December 1st December 15th

TheBetween new Youth Club is going to be run by Sam 5pm and 7pm on : Grant—ifSeptember you have22any questions please do get October 6 : WJR sleepover in touch : or night 020 7631 0584: forward to seeing you! OctoberLooking 20 nd


Games, trips, food and LJY-Netzer madness!




London, and a three-day trip to Prague. All this will mean that they return to the GCSE in religious studies in January with energy and enthusiasm, having built a solid social ground on which to build their Jewish learning. Anyone interested in helping out with any of our trips, or who knows of other opportunities for us to get our dynamic teenagers involved with, please contact the Synagogue office.

The new Youth Club is going to be run by Sam Grant—if you have any questions please do get



November 3rd November 17th December 1st December 15th



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 October Edition  

Shofar October Edition

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