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eighty faces

eighty years

AROUND PINNER IN EIGHTY FACES a film celebrating 80 members of our community - watch for further details



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CONTENTS FIRST THINGS FIRST 4 | Dear Friends Rabbi Kurzer

24 |


| Bringing It Home Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer

25 |



| Chair's Report Lisa Olins


| From The Editorial Team Margery Cohen, Elizabeth Harris, Marion Siskin


| Chief Rabbi’s RH Message Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis


| BoD President’s Message Marie van der Zyl


| US President's RH Message Michael Goldstein


| Care Corner Karen Kinsley

14 16 18

| Meet The New Council | Our N'shot Chayil

| Everything You Wanted To Know About An Eruv... Rabbi Kurzer

20 |

From The Community Directors Sara & Yonatan Levin


| The Process Of Learning to Lein Eli Bernstein

22 |

When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Translator David Lawson

23 |

Summer Social - A Sizzling Succes Judith Moore & Elizabeth Singer

Pinner's Powerful Pull

45 |

Ben Kasin-Lewis

Vera Bernstein

46 |

Our Love Story Sophie Conway

The Duke & I Dominic Olins

| Changing The World, One Carrot At A Time Phil Gershuny

28 |

Survival In Slovakia

Opening The Secret Room


| The Day I Met Prince Philip Edna Terret

48 |

Bradislaw Who? Richard Breger

Jeffrey Samuels

29 | 30 | 32 |

Pinner Celebrates 80 Years


33 |

50 | 51 | 52 | 59 |

34 |


Place To Visit In Pinner Our Members' Recollections Ruth Stuber & Brian Conway

Shtisel & Schmooze Gill Stoller GardensRus - Welcome To Our Gardens Helen Levy

36 |

10th Pinner Brownie Pack A Tribute To Two Volunteers


A Pinner Bake Off Rosh Hashanah Greetings

53 | Pinner Shul Book Club Leonie Lewis 53 | Lanku Goes To The Royal Academy Sandra Breger

55 |

A Cryptic Crossword Avid Old Swan

Paul Erd

Letter Mem

62 |

Simon Hodes

39 |

Simcha Photos

54 | Lawrence's Walks Lawrence Brown

| Fate Known

38 |

People’s Page

Jewish Dictionary: Etrog Margery Cohen

40 | A Halachic Finger In The Dyke? Stewart Dresner

Ora Gets Cooking Janet Lipton

61 | Heritage And History - North Of The Border Marcia & David Korman

42 | Lacquered But Not Knackered Sherrie Charlton Pinner Synagogue

Editorial team: Margery Cohen, Elizabeth Harris, Marion Siskin Photos: Contributors Magazine designed and printed by: Express Print Ltd Harrow Business Centre, 429-433 Pinner Road, North Harrow, HA1 4HN t: 020 8567 8727 e:

Office Hours: Monday to Thursday 08:30am – 12:00 noon Sunday 10:00am – 12:00 noon Administrator: Carolyn Abrahams Tel: 020 8868 7204 Email:

Disclaimer: Pinner Synagogue does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the content of any articles in Community Magazine or the consequences of relying on it. Any views, beliefs, viewpoints or opinions expressed by the various contributors and participants are those of the contributor or participant at the time of submission, and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Pinner Synagogue, the Editor or any of its employees, agents or subcontractors. Pinner Synagogue shall have no responsibility for any action or omission taken by any person on the basis of reading information or contributions in Community magazine. Advertisers should pay close attention to the requirements of all applicable legislative requirements and advertising codes of conduct when advertising in Community magazine, particularly regarding the accurate descriptions of all goods and services offered to readers of Community magazine. Pinner Synagogue shall have no responsibility or liability in relation to the provision of goods or services offered by advertisers in Community magazine.

First Things First

Dear Friends

by Rabbi Kurzer


As I write this, we are approaching what has become known as ‘Freedom Day’. In February the government announced that the fourth and final step of the lockdown roadmap would mean the end of all legal restrictions by the government and, with a bit of delay and much debate, it looks like it will be sticking to that plan. Personally, I had always pictured the end of legal restrictions as the moment we would all come together to celebrate – a huge party revelling in the return to life as it once was – but it does not look like that will happen.

eaving aside the varying opinions on how sensible this approach is, what has been most interesting to me is that the government has effectively left the decision up to each organisation, venue or individual. Without commenting on this from the perspective of public health, it has struck me that I can no longer simply follow procedures because that is what I am told to do, I have to actually think about what is best for me as an individual, as a part of my family and as a member of my community and this, I believe, is actually at the core of what Rosh Hashanah is about. Judaism comes with many rules – a halachic system that I value tremendously and have spent many thousands of hours trying to familiarise myself with. Yet one crucial fact that is so often missed is the way that the halachic system tailors itself to each individual, in each circumstance. While eating, speaking, working and more are governed by detailed laws, almost every regulation has exceptions and exemptions designed to make it fit with every person, time and place. Usually a system riddled with exemptions is a nightmare for law enforcement. It is almost impossible to police laws that come with a list of ready-made excuses to choose from. The end of legal social distancing restrictions (whether right or wrong) is a great example of that – some will choose to be cautious, practice social responsibility and be sensible, while others simply won’t. But the Torah is not an ordinary legal system and the ultimate law enforcement is not done by police or courts or rabbis or any other human being – it is done through a one-on-one honest encounter between each individual and the Almighty. The Yamim Noraim are the epicentre of this confrontation but it is a permanent relationship every moment of our lives. G-d’s Torah, as our guide book, more than giving us binary rules to live by sets expectations for us as individuals. While that seems the easier option to have a list of ready-made excuses, that only works if we’re trying to fool others – when being honest with ourselves, only real reasons work. Let us take a simple example. The Torah expects us to give to charity but when someone puts a collecting tin in front of us, there are lots of good reasons not to give, whether it is because we have just given generously to another charity, we don’t have cash on us at that moment or money is just a little tight at that time, there are many legitimate reasons why we may politely decline the request. There are only two parties who know whether our justification is genuine or not – us and

4 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

G-d. In fact, it is a little more complicated than that because often we get into habits and actually begin to fool ourselves. In that moment we tell ourselves we have good reason for acting a certain way but if we stopped to consider, we may realise that we could have actually managed better than we did. That is what the journey from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is there for. It is the time we can take a break from our habits and genuinely analyse whether we could be doing better. Are there areas we could improve on? Could we stretch ourselves a little further? Sure, we have many good reasons not to, but when no one is listening, this is the time to be honest with ourselves and with our Creator. From Shabbat to kashrut to Torah study, interpersonal laws and more, when we appreciate the significance of each mitzvah, we will use this special time to consider, not how we can get away with doing less, but how we can maximise our opportunities to do more. I think of Rosh Hashanah as ‘Freedom Day’ – the day on which we remind ourselves that Jewish law is not a series of dos and don’ts but a guide to life. The Torah does not dictate to us so much as it puts the onus on us to realise our potential. For the rest of the year we can tell whoever will listen (including ourselves) why we can’t but on these days at least, we take an honest look inside, have an open conversation with the Master of the Universe and think about how we want our year ahead to look like and what we truly can accomplish. May the year ahead bring us freedom in every sense – freedom from challenging restrictions, freedom from the risks of Covid-19 and perhaps most of all, freedom to pursue life in its fullest sense and be the best version of ourselves. Wishing each member of our wonderful community a year of blessing, happiness and success. Rabbi Kurzer and family

First Things First

Bringing It Home While the world watched England trying to bring football home – I decided instead, to take the opportunity to write for this year’s Rosh Hashanah magazine. Unfortunately, whilst it didn’t quite come home this time around, I can’t help but find it ironic that England was out in force singing about ‘home’ as the world begins to open up again.


t feels like just another slogan to add to ‘work from home’ and ‘stay at home’. So, as we move out of by Abi Kurzer the coronavirus regulations and begin to open up our Shul to welcome people back to some sense of pre-Covid normality, I have begun to wonder about what sort of things we could still be ‘bringing home’. One thing that has struck me over the past year is how little some parts of our community know about other parts of the community. This perhaps has become more exaggerated during Covid as we stay within our ‘bubbles’ and are very specific about what we take part in. For example, in pre-Covid times at the end of Shul, children would come into Shul for Adon Olam or go to the main Shul kiddush, but since children’s services restarted after Pesach they have been scheduled to start and finish so they don’t clash with the main service to prevent any unnecessary mixing. The stream of people in and out of a building on a Sunday morning is now a trickle, so few people notice the Bat Mitzvah programme, or SPARK kids programme. Additionally, when people don’t read the weekly newsletter they don’t notice all the incredible programming organised by so many brilliant people within our community available for all ages and stages over the past year. The challenge is, we all know the saying ‘out of sight out of mind’ and in this situation I believe that sometimes people don’t realise that ‘young families’ among other demographics are a huge part of our community simply because they may not see them. If anything, Covid hopefully has taught us the opposite, that everyone, no matter how often you attend, or where you live or what stage of life you are in are part of our wonderful community. So here is what I am proposing – moving into 5782. Let’s get to know different parts of our community by inviting them to ‘come home’. For those who are able to, and I appreciate that not everyone is, let’s reach out to invite people at a different stage of life, whether youger or older, to welcome them for a bit of good ol’ Shabbat hospitality. Perhaps a meal, but it could also be a Kiddush after Shul, or an afternoon tea. It’s about stretching ourselves a little bit further to reach out to others who we may not naturally interact with, to perhaps counteract the limits that we have needed to follow over the past year. This idea is actually mentioned by Maimonidies (1138 -1204), the medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, when he wrote in Hilchot De’ot that the correct path is neither one extreme nor another, but rather the middle

path. However, there are times that we tend to veer towards one side, so in order to bring us back to the middle we need to counterbalance it by going to a greater extreme in the opposite direction. Over the past 18 months we have all been in a position where we have been unable to extend ourselves to reach out to others with hospitality, and so perhaps during times when we are allowed to, we can push ourselves that little bit more than we would usually, to reach out to others in our community to invite them in. I do believe that it is these little gestures that grow a community. It is also a crucial part of our Jewish identity. When a couple stands under a chuppah it is open on all four sides – a reference to the tent of Avraham and Sara who were meticulous in their mitzvah of ‘Hachnasat orchim’ ‘welcoming guests’. It wasn’t easy for them - on the hottest day of the year, just after Avraham had surgery, but it was fundamental to who they were, and by extension, as their descendants who we are too. So, I think that’s what Baddiel and Skinner probably meant when they sang ‘it’s coming home’ because we can all bring it home in 5782. Wishing you all a Shana Tova – a happy, sweet and healthy new year. Rebbetzen Abi

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SHANA TOVA 5 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

First Things First

Chair’s Report As I sit here writing my first Chair’s Report for the Rosh Hashanah Community Magazine, it is mid-July, a few days before ‘Freedom Day’. It has been (and continues to be) an amazing summer of sport, with football almost coming home and the Olympics still to come.


any of us will be starting, perhaps tentatively, to return to some semblance of social by Lisa Olins activity with restaurants, cinemas, and theatres gradually opening up and a greater choice of things to do! However, I am fully aware that many of us are still not ready to go out and participate in bigger group activities when Coronavirus is very much still present and active. With this knowledge, and it being only 10 weeks since I took over from Jonathan Mindell as your Chair, my plan is to continue to steer us gradually through the new hybrid communal world we are beginning to inhabit where communal activities take place in person, via your computer or increasingly both so that more people than ever can participate. Before running through some examples of how this has been achieved so far, the incoming Executive and I would like to thank Jonathan for his amazing leadership throughout this most rocky of periods. As I begin my chapter at the helm of Pinner Shul, I would like to personally thank Jonathan for his continued support. In addition, thanks must go to Gerald Isaac and Nigel Presky who stood down as wardens in May, as well as Jon Sober who retired as our Financial Representative. Finally, thank you to the outgoing council who supported the executive as we endeavoured to steer the community through some very unusual waters over the last few years. As you are aware, a new Executive has taken over and I am joined by Shereen Presky and Jeffrey Samuels as Vice-Chairs, Dee Beth as Financial Representative, Martin Grossman as Warden and Anne Erdunast as our Women’s Officer. The new Council of Management comprises three female members - Zara Spilka, Debra Levin and Elizabeth Singer and two male members - Jon Sober and David Jay. For Dee, Anne, Elizabeth and David this is their first time participating in shul management and I thank them for ‘stepping up’. They bring a variety of experience and, together with those who have continued in their roles or taken on new ones, we are looking forward to what the future holds.

So, what has been going on in the community since I became your Chair? In mid-May we were honoured with an early morning visit by the Chief Rabbi who joined our Shacharit minyan. He was visiting all United Synagogue communities with the same purpose: to thank our members for enabling regular weekday minyanim to continue. I also wish to thank our regulars for your commitment to maintaining our minyanim. 6 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

There have been a variety of on-going activities both on Zoom (what would we have done over the last 18 months without it!) and, latterly, in-person - with Zoom too if the technology works! ORA (our monthly session for ladies), PEP (our fortnightly educational lectures), and Chat & Share continue to bring a variety of speakers from both inside and outside the community. There have been large and smaller audiences for these talks, but the choice of speakers has meant that there has been a wide variety for all. After many months of being unable to provide activities for our children and young people, our Community Directors - Sara and Yonatan - have been able to create new programmes both on Zoom and in person over the last few months. Our Batmitzvah Group, a Barmitzvah breakfast and Children’s Services have taken place together with an outing to GoApe and a Shabbat Schmooze. In addition, their parents have been able to get together for on-line quizzes and socials - including a BBQ in the Shul Courtyard! You may recall that in May the whole United Synagogue community was surveyed to explore our experiences during the pandemic as well as how as members we are likely to behave in the near future. The resulting survey produced a 14.5% response rate but in Pinner our response rate was 22% (equating to 184 members). Thank you for taking the time to respond and also for your overwhelmingly positive feedback. The headline results for Pinner were that we outperformed the total US membership polled in Overall Satisfaction, Communications, Welfare, Online Prayer and Online Programming. It seems that the main driver of this is the continuation of ‘person to person contact’ which we have all worked hard to try to maintain. As you can imagine the survey has spawned many pie-charts, bar charts and statistics (a report on its own could and eventually will be written), but the most important thing is to pay attention to the constructive comments you have written. These will be studied and used as we plan how to move the community forward. By the time you read my report, you will have received information about our plans for the Yamim Noraim. We are pleased to have resumed the use of the Harrow Arts Centre and this will widen the options available we hope to offer. In closing, I would just like to wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy and sweet New Year – Shana Tova U’metuka Lisa Olins

First Things First

From the Editorial Team insert which forms the centre of the magazine. We have also looked to the youth of the synagogue with contributions from New Generation.

by Margery Cohen

Elizabeth Harris

Marion Siskin

We asked our Board of Management ‘what lessons the pandemic had taught them’? As you can see on p14 the answers were mainly positive. That is not to pretend it has been an easy time for anyone, but it has made us all count our blessings.


he Shul has continued to flourish and the Community Directors have established themselves despite the barriers they faced. We were able to visit (and admire) the gardens of the community and discuss the popular ‘Shtisel’ on Shabbat afternoons. We can look forward to Gesher School opening and hopefully, getting back to a more social community life. We were unable to fully celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Shul, but have marked the occasion with a special

We are ready to welcome you to our homes.

Although it has been done before, we reiterate our thanks to the outgoing Board of Management and their support team for their herculean efforts over the past 18 months and have no doubt that the new members of the Board will build on the new initiatives and move forward as we are able to open up once again. We include in that the Rabbi and Rebbetzen and the Pinner Care team. We received many compliments for the last edition of Community – thank you and we hope that this one will also meet with your approval. However, we are looking for an Editor to bring new ideas and to shape the magazine for the future. You would have the support of the Editorial Team – all you would need is enthusiasm for Pinner Synagogue and the varied life it has to offer. We would not like to see the future of the magazine in jeopardy, and want to see it continue as one of the best Shul magazines around. Do we hear someone out there saying ‘A job I couldn’t refuse?’ Please contact the office in the first instance if you would like to take this on. We wish you all a Shana Tova and a very sweet New Year. The Editorial Team

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping our residents safe has been our priority. Our experienced and caring staff ensure our homes have the highest level of cleanliness, regular testing and ample amounts of PPE. We also know how essential it is for you to stay in touch with your loved one. We have made sure that families stay connected through one on one visits, video calls, special visiting pods and garden visits when possible. Each of our homes is a very special community with daily activities promoting wellbeing and stimulating both body and mind. We proudly celebrate our Jewish life and enjoy Shabbat and festivals together as well as delicious Kosher food. For more information please call our team on 020 8922 2222 or email


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The Chief Rabbi’s Pesach Message 5778

First Things First

We have a fascinating family custom: at the Pesach Seder our family sings the words of the passage known as ‘Chasal Siddur Pesach’ to the tune of Chanukah’s Maoz Tzur. This has prompted me to consider what the festivals of Pesach and Chanukah have in common. Of course, both celebrate the miraculous intervention of the Almighty to save our people and both are eight days long in the Diaspora. Interestingly, if necessary, Jewish law requires one to sell one’s clothing or receive tzedakah in order to purchase candles for the Chanukiah. This is strikingly similar to Pesach, when one is required to sell one’s clothing or receive tzedakah in order to buy wine for the required four cups. There was also a fascinating and beautiful custom among the Jews of Izmir in Turkey to use their leftover oil from the previous Chanukah to light a small oil lamp, which they used for Bedikat Chametz, the search for chametz, on the night before Pesach.

The Chief Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah Message 5782

Yet, the most substantive, thematic connection between Chanukah and Pesach is the centrality of education as a Jewish value. Both festivals lead us to appreciate the crucial importance of learning in our tradition; a lesson encapsulated by our Sages, who declared, Vetalmud Torah Keneged Kulam – the study of Torah supersedes all (Mishnah Pe’ah 1). The Hebrew word Chanukah (dedication) comes from the same root as chinuch (education).

Indeed, dedication to education is a key feature of the Chanukah narrative. The survival of our In 1968, social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley conducted a remarkable asteaching the spiritual legacy, despite the intentions of the Hellenists, wasstudy, rooted in ourknown commitment to Torah and its values. Smoky Room Experiment.


ubjects were placed alone in a room and asked to complete a task. While they were doing so, smoke began to fill the room from a nearby air vent. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of subjects reported the smoke within a matter of minutes. However, when subjects were placed in the same room in groups, the results were dramatically different. Rather than reporting the smoke, the subjects looked to one another. If the others in the room seemed unmoved by the smoke, it was ignored. The authors of the study observed that, if people are alone when they notice an emergency, they consider themselves solely responsible for dealing with it. However, when others are also present, they feel less of a responsibility for taking action. As social beings, we often cannot help but use the actions of others as our frame of reference for the way in which we choose to behave. This poses a profound challenge to our society. Can we lead more environmentally sustainable lives or act cautiously to prevent the spread of Covid when those around us seem disinclined to do the same? Can we lead lives of responsibility and morality when those around us do not? The Jewish answer to this challenge is our High Holy Days. The Torah reading for Rosh Hashanah seems a surprising choice. On the anniversary of the creation of the world, we would surely expect to read about the creation from the Book of Genesis. Instead, we read the story of a person who was born into a world of idolatry and sacrilege. Yet, Abraham, the father of our people, repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to Hashem without hesitation. He became the first parent in our tradition to circumcise their son and was even prepared to countenance sacrificing him.

The primary purpose of the Pesach seder is education - “And you shall relate to your child on that day saying, “It is because of this that the Almighty performed these miracles for me when I left Egypt” (Shemot 13:8). But, more than that, the Pesach seder itself sets out the ideal framework for the most impactful education – an audio-visual, experiential encounter which utilises storytelling, questioning and a veritable assault on our senses to ensure that the experience is an unforgettable treat. It is no accident that of all our traditions, the seder night remains the most widely observed, even in families who would otherwise consider themselves entirely secular. Research has shown that more Jews attend a Pesach seder every year than those who fast on Yom Kippur. Pesach teaches us what the best teachers already know – that the most effective education must be experiential.

5782, the High Holydays provide a precious opportunity for each one of us to look deep within ourselves and reframe our attitude and our behaviour. Let us be guided by our eternal Torah values rather than the transient whims of others. In doing so, may we all be blessed with a future of spiritual This lesson is of particular relevance to us today. British Jewry is blessed to have truly outstanding fulfilment, joy success. schools which, year on and year, are heralded as being amongst the finest in the country. I am always personally moved by the dedication shown by trustees, governors and staff at our wonderful schools and they would be the first to say that there is nothing more impactful or foundational to a Jewish child’s identity, than a powerful Jewish experience.

Shana Tovah,

Whatever the setting; formal or informal, at school or at home, may this Pesach present an opportunity for us to refocus on a truism of Jewish life – the greatest key to a successful Jewish future is quality Jewish education.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis

Valerie and I wish you a chag kasher ve sameach.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis March 2018 • Nisan 5778

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While not hiding behind the standards and expectations of those around him, Abraham knew what Hashem required of him. No amount of social pressure could dissuade him from his life of truth and sanctity. On the Yamim Noraim, each one of us stands, accountable for our deeds, before Hashem. As we recite so powerfully in our Musaf prayers: Just as a shepherd appraises his flock; just as he passes every sheep beneath his staff; so too, every one of us is counted and evaluated by Hashem. There is nobody for us to hide behind, nor anyone for us to blame. As such, our High Holy Days are a moment of the purest and most honest dialogue with our Creator. He knows every challenge we face as well as our capacity to rise to them. The last eighteen months have been a period of extraordinary adversity which has imposed challenges upon us all in ways that we may only be beginning to understand. As we enter 8 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

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Wishing You A Happy & Healthy New Year

First Things First


Message from the President This past year has been a difficult one for the Jewish community. Like the rest of the country, we have had to cope with disruption, and for many, the heartbreak of the ongoing pandemic. On top of this we have also had to deal with a frightening upsurge in anti-Jewish racism.


hen there is conflict in the Middle East Marie van der Zyl there are usually consequences for Jews in the UK but this year what we experienced was beyond anything I can remember. Antisemitic incidents rose by 500 per cent and none of us will forget the convoy of cars driving through our streets with shouted threats and misogynistic abuse plus other well documented attacks. This is intolerable and the Board of Deputies acted quickly to ensure that the Government was aware and prepared to take whatever measures were needed. The Jewish community held meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel. I called for the proscription of Hamas in its entirety. We also called for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by social media companies and their new regulator Ofcom. I am glad to report that the Government has now written to social media companies to request them to adopt the IHRA definition. While the epidemic has ebbed and flowed we have worked with the Government to share important messages in order to

❝ The Jewish community held

to the Commission on Racial Inclusivity which reported this year and which made 119 recommendations, with profound implications for UK Jews. I would also like to thank all the new organisations which have joined this year, making us even more representative of the community. We will continue to work just as hard on your behalf in the coming year. Shana Tovah

Marie van der Zyl President

Shana Tova from KKL Wishing the community a healthy, happy and sweet New Year For information about our legal and pastoral services, please get in touch

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meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel. ❞

keep everybody safe and we have advised on safe numbers for prayer and religious occasions. We have also had the sad but necessary duty of collating numbers of deaths. Our community has enthusiastically embraced the vaccine which is one of the main reasons why numbers of deaths has been mercifully few in the past few months. Those who know the Board of Deputies will understand we work on a diverse set of issues. It is impossible to list everything in a short message. However, I will give a mention

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9 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

First Things First

President of the United Synagogue’s Rosh Hashanah message 5782 Rosh Hashanah is all about new beginnings. We say in shul: Hayom harat olam, “Today is the creation of the world”. Rosh Hashanah is considered the ‘birthday’ of the world as tradition holds that Rosh Hashanah was when Adam, the first human, was created. The word harat is a tricky one to translate. It comes from the Hebrew root ‘h-r-h’ which means gestation or pregnancy.


uilding on this, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz z’l (1937-2020) suggests that Rosh Hashanah is considered to be a little like a pregnancy: although there is a child there, it is not born yet and nobody knows what it will be or how it will turn out. Michael Goldstein

It is this sense of starting anew, of a fresh injection of new potential, of putting behind us any mistakes or false starts, that I find one of the most uplifting aspects of Rosh Hashanah. Which of us hasn’t committed ourselves to spending some time connecting more with our religion, only to find ourselves being beaten by work or family commitments? Now is the time. So Rosh Hashanah at its core is, in a sense, all of our birthdays – a day of renewal, of new beginnings. This time of year affords us all the opportunity to take stock and ask ourselves some difficult questions: am I being the best me I can be? Am I making every day count? How can I make the world a better place? For many of our members, this Rosh Hashanah will also mark the start of their return to shul. Although Coronavirus is still with us, as I write this, lockdown restrictions have been lifted and much of the population has been vaccinated. I know this will mean, as our recent membership survey suggested, that many members will be more comfortable returning to shul and we are so excited to welcome you back, whether for services, events, volunteering or even a fishball at kiddush. Our membership survey also highlighted some of the challenges the United Synagogue faces. Some members told us how they were not satisfied with the provision for young people in their community during Covid. We are committed to redressing this balance now that young people’s programmes can once again take place in person. Members were also clear that they want to engage through both online and in-person events and services. This ‘hybrid’ model of community means we need to explore how to make the most of new technologies that continue to allow participation from afar as well as enjoying the many benefits that human-to-human contact brings – while ensuring we keep our members safe. We know the journey to this Rosh Hashanah has had its challenges. I want to pay testament on behalf of my fellow 10 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Trustees to the extraordinary work of your Rabbinic and lay teams supported by your shul office team and colleagues at head office. Without them, and the thousands of volunteers across our organisation, there would be no United Synagogue. It has been an incredibly difficult year since my last Rosh Hashanah message. But with your participation in your community and the support of the Almighty, we will have, please God, a bright future. Shana tova, may we all have a happy and successful year ahead, and, above all, a healthy one.

Michael Goldstein, President. United Synagogue

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First Things First

CST wishes our community a

peaceful, healthy & safe New Year

This Rosh Hashanah, we will hope and pray for a

Demonstrations have included Jihadi battle cries

better year ahead, one in which we are able to

against Jews.

lead our Jewish lives to the full. In recent months, CST has given numerous The volunteers and staff of CST, Community

reports to the police that have led to arrests and

Security Trust, will do everything that we can to

prosecutions for antisemitic behaviour. This was

help ensure that antisemitism does not interfere

partly due to information reported to us from

with our Jewish lives. We do this all year, every

Jewish members of the public, as well as our own

year. We do it with your help and cooperation.

specialist research work. This is the side of CST’s

We thank you.

protection that goes largely unseen, whereas our physical security is much more obvious.

This May, when Israel was at war, many British Jews saw the sad extent to which antisemitism is still

Both sides of CST’s work depend upon you

a problem. This Jew-hatred changes over time,

playing your part: the security and the research.

but it never disappears. It did not end with the

So please, keep reporting antisemitism to CST

Holocaust, nor with the creation of Israel: and this

and keep supporting us in our security work.

is why CST still does its work, in close partnership

We will continue to always work in partnership

with shuls, schools and Jewish organisations

with our shuls and communities.

throughout the country. May all of you and your families and friends The antisemitism came in many forms.

have a sweet new year.

Schoolchildren and university students felt it from those they had thought were their friends. Cars bearing Palestinian flags were aggressively driven through Jewish neighbourhoods, with drivers and passengers shouting abuse at people in the street.

Mark Gardner, Chief Executive, CST

Community Security Trust


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11 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

CARE CORNER ‘You shall love your fellow person as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18) There is no doubt in my mind that our community has risen to the challenge of looking after each other during this pandemic. The high value placed by the Jewish tradition on active concern for the welfare of others has its roots by Karen Kinsley in the Torah and especially the quote Welfare Coordinator above. What is the rationale for Jews’ concerning themselves with welfare? The verse above, together with the words ‘that your brother may live with you’ (Leviticus 25:35) portray one Jew’s concern for another. Jews have a familial responsibility for each other’s welfare. Maimonides, the great Spanish/North African sage of the 12th century, develops this rationale in codifying the ways in which this obligation is to be fulfilled: ‘It is a positive commandment, ordained by the rabbis, to visit the sick, to comfort mourners, to bury the dead…’ This is what is called ‘gemilut hasadim’, meaning ‘the giving of loving-kindness’. It is a fundamental social value in the everyday lives of Jews, and it is a mitzvah that an individual completes without the anticipation of receiving something in return. There is no fixed measure of gemilut hasadim, which is one reason why rabbinic teachers articulate the importance of doing it all the time. Everything that you want others to do for you, do for anyone who is your brother/sister. This principle implies a high degree of concern not only for others’ physical welfare, but also for their feelings and dignity. In such acts as visiting the sick or comforting mourners, one shows concern for those in emotional distress. I believe we, in our Pinner community, do this really well. And now feels like the time for moving forward! As I write this article in the middle of June, I am delighted to feel a strange feeling. ‘What is that feeling?’ I hear you ask! I think it is optimism – my dear old friend who I have not seen for a while! Things seem better and more hopeful than when I last wrote in January. Most of us are now double vaccinated and, just today, I was busy helping plan the return to the Shul premises of the Pop-Up Café ‘Chat & Share’ on Thursday mornings. Our community volunteers have been busy as usual in the last few months. Pesach was a little different again this year. Many of us were still alone but some of us were in our ‘bubbles’ with close family. Things were slightly better than last Pesach and as a synagogue and community, we were better prepared. The United Synagogue ran a number of events online around Pesach, and of course my volunteers were on hand to deliver any items that people needed and to deliver a hot meal here or there when people were ill, self-isolating or alone. I am sure we all hope to return to a 12 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Pesach next year when we can all be amongst our family or communities. Pre-Covid, there was a growing trend towards communal seders and I hope that we will return to such wonderful communal events in the near future. Our regular Thursday morning Pop up café ‘Chat & Share’ has continued to grow. Amongst the many speakers we have enjoyed over the last few months are Rabbi Coten on hospital visiting, a talk by the Jewish Poetry society, Rebbetzin Abi on Shavuot, Laurence Harris on researching our ancestors and David Roth on China and the future of commerce, to name just a few! The committee (Doreen Samuels, Hilary West, Leonie Lewis, Zara Spilka) are fabulous and inspiring women. The high quality of these coffee mornings is a testament to their planning and thought and will, of course, carry on when we move fully back to Shul premises. And so, we look forward to the summer, the Chagim and the rest of 2021. I hope you know that your community cares and please make sure you use that resource as and when it is needed. Befriending in our community is going from strength to strength. If you would like to volunteer to be a befriender or know someone who would benefit from a befriender, do get in touch. I have arranged some talks based on requests from members of our community. On the evenings of 4 and 11 October I will be hosting an online a webinar run by Leon Smith on ‘Embracing Ageing – making sure you and your family get the most out of older age’. This should be useful for all and will cover topics such as different types of housing when you need care, legal advice (including will writing) and many other difficult choices later in life. This promises to be really informative and I highly recommend it – after all, we will all get older and so will our families! Watch out for publicity later in the year. Happy New year to you all and I truly hope it is a good year for individuals, families and communities! L’shana Tova.

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Community Matters

Meet the new (or not so new) Council The Council of Management were asked what lessons the pandemic had taught them.

Chair Lisa Olins It has taught me to value my freedoms in general but particularly the freedom to be in a room with friends and family when and how I want. As Chair, it will inform the plans to regenerate the wonderful community feeling in Pinner. Who hasn’t missed kiddush and in-person events? We must also be mindful of those who have benefitted from online events and felt connected that way – their freedom is also vital to the community.

Vice-Chairperson Shereen Presky The last 17 months have been difficult for so many of us in various aspects of our lives, be it personal, financial or health. Personally, it has highlighted the constraints on our freedom to do what we have always done. However, what was missed most was the time we spend with firstly family, and secondly friends. As we emerge from this ‘cloud’, we should continue to make that special effort to treat everyone as equals and to have time for everyone we come into contact with.

Vice-Chairperson Jeffrey Samuels Covid-19 has meant that it has become routine for people to work from home. The work-slipper is a fashion accessory! The implication being that we have been living in a less toxic environment, a calmer and more caring, less frenetic world. This is mirrored in synagogal life. As we gradually return to a fuller programme, it would be good to incorporate the new values we have learnt, offering greater serenity in our interpersonal relationships and embracing the advantages of community via Zoom etc., without having to wear shoes! 14 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Warden Martin Grossman The separation and restrictions endured in the sometime surreal world since last March have reinforced my view of what is important in life; good health, family, friends and community. Throughout my various periods of office within the Pinner Community, I have striven to make all interactions between the members and the community a positive experience. Never has this community element been more important than now as we hopefully emerge from this period of lockdown.

Financial Representative Dee Beth The pandemic has taught me to treasure and appreciate what I have, a wonderful husband, caring children, beautiful and loving grandchildren and a lovely house to live in with a garden to sit and enjoy and I now take nothing for granted. I have learned that friends and the community of Pinner Shul are precious and should be nurtured and loved.

Women’s Officer Anne Erdunast Being part of a community is extremely important to me, be it Shul, choir or self-made communities like book group. My hope is that over the coming year as we reacquaint ourselves with each other we will build back the strength and connection we had before; for me that will mean encouraging gatherings across our peer groups so that we create a true community that learns from and looks out for each other up and down the generations.

Community Matters

David Jay Lockdown was not really that hard for us as we are both retired. However, our holiday plans have had to be put on hold. It is wonderful to be able to see family and friends without having to be outside. Although I hate wearing a mask for longer than a few minutes, I’ll still be wearing one when shopping or on public transport. Although I thought I’d be bored during lockdown, it has not proved to be so. I can’t remember what filled all my time though!

Debra Levin Never again will I take for granted sharing special occasions with my family and friends. I have missed catching up with members but enjoyed bumping into them whilst walking in Pinner. I look forward to the opportunity to help plan some communal events to give us the chance to start socialising again as a whole community.

Elizabeth Singer The pandemic has taught me that young children thrive on contact with other children and suffer when that is taken away. In my post on the Council I would like to work on attracting new young families to Pinner, and

to continue the work I have been doing over the last few years as co-chair of New Generation – creating fun and exciting opportunities for Pinner’s youngest children to build friendships, learn and have fun.

Jon Sober The pandemic has highlighted for me how widely individuals’ responses can vary to the same situation. We’ve all been exposed to similar news and information, but some people don’t believe, some take note but limited action, and some are exceedingly careful and thoughtful. I wonder whether each of us has a default approach, and how many of us really take time to think about each situation we find ourselves in.

Zara Spilka Life is precious – in every way. Having our ability to be with people curtailed over the last 16 months, whether socialising or working together, has shown how important our family and friends are to us and we need to value every minute we spend together. We have no control over the natural world or the actions of others and we must take the opportunities presented to us to enjoy life to its fullest, whenever we can.

15 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

Our N’shot Chayil Our N’Shot Chayil for this year grew up with very different experiences of Judaism; for one, it was intrinsic to their way of life and for the other, it was something that was disapproved of by the state, so was suppressed in many ways. Vera Bernstein had an unusual Her thoughts on this legacy can be seen in her article Survival introduction to England. She in Slovakia om p45 of Community magazine. Vera’s mother came on a working holiday in joined her daughters in England in 1975. 1968 to Butlins in Minehead for As her children grew up, Vera built a career as a translator and what was meant to be a summer. interpreter, using her skills as a speaker of Czech, Hungarian But during that period, the armies and mother tongue Slovak. Her expertise was particularly in of the Warsaw pact invaded her demand from government departments in the early 1990s native Czechoslovakia and her as the former Iron Curtain countries, including her native parents advised Czechoslovakia went through political In a company of 150 her not to return. turmoil and still does a small amount of From there people, Vera was one of translation for agencies. She studied at she became only ten female members of Harrow College and gained a degree in an au pair, but soon moved into a job in psychology and business, some 20 years staff and the only woman metallurgy, which she had studied in her after completing first degree. who worked in the labs homeland; she received sponsorship and was Vera and Lynda both participated in the refining precious metals able to complete her degree. Her work was Women of Worth (WOW) programme challenging in many ways – in the early days in 2016, which was part of the celebrations marking the 75th language was a barrier, but she found people to be very kind. anniversary of the shul; their reflections can be found in ‘My In a company of 150 people, she was one of only ten female Jewish Journey’ a collection of short essays by the participants members of staff and the only woman who worked in the labs in the programme. refining precious metals. Despite also being only one of two Jewish employees, she felt very secure. In her ‘retirement’ Vera enjoys all things cultural – bridge,

Vera was in contact with the WUJS and from there was introduced to the Israeli student house in West Hampstead. A young Israeli, who had come to England to study marine insurance, was asked to ‘look after’ her. Eli and Vera have now been married for 50 years. They moved a number of times, starting with Golders Green and moved to Ruislip as her sister was in the area. They moved to their present house in 1981 and Vera has no intention of living anywhere else. Although Vera hadn’t had a conventional Jewish upbringing, Eli was determined that their children should have a strong Jewish identity. Her perception of the British Jewish community in the past had been mixed, not always with positive connotations, but as time went on she and Eli found their own circle of friends and activities and she enjoys many aspects of Jewish life. She supports cultural activities of JW3 and prior to the pandemic attended the LSJS educational program in Pinner. Vera embraced the life of Pinner shul through her children, joining the Ladies’ Guild and being on the kiddush rota for a long time. She has also been a valued member of the welfare team for 30 years and has taken her responsibilities very seriously. She has been active in the committee for Yom Hashoah, particularly as a part of the ‘meet and greet’ team. Here, her mastery of languages stood her in good stead as she was able to converse in their mother tongue with many of the diplomatic personnel who attended our Yom Hashoah evenings over the years. She also brought the committee her own perspective as a daughter of a family who had experienced institutional anti-Semitism in Czechoslovakia. 16 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

books, theatre and opera – and swimming and walking. The friendships she has gained over the years are greatly valued and play an important part in her life, though of course they take second place to her children and five grandchildren. Lynda Ruback grew up in Edgware, as part of a traditional Jewish family as did her husband Sidney. She has been a member of Pinner Shul for almost all of her married life, having moved to Pinner following her marriage in 1974. Lynda went to Stanmore Shul regularly throughout her childhood, together with her sister Vicki and their mother Helen as their father had to go to work. In the early days Lynda and Sidney became part of the ‘Newcomers’, a group for young marrieds, and they very much embraced the life of the synagogue, socialising in each other’s houses. Lynda wasted no time in fully engaging in the life of the Pinner community, from becoming a member of the Pinups netball team where she was a member for 25 years to joining the Ladies’ Guild, where the duties included washing the tablecloths for the kiddush tables and putting out nuts and crisps. Long before there was the established welfare support that is so important to our shul today, Rabbi Grunewald had previously

Community Matters done much of the Bikkur Cholim – visiting the sick - himself. accountancy practice. Never one to relax, she now volunteers Later on Lynda and a few others joined Rabbi Grunewald in for a pharmacy on a weekly basis providing Covid-19 support this worthy mitzvah. She was a befriender for over 14 years, a post she is committed to and found through JVN (Jewish visiting one lady in her own home and taking another lady out Volunteering Network). She has also helped out at the annual to help her with her shopping. One couple in their late 90s, AJEX Parade as well as the annual Maccabi Fun Run. who lived in Northwood that Lynda had Although Lynda no longer plays netball, Lynda was a befriender for been supporting, celebrated their 70th practises judo, plays tennis or organises classes wedding anniversary. Not wanting to let over 14 years, visiting one for simcha dancing, she has now taken up them down on their special day, Lynda lady in her own home and bowls, which she enjoys together with regular and Sidney walked to Northwood and walks which have kept her active. She has to taking another lady out to back on Shabbat so that they could share organise her time carefully, but is never too help her with her shopping. in their afternoon celebrations. She was busy to do whatever is needed if she is asked to also a volunteer driver when asked and help out at the shul. As with Vera and the many hosted many of the popular monthly tea parties that are enjoyed well-deserving N’Shot Chayil who have preceded them, it is their by older members of the shul. These events give pleasure to both actions, often unseen (and unknown) to others that make Pinner the hosts and guests. Much of this has had to be put on hold shul the community it is and their recognition is well-deserved. over the past year or so, but there have been phone calls and In the address for the N’Shot Chayil that was zoomed at doorstep visits to keep the support going. Shavuot, Lynda described herself as a ‘doee, rather than a Lynda helped with the preparation of the annual Shul Melava doer’, but for someone with such energy and commitment Malka which were really successful. She also joined the SEED to the shul she is rather under-selling herself. Sidney, her two programme and enjoyed learning on a one-to-one basis with children and seven grandchildren would probably agree. her partner where she also organised a SEED Melava Malka. Despite the differences in upbringing and approach, our Hopefully we can look forward to the time when celebratory N’Shot Chayil have both bought their strength and energy to communal gatherings are once again commonplace. Pinner Shul, contributing in their individual ways. They were Lynda had a varied career, working in a range of jobs in also able to celebrate Shavuot with their friends and family – an administrative capacity, ranging from a large industrial despite ‘challenges’ from the weather. holding company, a beauty salon to an optician’s practice We wish them both a hearty mazaltov. and a GP surgery, but since 2006 has supported Sidney in his

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17 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

by Rabbi Kurzer

Everything you wanted to know about an eruv but were afraid to ask

What is an eruv?

together in a communal acquisition (usually done nowadays with a box of matzot) and an agreement with local authorities (‘sechirat reshut’, in addition to permission for the construction itself). There are, of course, many important details in each of these areas but the basic principles above have been true of every eruv for many centuries.

This question requires a huge amount of background to answer fully so I will try to outline a few basic points to get us started. There are 39 prohibited categories of activity on Shabbat (in Hebrew, each one is called a ‘melachah’, often poorly translated as ‘work’). The final of these categories is called ‘hotza’ah’ which is loosely translated as ‘carrying’ but actually has two basic elements to it – carrying in a public area (‘reshut harabim’) and transferring from one domain to another (even without moving, e.g. dropping something over a fence). Determining whether an area is considered public (and therefore forbidden to carry by Torah law) is complex and based on numerous halachot which do not always match up to what an average person may see as public. Therefore, there is a rabbinic prohibition on areas which most would consider public despite the fact that they are technically not a ‘reshut harabim’ (‘halachically public’). Most roads in modern cities fall under this category. An eruv is a halachic mechanism to overcome this rabbinic restriction, thereby enabling carrying in these areas which would have been prohibited, as well as transferring from one domain (such as one’s home) into these areas.

Is this just cheating the system? This question (and various others like it) is a common one throughout halachic history and the short answer is no, it is not. An eruv is a mechanism designated for this purpose from its inception rather than simply exploiting an unintentional loophole for one’s benefit (referred to in halacha as a ‘ha’aramah’). As we touched upon in the previous question, an eruv is there to separate an area which had been given a stricter status 18 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Why is an eruv so expensive? In general, the costs of eruv construction will be due to materials, labour costs and legal fees. Therefore, the start-up costs of an eruv can be very significant as well as being very time-consuming. However, once an eruv is constructed, the maintenance is usually a fraction of the price and is mostly limited to paying professionals to check an eruv and occasional repairs. This can, of course vary greatly from community to community – whereas the Pinner eruv costs around £3000 to maintain, I am told that the LA eruv has running costs of over $120,000 per year! (‘reshut harabim’) due to its similarity to other areas and thereby revert it to its Torah status so it can now be used for carrying. To this day that is the only purpose it fulfils and all eruvin (pl) constructed and maintained by competent authorities conform to both the letter and the spirit of the law.

How do you make an eruv? Most of an eruv is already constructed before it is ever conceived of. An area is enclosed mostly with pre-existing boundaries such as house walls and fences. For the gaps, a simulation doorway is made (‘tzurat hapetach’), usually using a simple pole on each side with a string on top to symbolise the doorposts and lintel of a doorway. Finally, the residents of the area should be joined

Is it just a new invention? I don’t remember any communities with an eruv 30 years ago. Eruvin, both in theory and in practice, have been around for over 2000 years. Nevertheless, as the world has become more complicated so too has the construction of a kosher eruv and, as a result, the construction of modern city eruvin has been slow and the subject of much controversy, both halachic and societal. The first eruv in the UK was completed in North West London in 2003, over 20 years after it was first discussed. Since then, it has become easier to construct other eruvin, using both the halachic model and precedents as well as being able to disprove various theoretical concerns about the environmental and societal impact of

Community Matters an eruv. Nowadays, there are many hundreds of eruvin across the world, including at least 15 in London.

Can I carry anything in an eruv? As mentioned above, an eruv specifically works in the realm of ‘hotza’ah’ – the prohibition of carrying – but all other prohibitions remain in place as normal. Therefore, carrying things which one is not permitted to use on Shabbat is not allowed, even within an eruv. Such things range from more well-known restricted items such as electronics (phone, computer, etc.) to lesser-known prohibitions such as an umbrella, linked to the melachah of building due to its nature as a structure. Additionally, one should only carry something which will potentially be used on Shabbat. Due to the sanctity of Shabbat we avoid preparing for when Shabbat is finished so, for instance, one should not carry a megillah on Shabbat if it will only be used after Shabbat when Purim begins. Nevertheless, if one intends to use it, even for a short time such as studying from the megillah for

a few minutes on Shabbat, it would be permitted to carry it within an eruv even if one’s primary intention is for after Shabbat.

Does a community need an eruv? There have been many communities throughout Jewish history that have functioned without an eruv. Nevertheless, the implication of the Talmud which was later concretised by medieval authorities is that a rabbi/community must make an effort to set up an eruv for the community where possible. An eruv, at its most fundamental, is an inclusive structure designed to enable those for whom it is more difficult to engage as fully as possible with communal life on Shabbat, both locals and guests, and that is something that every community should champion. Interestingly, although eruvin might have been uncommon 100 years ago, they are increasingly ubiquitous and I am proud at the forward-thinking statement our community makes in having one. The Pinner Eruv at the top of Cranborne Drive

Shereen & Nigel Presky wish the Pinner Community a Happy, Healthy & Peaceful New Year and well over the Fast

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19 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters From the Community Directors -

What’s Come and What’s Coming The sun is shining, social events have returned and life is good! We firstly thank you all, the Pinner Community, for welcoming us into the community so warmly. It has been a wonderful few months here, and we thank the youth, children and young families specifically, for your great response to our activities so far. We look forward to many more social events, trips and programmes. We want to give you a glimpse of what’s been happening at the younger end of the community since our arrival and share some of the exciting stuff we have planned for the near future.

Since our arrival coincided with a move into tier 4 restrictions, we began with a series of doorstep visits and tasty deliveries: ● First, we introduced ourselves to the children, youth and their families at their doorsteps, presenting them with homemade baked treats.

● For Chanukah, a few lucky Pinner residents were visited by Rabbi Kurzer and DOUGHNUT MAN (AKA Yonatan) as part of the MIDDAY DOUGHNUT GAME SHOW, who came bearing a most welcome box of doughnuts! ● At Purim time, the children and youth were sent makeyour-own Hamantaschen kits. Zoom events followed with Quiz Night fortnightly on a Sunday Evening for the 30s-50s, Fortnightly Game Nights for the Youth midweek, and the start of our Zoom Bat Mitzvah Club.

● Over the May Bank Holiday, The Youth enjoyed their first group outing – an exhilarating adventure at GoApe. Parents had the chance to chat grab a bite, whilst the youth climbed 10m above the ground and whizzed through the air on zip wires. The day was super all-round, not least because of the great weather! ● In July, we launched the first Shabbat Afternoon Youth Social. The Youth met with us for a relaxed afternoon to chat, laugh, play games and enjoy some good snacks. It was great for the Youth to come back to Shul after so long and we plan to make this a regular event in the coming months.

Upcoming events

(at the time of writing) ● Our Pinner Youth Football team will play in an inter-Shul football tournament this July. We are hoping for a Pinner win! Good Luck to all. ● Together with New Generation, we invite all 30s-50(ish) to a summer BBQ at Pinner Shul. It’s been a while and you all deserve a night out.

As restrictions eased, we began meeting the children and youth in person.

● Yonatan will launch a Bar Mitzvah Club on Sunday Mornings. Fathers and sons will be invited to Sunday morning services, which will be followed by breakfast and discussion.

● The Bat Mitzvah Programme moved offline, just intime for what the girls deemed ‘the best session of the programme so far’ – The Challah Bake!

● As a programme finale for our Bat and Bar Mitzvah clubs, the participants and their families will be invited to a celebratory Friday night. The event will include a melodious Shul Service and ‘Azamra’ (ladies Kabbalat Shabbat), followed by a special Friday Night Dinner.

● Weekly children’s services returned over Pesach and now run weekly on a Shabbat morning.

● For Shavuot, together with New Generation, we invited children and their families to an ice-cream story-time event. Whilst eating their Shavuot dairy treats, the children were captivated by Doreen Samuel’s engaging story about the Hebrew Letters. The children were then invited into the main shul to see the ‘real’ Torahs up close. The children were fascinated and are still talking about it. 20 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Look out for: ● ● ● ● ●

Children’s Sukkot Party Youth Volunteering Opportunities Youth Talk about Israel 30s-50s Winter Social Event Youth Winter Outing

We wish all the members of Pinner Shul a Shana Tova. A happy, healthy and action-filled year ahead. Yonatan and Sara Levin

Community Matters

The Process of Learning to Lein by Eli Bernstein

As one of our members on the rota, Eli tells us how he came to be able to lein, and join the rota on Shabbatot and Chagim.


was asked to write a few words about my experiences in learning to lein. My father was very traditional and loved ‫( חזנות‬Chazanut), so we usually went to synagogues that held services with cantors. I was very fortunate to have celebrated my own Bar Mitzvah in the Great Synagogue in Allenby Street, Tel Aviv. In the 1950s, the synagogue was at the centre of ‘Little Tel Aviv’, and flourished. On occasions well known cantors who visited from abroad would take the services and I had the opportunity to listen to some of the greatest voices of the time, such as that of the genius Moshe Kossevuitzky. The departure of the local residents to the suburbs during the 1960s brought about a recognisable reduction in the number of Shul-goers in the Great Synagogue. As a result, that impressive building is now used by only a few congregants who visit the synagogue to pray on special occasions or holidays, and by tourists who are attracted to visit this historic building. As with many secular and/or traditional families, boys of my generation learned the Maftir and Haftarah parrot fashion without any knowledge of the basic skills or notes. Although tall for my age I was nevertheless a small 13-year old. My big day arrived and with trepidation I went up onto the large Bimah of the Great Synagogue, attended by Rabbi Untermann, (later to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel), Cantor Hungar and a large number of congregants. Years later when I settled in Pinner, I was hoping to teach our son Dan his portion. Pinner Parents Education gave me just opportunity. Sid Hass, an ex-member of our community, now living in Israel, provided Haftara reading lessons for parents who wanted to learn and be called up. Half way through the course, Sid was unable to continue the lessons, and having the chutzpa of an Israeli, I asked whether I could carry on these meetings for the remainder of the term. Sid agreed and in doing so gave me the push to study further.

I spent two great years with Dan studying for his Bar Mitzvah, and hope that he remembers this period with the same affection as I do. In fact, one of the parashot in my rota is the one he read as his portion. Prior to his Bar Mitzvah, I was called up for Maftir and Haftarah for the first time since my own Bar Mitzvah. A friend heard me and asked me then and there whether I would be prepared to teach his boys. I was hesitant as I had no experience, but I am thankful that I was entrusted with this task. It enabled me to start teaching not only friends' sons but also sons of other community members. Teaching boys for their Bar Mitzvah can be quite onerous as one takes on not only the boy but his whole family. I was meeting the boys once a week for about a year and I was told that a Bar Mitzvah boy usually remembers their teacher for a very long time. It never ceased to amaze me that most boys who had very little knowledge when they started learning went on to lein very confidently on the day. I have always felt that the process of learning, culminating in standing on the Bimah in front of so many family members, friends, other congregants and friends from outside the community gave the boys confidence towards speaking in public later in life. Following a long period of teaching I was asked to lein on Shabbatot. This was a totally different experience. Many people assume that as an Israeli I must find it easy. My answer is a categorical ‘No’! Whilst reading Hebrew enables me to understand the text, a word-perfect rendition takes considerable time and practice. Despite every effort, standing on the Bimah requires me to maintain my full concentration. So, why am I leining? Well, it is my way of contributing to our admirably well self-administered community services. Secondly, despite the lapse of years since my Bar Mitzvah, when I am on the Bimah I sense the connection with my past and my late father. And I get tremendous satisfaction in the knowledge that our very special tradition is maintained. 21 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters


A Translator by David Lawson


have had a two-part career. After graduating in mathematics, followed by a master’s in applied maths (theoretical mechanics to be precise - as indeed we (ex) mathematicians like to be), I spent the first thirteen years of my career working in industrial R&D, starting at a packaging company where I provided mathematical input for projects. This job was initially housed in rather ancient premises near Hanger Lane but later relocated to a new-build in Wantage, Oxfordshire, which is when and why I moved to Reading. This first job was followed by a short spell at the oil giant BP, based at Sunbury. The second part of my career began at the age of 36 with the transition to translator. Up to that point it had never crossed my mind that I might enter the translation profession even though I had developed quite a strong interest in languages in my mid-teens. I used to borrow library copies of the Teach Yourself series, skimming through such blockbusters as Teach Yourself Greek, Finnish, Swedish and Swahili, just to get a flavour of how these languages work. My linguistic eligibility for the job was based on the splendid qualification of O-level French, plus some Institute of Linguists certificates in Spanish and Portuguese, gained through evening classes. I later passed the Institute’s Diploma in Translation, with French to English as my chosen language combination. When I decided to change career path, the amalgamation (spot the use of synonyms - dead giveaway for a translator) of language skills and scientific knowledge was the perfect one for me. After traipsing round translation agencies enquiring about the prospects of freelance work, I was fortunate to be given the contact details of the firm, RWS Translations, where I spent the next 30 years. They specialise in intellectual property searching, and translation of patents and technical and commercial material. My background “qualified” me to translate patents in areas such as electronics and communications, and applications of computers in control and automation. My colleagues all had their individual technical specialisations and language combinations. The office was originally located at Gerrards Cross in Bucks, subsequently moving 'down the road' to Chalfont St Peter. Whenever I was asked what I did for a living my reply would almost inevitably lead to the comment 'Oh, you must be

fluent'. Rather sheepishly I’d confess, 'Well, not really' You see my version of ordering a cheese sandwich reads something along the lines of 'Two substantially rectangular slabs of baked dough with a thin layer of dairy-based material disposed therebetween, if you please'! Though I could read and understand the languages in which I worked, I had no need whatsoever to speak them since all contact with clients was handled by administration staff. It is usual practice in the profession to translate only into one’s mother tongue, thus avoiding classical schoolboy howlers as far as possible. Some of the greatest translation difficulties are thrown up by the smallest words. In particular, prepositions can pose challenging problems due to their multiple usages. Take the French 'à' which can equate to 'at, in, on, to, with, from', and probably more. And then there is the problem of near cognates. For example, how do the uses of the French verbs 'commander' and 'contrôller' overlap with the English 'command' and 'control' and how do their uses differ? Patent translation also requires strong discipline in terms of accuracy, consistency, use of 'terms of the art' and the resolving or reproducing of ambiguities. In the course of those 30 years, developments in technology gave rise to changes in our working methods. When I started, the procedure at RWS was to dictate onto audio tape cassettes which were then transcribed to computer files by audio typists. This often led to 'mishearings' such as when the standard piece of patentese 'the person skilled in the art' alarmingly became 'the persons killed in the art'. Later we moved on to digital recorders and eventually most translators typed their own translations directly into the computer. Machine translation aids began to become useful about ten years ago. I wrote a program to help with the more routine translation elements of my own work. A very significant change was that the consulting of printed specialist dictionaries gradually gave way almost entirely to internet searching for terminology. I greatly enjoyed the puzzle solving aspect of the job - finding the right word (le mot juste, you might say) or phrase to neatly convey the source text - together with the need to stay reasonably well-informed about a range of evolving technologies.

If you would like to feature in a future edition of Career Stories email 22 | Rosh Hashanah 2021


Community Matters

Summer Social

a sizzling success! By Judith Moore and Elizabeth Singer (Co-chairs New Generation)

Sometimes pictures just speak for themselves and this is certainly the case for New Generation and the Community Directors’ Summer Social, held on 1st August.


ew Generation’s traditional focus is on children up to the age of eleven - this time it was the adults’ turn! It was a real celebration marking the end of lockdown an evening of reconnecting with Pinner friends, enjoying some drinks and a tasty BBQ. The Shul was decorated in a tropical summer theme and the atmosphere was buzzing as around 45 people in the 30ish to 50ish age group chatted late into the evening, catching up with familiar faces and getting to know new ones. Yonatan Levin and Michael Singer wowed us with their BBQ’ing talents and everyone enjoyed exotic cocktails at our very own pop-up bar. It was a warm, friendly and wonderfully relaxed evening, all carefully planned with Covid compliant precautions. Talk has now shifted to what the next exciting event will be…. watch this space! Many thanks to the New Generation committee (including Philippa Gerrard and Amy Kay) and the Community Directors (Sara and Yonatan Levin).

23 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

' by Ben Kasin-Lewis

Last month, we finally moved into our new home. Due to planning permission issues, Covid issues, builder issues and timing issues, it was a move that took almost two years. During that time, moving from one road in Borehamwood to another road in Borehamwood five minutes away, we lived in Pinner with my ever-patient in-laws. And in that time, I found my community.


inner is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever encountered. To start with, when I first encountered the community more than ten years ago, nobody in Pinner batted so much as a single eyelash regarding Nicola’s and my ‘unusual’ circumstances. This may be par for the course in Pinner, but that’s not how it has played out everywhere. Not everyone is as accepting of people. I was really grateful to find somewhere where our circumstances just didn’t matter.

davvening, you’ll hear that ever familiar phrase: ‘excuse me, you’re in my seat’. When I wasn’t in the service, I was taking Jack and/or Alex to the children's services. They love going to the children's services, taking part in the stories and listening to the songs. I even have the privilege of running the toddler service from time to time. There were often visitors to the children's services whilst the grown-ups were taking part in a simcha in the main Shul. It was a great way to meet members of the simcha, to wish them mazeltov, and show their children a wonderful time. It’s also a great way to meet young families in Pinner, sharing stories and building friendships.

❝ The community never paused, even for a moment. ❞

It was the last two years, however, that really showed me how lovely the community is. To start with, I was going to Shul on Shabbat morning relatively regularly. I enjoy the services in Shul. Whenever I go into the service, I get the impression that people aren’t there out of necessity, but out of choice. People want to come to Shul. It’s a nice feeling. There is also an element of equality in Shul that I really appreciated. The chairs, being mobile, don’t offer the ‘this is my chair’ mentality, and people can sit where they like. If someone new happens to be in your seat one week, you can just sit somewhere else. Conversely, if it’s your first time in Pinner Shul, you have no danger of sitting in someone’s else’s seat - because no-one has a seat! It really is refreshing to be in a community where there is no danger that, while you're 24 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

reconvene at an unknown later date. Little did I know that the centre of the Jewish community would find a new home in a Zoom conference call. I remember the Staffroom, a weekly event for parents of children and teens, trying to teach during the pandemic; the monthly quizzes, where I promise I was not competitive at all. The Purim party for the youngest in the community, which both Alex and Jack took part in. And those are just the events that involved my family. I know my in-laws attended their own Shul-run live events. The community never paused, even for a moment. Unfortunately, whilst I was living in Pinner my mother passed away and I sat Shiva in my in-laws’ home – and if Rabbi Kurzer hadn’t visited me, sitting outside in the cold with me, and given me genuine comfort, I could have made it through this article without mentioning him.

❝ People want to

come to Shul. It’s a nice feeling. ❞

After the service, as it should do, comes Kiddush, which I always enjoyed. Not just for the food which was always lovely, but because it was pleasant to speak to genuinely nice people after the service, people who asked how I was and genuinely meant it. And then, in what is becoming a defining line in many stories nowadays, ‘Covid happened’. Suddenly we couldn’t go to Shul anymore. The centre of the Jewish community was off limits. I supposed that would be it, then. We could

I think Pinner Shul is extremely lucky to have Rabbi and Rebbetzen Kurzer. In my humble opinion, they are amazing people and I want to thank them for welcoming me into the community as if I had never not been part of it. So even though we have moved back to Borehamwood, Pinner is where we will come to Shul (though unfortunately less often now), and where we will celebrate all our Simchas. Pinner is still our community and we are very glad to be a part of it.

Community Matters

Our Love Story by Sophie Epsley

Simon and I met five and a half years ago and immediately hit it off with our shared common interests including our love for football and tennis. Simon is from Liverpool, an Everton fan born and bred, and moved to London in 2011 to start a career in Criminal Defence Law. Simon grew up in Childwall with his parents Harriet and Ian, and sisters Melissa and Hana and attended King David School from Nursery through to Sixth Form, later studying at the University of Manchester.


have always grown up and lived in Pinner with my parents Caroline and Les and brother Ben and attended the Shul nursery, Gan Pinah as well as Pinner Cheder. I went to school locally and later completed an undergraduate degree in Sports Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. Last year, I graduated with an MSc in Management through part time study at Birkbeck, London. We both currently work full time as Project Managers; Simon for an Executive Search Company and I, for a Sports Inclusion Charity, helping and empowering underrepresented groups of people to participate in physical activity and ensure they are not excluded from community sport. We have many shared values including our passion for supporting others and these values align with who we are not just as individuals but also as a couple. In our spare time, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, eating out, going on holidays, watching TV dramas, walking and cycling, playing and watching tennis. We were lucky in being able to go to Wimbledon a few times and sit on Centre Court, and hope to go to the French Open in 2022. Simon emigrated to Pinner from Golders Green four years ago and soon fell in love with what Pinner had to offer. Although being a little unsure initially, we are very settled and very happy in HA5. Pinner has everything you could ask for but what we love most is the warm, friendly and welcoming community. We also have three generations of Conways still in Pinner, as my parents live off Whittington Way and my grandparents, Phyllis and Stan moved to Pinner 12 years ago from Staines and are regulars at the Shul and communal events. We got married in June having had the wedding postponed from December 2020 due to the pandemic. Despite the frustration of eagerly waiting for new guidance and the uncertainty of what to plan next, we had the most magical day with our closest family and friends at Shendish Manor in Apsley. We were able to have our Chuppah outside

overlooking the grounds in the sunshine, whilst our friends and family members who could not be with us in person were able to join us virtually via Zoom. As well as Rabbi Kurzer officiating at our wedding, we had a longstanding family friend of Simon’s, Alby Chait, senior minister at the United Hebrew Congregation in Leeds, (son of the late Henry Chait who was the Chazan at Greenbank Drive Shul in Liverpool), singing beautifully throughout our ceremony. We felt that celebrating this moment in our lives at a time of so much uncertainty was even more special and every element of the day was perfect. Following the wedding, we also shared a very special Friday Night Dinner and Sheva Brachot with our immediate family and our very special extended family – our Pinner friends. We have really enjoyed our Marriage Enhancement (MEP) sessions with Rabbi and Rebbetzen Kurzer and felt a new level of spirituality as we entered our wedding day. Learning and understanding more about what a Jewish wedding means allowed us to really appreciate and connect with the entire experience. It also enabled us to engage in every element of what it means to be a Jewish married couple. As we start our married life, we are planning to start a home together in Pinner. We are really excited about joining more events with the Shul and New Generation and getting more involved with the Pinner community. We have really settled in Pinner and have been enjoying meeting and getting to know other couples and young families and look forward to exploring what the next chapter holds for us. 25 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

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Community Matters

Changing the world, one carrot at a time by Phil Gershuny

Sadeh is the Hebrew word for field. It is also the name of a charity which helps to spread knowledge about how we can grow food and eat sustainably in accordance with Jewish principles. As an educational charity the primary focus is on children and young adults, but its activities are open to all.


adeh is the creation of Talia Chain and reflect Talia’s passions and lifestyle which in turn mirror the current focus on environmentalism and sustainability. Talia spent time at the Isabella Freedman retreat centre in Canaan, Connecticut run by a US not for profit called Hazon. There she experienced an immersive environment which aims to inspire, activate and educate young people to think about the food we eat, how it is grown and how we are responsible for growing it and the impact this has on our environment. On her return to the UK she sought to develop her own, British version of the Isabella Freedman Centre. A Jewish charity called The Jewish Youth Fund, or JYF, owns an Elizabethan Manor House in Kent sitting in 7 acres of countryside. Acquired in the 1940s as a place where Jewish children from inner London could be taken for a break in the country, Skeet Hill House boasts a swimming pool, tennis court and an obstacle course. It also has a disused football pitch and Talia persuaded the JYF to grant her new charity a licence for a year to use part of it as a market garden. She and volunteer colleagues planted seasonal vegetables and celebrated chaggim at Skeet for the first year and then JYF granted Sadeh a 10 year lease of the whole site and Talia set about making her dream a reality. Today Sadeh operates from Skeet which is now called Sadeh Farm. It takes a regenerative approach to land management involving no dig vegetable beds, a focus on biodiversity, the

creation of wild meadows, woodland areas and soil improvement. Alex is the land manager and with the help of volunteers, he has planted hundreds of

trees and created live willow fences and a Havdallah garden full of scented flowers and shrubs. Sadeh runs a variety of educational programmes. Before Covid 19 stopped the visits, there were week long residential programmes for children, pickling events, sow your own veggie workshops and away days for schools. It has recently launched an educational pack for Jewish primary schools: six weeks of lessons culminating with a visit to Sadeh Farm for a hands on day of digging, harvesting and feeding the chickens. Sadeh runs a programme for fellows who stay and work at the farm for three months, and learn how to grow food sustainably in a kosher environment, enjoying the weekly and monthly pattern of Jewish life. Sadeh’s income either comes from the generosity of donors, or groups or families paying to stay for a visit. The pandemic prevented many repeat visitors coming to stay in 2020 but this summer Sadeh has refurbished

some of its dormitory style rooms into family bedrooms and suites and recently opened the Sadeh Farmhouse as an eco style collection of full board guest rooms with the catering supervised by KLBD. Families can now enjoy the Sadeh experience staying in comfortable ensuite accommodation, participating in programmes which showcase the activities of the farm and provide a holiday in the beautiful Kent countryside which is both relaxing and educational for parents and children alike. Family groups can book the whole farmhouse for life cycle events, and individuals or groups of families can stay for a long weekend, or week of fun. Maintaining the fabric of an Elizabethan house is not cheap and it is fair to say that over the last year it hasn’t been the easiest task to keep Sadeh solvent. However, the new guest rooms have been popular, and when Chief Rabbi Mirvis visited for an official opening lunch and celebration in late June the coverage in the Jewish and national press was very positive. There are exciting plans for the future. The biggest plan involves the creation of a wetlands system for the sustainable treatment of sewage at the farm. This is achieved by the building of a series of swales and the planting of species which cleanse foul black water naturally. The preliminary work is done and the fund raising is due to start in near future. Sadeh is a great place to visit and you should come and see for yourselves!

27 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

Opening the Secret Room by Jeffrey Samuels

The secret room’s contents were much loved. They could be good friends, travelling companions on an exciting adventure, a source of comfort for the despondent and a beacon of radiance.


owever, this depository is now much neglected and shows signs of dishevelment. Outsized books are placed flat on their side. Friends with common interests kept apart from each other. Threadbare editions need to be sent to a good retirement home, the injured to the book hospital. Many that are premature need to incubate and be nursed to maturity. The much-loved ones are now feeling neglected. Nobody goes to see them, and no potential companions open their covers, their radiance dimmed by

indifference. They crave reorganisation; cataloguing so that their individuality can be readily assessable and exposed to an electronic database. Their groanings sound throughout the Shul campus. The people of the book can no longer ignore their loneliness! The fallen want to be supported, the sick desire to be healed, and the old retired.

Will you come to their aid? Will you become a party hopper? Come, befriend the friendless and join the new Library Working Party. United, we will be able to remedy their affliction and impediments. For more details, please get in touch with jeffrey.

‫שנה טובה‬


020 8371 3280


28 | Rosh Hashanah 2021





YEARS It was Pesach 1941 when a handful of families hired the Vagabonds Hall (on the site of the old Pinn Medical Centre) for services, and the Pinner Community was born. Here’s a look at what else happened in that momentous year.

Two crucial events occurred in 1941 that would have a profound impact on the Second World War - the Germans turned their attention to the Soviets in the east and Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, driving the United States into the conflict.

ࠜ The Blitz - London and other cities in

Britain came under the intense bombing campaign undertaken by Nazi Germany

M&Ms were invented in 1941 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting. During the war, it was sold exclusively to the military.

ࠜ Franklin D Roosevelt was sworn

in during January 1941 for a third term as President of the United States and became a central figure in world events during the first half of the 20th Century

The first superhero comic book movie to be made was Adventures of Captain Marvel. Originally released in March 1941, it was considered by many to be the finest serial ever made.

Simon and Garfunkel were both born in 1941, and were one of the bestselling music groups of the 1960s. We still love to listen to ‘The Sound of Silence’ and their Bridge over Troubled Waters is what we’ve all needed this year.

Plutonium was officially chemically identified in February 1941 by Dr Glenn T. Seaborg and his team.

Among the hit songs of 1941, one that achieved the highest chart positions was Glenn Miller’s Chattanooga ChooChoo, which was also awarded the first

Golden record.

‘The Adventurous Four’ is a series of two novels and one short story by Enid Blyton. The first book was published in 1941 during wartime.

Dumbo, the protagonist of Disney's 1941 animated feature film of the same name was born. The young circus elephant with comically large ears is given a cruel nickname. But he soon learns that his spectacular ears make him unique and special.

Life expectancy in 1941 was 63.1 for a male and 66.8 for a female.

And finally, the estimated world population in 1941 was a mere 2,373,000,000!

29 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters | Pinner Celebrates 80 Years

Places to visit in Pinner To celebrate Pinner Synagogue’s 80th anniversary, we have chosen eight places that are of interest. If you visit each of them ten times, you will have hit the target of 80 years.

The Heath Robinson Museum

Pinner Memorial Park Pinner Memorial Park – an oasis in the heart of Pinner – holds a special place in my heart, having walked through it every school day for about 10 years taking my boys to West Lodge School. It is not a big space, but has so much going for it – the lake, which has been recently cleaned up again, with its fish and birdlife. There is a play area, much improved over the years, the ever-noisy budgie aviary and the comparatively recent additions of Daisy’s Café, along with West House and the Heath Robinson Museum. Then there are the lesser-known attractions, such as the Peace Garden, the outdoor gym and the animal sculptures hidden in the wooded area. Annual open-air band and music concerts are very popular. The park has been well-used by the Shul, with Brownies, Cubs and Guides meeting there, as well as communal gatherings organised by youth leaders.

30 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

If you happen to be in the Memorial Park, don’t miss this museum, dedicated to showcasing the work of William Heath Robinson, the world-renowned artist, humourist, illustrator and social commentator. He lived in Moss Lane, Pinner. The museum was officially opened five years ago by the children’s author Michael Rosen. It has a collection of nearly 1,000 original artworks owned by the William Heath Robinson Trust, and also holds changing temporary exhibitions by other artists.

He was known as ‘The Gadget King’ and he is still most widely remembered for his wonderful humorous drawings and cartoons. If you hear something described as a ‘Heath Robinson contraption’ it is usually describing some over-elaborate machine, randomly put together for doing the simplest of tasks! The museum

is small, with three gallery rooms and a shop. I learnt a lot from my visit. For instance, I had not realised that Heath Robinson illustrated ‘The Water Babies’, a book I remember from my childhood.

Pinner Village Gardens This park, with several entrances, including Compton Rise and at the junction of Marsh Road and Rayners Lane, is a real treasure. Much bigger than the betterknown Memorial Park, it has a children’s play area and basketball net and has many paths through and round the park.

Since the formation of the Friends of PVG in 2015, it has undergone a transformation and continues to become more appealing with every visit. Most impressive is the raised bed near the Compton Rise entrance and the many bee-friendly and other wildlife-friendly shrubs and flowers that have been planted. There are lots of new trees and a well-concealed ‘bug hotel’. Interfaith

Community Matters | Pinner Celebrates 80 Years Week was celebrated there in November 2020 (see the Pesach issue of Community for more details) and a number of Pinner members are volunteers. Within walking distance of the Shul, it is well worth a visit.

Pinner War Memorial At the top of the picturesque Pinner High Street stands the War Memorial, honouring the locals who died in the two World Wars. There are benches to rest and a well-planted display, changed with the seasons. On Remembrance Sunday it takes on a new significance, bringing together the people of Pinner and beyond. The multi-denominational service is always very moving, as the crowd of many hundreds of locals, from babies in buggies to pensioners, stand in respectful silence. Although the service is led by the Vicar of the nearby Pinner Parish Church, it always concludes with El Malei Rachamim, sung by a member of Pinner Synagogue. Look around and you will see many Shul members sprinkled through the crowd, and the Jewish community is well-represented in the wreath-laying ceremony. The diversity of cultures evident in the crowd reflects the local population and it is heart-warming to see everyone come together in this way.

Pinner Synagogue One of the nicest sights to greet you as you approach Pinner Synagogue is the beautiful garden that surrounds the building. Created as part of the enhanced security provision, the gardens

at the front and the extra flowerbeds in the protective wall will lift your spirits. Here we have a modern building with a multi angled hall, which at the same time incorporates features from its past, such as the two stained glass windows taken from the earlier Pinner Synagogue. The Foundation Stone Ceremony took place in 1981, exactly forty years on from 1941 when a handful of families started the first Pinner Community. At the time of writing, you will be able to register to attend services. However, you will still need to wear a face mask and observe the social distancing rules. But the good news is that singing at services will be allowed. Although it’s not quite the same with a face mask on, it’s a step in the right direction.

Nower Hill converge. Shaded by trees, there are four benches for people to sit and relax. In the centre is a granite drinking fountain, recently refurbished, erected by the inhabitants of Pinner in 1886 to commemorate William Arthur Tooke, JP who had lived at Pinner Hill House.

For such a small, well-hidden space, one can often see people, old and young, taking a rest there. The inscription reads ‘I was thirsty and ye gave me drink’. Don’t rely on it; the fountain has been dry for many years.

Pinner Library If you attend Shul at all, you will realise that Pinner Library is opposite and you may even have used it as a sneaky car park out of hours. The library is just beginning to open up again after the limitations of lockdown, and many people will be grateful. There is nothing like a good browse to choose a book or the chance to sit and read magazines. A light and airy building, along with other Harrow Libraries, Pinner was ‘modernised’, allowing users to check in and check out their books. However, the staff are still there and anxious to help, whether it is with local knowledge or specialist information. Sometimes a real person is so much better than Google. Libraries can be real community hubs, with book groups, plenty of activities for children and computer access. If you haven’t been for a while – pop in. And it’s all free, of course.

Tookes Green Tookes Green is a small triangular grassy area where Moss Lane, Church Lane and

Eastcote House Gardens Eastcote House Gardens is a beautiful and tranquil green space with Grade II listed buildings, including a historic walled garden, wildflower meadows, a topiary garden and a newly planted Jubilee Orchard, linked by a footbridge over the River Pinn to Long Meadow, an ancient water meadow. Owned by the London Borough of Hillingdon, it is maintained by the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens. It has stood at the heart of Eastcote for more than 500 years. A Heritage Lottery Fund award helped to restore the remaining Tudor buildings, stables, dovecote and walled garden. It is a peaceful place to stroll and during the Pandemic I have spent many hours there admiring the flowers and walking from there further along the Celandine Route. One of my favourite exhibits is the Ransomes horse drawn single furrow plough (above) on loan from the London Borough of Hillingdon’s collection of historic farm machinery. 31 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters | Pinner Celebrates 80 Years

Our Members' Recollections Our community has its fair share of members as old as Pinner Synagogue. Two long-standing members share their memories. Village to Village Andrew and I moved to Pinner in 1983 with our three young children, Jeremy, Richard and Nicola. Though we considered Bushey and Finchley, it was Pinner we chose, by Ruth Stuber and it has proved the perfect community for our family. I grew up in East Boldon, a village six miles from the impressive Byzantine style Sunderland Synagogue. With a barrel ceiling painted with the stars and sky, it had beautiful stained-glass windows and the traditional women’s gallery. Seats had plaques, two of which were inscribed with my parents’ names. Ladies were fashionably attired and hatted, especially on the Yamim Tovim. The Cheder had teachers from the local Gateshead Yeshiva, but there was no Bat Chayil or religious ceremony for the 12-year-old girls. Pinner with its simple interior, its unpretentious street appearance, the women dressed modestly, sitting on the same level as the men with unreserved seats was a revelation. As a woman it has given me so much pleasure to be part of the service, not a distant observer from a gallery on high. The flourishing Cheder with over 400 pupils at one stage, together with the London Board exams laid the foundations of our children’s religious education. Nicola’s Bat Chayil was an especially memorable Stuber celebration after the Bar Mitzvah of both her brothers. Personally, I have very much enjoyed being involved with the Shul and for the past 30 years have assisted with the Kiddush rota. Since 1998, I have had the privilege of interviewing and 32 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

writing about many members of the congregation for ‘Community’ including the N’Shot Chayil and the Chatanim. For over eight years I was also part of the ground breaking and inspirational Pinner Yom Hashoah commemorations. Pinner has unceasingly moved forward and evolved, always considering the needs and interests of its members across all ages. It was heartening to hear from Lisa and Jeffrey about Pinner’s future plans, encouraging a new generation to come to Pinner. From a North East village to Pinner Village I could not have imagined or wished for a more satisfying 38 years of Jewish life in such a warm, caring community.

Reminiscences of an Old Codger Who, in 1970, would want to join a community at the edge of the known Jewish world, worshipping in a rundown former chapel, where by Brian Conway buckets had to be strategically placed in order to catch any drips from the leaking ceiling? Barbara and I did. And for us it was a step up! As founder members of Belmont Synagogue, we were used to a community of a few dozen. In Pinner, we were to find a building and a community boasting perhaps a hundred male members. It was an area that we knew quite well; leafy Pinner. Barbara’s parents lived in nearby North Harrow, so when we were considering moving, it made good sense to look nearby. Soon after we moved, we received a welcoming visit from Sidney Hass and Leslie Wagner. They were delighted to have acquired an addition to the community’s

less-than-a-handful, Cohanim. We quickly felt very much at home and started making lifelong friends. Barbara took our youngest daughter to the kindergarten that Avelyn Hass had recently established, and we attended Shul weekly on Shabbat. Having spent four traumatic years on the board of management at Belmont, I resolved to keep clear of Shul politics, although there never seemed to be any friction in Pinner. In these early days a Functions Committee was set up to hold fund raising dinners, as plans were laid to build a larger Shul on the existing site. I clearly remember the sad day we vacated the old Shul before its demolition. I have a photograph of myself and Michael Isaacs, both holding Sifrei Torah, about to load them into a car. We took them all to Kenton Synagogue for safekeeping, retaining only those needed for immediate services. The community expanded greatly during the 1980s once the Shul was rebuilt, and Rabbi Grunewald gradually established Shiurim and daily services. I joined the Education Committee at a time when our Cheder catered for 400 children on a Sunday morning. There were a few occasions when a desperate headmaster recruited me to teach. It couldn’t happen nowadays! Barbara and I have been very happy bringing up our girls in Pinner and in the early 1980s my family must have formed the largest family group. Not only did we have my parents and parents-inlaw in Hatch End, my sister and family in Pinner, but Barbara’s brother and family had returned from South Africa and also settled in Pinner. Since then we have lost our parents and the family has spread throughout the world – The US, Israel and the Far East - but the fond memories of those early days still remain.

Community Matters

SHTISEL & SCHMOOZE by Gill Stoller

As a huge Shtisel fan, I was very excited to learn that Rebbetzen Abi was planning to hold a number of Shtisel discussion sessions on a Shabbat afternoon for women, who like myself, were somewhat obsessed with Shtisel. It was planned that we would get together in the Shul (Covid compliant of course) and discuss various issues that had been brought to light in the series.


or those of you who have been missing out by not watching Shtisel, it was first aired in Israel in 2014 and then launched on Netflix in 2018. The series concentrates on a Haredi family living in the ultra-orthodox area of Geula in Jerusalem. But, unlike many television programmes depicting the Haredi, this wasn’t stereotyped. It shows an extended orthodox family beset with opinions and problems, likes and dislikes, personal flaws and character traits. At times the content was highly emotional, and at other times very amusing. This was not presented in a melodramatic way and one could relate to and feel empathy with many of the characters. This series has been a huge hit, even with some ultra-orthodox Jews, some even using the theme tune at their weddings. It was so successful that its creators released a second and third series. Great attention was given to detail as well as to the actors’ (who were secular) portrayal of orthodox Jews and the series was held in such high esteem that Israel’s version of the Emmys gave it 11 film academy awards. Its success springs at least from its universal themes, particularly romantic longing sensitively portrayed. These sessions were led by Abi, who outlined each issue, bringing in her knowledge of the halacha. There were wide ranging discussions with various views being expressed with some participants describing similar situations that they had encountered. Two of the main characters were Akiva and his father Shulem. Akiva , who is artistic, lives, often uncomfortably, with his widowed father Shulem. Shulem would like to direct his son as to whom he should marry, but Akiva, who is romantic as well as artistic, sets his sights on his first romantic encounter with someone of whom his father disapproves. This led to a discussion

about arranged marriages, which were also depicted in the series. Leading on from this, we discussed how acceptable it was in such an orthodox community, for a young religious person to marry of their own choosing, rather than a partner approved by their parents. This led to thoughts about the tension between love and duty to one's parents in these communities. A topic discussed was the strengths of the men and women in the series, with many of the women able to subtly direct their husbands along a path they preferred. We considered relationships between husbands and wives , the tensions and struggles of some of the married couples to understand each other. Some of the episodes showed love between Akiva and his cousin, moving from childhood friends to adulthood and falling in love. The aspect of cousins marrying made for a good discussion. In all episodes, Akiva’s artistic ability was explored, sometimes causing him angst in love, his relationship with his father and his desire to use his talent as a means of earning a living. Issues about mental health were introduced and made for an informative and interesting discussion. In one episode, Ruchami, a granddaughter of Shulem, who is married to Chanina discuss surrogacy due to Ruchami not being able to safely become pregnant and carry and deliver a baby. Ruchami’s life would be in danger if she does become pregnant. We are shown Chanina’s discussion with his rabbi, who is both supportive and sympathetic. Led by Abi, at this session we explored surrogacy and learned about some of the problems in Jewish law. For the final session, Abi held a seudah at her home, kindly sponsored by Joanne Mindell in memory of her father. This was really enjoyed by everyone, with lovely food, songs and a d’var. So….we all await series number four, and lots more to discuss. 33 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

GardensRus Welcome to our gardens by Helen Levy

Gardeners are by nature people who like sharing – not only their gardens and their knowledge but also the produce and spare plants. Gardeners are also born optimists - we need to be as we expect that by putting a tiny seed in some compost with some watering, we can crop kilos of tomatoes a few weeks later!


ardensRus is the Shul gardening club which until May had been run entirely online since its inception in 2020, but by then the team thought it about time to get real. Whilst we had been enjoying looking at gardens and nature through the medium of Zoom, people were desperate to get outside and mix with others so we introduced some popular local guided walks

34 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

for members and Open Gardens visits - once we had been given the go-ahead by Boris. Due to Covid-19 lockdowns many of us had spent more time than usual tending our gardens and were happy to be asked to share the results of our efforts. Despite the very cold spells in the winter; the ridiculously dry April and one of the wettest and coldest Mays on record two members of the team agreed to open their gardens for visitors. In 2006 Pinner Synagogue had a Gardens Galore Day when six gardens belonging to members opened on the wettest May bank holiday Sunday for many years. The GardensRus team spent much time in the weeks before Sunday 30 May 2021 looking at the weather forecast

Community Matters - it rained every day. However, our worries were cast aside as the sun at last came out on that day at 10:30 – opening time! Helen and Paul Levy, at Eastcote Point, and Brian and Barbara Conway, at Whiteladies, live four doors away from each other on Cuckoo Hill and both gardens back into the field that runs between Cuckoo Hill and Catlins Lane. There the similarity almost ends as the gardens are looked after somewhat differently. Brian and Barbara have Volunteers planting at Gesher School gardened at Whiteladies for 30 years and have developed quite a formal layout with different levels, straight with flowering. The many forms of hardy geraniums were paths and mature planting. It is just coming into flower and their foliage covering the remains protected on most sides by high hedges and trees. Eastcote of the winter bulbs. Just showing were the summer gladioli, Point, whilst surrounded by privet hedges, has a more open feel salvias and the ornamental grasses and borrows more of the treescape that are fillers with all-year interest from the field. It is larger and is and movement. gardened in a looser manner with two lawns, curved beds, meandering There were homemade refreshments walkways, hidden areas and the available on the terrace at Eastcote soil virtually completely covered by Point and people enjoyed relaxing in vegetation. the sun. Plant purchases were made by many and £250 was raised The visitors enjoyed the contrast by generous donations. This was in the two gardens. Whiteladies distributed to St Luke’s Hospice and has a magnificent Norway Spruce Sadeh, a Jewish sustainable farm in under-planted with many varieties Orpington. of shaped shrubs. The lawns are immaculate and there is a vegetable garden, English roses, a greenhouse that should produce over 30 bunches of Black Hamburg eating grapes and a warm west-facing patio with a Mediterranean feel. The front is large and beautifully sets off the house. Noticeable in the centre is a large clump of pampas grass which has tall flowers from September to March. In fact, the house is named for the grass which is sometimes called 'white ladies' and was already a feature when the house was bought. Brian enjoys growing vegetables and has an expansive asparagus bed. He is rightly proud of his dahlias but regrettably due to the inclement weather most plants were two or three weeks behind and the dahlias were only a few inches tall.

Thank you to all the volunteers who worked to make the Open Garden event so successful and thank you to the families who opened their gardens throughout the summer. Whilst writing this I look forward to visiting more members’ gardens. Whatever the size of the plot there is always something to admire and something to learn from others’ gardening ideas. Look out for more Open Gardens in the synagogue Events Diary, even in the autumn and winter when the gardens take on a very different look.

The weather played havoc with the wisteria at Eastcote Point. A hail storm a couple of weeks earlier had bashed the flowers to pieces virtually destroying the beautiful purple display. However, there was more purple in the flower borders with the pompoms of alliums poking above the lime green of the giant euphorbias. The abundant rains meant lawns were a deep shade of green, setting off the mixed herbaceous borders overflowing with plants, most waiting for the warm weather to burst into full bloom. Helen aims for succession gardening with plants waiting to fill spaces and take their turn 35 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Community Matters

10th Pinner Brownie Pack A Tribute to two volunteers This year marks the year that Pinner Shul members Barbara Nelken and Nicky Jayson sadly retired from their role as Brownie leaders at the 10th Pinner Brownie Pack after 40 years’ service apiece! We offer them a hearty Mazal Tov on this achievement, and asked them to share their story.

The Brownies enjoyed celebrating Pinner Brownies’ 50th Birthday in 2016 when all the previous leaders and helpers were invited back to share memories (see photo). It was great to see everyone, especially Barbara Woolf, the Brown Owl when the pack was first formed in 1966.

Barbara was a Brownie and then a Guide in Kenton. She was presented with her prestigious Queen’s Guide Award, together with Joanna Mindell, at a Guide Camp in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.

Over the years Pinner Brownies have attended many camps, passed hundreds of badges, been on outings to pantomimes, parks, and activity days. They have enjoyed learning crafts and celebrating occasions as diverse as the Chinese New Year and the Chagim, and so much more. The aim throughout has always been to nurture and gently encourage the girls to take on responsibility, enjoy teamwork, make new friends, and have fun out of doors, all as a precursor for joining Guides at the age of ten.

Barbara joined the Brownie pack in Pinner Shul in 1984 to lead alongside Gill Reik, having transferred from helping at the Kenton Pack. When Gill retired, Barbara joined Denise Silver’s Pinner pack. Donna Bryk and then Nicky Jayson were the subsequent Brown Owls. Nicky was a Brownie and a Guide in Southgate and became a leader at Southgate Brownies before transferring to Brownies at Belmont Shul and then onto Pinner. She was also a leader at the Brownie pack at St Helen’s School in Northwood for 15 years alongside Pinner, with one pack meeting following 15 minutes later two miles away on the same evening! Mondays were quite challenging for her. Nicky has also been co-Chair for nine years at the Jewish Guide Advisory Council (JGAC) that oversees all Jewish Guiding. JGAC has run bi-annual camps for 150+ Jewish Brownies and Guides since 2010. 36 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Barbara and Nicky feel it has been a pleasure and so rewarding to watch hundreds of girls grow from often shy 7-year-olds to confident 10-year-olds and will miss them terribly. However, they love bumping into ex-Brownies and leaders around Pinner to reminisce about their Brownie memories. All of this was achieved with the assistance of so many lovely helpers over the years. A big thank you must go to them. Whilst Barbara and Nicky are enjoying their retirement, regretfully the Pinner Brownie Pack has closed. Hopefully, new leaders will be found in the not too distant future.

Thoughts & Perspectives

Fate known by Paul Erdunast

On 26 July last year I gave myself up to a moment of vanity. I searched Twitter for my name.


ore accurately, I entered my surname: I am the only member of my family active on Twitter, so I figured this should be all that was needed. What I did not expect was that my grandfather, who passed away in 1975, over 30 years before Twitter was founded, would dominate the search results. And would be getting far more retweets and likes than I ever do! Some Erdunast family history. On my dad, Howard’s, side, his father Israel, aka John, met my grandmother in the UK, having come here after the war via Australia. My grandmother’s family had been in the UK for a generation or two. He was an Auschwitz survivor. All his family perished in the Holocaust. Around 10 years ago, my dad did some research into what happened to our family in the Holocaust. This is how we first saw these photos of my grandfather in the infamous Auschwitz uniform, which he had been sent by the Washington Holocaust Museum. It is in fact the only photo we have ever seen of my grandfather as a child or young man. What I had not anticipated when looking for my name on Twitter was that the Auschwitz Museum had sent out

the tweet you see above to its one million followers, on my grandad’s birthday, to commemorate him. I was bowled over, not just by the tweet, but by how many caring messages had been left by people, some expressing their hope that he survived. In response to those sentiments and the Museum’s statement, ‘fate unknown’, I wrote the following.

What will stay with me is the fantastic job the Auschwitz Museum does to honour the memories of the victims of the Holocaust, put human stories at the forefront, and educate people of the horrors of authoritarianism: a lesson that continues to resonate in 2021.


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Thoughts & Perspectives

Letter Mem Dear Pinner Welcome to the thirteenth in a series on the Hebrew Alphabet, in which we are exploring the meaning behind the Aleph-Bet letters including their names, shapes, sounds and numerical values. In addition, we have seen that the order, orientation and direction of the letters holds much significance.


he thirteenth letter is Mem, pretty much midway through the Aleph-Bet. With this being the Rosh Hashana edition let us also try to connect the Mem to our festival season…..

A Mikveh (ritual bath) is made up of forty se’ah (about 200 gallons). The flood (Mabul) of Noah lasted 40 days. The spies scouted out the land for 40 days. The Jews wandered in the desert (Midbar) for 40 years. Moses lived for 120 years - 40 in Pharoah’s palace, 40 in Midyan, and 40 as leader of the Israeli nation.

by Simon Hodes

The letter Mem has two forms - the ‘open’ and ‘closed’. The closed mem nearly always being found at the end of a word (with two notable exceptions). The two forms of the Mem allude to the open and the closed or the accessible and the inaccessible. The open Mem is said to represent the Torah, the written law, as revealed by Moses and available to us all. The closed Mem alludes towards the oral law. The closed Mem also represents all that we do not understand, or is yet concealed (until the Messianic era). The Mishna itself begins with an open letter Mem and ends with a closed letter Mem - reminding us that when we begin to learn we might think that all knowledge is accessible - yet as we reach the end we realise that there is so much yet to learn. A Jewish concept is that the goal of knowledge is ‘for one to know that he does not know’ (a quick nod to Donald Rumsfeld who stepped into the great unknown unknown in June 2021).

❝A Jewish concept

is that the goal of knowledge is ‘for one to know that he does not know ❞


, which means water. The word mem stands for mayim Water constitutes a vital element in our lives - a human being is largely composed of water and the majority of the earth is covered in it. The Torah, the most vital element in Jewish spiritual life, is referred to as water, as it states: ‘Ein mayim ela Torah’—'There is no water but Torah.’ As the Prophet tells us (Isaiah 55:1) ‘He who is thirsty shall go and drink water,’ meaning that a Jew’s thirst for spirituality will never be sated by looking to other cultures or religions. Mem has the numerical value of 40, which is a very special number in the Jewish religion. Here are some examples: 40 represents life itself, because at around 40 days a human embryo begins to take on a recognisable form (and in modern days can be seen on a scan).

38 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

In Jewish tradition the age of 40 is a milestone at which we are mature enough to comprehend the wisdom and intention of our teachers. Various areas of Jewish learning are not recommended under the age of 40 unless specifically recommended by your teacher. Although the first Jew, Abraham is said to have recognised the existence of G-d when he was only three years old, it was not until he was 40 that he started to bring monotheism to the world.

So how to link 40 to Yom Kippur? Moses went up Mount Sinai three times, each time for 40 days. ● Once to receive the Torah - but when he came down and saw the Golden Calf, he smashed the original tablets (on 17th of Tammuz). ● The second time Moses ascended, once again for 40 days to pray for forgiveness. ● The third time Moses ascended to receive a new set of carved tablets - which he brought down on the 10th of Tishrei (the day we have as Yom Kippur - the ultimate day of forgiveness). The culmination of these three 40-day periods, when we were forgiven and saved as a nation, was the 10th of Tishrei, Yom Kippur. So the 10th of Tishrei, Yom Kippur, became the day that we as the Jewish people fast and pray to atone for our sins through the generations. As we approach this New Year, we will all be reflecting on a very challenging year globally, and doubtless all praying for a better year ahead. Wishing you all and your families a Shana Tova U’Metukah, and a happier and healthier 5782 ahead.

Thoughts & Perspectives

Jewish Dictionary


the Succot symbol with Chinese roots The Torah tells us in Leviticus 23:40 to take a pri etz hadar, ‫פרי עץ הדר‬, - the fruit of a beautiful tree – and rejoice before the Lord. Today, we all know this fruit by a different name - ‫ אתרוג‬Etrog. But where did this name come from? The word appears to derive from the Persian, trunga, and also the Arabic turunj, meaning a citrus fruit. It is also the root of the Spanish word toronja, meaning grapefruit.


alled ‘citron’ in English, the etrog is believed to have by Margery Cohen originated in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. It then travelled to north eastern India, where it was incorporated into Ayurvedic medicine. Alexander the Great then spread it to the Persian Empire and the Mediterranean region. Although the etrog isn't specifically named in the Torah, it has played the role of ‘beautiful fruit’ for millennia because it has been considered so special for so long. Eliezer E Goldschmidt, a professor of agriculture and an etrog specialist at the Hebrew University, primarily known for his research on citron genetics, says etrogim have been used in the Succot rituals since at least the second century BCE. Today, with the enormous variety of fruit available, we cannot imagine the excitement when exotic citrus fruits first arrived around the Mediterranean area. Since perhaps as long ago as then, rabbis have debated both the proper look of an etrog and its symbolism. Some suggest it represents the heart, whilst the other three plants of the Arba Minim - palm, willow and myrtle - represent other parts of the body. When we take the four species together, it's a symbol of the whole body with all its components being devoted and dedicated to G-d. The Talmud specifies that these four species should be attractive and of good quality, but the etrog in particular should be beautiful. As a result, great care is taken in selecting an etrog, and there are many people willing to spend a lot of time and money acquiring an especially good specimen. Since even small blemishes can render the etrog invalid, it has to be scrupulously protected from any damage. The most commonly used etrog variety comes from the Calabria region of Italy. Along with Israel and Morocco, Calabria is one of the three major exporters of etrogim. In order to remain kosher for the holiday, etrogim grown for Succot cannot be grafted onto other hardier citrus trees.

Unlike almost every other fruit in the world, this halachic preference for purity means that there has been very little cross-breeding for at least 1,000 years, so the etrog of today may truly be an ancient fruit, a physical link to our past. The etrog is not grown as an edible crop. It mostly consists of a thick rind with aromatic skin, almost no pulp and lots of seeds. What then do you do with your etrog after the Festival? Most people will leave their etrog to wither and dry, since it is prohibited to throw it away. With so much effort going into selecting an etrog, there are a few delicious and interesting ways to preserve the fruit of the beautiful tree. After all, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you etrogim, you may not be able to make etrogade – but you could make an infused etrog vodka that will last for months. Or try any of these ideas: ● Make citron oil to use as a bath or air freshener: Grate the etrog zest, add to a glass bottle and combine with almond oil. Freshen up the bathwater with a few drops, or spray it in the air at home. ● Use as spices for Havdalah: Make holes in the etrog and fill them with cloves. ● Grow a tree with the seeds. ● Etrog cake is a creative and delicious idea for a Shabbat dessert. With a vibrant citrus flavour, this cake will impress family and friends. ● Etrog Preserve has a distinctive flavour that carries the scent and spirit of Succot well into the new year. An etrog in Cornwall? A few years ago, I visited the Eden Project, and there it was! On Succot, we are commanded to be happy. How fortunate are we to be holding a fruit that is not only one of earth’s primeval citrus fruits but one that is little changed from the etrogim that our ancestors held centuries ago! 39 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Thoughts & Perspectives

A Halachic Finger in the Dyke?

In the UK and many other countries, political and social sentiment on medical and even recreational use of marijuana is shifting towards acceptance. In the Netherlands, the consumption of marijuana is legal and tolerated. But is it halachically acceptable?


his article is based on a shiur by Rabbi by Stewart Dresner Grunewald in February 2013. The shiur eight years ago took an hour but I can give you the response in less than two minutes. Is it halachically acceptable? No! Because marijuana 1. can lead to the taking of stronger drugs 2. affects a user’s behaviour 3. can become addictive leading to the erosion of earning a livelihood. The shiur participants suggested that the consumption of alcohol and tobacco can have the same or worse effects, and impacts far more people than marijuana. The rabbi suggested that the Beth Din does not ban alcohol because too many people consume alcohol for a ban to be effective. In any event, kosher wine is a part of kiddush, of course. As for smoking tobacco, apparently the leading orthodox late 20th century American, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, warned against it after evidence of its impact on health. The ill health effects were not so well researched at the time of the Chofetz Chaim in the early 20th 40 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

century, but he warned against smoking tobacco, apparently sensing that it had negative health effects. It would be theoretically possible for a Beth Din to ban stronger drinks, such as spirits, on the grounds that they have the same ill effects as marijuana. But as life for some Chassidim, and for many other Jews, floats on the tasting of vodka and whisky, such a decision would not be well respected. For example, during another part of the shiur, the rabbi explained that it was forbidden to serve meat and fish on the same plate. Why? Because it is written in the 16th century Shulchan Aruch. Apparently, at the time, this combination was considered dangerous. Now it is not, but the ban remains. While such rules do not have much impact in the home, it does have an impact on kosher supervised functions. The London Beth Din does not permit the serving of fish and meat from the same table at a buffet in case someone adds these two items of food to their plates. The point here is that halacha seems to be driven by society on some issues but not others. In 2013 for the first time there was a women’s only megillah reading inside Norrice Lea Shul, a practice later followed in Pinner. Until 2013, the

women’s only megillah reading was banned from that Shul so was held in someone’s house. Once forbidden, now permitted. In the current Covid-19 era, some less orthodox Shuls permit an online minyan, and if video and audio are switched off, it is possible that some of the minyan are women. Who are the revolutionaries storming the Bastille of traditional halacha and practice? On 13th January, the Jewish Chronicle reported on ‘A monthly Hallel service for Orthodox women organised by Edgware United Synagogue’ which started in May 2020 together with a member of Edgware Adas. The latest service ‘was attended by more than 200 women, including participants from Finland, Canada, Bolivia, Norway, Barbados, Kenya, Italy, El Salvador, Switzerland, the UAE, the Netherlands, Spain and Panama, as well as Israel and the US.’ On other issues, absurdities remain. Systems of law reflect their societies. We should not be passive victims of halacha but speak up when something seems wrong. There may be more flexibility in halacha than appears at first glance. Let’s explore the potential for change where the current position makes no sense.

Thoughts & Perspectives

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The Paperweight Trust was founded on the principle of providing practical and immediate hands-on guidance at a time of crisis. A volunteer-led charity, it provides support and hope to vulnerable people within our Jewish community. This Rosh Hashanah, ‘hope’ has never seemed so important.


aperweight works across the entire social and religious spectrum on bereavement, personal debt, welfare benefits, divorce, unemployment – even the bureaucracy of simply paying household bills. Our caseworkers are ready to offer free guidance on a full range of issues. Our purpose is to offer clients tailored options to help them achieve appropriate outcomes to the challenges they face, whilst maintaining an empathetic and supportive approach at all times. Paperweight has seen the need for its services soaring to epic proportions. Our stats demonstrate an uplift in numbers claiming means tested benefits, the start of an uplift in evictions and threatened homelessness, a surge in relationship breakdown and domestic abuse. Many of Paperweight’s clients are frightened, insecure, alone

and worried. Often without warning, their lives are turned upside down. Many need support navigating the benefits and care systems. Others need help managing debt and relationship breakdown. They are in crisis and making contact is the first step to resolution. It is our purpose to offer that ‘hope’ in unthinkable times. We are totally focused on empowering our clients to deal with the challenges and hurdles they face. Our clients depend on us to do so. To learn more about the vital work of Paperweight, visit If you know of any individuals and families who could benefit from Paperweight’s advice, encourage them to contact 0330 174 4300 or info@ On behalf of us all, we wish you and your families a happy and healthy New Year. Shana Tova.

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Thoughts & Perspectives

Lacquered but not


I N S P I R AT I O N O N C H A N G I N G D I R EC T I O N by Sherrie Charlton

At the end of October 2019, my role was made redundant. I was ready for a change of direction but wasn’t sure what I should do next. I didn’t feel ready to put my feet up and retire completely, so I decided to spend a few months exploring some fresh ideas. Perhaps this would be the time to let my creative and artistic side flourish and give me the opportunity to recalibrate. To think about what I really love doing and what gives me energy.


hroughout my professional career I’ve enjoyed the challenge of developing people and organisations, helping them to grow and to achieve their full potential. Applying this to myself, I’ve always wanted to take unused and out-of-date objects, which might otherwise be thrown away, and re-fashion them into something modern, practical and beautiful. Giving them a new life and, whilst doing so, learning new skills and stimulating my imagination and creative energy.


I found January to midMarch 2020 an unsettling period personally. Yet it was a time for exploring possible options and trying out some new skills. I started working on a small tray with legs, learning very quickly that it isn’t as easy as it looks on YouTube! 42 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

So, I looked around for a course. I booked on a decoupage workshop in Colchester for mid-March. Decoupage is the art of decorating surfaces by applying paper or material, and then protecting it with several layers of lacquer or varnish. Unfortunately, the course coincided with the first lockdown in March, and it was cancelled. This gave me the opportunity to put structure and purpose into my newly liberated week and to tap into what I love doing.


In the first place, I had resolved to declutter our house, something I never seemed to have time for when working full time. In doing so, I found 15 items of

Thoughts & Perspectives redundant furniture. ALL could easily have been taken to the dump! These included a small table, a mirror, a toybox, a desk, some bedside cabinets … all potential projects. After seeing so many other courses moving online, I contacted the decoupage workshop’s tutor, Sarah, and offered to help her adapt her workshop to an online presentation, acting as her guinea pig. As the guinea pig, I had one to one tuition from Sarah who encouraged me to be brave and try new techniques. So, for my first project I decided to revamp a three-drawer pine bedside cabinet. The weather was great so I had the added bonus of being able to work outside. Over a period of a week, we scheduled teaching sessions, interlaced with putting the techniques into practice with a really great result. In August, with Covid-19 restrictions relaxed, I also joined a socially distanced workshop which Sarah ran at her studio in Colchester during which I completed a small round coffee table. As my skills and ideas developed, and following further design research I began to realise how much more I needed to learn! I signed up for another online course to learn more about modern geometrical design techniques and how to apply them to old and damaged furniture. I chose two coffee tables to practise on. One was a rectangular 1970s style that had been used to stand plants on and had suffered water damage. The other was a white, unusually shaped melamine covered coffee table - very scuffed and chipped after a life in student digs. Over the next four weeks Nicky, who led the course, helped me to overcome the challenges that I encountered with these two pieces, enabling me to rejuvenate them with modern designs. So, what have I learnt and where will it take me? I’ve learnt that I need to use both my scientific and artistic sides to solve problems and achieve the optimum outcome in order to discover what does and doesn’t work. Experience has taught me that I can’t do this alone and that I need to learn from and with others. I’ve since joined a creative group which challenges and supports my thinking as well as sharing

knowledge and skills. After finishing a few commissions, I decided to set up an Etsy shop - another challenge - to sell refurbished pieces. As much as I’d like to I know I can’t keep them all! Designing and giving new life to once loved furniture is only part of my new life. I now volunteer as an advisor with Resource ( using my previous professional experience to support and develop people who are looking for their next work role. Looking after oneself both mentally and physically is important at all times but never more so than at the moment. As such I’ve set myself a few additional challenges including taking my Ivrit lessons to a new level, improving my physical stamina by walking every day and developing our garden. Last but not least I am spending time with family and friends, locally and around the world, using all the technology available to connect us and give us all the love, courage and strength we all need. Thank you to my husband Jonny and all our family and friends for all your support and encouragement in this next stage of my life. You can see some more of my designs on Instagram @upspiralstudio

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Thoughts & Perspectives

UJIA Legacy Gift Israel holds a central part in our lives. We have a responsibility to those who built the State to continue to support and strengthen it in the future.


nd UJIA has been pivotal to the support and strength that the British Jewish Community has demonstrated to the people and communities in Israel since we were founded in 1921. We couldn’t have done it without you: the support of generous individuals and communities like yours has been vital. But have you ever considered how you could support Israel through UJIA in an entirely different way – through a legacy gift in your will? A legacy is much more than a financial commitment: it is a values based declaration, demonstrating your support for your favourite causes. A legacy gift to UJIA will help to ensure that your support for Israel doesn’t end when you die but continues long into the future. Through a legacy gift to UJIA, each of us can honour the generations of the past and create a lasting imprint for those of the future. Remembering UJIA in your will, will improve the lives of children and young adults both in Israel and here in the UK. Long into the future, your impact will be felt on people who, in many cases, are not even born yet. However, when you include UJIA in your will, the effect will also be felt a lot closer to home. For you, the donor, it is an incredible feeling to know that the values and ideals that you have held so dear throughout your

life will be continued in your name in the future. The causes that mean so much to you in your lifetime will continue to benefit from your generosity in a way that keeps your memory alive. In every sense, a legacy is the most inspirational of gifts. A legacy gift of any size can make a huge difference, and with the generous tax breaks available, you can demonstrate your commitment to a cause that is close to your heart, without seriously prejudicing your family’s inheritance. And a legacy gift is the perfect way of expressing your support of UJIA’s values and vision without it running any risk of prejudicing your finances during your lifetime. By leaving a legacy in your will, you are not only reaffirming the value of charity - tzedakah - that you have actioned throughout your life, you are going one step further. You are making these acts of kindness part of your eternal memory. Leaving a legacy to UJIA will create a connection between you and the people of Israel that will last forever. For more information, please visit or contact Harvey Bratt, UJIA’s Director of Legacies and Planned Giving at or 07943 854289.

The conne c t io n Guy, aged 5, lives in the UJIA Carmiel Children’s Village thanks to


s continue

w it

haU JIA legacy gift


Gerald (1920 - 2014) During his lifetime, Gerald Crossman scaled the heights of the music world, playing alongside showbiz greats including Charlie Chaplin, Morecambe & Wise and even Marlene Dietrich. Yet it was after his death that he made perhaps his most life-changing impact. In 2019, Guy moved into Carmiel Children’s Village, giving him a new start in life away from a life of abuse and poverty. This was made possible in no small part thanks to the legacy gift left by Gerald to UJIA in his Will. To find out more about the difference a legacy gift to UJIA can make, call Harvey Bratt on 020 7424 6431 or email United Jewish Israel Appeal is a registered charity No. 1060078 (England & Wales) and Sc 039181 (Scotland).

44 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Thoughts & Perspectives

Survival in Slovakia by Vera Bernstein

As a second-generation Holocaust survivor, Holocaust education has always been important to me. For several years, I was involved in facilitating workshops organised by Northwood Synagogue (Holocaust Learning UK) teaching young people what racial discrimination led to in Europe during the Second World War. These events always focused on listening to a survivor relating their experiences. Today there are also many descendants of survivors ready to carry these stories forward. I am one of these descendants.


y mother, Alice Svarin, avoided deportation from Slovakia to Auschwitz and survived with her husband Zoltan, by going into hiding. Her father Adolph and sister Edith were not so lucky. Her mother Adele survived under a false name in a public prison in Budapest. Alice did not tell her story in public, but she recorded two hours of testimony with the Spielberg Foundation. In 2018, Generation 2 Generation (G2G) asked me to assemble materials and information and prepare an illustrated talk using extracts from Alice’s testimony. It was important that my presentation be engaging, historically accurate and that the audience should see and hear a survivor. The talk was converted to a DVD, a timeline was added, a total of 15 minutes of clips were selected and subtitled. Then the real work started for me, as I had to write a narrative to join the photos and clips. Experts helped improve my presentation skills and I gained confidence through practice with friends, who gave me feedback. When I was finally ready to present in person the pandemic struck and had to adapt my presentation for Zoom. That meant shortening the talk and talking without immediate eye contact with a live audience. All along I was supported by G2G either by group training or individually. I was emotionally attached to every bit of the story. To start with it was strange

and Spirituality Group and the University of the Third Age amongst others. The most challenging presentation was to the Commission on Racial Equality in January 2021, to an audience of over 200 zoom screens, where I was asked some challenging questions on ‘God and punishment’. I would encourage anyone with a story to write it down, if not for the public then for their relatives. No one could make up these stories. I found the experience cathartic, connecting me to my parents and to the relatives that I never met because of the Holocaust.

to listen to my mother’s voice and see her looking at me from the screen years after her passing. It was difficult to shorten the talk from a first cut of 55 minutes to 40 minutes. I felt that I ought to talk not only about her own and her mother’s survival but also about how her sister and her father were murdered, but how do you do justice to all their stories in just 40 minutes? I have now presented to several Jewish and non-Jewish groups including the Bnai Brith, our Shul audience within the PEP program, Brighton University Faith

I am grateful to my mentor and others from G2G who supported me from the very beginning in preparing a presentation that I am proud of. Today, G2G has 20 second and third-generation speakers ready to tell a range of Holocaust stories integrating first-hand survivor testimony. They continue to help descendants of survivors put together presentations and to deliver their stories in order to remember the past and challenge antisemitism, discrimination and racism in all its forms. I hope that in a small way my presentation will fulfil its purpose and make my audiences aware that the Holocaust was not a hoax. For further information about Generation 2 Generation (G2G) and to hear stories developed by their speakers at G2G’s monthly online events see their website

45 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Thoughts & Perspectives

We remember Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for his high sense of duty and for the inspiration of his leadership. These two stories give us a glimpse of his life of service to the Nation and the Commonwealth.

The Duke & I by Dominic Olins


ollowing the sad passing of Prince Philip earlier this year, millions of people have been reflecting on the diverse ways that the Duke had impacted their lives. In this vein, I wanted to share with you my experience in taking on the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award – and the lasting impact this experience has made on me. For those who do not know, the Duke of Edinburgh Award is a scheme with three progressive levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Gold Award involves five sections: Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and Residential. The core idea behind the scheme is to provide participants from all backgrounds with unique ways to learn key personal, social and employment skills, such as resilience, problem-solving and teamwork. I took on the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in my final year at John Lyon. My reasons for ‘doing D of E’ (as it was typically referred to amongst my fellow students) were purely self-interest. As my teachers (and my mother, in moments of exasperation) would repeatedly tell me, the Award would ‘look great on your UCAS form’. However, it’s fair to say that the Award taught me values

46 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

that were decidedly not self-interested in nature. For example, I referred above to the Volunteering section of the scheme. Being a fairly recent graduate of the Pinner and Northwood Cheder, I decided to volunteer as a Hebrew reading assistant. Initially a mere tickbox exercise, I came to learn the value of communal investment and continuity. From the vantage-point of a teaching assistant helping kids understand Hebrew and access a crucial part of Jewish heritage and present-day religious life, I began to appreciate the investment that the Cheder had put in to my early education, and the benefits I had taken from it. As a result, I continued as a Hebrew assistant well beyond the months mandated by the Award and, more generally and in diverse ways, have remained involved in communal life since. As the Talmud might have put it: by doing the Award not for its own sake, I came to do the Award for its own sake. Personally, the most memorable aspect of the Award was the five-day expedition across Fort William, Scotland with my team-mates. As a North London Jew barely familiar with the rudiments of making my own bed, the unfamiliar demands of setting up a campsite,

orientating myself around Scottish mountain ranges and cooking meals on a ‘Trangia’ came as quite a shock. Yet, I am very grateful for the experience. As an early lesson in perseverance, operating outside your comfort zone and appreciating the beauty of nature, the expedition was truly unique. One particular moment still stands out for me. It was a beautiful sunny day and I had just hiked up the day’s peak. To my right, I noticed a rain cloud precipitating on a patch of lowland several miles away. This was an incredible spectacle – it’s not often you witness a rainstorm as a bird might – but one tinged with growing apprehension: I didn’t need to be an employee of the Met Office to recognise that this cloud was only heading in one direction! Completing the hike carried with it an enormous sense of accomplishment; the warm bath greeting me back home a welcome reminder of the luxury I had forgone for five demanding days. However, it was not until the Award Ceremony at St James’s Palace that I came to appreciate quite what I had achieved. The royal setting, the select number of awardees and the generous welcome by Prince Edward (I’m not sure whether Prince Phillip had stopped attending ceremonies by that time) all impressed upon me the importance of my achievement. The Award Ceremony was not presented as the final stage of

Thoughts & Perspectives

The day I met Prince Philip by Edna Terret

The Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade (JLGB), founded in 1895, is the oldest Jewish Youth organisation in the UK.

an arduous journey, but as a launchpad from which I had the opportunity to build upon the Award’s lessons in social responsibility, courage and persistence. To the extent that I and other participants have put these lessons into practice, I believe the Award has played an important role in producing young citizens with a profound sense of duty to ourselves and society as a whole. By ‘doing D of E’, we emulate the D of E.

When the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (D of E) was launched in 1956, the JLGB was asked to be part of the first pilot group. Since then, the JLGB continues to be the only Jewish operating authority for the Award. It operates the award in Jewish schools, synagogues, and Community centres. JLGB also provides single gender provision for strictly orthodox participants and adapted expeditions for special needs schools. There are several sections of the award, Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expeditions. Those taking part choose activities that they are passionate about and that will help them to uniquely build their own programme of selfimprovement. The Award comes at a perfect time in a young person’s life, to help to shape and define their character and identity and give them the determination, independence, and tools that they need to transition to adult life. The phenomenal impact of this award inspired by Prince Philip, lives on in the millions of young people who have been empowered to develop the skills, confidence, and resilience to realise their potential and to make a positive difference to their local communities and to wider society. Prince Philip himself was inspired by his old headmaster and mentor, Dr Kurt Hahn, a German Jew who escaped the Nazis. Hahn was a key figure in experimental education who felt there was a need for a youth programme that developed the mind, body and spirit.

the Award’s 50th anniversary. As a senior volunteer, I was selected to be one of the six. As we were queuing to enter the Palace, my colleague Neil (the chief executive), explained that two of the invitations were for the Royal Tea Tent and he and I would be in that tent! As there were around 8000 people present, I expected there to be 5001000 in the Royal tent. How wrong I was! To my astonishment, there were only about 30 select people in the Royal tent and I was one of them! Others included Buzz Aldren and Sir Roger Bannister. We were with a colleague from the Boys’ Brigade and when Prince Philip approached us, he recognised the Boys Brigade uniform. We of course were in civvies. After we were introduced, his first comment was ‘Ah, the Jewish people.’ He enquired how the Award was going in our organisation and we explained that it was going very well. We explained that we ran Shabbat friendly expeditions, which are also Kosher. He seemed to find Kosher expeditions very amusing and walked away chuckling to himself. A few moments later, Her Majesty the Queen entered the tent. Prince Philip brought her straight over to us and said, still chuckling, ‘These are the Jewish people and they run Kosher expeditions!’ The Queen was most impressed. They then moved on to speak to other guests.

There are three levels of the award, bronze, silver and gold. The level of participation is dependent on age, and ranges from 14 through to 25.

We felt that Prince Philip was genuinely interested in us and how we ran the award and rather amazed that we had adapted his Award to suit the Jewish community.

In 2006 the JLGB was fortunate to receive six invitations to a special Garden Party at Buckingham Place to celebrate

It certainly was a wonderful experience and one which will always remain in my memory. 47 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Thoughts & Perspectives

“Bradislaw who?” by Richard Breger

On the 14 May 1948 at the official ceremony of the Declaration of Independence, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra played Hatikvah – just a few days after the liberation. It then went on to perform a concert on the dunes of Beer Sheba. The young Leonard Bernstein conducted and played in front of 5000 soldiers within earshot of the retreating Egyptian forces.‘Hang on!’ you may say, ‘how can there have been an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra ready to play at the moment of independence - when the new State had barely drawn its first infant breaths?’ Well, this is what happened…


his little-known story begins on 19 December 1882. On that day Bradislav Huberman, the hero of our story, was born into a Jewish family in Czestochowa, a small city in Poland. From a very young age he exhibited extraordinary musical talent. At the age of nine he was performing on his violin in health spas across Austria and Germany to help support his family. As the word spread he began performing across Western Europe and in the United States. When he was thirteen he played Brahms’ Violin Concerto at a concert in Vienna. In the audience were four of the world’s greatest contemporary composers - Gustav Mahler, Anton

48 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Bruckner, Johann Strauss and Johannes Brahms himself. Legend has it that Brahms wept on hearing the beautiful playing of his concerto and embraced Huberman after the concert. Huberman went on to become one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.

But, there was another side to Huberman… As a young boy he had experienced anti-Semitism in Poland at the end of the 19th century. When World War 1 broke out he was arrested while performing in Berlin because he was Polish and considered to be an enemy of the state. One of his big fans, the German crown princess, Duchess Cecilie of

Thoughts & Perspectives Mecklenburg-Schwerin, intervened and he was released. These experiences had a profound impact on Huberman. He became an outspoken pacifist and joined a group called the Pan Europeanists where he befriended Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. They visualised a Europe without boundaries – a political, economic and military union. Huberman’s views were anti-Zionist at this stage. He did not see why Jews should not be part of an integrated Europe. In 1920, he took time away from performing to study social and political sciences at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1929 and 1931 Huberman performed in Palestine. This experience planted an idea to bring world class classical music to the region. It was just a vision. And then everything changed when in 1933 Hitler came to power. Anti-Semitic policies became institutionalised. Jews were excluded from many areas of employment, including orchestras. They were harassed and subjected to violent attacks, stripped of their citizenship and civil rights, and eventually completely removed from German society. The situation become even more precarious following the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. These racist policies had a crippling economic and social impact on the Jewish community and other minorities. This was an ‘aha’ moment for Huberman. He recognised the situation was deteriorating dramatically. He saw a unique opportunity to give fellow musicians a passage out of the growing turmoil in Europe and the chance of a new life, and in doing so he could realise his dream of bringing music to Palestine.

Hubermann is galvanised into action. Plans for an orchestra in Palestine took shape. It was a mammoth and complex task, but he was relentless. He solicited the help of many high profile individuals, Jew and non-Jew alike. A key priority was to secure permission for his musicians to enter and reside in Palestine. He approached Jewish leaders in Palestine – amongst them Ben Gurion and World Zionist leader Chaim Weitzmann - to help secure residence permits. Eventually, after facing many challenges, permission was secured for 70 musicians and their families. Securing the finances was a pressing need. The costs were enormous. Huberman experienced great difficulty raising funds to support the many needs; travel, wages and the renovation of a fairground complex in Tel Aviv for a concert venue to name a few. He used his reputation and prestige to raise funds approaching wealthy Jews in Britain and America. It was tough going. He embarked on a marathon fund-raising concert tour across America. Albert Einstein, his friend and fellow violinist, gave a benefit dinner in New York to help the cause. And so, Huberman’s search for musicians began. He travelled widely throughout Europe conducting auditions in

search of the most talented. He initially struggled to convince many that they would be better off in Palestine. Some chose to remain in Europe. As events unfolded, he was inundated with requests and had to make difficult choices – with farreaching consequences. Eventually, seventy musicians and their families made their way to Palestine. Once assembled, they started to build the orchestra. On 26 December 1936, the Palestine Symphony Orchestra held its inaugural concert. It was conducted by the internationally acclaimed Arturo Toscanini. Huberman invited the Italian maestro when he heard that he had refused to perform in Germany to protest the Nazi takeover.

What happened next… For the next decade the orchestra worked on establishing its own musical identity – bringing together the diversity of styles with which the members came. They gave many performances and were visited by leading composers and musicians. During the Second World War, they performed 140 times for Allied soldiers, including a 1942 performance for soldiers of the Jewish Brigade at El Alamein and tours of Egypt in 1940-1943. Meanwhile Hubermann continued his international performance schedule He maintained very close links with its management and continued with fundraising efforts. After war broke out he left Europe for New York. By this time he had become a committed Zionist and spoke out in favour of a Jewish state in Palestine. Huberman had intended to return to Palestine after the war. He never made it. He returned to Europe and on June 16 1947 died in Switzerland at the age of 64. In 1948 the Palestine Symphony Orchestra became the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

So, what is Branislav Huberman’s legacy? Hubeman gave the promise of life and a future to at least 1000 people musicians and their families most of whom would almost certainly have died had they stayed in Europe. He rescued a well-established European tradition of Jewish classical musicianship of the highest calibre. In so doing he ignited a magnificent cultural movement. Emerging from all the horror of the time and on the cusp of a new era, this was a profound beacon of light. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has gone on to become one of the pre-eminent orchestras in the world.

'The true artist does not create art as an end in itself. He creates art for human beings. Humanity is the goal.'—Bronislaw Huberman* *From ‘Orchestra of Exiles’, 2012. A compelling documentary relating Huberman’s story told by Josh Aronson, the Oscar nominated filmmaker. 49 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

People's Pages

People’s Page WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS Philip & Gemma Bass Dov, Lixen, Samuel & Yael Bloom Maureen Zelzer NEW TRIBE MEMBER Thomas Goulde MAZALTOV TO NEW PARENTS Carly & Joel Coren - Son MAZALTOV TO NEW GRANDPARENTS Zippy & Neil Auerbach - Granddaughter Hazel & Jonathan Coren - Grandson Sharon & Howard Freeman – Granddaughter Eric Furman - Grandson Michelle & David Jay - Granddaughter Pippa & Derek Reid - Granddaughter Judy & David Roth - Granddaughter Angela & Colin Sefton - Granddaughter Hilary & Nigel Shapiro - Grandson MAZALTOV ON THEIR ENGAGEMENT Daniel Siskin to Emma Izon MAZALTOV ON THEIR WEDDING Sophie Conway to Simon Epsley Stacey Davies to Jonathan Radville Daniel Fenton to Lucy Silverstone Michael Gee to Jaimee Baker Gemma Presky to Jonny Samuel Robert Wigman to Ilana Grossmark MAZALTOV ON THEIR SPECIAL WEDDING ANNIVERSARY Lindsay & Simon Hodes - 20th Anniversary Karen & Julian Knopf - 25th Anniversary Elyse & Anthony Sultan - 25th Anniversary Jane & Stephen Messias - 30th Anniversary Elii & Vera Bernstein - 50th Anniversary Judy & Colin Graham - 50th Anniversary Rosemary & Jonathan Lewis - 50th Anniversary Lilian & Mike Redhouse - 50th Anniversary Rosalind & John Rome - 50th Anniversary Jennifer & Martin Simmons - 50th Anniversary Helen & Stuart Skolnek - 50th Anniversary Adele & Stuart Yank - 50th Anniversary Sandra and Ronald Thornfield - 60th Anniversary Elaine & Gerald Wiseman - 60th Anniversary MAZALTOV ON THEIR BARMITZVAH Charlie Saffer MAZALTOV ON THEIR BATMITZVAH Eva Saffer Shani Sidnick 50 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

MAZALTOV ON THEIR SPECIAL BIRTHDAY Jonathan Mail - 40th Birthday Roxanne Levy - 50th Birthday Lynne Englander - 60th Birthday Howard Freeman - 60th Birthday Dawn Goulde - 60th Birthday Gerald Isaac - 60th Birthday Anthony Muzlish - 60th Birthday Ros Ordman - 60th Birthday Saville Kaufman - 65th Birthday Stephen Collins - 70th Birthday Susan Lesser - 70th Birthday Louis Lipman - 70th Birthday Jacqueline Newman - 70th Birthday Doreen Samuels - 70th Birthday Michael Schiller - 70th Birthday Angela Sefton - 70th Birthday Susan Bergson - 75th Birthday Jackie Black - 75th Birthday Stephen Coleman - 75th Birthday David Gottler - 75th Birthday Michael Keats - 75th Birthday Jonathan Lewis - 75th Birthday Keith Simons - 75th Birthday Anthony Berry - 80th Birthday Roy Levene - 80th Birthday Janet Phillips - 80th Birthday David Messias - 85th Birthday Dorothy Salmon - 85th Birthday Norman Davies - 90th Birthday Anita Shane - 90th Birthday Renee Binstock - 101 Birthday CONDOLENCE ON BEREAVEMENT Ian Bernstein - Mother Jane Cohen - Father Pam Dadoun – Mother Elaine Gee - Father Yvette Goldstone - Sister Doreen Havardi - Husband Roy Levene - Wife Howard Paster - Mother Paula Pitts - Father Maxine Segalov - Mother Graham West - Brother CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF Sheila Ardel Simeon Kreeger Bertha Langley Nigel Schneider Hannah Stupack Gloria Wright as at 20th August 2021

People's Pages

Lucy Silverstone & Daniel Fenton

Gemma Presky & Jonny Samuel

Jaimee Baker & Michael Gee

Sophie Conway & Simon Epsley

Zoe Abrahams with parents Judith & Stuart

51 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

People's Pages

A Pinner Bake Off If you were passing Elm Park Road on Bank Holiday Monday 3 May, you would have seen a group of four 12-year-old boys leading a bake sale to raise money for Harrow Foodbank. One of them was Leon Kinsley, the son of our Welfare Officer Karen. Together with his friends, Tommy Canter and Bailey Kaye from Pinner, and Sam Stein from Bushey, they raised more than £800 as part of their Bar Mitzvah celebrations. The boys chose to support Harrow Foodbank because of how important the charity has been to the local community during Covid-19. The four families baked biscuits, cakes and dog treats for the community. We understand from Karen that it was an amazing success. She told us how all the neighbours came together, and that one person had a slice of lemon cake and made a £20 donation! The £800 donation has been presented to Harrow Foodbank – part of a national network of foodbanks helping to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. Well done boys! Look out for them on the Great British Bake Off in years to come.

Rosh Hashanah Greetings BETH: Dee and Mervyn wish the whole community a happy New Year and healthy 5782. BROOKARSH: Wishing all our friends in the Pinner Community a sweet, happy, healthy and Covid free New Year. Ruth, Nigel, Ben, Naomi and Zara. CONWAY: A healthy and happy New Year to our family and friends and to all the Pinner community. We miss you! Barbara and Brian Conway

NICHOLLS: With our heartfelt wishes and prayers for a healthy and peaceful New Year, to our beloved children, grandchildren and extended family and friends. Barbara and Anthony Nicholls OLINS: Lisa and Andrew, together with Dominic and Toby, would like to wish our family, friends and the whole community a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

EISENBERG: L’Shana Tova. Thank you everyone for your support. Sally-Ann Eisenberg.

ROME: Wishing everyone in the community a very happy and healthy New Year. Shana Tova. Roz and John Rome.

KLEINMAN: Shana Tova to everyone from Bronia and Alan Kleinman.

TERRET: Edna and Norman Terret wish all the Pinner community a happy and healthy New Year.

LEWIS: After a difficult year for so many of us, let us hope for good health and happiness for all our community. Shana Tova to friends, family and all members of the Pinner Community. Leonie and Howard Lewis.

WEST: Hilary, Graham and family wish the community and friends a happy and healthy New Year and well over the Fast.

52 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Home & Away

Pinner Shul

million contactless card transactions in the UK. a 12.3% increase over the same time last year.


Leonie believes that affordable and convenient technical solutions are urgently needed, so that the charity sector can adapt to this new reality. The book is a call to action to technical providers, as much as to the voluntary sector.

Book Club by Leonie Lewis Reviewed by Robin Woolf

This is a short 70-page book reflecting Leonie’s many years of charity collecting for Harrow Mencap. Leonie argues that traditional fundraising through charity tins not only supports good causes but is an important human interaction. During the pandemic, when we have been wearing masks and avoiding close contact, dropping coins into the collector’s tin was one of the few meaningful connections with a stranger that we donors may have had. It is a simple way of showing kindness and can contribute to our good mental health. She highlights how an increasingly cashless society means that more people are not using cash and so have less or no cash to give to charity.In January 2020 there were 720

The interaction between collectors and givers is likely to become even more important if contactless replaces the traditional tins, so many of Leonie’s ‘tips’ could be even more helpful. Sir Martyn Lewis CBE, broadcaster, volunteer and former Chair of the National Council for Voluntary Services, endorses the book as ‘both a valuable guide and a recruiting sergeant for those who would follow in Leonie’s footsteps.’ The book costs £6.95 (of which £1 will go to Harrow Mencap). Worth buying if you are thinking of becoming a collector or have responsibility for recruiting or training collectors! Or maybe just as a potential contributor to charity.

Lanku goes to the Royal Academy by Sandra Breger

Last Succot, our grandson Doron celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Mill Hill Shul. Due to Covid restrictions how to celebrate was challenging. A ‘Safari Bar Mitzvah’ was chosen.


here was a very low key Shabbat morning service. Later on, Havdalah was conducted by Doron on Zoom in a jungle-like setting. Zoom Guests had all be given their own candles as part of their party pack. The following, day, Sunday, a street party was organized outside the family home in a cul-du-sac. Guests were allocated time slots to walk around and enjoy crepes and hot chocolate at stations set in amongst animal cut-outs. One station was a photo booth in a gazebo where Polaroid photos were taken with a life-sized baby rhino in the background – Lanku. Lanku, was constructed by Doron and a team of his siblings and friends. They used a framework of wire, football goal posts, papier mache, paint and glue.

He measures 2m x 1.5m x 1m. The family have sponsored a WWF white African rhino, called Lanku, for a number of years. The sculpture represents this incredible endangered species which is close to extinction as they are being poached for their horns. The aim was to create awareness of their plight. Subsequently Lisa, our daughter, submitted a photo to the Royal Academy for Arts Youth Summer Exhibition. Around 33,000 entries were received, 572 were selected for display Lanku was chosen! The Royal Academy sent porters and a truck to transport him. And so Lanku went to the Royal Academy. 53 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Home & Away

Lawrence’s Walks

Volume 2: 4 more walks NOT in Pinner

by Lawrence Brown

Firstly, I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all of you who told me how much you enjoyed my previous article - and yes, you will still see me schlepping around. Now that (I hope!) the main travel restrictions are eased, I have been asked to share with yousome further afield walks I enjoy. So here they are…

Walk 1 - Rickmansworth to Sarratt and back via Chorleywood

countryside, (the last mile or so is a bit iffy) to be honest, it is not one my favourites. There are also a couple of steep and sometimes muddy bits to cover in the second half of the walk. What I like to do instead, is to follow the first third of the path (be warned this does include walking next to the M25 for a short while) and then divert off to Sarratt, spend some time at one of the local pubs and then walk back to Chorleywood to return by tube.

The Chess Valley walk is a 10 mile signposted path from Rickmansworth to Chesham, starting at Rickmansworth Station which takes around 5 hours to complete and whilst it is a pleasant way of spending a day in mostly beautiful 54 | Rosh Hashanah 2021 Walks_and_Rides/Chess-Valley-Walk-LeafletFor-Web.pdf

Walk 2 - Paddington Basin to Alperton along the Grand Union Canal

Whilst there are many bits of the Grand Union in easy reach of Pinner, this is one section which I particularly enjoy. It is not particularly scenic but it is interesting. This approximately 7 mile walk is usually relatively peaceful and is nice and easy, being virtually flat along its whole length - including crossing high above the North Circular Alperton itself is a fascinating place, being described as 'Little India' with excellent vegetarian restaurants - as well as the amazing Shri Sanatan Hindu Temple. To extend the walk further, you can walk back to Wembley Park Station via the stadium, avoiding or taking advantage of the outlet shopping park or not….

Home & Away The cherry on the chocolate cake is a further yomp - from Leigh on Sea station to the ruins of Hadleigh Castle - a favourite residence of King Edward III. It is about a 45 minute walk uphill but you are rewarded with magnificent views.

Walk 3 - Along the coast from Shoeburyness to Leigh on Sea (and maybe further)

Note that trains to London between the hours of 15:00 and 17:00 tend to be busy with school traffic so it may well be worth avoiding these times and instead relaxing in a Leigh on Sea pub for the duration…

This area has a surprisingly large amount going for it - it reminds me of the way Brighton was around 30 years ago slightly seedy but up and coming.. I usually get C2C train from Fenchurch Street or Liverpool Street, having purchased the £7 Senior Rover ticket first…yes I am THAT old…

Walk 4 - The best bit (IMHO) of the Capital Ring - Sections 7 & 8 from Richmond to Greenford Station

Shoeburyness was once a garrison town, and evidence of its previous role is everywhere. What was once the military accommodation is now posh houses, and its military constructions now points of interest. There are also the remains of a Danish camp from the Iron Age to spot.

The Capital Ring is a 78 mile walk around London. It is split into 15 easy walking sections and makes a great introduction to the joys of a 150 mile London Loop. The sense of achievement

A Cryptic Crossword 3













18 19


I don't have space here to cover this walk in detail – but you just follow the signs… Or


Enjoy your freedom and don't get lost!



7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 19 20 21 22

Leaderless revolutionary at home here (6) Redressed the balance on date arranged (6) Pact for UK citizen? (4) Spat soya out in act of treachery (8) Ancient sect bearing strange senses (7) Father of tax free savings account? (5) Talk about English pancake (5) Half way hasty commentary (7) Guide lady meets acid test, turns red (8) One year loses direction for a month (4) Vehicles carrying journalist planted in Lebanon, say (6) Money made by hotel in fancy sleek surroundings (6)


13 14

Getting to Richmond from Pinner involves the Met Line to Finchley Road, a short walk to the Finchley Road and Frognal Overground and a second train direct to Richmond.


Avid Old Swan 2

Sections 7 and 8 make a great day out (4-5 hours) covering the Thames from Richmond, Syon Park, another bit of the Grand Union, the fine Fox Pub, Brunel’s Wharncliffe Viaduct as well as woods, the River Brent, fields and alas at the end, the A40.

The walk to Leigh can take a few hours - longer if you walk to the end of the 1.3 mile Southend Pier and back (yes there is a railway - but we are walkers aren’t we?)


when you complete the last bit of the last section of either is indescribable!

1 2 3 4 5 6 13 15 17 18

She cat heard in river (6) Playful kitten first devours fishy sounding headgear (7,6) Pharaoh perhaps, erred badly about America (7) Last of three. Last of four reportedly (5) The US viceroys revised adolescent amenities (5,8) Praise new kingdom (6) Dusk hid drunk during sanctification (7) Bend his ear; say it thrice daily (6) Partner adopted by east Europeans toils hard (6) Piece of text reluctant to part with article (5)

Answers on page 58 55 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

Home & Away

Ora gets cooking In July, Janet Lipton gave a cookery demonstration for Ora. As well as giving the many participants delicious recipes, she was also able to answer a range of questions relating to healthy eating and sourcing ingredients.

Mock Chopped Liver - version 1

This looks like the real deal and even smells and tastes like chopped liver. It’s got a good kick of protein from the lentils. This is great for Pesach or all year round. The second version also very tasty. I recommend you try both versions. » » » » » » » »


2 cups water (about 470 ml) 1 cup Puy lentils rinsed, but no need to soak 3 tsp of vegetable bouillon powder 2 dried bay leaves 1 peeled clove of garlic 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking 1 large onion chopped 1 cup walnuts – * if you roast them at 180C for 10 mins and let cool before you using, you will get an infinitely superior result Black pepper

Mock Chopped Liver - version 2 »


» »

1. Place water, lentils and 2 tsp of bouillon in a pot along with garlic and bay leaves


2. Cover pot and cook about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain well and remove garlic and bay leaves 3. Heat oil in frying pan on a lowish heat for about 10 minutes. Sauté onion until it becomes translucent. 4. In an electric food processor, grind lentils, onion and walnuts until you get the desired consistency for pate. I don’t like it too processed. You want a chopped liver consistency 5. Season to taste with the tsp of bouillon powder and freshly ground black pepper.(You could add extra virgin olive oil if you want for consistency and taste) 6. Chill before serving 56 | Rosh Hashanah 2021

» »

2 punnets of mushrooms chopped 2 onions chopped 3 tbsp olive oil for cooking 100g walnuts (ideally roasted. See above *) Handful of parsley Salt and pepper

Method 1. Fry onion in the oil until well browned. 2. Add in mushrooms and fry until there is no juice left and they are almost caramelised 3. Zap all ingredients in a blender

Home & Away

Keralan Curry – serves three generously This vegan Keralan Curry is so quick and easy to make. You could roast the cauliflower in advance and assemble the recipe later in the day. This will keep in fridge for about three days. You can also freeze it successfully. It’s nutritious and really delicious! » » » » » » »

» » » » » »

5 cm piece of peeled ginger 4 cloves peeled garlic – Spanish white garlic is lovely 6 spring onions 1 fresh red chilli 1 big bunch of fresh coriander 10 cherry tomatoes halved 1.5 cauliflowers broken into florets, tossed in 2 tbsp cooking olive oil. Seasoned generously and roasted in the oven at 190°C for 40 mins. Stir occasionally 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking or rapeseed oil 1 heaped teaspoon black mustard seeds or Nigella seeds 2 tsp turmeric 1 small handful of dried curry leaves 1 x 400g tin of coconut milk 2 x 400g tins of cooked chickpeas

1. Pulse the ginger, garlic, spring onions and chilli together with ¾ of the coriander until fine. Set aside 2. Heat oil on a medium to high heat into the casserole pan, then quickly stir in the mustard/Nigella seeds, turmeric and curry leaves until all the lovely oils are released and the seeds start popping. Should happen very quickly 3. Add in the pulsed ingredients and stir well 4. Add in tomatoes if using. Stir well 5. Pour in coconut milk and stir again followed by the chickpeas and roasted cauliflower. Cover with lid and simmer for a few minutes 6. Chop the remaining coriander and sprinkle on the curry. Serve with quinoa or wholemeal rice

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Home & Away

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Home & Away

Heritage and History North of the Border by Marcia and David Korman

In our search for a safe travel destination in 2021, Marcia and I decided that enjoying the great outdoor attractions of the Western Highlands would be best, and that, in order to avoid the midges that can be very annoying in the summer, it would be best to go in late May. Thus, by chance, we ended up travelling a few days after it became possible to do so.


e travelled to and from Inverness overnight on the Caledonian Sleeper in our own en-suite compartment, and then hired a car to tour a circular route visiting many beautiful gardens and lochs, seeing snowtopped Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, and much other spectacular scenery. We were lucky with our journey home – Caledonian Sleeper staff went on strike just three days after our return! Lawyers reading this will be particularly amused or, perhaps, shocked at our experience when we picked up our very nice almost new car from Hertz. After we had been given a brief introduction to the vehicle, we asked where we could find the manual. We were told that, due to the risk of theft, Hertz no longer provide manuals with vehicles. The Hertz staff then left us in their car park, shut their office and left to collect a car elsewhere. When we turned the key to try to start our car, the vehicle’s touchscreen asked us to confirm that we had read the safety warnings in the manual! History was at the forefront of our stay at Banavie, by the fascinating Neptune’s Staircase – a flight of seven locks on the Caledonian Canal. This impressive feat of engineering was constructed by Thomas Telford about 200 years ago. It links several lochs, providing a shorter and safer route for seagoing ships across Scotland from coast to coast, and avoiding the long journey round the north of Scotland. It takes a boat about 90 minutes to be lifted a total of 64 feet from one end to the other, so it is on a much larger scale than our local canals. Banavie is also a station on the very scenic railway to Mallaig, regularly traversed by steam trains, and which includes the Glenfinnan Viaduct, of Harry Potter fame. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will know that the Glenfinnan Viaduct played a starring role in the films, with the Hogwarts

Express chuffing across it. If you’re lucky, and time permitting, the train may pause on the viaduct, allowing you to take in the magnificent view. We moved on to the Glenfinnan Monument, which marks the starting point of the Second Jacobite uprising in 1745. You can view the tribute to the brave Jacobite clansmen who fought for the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Climb to the top of the tower to take in great views of Loch Shiel and the typical Highland scenery. Our final ferry journey, from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye was our first to be affected by the ferry fiasco that was big news in Scotland. In 2015 state-owned Calmac, operator of all the major west coast ferries, ordered two new ferries that were not expected to enter service until 2022 – four years late and £100m over budget! When Loch Seaforth, its largest and newest major vessel, broke down in March, needing major repairs, there was disruption across the Calmac network, with services reduced on many routes. The Loch Seaforth was initially expected to be back in service in mid-May, but the problems turned out to be greater than anticipated, so ferry services did not return to normal until 2nd June – the day after we were booked to travel ‘over the sea to Skye!’ Our sailing was cancelled when the route was reduced to a single ship service. It appears that the cause of the breakdown was that Loch Seaforth’s piston screws were not replaced as scheduled during the ship’s dry-docking in 2019, which led to the piston crowns separating from the body of the piston and damaging the cylinder head and liner which, in turn, caused debris to enter the oil system. This sad saga has made us better appreciate Benjamin Franklin’s famous poem: For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail. 59 | Rosh Hashanah 2021


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