COMMUNITY THE MAGAZINE OF PINNER SYNAGOGUE
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CONTENTS FIRST THINGS FIRST 4
| Dear Friends Rabbi Kurzer
| Dear Friends Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
20 | 22 |
Supporting the Crisis in the Ukraine Leonie Lewis and Helen Levy
| Chair's Report Lisa Olins
24 | 25 | 26 |
| From The Editorial Team Margery Cohen, Elizabeth Harris, Marion Siskin
| Chief Rabbi’s Pesach Message | BoD President’s Message Marie van der Zyl
| US President's Pesach Message Michael Goldstein
COMMUNITY MATTERS 13
| Care Corner Karen Kinsley
| Our Chatanim Marion Siskin
| The Bridges Programme at Gesher School and Sonya Daniels (z”l) Steven Daniels
| We are Charitable - Pinner Shul’s Youth Volunteering Programme
Simcha Photos Baby Blessing Ceremony
HOME & AWAY
Farmers Dance Before Shemittah Begins in Israel Rabbi Kurzer Listening to Young Men Anthony Nicholls Volunteering in Yiddish George White
Flower Power Margery Cohen
| Bat Mitzvah Bracelets Jackie Black
Even More of Lawrence’s Walks Lawrence Brown
Recipes Fit For a Queen Suzanne Goodman Gail Weinstein
I am an Advocate for Change
Poetry Collection Barbara Woolf, Geoff Goodman, Leonie Lewis
Blood on the Doorposts Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
A Little Known Piece of History Carol Walzer
46 | 47 | 48 |
My Aliyah Story
29 | Jewish Dictionary The Sweet Story of Charoset
| Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 Three Perspectives
THOUGHTS & PERSPECTIVES
| Mitzvah Day Collection and Bake-off for Homeless People
Dr David Zideman
Experiences at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
| End of an Era
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
A Canterbury Tale Sandra and Richard Breger
University Challenge Maia Roston
Front Cover: Sunbird feeding on nectar. Photo by Les Spitz z”l, much loved member of Pinner Synagogue.
Editorial team: Margery Cohen, Elizabeth Harris, Marion Siskin Photos: Contributors Magazine designed and printed by: EP Design Studio Ltd Harrow Business Centre, 429-433 Pinner Road, North Harrow, HA1 4HN
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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 As we approach our third Pesach in Pinner, I think of the huge changes that have happened in the past year. Our first Pesach was in full lockdown, last year was a partial lockdown and we hope that this year, please God, families and friends will be able to celebrate Seder together.
by Rabbi Kurzer
n addition to the national shift, we have also seen great strides forward in our community, with people returning to Shul, more and more in-person events and increasing engagement across all ages and while I am heartened by the direction we are moving in, Pesach always reminds me that the Jewish journey follows a long and twisting path.
As a child, one of my highlights of Seder night was that I got to bring my pillow to the table, due to the mitzvah to lean while drinking the wine and eating the matzah. Interestingly, our sages base the leaning we do at the Seder (heseiba - ) הסבהto a similar word used when God led the people on a circuitous route as they left Egypt (vayasev - )ויסב, leading them to become stuck at the Reed Sea, necessitating its miraculous splitting. Rabbi Soloveitchik explains that this is not just a linguistic link but a thematic one. Seven days after God took the people out of Egypt, they found themselves at the sea; forty difficult years later they entered the Land of Israel and to this day we await the final redemption. The meandering path of Jewish history clashes with the mathematical tenet that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This is the link between leaning and the splitting of the sea. The Seder is our re-enactment of the Exodus, and by reclining, we demonstrate the freedom we earned. Yet it must be difficult for those going through challenging times to act this way and nevertheless they try their best to feel this freedom even when life may not reflect it, just as Jews throughout history sat at their Seder through times of suffering, oppression and expulsion. While we feel that the path God is leading us on is winding, we have faith in the destination and in our Guide.
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Without knowing what the next year will bring, I look forward to sitting at my Seder and, in addition to filling my cup with wine, refilling myself with a sense of trust and confidence in where we are headed. We may stumble along the way, we may deviate from our course, but with the Almighty as our guide, we can lean back and feel free on this night of hope. I wish each and every one of you a joyous and kosher Pesach. Rabbi Kurzer KKL Executor and Trustee Company Ltd (a Company registered in England No. 453042) is a subsidiary of JNF Charitable Trust (Charity No. 225910) and a registered Trust Corporation (authorised capital £250,000).
4 | Pesach 2022
First Things First
Dear Friends I would imagine that most people reading this, like me, would have come across this very famous song, especially if you ever attended a Jewish summer camp or shabbaton:
כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד והעיקר לא לפחד כלל ‘The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing is to have no fear at all’
used to imagine a tightrope walker needing to feel fearless whilst approaching the mammoth task ahead. Don’t look left, don’t look right and certainly don’t look down. Just walk by Abi Kurzer straight ahead – fearless. To traverse the world, we need to be fearless. My Israeli friend however recently showed me that for all these years of standing on my chair and singing this message – that is not what Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772 – 1810) actually wrote! Always check your primary source! He wrote:
שׁר ֶ ֶּ אד ָם צָר ִיך ְ לַעֲבֹר עַל ג ָ ה ָ ש ֶׁ ,וְד ַע שלֹּא ֶׁ – קּר ָ ִהע ָ ְ כְל ָל ו ּ ה ַ ְ ו,מאֹד ְ מאֹד ְ צ ַר כְל ָל ּ פ ַחֵד ּ ת ְ ִי Know that a person needs to cross a very very narrow bridge, and what is essential is not to be overcome by fear. - Likutei Moharan, Part II 48:2:7
This tells an entirely different story. It acknowledges that the world can be at times a scary place. A place where difficult things will undoubtedly happen and fear is a natural and healthy reaction. In fact, a person who has no fear is themselves at risk and is vulnerable to exploitation and harm. What is essential however is not to be overcome by fear – not to let fear consume and overtake us and paralyse us from living our lives.
בְעַצְמֹו ּ מצֹא ְ ִ חפֵּׂש ל ַ ְ קּׁש ּול ֵ ַ דּ ְהַי ְנּו לְב ּוב ָז ֶה.קדָּה טֹוב ָה ֻ ְ אֵיז ֶה ז ְכּות וְאֵיז ֶה נ שׂמַח ְ ִ בְעַצְמֹו י ּ שּׁמֹוצֵא ֶ מעַט טֹוב ְּ ה ַ ו ִיחַז ֵּק עַצְמֹו “…seek and search to find in oneself some merit and some good point. And with this little bit of good which a person finds in himself, let him rejoice and encourage himself.” - Likutei Moharan, Part II 48:4
Once again, I have no idea what the next few months will bring but I hope that as we enter spring and summer, we will actively encourage ourselves to shed any extra fear, emerge from our homes and comfortable couches to once again broaden our minds, our hearts and our spirits. There is so much to look forward to as the sun begins (hopefully) to peek out…Pesach, Shabbat UK, Shavuot on a fabulously long Jubilee weekend, summer seudah series, walks in parks, friends, family and more. Let’s embrace it together! Wishing everyone a chag Kasher v’Sameach. A happy Pesach. Abi Kurzer
The word ‘tzar’ meaning ‘narrow’ is the root of the word ‘mitzrayim’ – Egypt. It also reminds us of the period of the Three Weeks which is called ‘bein ha’tzarim’ ‘between the narrow straits’ a time period when many difficult things befell the Jewish people. There are many situations as a nation and as individuals when we have felt that we are in a narrow place - constricted and constrained. Together with the rest of the world, the last two years have been no exception. We have had to take necessary and careful precautions to get through it. We have had to be conscious of the impact on our mental health and that of those around us. We have needed to be careful not to be overcome by fear which can pull us down into a different type of challenge. Later on, in the same piece, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov continues by saying:
5 | Pesach 2022
First Things First
Chair’s Report Dear Member I’m feeling optimistic! By the time you read this, masks will be optional in Shul, and we will have increased our seating capacity. We will also be used to a regular kiddush after the service on Shabbat morning – the content may have changed a bit, but the opportunity to nosh and schmooze will be very welcome.
have just returned from the United Synagogue’s Inspired Jewish Leadership Conference - well-fed (well it was a Jewish conference) and with a raft of ideas that I hope to implement across our community over the next few months. It is essential for the vitality and longevity of our community that we continue to move forward, creating new programmes as well as maintaining the current range of religious and secular activities we already offer. As Chief Rabbi Mirvis said in his address to the conference ‘we need to carry on with everything we did successfully during the pandemic – and then do more!’ It is a huge ambition but one your Executive and Council will aim to live up to. by Lisa Olins
I would like to highlight some significant events that have taken place since our Rosh Hashanah edition of Community. Whilst challenging, our Yamim Noraim services were well attended and appreciated by many of you. From our youngest members to our oldest, from those who attend regularly to those for whom Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur may be their only interaction with Shul services in the year, everyone that wanted a seat in Shul was offered one. On Simchat Torah we were able to hold a dinner to celebrate our Chatanim (Rabbi Kurzer and Gerald Isaac). I wish them both a huge Mazel Tov and hope you enjoy reading about them both in our magazine. We held a Friday Night Dinner to celebrate the graduation of our Bat Mitzvah girls as well as to acknowledge our Bar Mitzvah boys. The girls had taken part in a programme run by Sara Levin which had started during a lockdown but eventually took place in person. We are very proud of our graduates and hope they enjoyed the evening. We had a full programme of events over Chanukah including two Maturians lunches, a special children’s service and an adult party. All were well supported and saw many people returning to a communal activity for the first time since early 2020. In between all this, and when Covid-19 regulations allowed, we introduced a monthly Hot Cholent Kiddush/Lunch. It was lovely to see so many members chatting and enjoying good food. We aim to ensure that regular kiddushim return as a feature of your Shabbat morning experience! Whilst we owe thanks to the many volunteers and employees who facilitated all these activities, I must at this point acknowledge the HUGE debt of gratitude we owe to our Senior Caretaker, Florin Amariei. Florin has (occasionally single-handedly) supported all our activities during a period of time when we were recruiting staff. We were fortunate 6 | Pesach 2022
to get help from previous employees (and even our administrator’s son, Noah) but luckily for us Florin stepped up to the senior role, often learning on the job. He never moaned and never complained. He is always polite and will do anything to help – we certainly could not do all we have done and want to do without him. Thank you, Florin. Florin has now been joined by Addy and Robson – we have a great team in training. Moving forward to 2022, I hope that by now you will have had a chance to view the exhibition celebrating 80 years of our community at the Headstone Manor and Museum. We are fortunate to have a wonderful archive to draw from which was curated as part of our 75th anniversary by Ros Sober. In addition, we have made use of donations offered by members, artifacts usually in the Shul and many and varied photographs. If you have not yet visited the exhibition, it is running until 8th May 2022. Recently we have also held a full programme of activities for Purim, including megillah readings (indoors this year!), a children’s Purim Party and a community meal after the evening megillah reading. We even offered hot chocolate and a snack to early morning commuters. I hope you were able to take part in some aspect of Purim in Pinner. We are also planning meals and activities to celebrate Shabbat UK in May and events around Shavuot and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration – so look out for communications and please participate. All these events and activities demonstrate how, right across our community, members are helping to get us back on the road. I would like to take this opportunity to say that we really appreciate all you are doing, and are immensely grateful for your support. So finally, to Pesach! At the time of writing, I am optimistic that our seder tables and Shul will be fuller than in the last two years – I know I’ve already started thinking about who I might invite and how I’m going to get all the preparation done. However, it is truly wonderful to think that this might be a more ‘normal’ Pesach than it has been for a while. Hopefully, it will signify the start of a new phase in all our lives as well as a celebration of renewed freedoms. I wish you, your families and friends a Chag Kasher v’Sameach. Lisa Olins
First Things First
From the Editorial Team This edition of Community is proud to highlight the thoughts and achievements of our younger members, including making Aliyah, managing university life during the pandemic and a reflective article on change. In addition, our Community Directors have done splendid work through their social action programme. Sh’koach!
hul is beginning to feel a little more like its ‘old’ self. Celebrations have taken place and Chagim are being marked in the traditional way. We are delighted at the return of Kiddushim, where it has become patently obvious that it is not the food that is the attraction, but the chance to catch up and have a ‘mutle’. While Zoom has been a lifeline, there is nothing like chatting face-to-face. Whether you are an ardent monarchist or a staunch republican, it is difficult not to admire the work ethic of our Queen. We mark the upcoming long weekend of celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee by tempting you with two celebration recipes. In our Rosh Hashana edition, we promised you a video celebrating the 80th anniversary of Pinner Shul. By the time
I go to Chai for the big
by Margery Cohen
this magazine reaches your doorstep, we hope you will have watched the video and enjoyed seeing the many faces of friends across the generations. As ever, our thanks to Rabbi and Rebbetzen Kurzer, the Executive, Council of Management, security team and many other members of the community who have negotiated the ever-changing Covid-19 rules to keep the shul running, ensuring everybody is kept fully informed and as safe as possible. It looks increasingly likely that we will be able to share Sedarim with family and friends. Meanwhile, we wish you all a Chag Sameach. The Editorial Team
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7 | Pesach 2022
First Things First
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. 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 Chief Rabbi’s Pesach Message 5782
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 spiritual legacy, despite the intentions of the Hellenists, was rooted in our commitment to teaching Torah and its values. 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.
For the past two years, our Pesach experiences have been uniquely challenging while we contended with the unprecedented restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic. Hashem, long now This lesson isBaruch of particular relevance to us today.at British Jewry islast, blessed we to havecan truly outstanding schools which, year on 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 look forward with fresh optimism to Pesach 2022. schools and they would be the first to say that there is nothing more impactful or foundational to
he fundamental dimensions of the Pesach Seder are encapsulated perfectly in the famous words: “Kol dichfin yeitei veyeichol; kol ditzrich yeitei veyifsach” – “All who are hungry, let them come and eat; All who are in need, let them come and join us in observing Pesach.” This invitation makes clear that where possible, our Seder should be celebrated with others. Yet, it also describes the two essential aspects of the Seder experience – the physical, represented by the invitation to eat, and the spiritual, represented by the invitation to observe Pesach. Neither component is sufficient without the other. The Seder is both a feast for our physical senses and a feast for the soul. The four questions of Ma Nishtana, relating to matza, maror, dipping and leaning, highlight not only what we do at the seder but also how we do them. These two dimensions of both our physical and spiritual Seder experiences, convey to us a profound lesson about both Seder night and Jewish life in general. Our Sedarim of 2020 and 2021 were unprecedented. The what was the same as it has been for centuries, as we proceeded from cover to cover of our Haggadot. But the how had one major difference, due to the severely restricted numbers around our tables. Now that, Baruch Hashem, we will hopefully be able to have Sedarim of pre-Covid proportions, within the timeless what of Seder night, let us not revert entirely to our previous how. Instead, let’s enrich our Seder experience by introducing fresh and creative ways to excite and inspire children and adults alike. Indeed, we must apply this principle to Jewish life more broadly. The Pandemic has caused an upheaval in our communal life that most of us have never previously experienced and that comes with an opportunity to reimagine it in new ways. This is the rationale behind Project Welcome, which will provide strategic support and dedicated funding to communities around the country as they think anew and take bold steps to reinvigorate our congregants. In this context, I have no doubt that ShabbatUK, which will this year take place on 13th/14th May, will provide an exciting platform for extraordinary community engagement, which will be appreciated all the more following successive periods of lockdown. Fascinatingly, the Hebrew word for crisis is mashber. The original Biblical meaning of this word is ‘the opening of the womb’, the moment of greatest human potential, because out of crises we must always seek the opportunities for renewal and regeneration. Let us ensure that this Pesach marks the beginning of a new era of Jewish community excellence.
8 | Pesach 2022
a Jewish child’s identity, than a powerful Jewish experience.
Valerie and I extend our warm wishes to you and your families for a Chag kasher vesameach.
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. Valerie and I wish you a chag kasher ve sameach.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis March 2018 • Nisan 5778
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
First Things First
Message from the President Passover is the Jewish festival of freedom and this year’s celebration will be an especially poignant one as families will be at liberty to celebrate their seder without any lockdown restrictions for the first time since 2019. More than 1,000 from the UK Jewish community have died from Covid-19 and we will be thinking of them this Pesach. It is my earnest hope that we will be soon able to create a proper memorial to those who died.
e also pray for the freedom and safety of those in Marie van der Zyl danger in Ukraine. This senseless Russian aggression flies in the face of justice and decency. We continue to both be inspired by the resolve of the Ukrainian people, and to pray for peace. I urge all those who are able to donate towards the charities collecting on behalf of the victims of this terrible conflict. We have had a number of significant achievements this year. The Board has been campaigning long and hard for the proscription of Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation and in 2021 we were very happy that the Government legislated to ban its so-called political wing, meaning it can no longer lobby for support in this country. Many of you will have been distressed by the BBC actions following the antisemitic attack on teenagers celebrating Chanukah on a bus in central London last November. We supplied forensic evidence which conclusively refuted BBC reports that there had been anti-Muslim abuse coming from the bus. The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit agreed with us that the BBC did not meet standards of due accuracy and impartiality. We are now working to supply evidence to a new Ofcom investigation into BBC handling of the incident. We have been focusing on the issue of online hate which is the new frontline against antisemitism. Thanks to Board of Deputies campaigning, the Government wrote to social media companies asking for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism so that so that racists will no longer be able to harass Jewish users with impunity. The work of the Board of Deputies is so wide and diverse that it is impossible to mention everything in a short message. To give a few examples, we have provided support for Chinese Uyghurs who have been cruelly persecuted in their home country. We are working in the community to facilitate the implementation of the groundbreaking Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community which considered 17 areas of Jewish communal life and made 119 recommendations. And working with our partner organisation EcoSynagogue, we were out in force at the COP26 summit in November.
In addition, we provide official inspection of religious education in Jewish schools through the Pikuach organisation and our team monitors and protects our religious freedoms. Whatever your interests or concerns as a Jew, the Board of Deputies is here for you. Pesach Sameach to you and your families from everyone at the Board of Deputies
Marie van der Zyl President
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First Things First
President of the United Synagogue’s Pesach Message 5782 Michael Goldstein, President. United Synagogue
A United Synagogue Rebbetzen shared a wonderful anecdote with me recently. She was learning with a member of her community, a mother of three children. One of her children went to Tribe camp last summer and had such a wonderful time that the child came home and told his parents that he wanted to go to a Jewish school. The child said that he had really enjoyed the davening on camp and the special atmosphere Tribe creates, and so he wanted to go to a school Michael Goldstein where he would get that feeling every day. In January, he – and his two siblings! – moved to a Jewish school. As a result, the family feel much more connected to the Jewish community than they did beforehand. There are many reasons for choosing a school of course, and we know that our younger Jewish generation thrives in many different educational settings. But my point here as we approach Pesach is how special our tradition is. How unique our festivals are. How powerful the touchstones are that keep our children connected to their faith and make them want to be part of our people’s 4000-year-old story. Pesach – and Seder nights in particular – is perhaps the quintessential opportunity to connect with our past and forge indelible positive Jewish experiences. With its distinctive rituals, songs and foods, Pesach creates memories of special Seder nights from years ago which seem as fresh as if they’d happened yesterday. Not by chance is Seder night the most observed Jewish ritual, even by those who wouldn’t consider themselves to be that observant during the rest of the year. But my message this Pesach, isn’t specifically about Pesach, strange as that might say seem. It’s about what we do after Pesach. It’s about how you can help us keep the younger generation of our community connected to their tradition and keep that spark alive for them to pass on – please God – to others. We are role models in everything we do. If people see us take our Judaism seriously, they are more likely to do the same. If they see us coming to shul regularly, enjoying our warm, welcoming services and programming for all ages or volunteering to help the community, they are more likely to continue going themselves. So as we move to the summer months and hopefully better weather, please join us back in shul. We need you. And if you’ve already come back, please invite your friends and family to join you. If there is a service or event at your shul that you have not attended before or for a while, why not give it a go? And if you'd like to make something new happen, please let us know: now is the time not just to do what we always have but to refresh what our communities offer. Earlier this year we launched Project Welcome, an initiative 10 | Pesach 2022
which does exactly what it says on the tin. We want to – and we must – welcome back people we’ve not seen for some time. In partnership with the Office of the Chief Rabbi, Project Welcome aims to boost community participation and enable every United Synagogue community to build an ambitious long- term strategy. As the Chief Rabbi said when he addressed our lay leaders recently: “Let’s never take shul for granted. Let's never take community for granted.” With your help, we will ensure that’s not the case. Wishing you all a chag kasher v’sameach.
First Things First
11 | Pesach 2022
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CARE CORNER ‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise that they were the big things.’ Robert Brault
often remember this quote in my work and the work the volunteers do at Pinner shul. In our quest to accomplish big things, we often forget that by Karen Kinsley life is made up of little things. The Welfare Coordinator happiness of life is in small things – gratitude from the heart, a smile, helping someone in need, holding the door open for the person behind you and many more ‘small things.’ It is easy to forget that these trivial acts are really the seeds of joy.
Chanukah was celebrated with deliveries of doughnuts to those who could not get out, and of course, we kept in touch with people over the harsh winter months. There is always a friendly voice at the end of the phone for shul members should they need some information, help or guidance. Our team of befrienders continue their calls and visits whenever possible. And so, we march on to Pesach 2022. My welfare volunteers and I hope you have a wonderful Pesach filled with good food and good memories, as we look forward to better times ahead. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you or a shul member need anything.
Here at Pinner Care, we never forget the small things. It has been another busy time, and since Rosh Hashanah our phone calls to the community continue. Our visits and occasional bits of shopping and support have continued unabated – and the feedback proves that it is indeed the small things that matter. In early December I had a phone call from a member of our community who had not been well enough to get out the house and was tearful as she could not find any Chanukah candles in her flat leftover from last year. Of course, our wonderful team of volunteers stepped up to the challenge with a swift visit to Noshers for some colourful Chanukah candles. They were delivered the very same day to a delighted woman - who shed some happy tears! We must all keep on being good neighbours, friends, family and community members. Let the light shine. We continue to be a source of information for the community and hosted two webinars about ‘Later Life Planning’. Sweet Tree Home Care Services ran these two online information-packed sessions which were well attended. They provided participants with very useful and practical information on being ready, organised and ‘in the know’ when planning for later life. These presentations are still available if people would like to read of them – they covered such items as care homes, support agencies, wills and much more. The more informed we are, the less stressed we get. Please contact me if you would like to find out more. Mitzvah Day at Pinner shul was again a huge success. This year the focus was on the homeless. Volunteers packed toiletries that were delivered straight to the homeless via the excellent charity ‘Help and hope for the homeless’.
THIS PESACH, GIVE THE GIFT OF FOOD TO THE HUNGRY CHILDREN IN OUR CARE Hundreds of of children children turn turn up up at at our our high high schools schools Hundreds and after after school school programme programme every every day day hungry. hungry. and Their Their families families are are unable unable to to provide provide for for them them adequately and they are too ashamed adequately and they are too ashamed to to ask ask for for help. help. British British Emunah’s Emunah’s Food Food Fund Fund aims aims to to provide provide a daily meal for every child and if a daily meal for every child and if necessary necessary a a food food parcel parcel to to take take home home to to their their families. families.
It It costs costs us us at at least least £100,000 £100,000 every every year year to to provide this this critical critical service. service. Donate Donate at: at: provide www.emunah.org.uk/donate www.emunah.org.uk/donate or or call call 020 020 8203 8203 6066 6066 British Emunah on British Emunah on
Registered charity number 215398 Registered charity number 215398
13 | Pesach 2022
Our Chatanim by Marion Siskin
Our Chatanim last Simchat Torah were no strangers to the community. Extracts from their presentation, featured opposite, were very topical, great fun and lifted the mood.
either of them need any introduction. Rabbi Kurzer just had time to begin to get to know his community when Covid-19, and more particularly, lockdown, happened. As government mandates fell into place, face-to-face interaction became impossible and Zoom became the norm. The members adjusted to this new way of living and the Rabbi and his team made great efforts to keep the community together and engaged. It was at this time that he realised that even without the physical building on Cecil Park, it was the people that made Pinner Shul a vibrant and diverse community, and he had a vision to support and engage the members of the community and work through the challenges. Once restrictions were relaxed, matters became a little more complicated and the Rabbi and his team had to find ways of allowing people to meet up again, while still feeling safe. This, of course, was with rules changing almost weekly. The Rabbi now plays an active role at Gesher School as the ‘rabbi in residence’ and has welcomed attending the school for the Yom Tovim and adding to the Jewish dimension in this already very special school. He sees a lot of potential in the youth of the community in general and a lot to look forward to. As restrictions have relaxed, the Rabbi has enjoyed celebrating with members of the shul, after so many months of social distancing. He enjoyed the opportunity to get to know individuals, through doorstep deliveries and individual phone calls. He is eager to encourage the community to once again engage in Jewish life. He is looking for ways to include as many people as possible, whether it be through taking part in services, learning or socialising. He plans to introduce a range of programmes, tailored to the diverse needs of shul members.
14 | Pesach 2022
You may be aware that Rabbi Kurzer is a great fan of Formula 1. Having always loved cars, he is attracted to the thrill of it, the mixture of science and psychology, and the relationship between the individual driver and the team who supports him. The driver’s name is the one that most people remember, and he sees an analogy between F1 and his team at the shul. It is their support that makes him a winner! Gerald Isaac ‘retired’ last year after serving four years as a warden. A challenging position at the best of times, Covid-19 and lockdown made it even more so. One of the achievements he is most proud of was during Rosh Hashana 2020 when restrictions were still very much in place. Along with his fellow warden and team, they managed to allow everyone who wanted to attend a service over the High Holidays to do so – as can be seen in the Pesach 2020 edition – by holding 22 different services. Prior to that, Gerald was very involved in education within the shul, attempting to find a variety of subjects and approaches that would appeal to a wide range of the community. He introduced
several series of talks and activities including the ‘Parallel Thinking’ series, exploring the concepts around science and religion with Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman, and the ‘Pause for Thought’ series, featuring a rotating panel of three speakers who reflected on the weekly sidrot. The shul hosted a number of well-known Jewish thinkers, such as Rabbi Joseph Dwek and Rabbi Dr Rafi Zarum, as well as our own home-grown talent, to discuss a variety of topics. He was also instrumental in bringing in guest Rabbis Geoffrey Shisler and Michael Pollack when Pinner was ‘between’ rabbis. The last year or so have seen Gerald being very involved with redesigning the shul website and with the ‘80 Faces for 80 Years’ project. We will all soon benefit from his and the rest of his team’s efforts. Like many things that happen behind the scenes these projects have taken many hours of time and effort to create. We are pleased to report that he has every intention of continuing to be involved in the shul, particularly in the areas of education, religion and technology. He wants to work with the vision of the shul which is to ‘care, inspire, and connect’.
Mazal Tov to our Chatanim for Simchat Torah 5782 As many from the wider community missed their message at the R Ben & Gerald Show we have shared some items with you, to give you a flavour of what you missed. Following the recent announcement from Ben and Jerry’s to stop selling its ice cream in “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, we have decided to found a new ice cream company.
We will be based in Pinner Shul and would like to share some of our initial flavour concepts with you.
Rum Rabbi Rum A boozy ice cream whose honeyed tones are likely to put you to sleep in your chair at any time of day or night.
Kiddush Pick n Mix (currently unavailable) An odd mix of chocolate, olive and herring. We’re not sure how this one came together, but it seems oddly popular.
Matza Madness Made with only two ingredients, this plain ice cream is oddly moreish. Best served with something else (some say jam, some say chocolate spread -anything will do!)
Hazelnut Hagbahah This protein packed ice cream will undoubtedly make you the stronger, as well as filling you with the belief that you can lift heavy objects. DISCLAIMER: Your actual activity may differ from expectations.
We need your good quality donations
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t. 020 8381 1717 e. firstname.lastname@example.org w. www.allaboardshops.com Reg Charity No: 1125462
Wishing You A Happy Passover
15 | Pesach 2022
Mitzvah Day Collection and Bake-Off for Homeless People Arranged by Community Directors, Sara and Yonatan Levin, the teens and tweens of Pinner Shul got together on Mitzvah Day to bake for homeless people in supporting the organisation Help & Hope for the Homeless. They collaborated with the wider synagogue community who also showed their support by donating toiletries and other essentials and creating 100 care kits to be delivered to homeless people by Help & Hope for the Homeless. Pinner’s youngest children made cards and artwork for the recipients.
he Bake-off was an exuberant afternoon of mixing, kneading, rolling, baking and some tasting! The result? Delicious cookies, packed with love, that were then distributed to homeless people. It was heart-warming to see the older teens helping the less experienced but aspiring young bakers. Whilst the cookies baked, the teens decorated the cookie boxes to make the recipients feel extra special. The youngsters were lucky enough to meet Lloyd and Shoshana Gilmore, the founding directors of Help & Hope for the Homeless who spoke about homelessness and why and how they can help on a daily basis. It was a wonderful opportunity for the youth to do something practical, to give something back to the wider community, and to think and talk about some ways in which young people can make a difference. All in all, a fun, meaningful and tasty afternoon!
help & hope for the homeless Shoshana and Lloyd Gilmore travel from Borehamwood every week on a Thursday evening to supply food, clothes and other essential items to the rough sleepers and homeless on the streets of the West End of London and Hertfordshire. They have been doing this since January 2017 and for nearly four years they have helped many of their ‘friends on the street’, with food, clothes or just a person to talk to. Help & Hope for the Homeless is not a charity, but a group that just want to help people that otherwise may be forgotten. Many organisations help over Christmas time, but Help & Hope for the Homeless go out weekly in the rain snow or blazing sunshine. They provide a bespoke service. They ask all the people they meet what they most need and then try to supply it to them if not instantly at least by the following week. For more information check the website or contact: Lloyd & Shoshana Gilmore Tel: 07967 971958 email@example.com
16 | Pesach 2022
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2022 THREE PERSPECTIVES by Marion Siskin
The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 was ‘One Day’. This gave everyone the opportunity to reflect on one day that changed their lives – for better or worse. There was a photography exhibition for young people and some of their remarkable photographs can be seen at https://www. hmd.org.uk/take-part-in-holocaust-memorial-day/youngpeople/one-day-photography-exhibition/
Harrow Council’s Memorial Day Event 2022 was live streamed from the Harrow Arts Centre on 27 January.
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust continues its vital work to raise awareness of the Holocaust and other more recent genocides. Iconic buildings throughout the UK were lit up to commemorate HMD stretching from Exeter Guildhall to Glasgow, Belfast to Oxford, led by Piccadilly Lights in Central London, which featured portraits of Holocaust survivors. The ceremony was live streamed and included testimony and film from the genocides that came after the Holocaust – in Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda. It also explored the concept of Identity-based persecution in the world and the UK today.
Drama and education The play ‘Kindness: A legacy of the Holocaust’ premiered at the Harrow Arts Centre on 26 January. Beautifully staged and performed by just four talented actors, it was a new verbatim play about survivor Susan Pollack MBE, commissioned by Voices of the Holocaust. A Hungarian Jew, she survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and along with the cast, playwright Mark Wheeller, director Cate Hollis and other members of the Company, took part in a very informative Q&A after the performance. One of the questions asked of Mark Wheeller was ‘Is it right to present material that may be so difficult and distressing to children?’ His reply was that children prefer to know the truth. Voices of the Holocaust is a drama and education group that visits schools to ensure that the voices of the victims of the Holocaust will not be lost in the post-survivor era. Along with presenting powerful plays, working within the curriculum, including workshops and other activities, they have initiated ‘The Mitzvah Project’, which encourages the school to engage in their own ‘Acts of Kindness’. Activities so far have included writing to people in care homes and collecting shoes for charity. If this organisation can ensure that voices of the victims of the Holocaust can be kept alive, their stories told and encourage the next generation to engage in acts of kindness, in and out of school, then they should get all the support they deserve. For further information go to: www.voicesoftheholocaust.org.uk
It took as its theme ‘One Day’ and was a powerful mix of stories and music. The candlelighting which started the ceremony reflected the diversity of our borough, with representatives of eight different faith groups taking part and contributions from local shuls. The evening was presented by journalist Steve Levinson. After the candle-lighting led by Rabbi Kathleen De MagtigeMiddleton of Mosaic Jewish Community and a welcome from The Mayor, Councillor Ghazanfar Ali, the Guest Speaker was Lord Finkelstein of Pinner. His Dutch mother, Mirjam, was a survivor of Bergen-Belsen and his father spent time in a labour camp near Siberia. The ‘One Day’ he spoke of was 20 June 1943. On that day in Amsterdam, Mirjam and her sisters were told to pack their rucksacks, which was code to indicate that they had to flee their home to escape the advancing Nazis and become refugees. He said that being part of the Memorial Day event was ‘a duty gladly undertaken’. Rahima Mahmut, Executive Director and co-founder of ‘Stop Uyghur Genocide’ gave an impassioned address about the plight of the Uyghur people. Her story was very familiar, from the gradual denial of access to opportunities for the Uyghurs, the repression of their language and culture and imprisonment for ‘crimes’ such as growing a beard or praying. Many Uyghur children have been taken into Chinese state-run ‘orphanages’, and between one and three million Uyghurs have been driven into concentration camps, while many others have been killed or ‘disappeared’. While she observed that the international community, in the main, had ignored the atrocities against her people, she was very appreciative of the support of the Jewish community. (http://stopuyghurgenocide.uk) Other contributors were Fahima Zaheen, who grew up in Afghanistan and spoke of the contrast between the chaos of her childhood in Kabul and the relative calm of the UK. Sonoo Malkani, Chairman of Harrow Interfaith, concluded the evening, with closing remarks from our own Rabbi Kurzer. The musical interludes were a mixture of familiar and inspiring, beautifully performed and relevant, making the event an evening to remember. 17 | Pesach 2022
The BRIDGES Programme at Gesher School and Sonya Daniels (z”l) It was shortly after Sonya passed away when I first heard about Gesher School moving from Willesden to take over the site which Moriah had occupied. I listened to the podcast in which David Roth discussed with Ali Durban and Sarah Sultman their vision and what they had achieved. My immediate thought was that if Sonya had still been with us, she would be thinking of all the ways that she could be involved.
ichard and Isabella, Josh, Zoe and I had already been talking about how we could keep Sonya’s memory alive and I decided to contact Sarah and Ali to hear more and see their plans for the Moriah site. Many of you have heard them speak about their ambition, what they have achieved and how much by Steven Daniels more that they could do. I felt that within Gesher there would be some way of honouring Sonya and tried to explain my enthusiasm to my children. I failed dismally. Undeterred, I organised a Zoom call with Ali and Sarah and I could quickly see my family understanding what I was thinking. We visited the school in Willesden on a Friday morning and pretty much decided on the spot that this was Sonya’s sort of place. But what should we do? We went round every room in the new school considering whether it was the appropriate memorial. The Sonya Daniels Hall, The Sonya Kitchen; nothing felt right. And then Ali and Sarah mentioned the BRIDGES Life Skills scheme that Gesher was developing. The aim of the scheme is to help the students acquire the skills and strategies to help them with the four areas of the Pathway to Adulthood: Employment, Independent Living, Good Health & Friendships and Relationships & Community. If you can imagine a cross between the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Cub Badges you will have some understanding of the BRIDGES Life Skills scheme. Each student will be asked to progress along a pathway in eight different areas: My Safety, My Body, Food, My Self, My Home, My Imagination, My Family & Friends & Community and My World. 18 | Pesach 2022
Every step that is completed will be noted in a record book that each student will be given at the beginning of their time at Gesher and will stay with them throughout their time at the school. At their own pace, the children will move through Bronze, Silver and Gold awards with the potential to achieve Platinum level at a later stage. This will provide important opportunities to grow in independence and confidence to undertake the tasks that you or I consider to be part of our daily routines, as well as provide a platform to explore and engage in the world around them. Achieving these goals will take a great deal of time, effort and dedication from the children, parents and teachers over many years. As a family we feel that, had she still been with us, Sonya would have wanted to have been deeply involved in helping the students of Gesher achieve all that they can possibly achieve. She saw everything as an opportunity to teach others or to learn something new herself. We are delighted that we can help Gesher develop the BRIDGES Life Scheme as a way of honouring Sonya and we hope that it helps children to develop into confident, engaged, included adult members of society for many years to come. In memory of Sonya Daniels – Yaffa Adena bat Michael
charitABLE Pinner Shul’s Youth Volunteering Programme
Following a successful youth project on Mitzvah Day, when teens came together to bake and package cookies for homeless people, Sara and Yonatan launched a youth volunteering programme called ‘we are charitABLE’.
he programme is designed to encourage youth to recognise where there is need around them, and provide them with opportunities to give their time and make a difference, whilst having fun with friends.
Youth meet monthly or bi-monthly on Sundays throughout the year to support a wide range of projects and organisations - within our community, the wider Jewish community, and beyond.
Purim gifts (Mishloach Manot) for Pinner Shul’s over 80s
Supermarket sweep buying for groceries for Jewish families in need
I was glad to help out. Jessi, Age 11
It’s a good feeling to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.
It was fun to be with my friends and help out the community. It was great to be creative with our Purim gifts and I hope people enjoy receiving the gifts. Helping people is part of being in a community. Leon, Age 13
L, Age 15
Youth learn about caring for the community from Welfare Coordinator, Karen Kinsley
Mitzvah Day – baking and packaging cookies for homeless people
19 | Pesach 2022
Kids' Corner by Yonatan and Sara Levin
Unscramble the words:
Find the Chametz:
ࠜ Get creative and show us your version of the splitting of the sea! ࠜ Send a picture of your creation to firstname.lastname@example.org by 18th April 2022 to enter the competition for a chance to win a prize.
ࠜ The winner will be announced on 19th April 2022 and will have their entry posted on our shul social media.
ࠜ Some ideas to get you started – you can draw, paint, use Lego or other blocks, plasticine, food or anything else you can think of!
Jokes • Jokes • Jokes • Jokes • Jokes • Jokes • Jokes • Jokes What kind of shoes did the Egyptians wear during the plague of frogs? OPEN-TOAD
20 | Pesach 2022
What kind of cheese do you eat on Pesach? MATZAH-RELLA
Find these words in the word search: 1.
4. Wine 5.
10. Egypt 11. BONUS: Cup of Elijah
Kids in the Kitchen Kosher for Passover Plague of Frogs Cupcakes Ingredients:
For the icing
For the batter
» » » » » » » »
» » » » »
4 Eggs 1 cup Oil 1 ½ cups Sugar ½ cup Cocoa ½ cup Potato Starch
Method: 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl or electric mixer. 3. Pour batter into cupcake holders and bake for 20-25 minutes. 4. Remove from oven and let cool. 5. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by mixing all ingredients (except food colouring) with an electric beater. 6. Once icing is smooth, divide into two bowls, ¾ of the icing in one bowl, and ¼ of the icing in another bowl.
250g Icing Sugar 80g Butter or Butter alternative 25ml milk or water Vanilla essence Green and red food colouring For the decoration Large white marshmallows Dark chocolate buttons
7. Add green food colouring to the larger amount of icing and red to the smaller amount. 8. Cut marshmallows into flattish rounds for the eyes. 9. Spread on green icing over the cupcakes. 10. Then decorate the cupcakes to look like frogs as shown in the picture. You can use a piping bag or small Ziplock with one of the corners snipped off to create the frog’s nose, mouth and tongue. 11. Eat and Enjoy!!
21 | Pesach 2022
Supporting the Crisis in the Ukraine by Leonie Lewis and Helen Levy
'How can I help?' 'Strong person needed over here please!' 'More boxes needed!' Throughout the morning on Sunday 6th March, the lobby of Pinner Synagogue was full of noise and activity – people arriving every few minutes with bags of goods for Humanitarian Aid Charity, Goods for Good, to be sent by lorry to Ukraine. The relief at being able to do something useful at last created a strong bond between every volunteer. Thanks to the post-Covid situation, there was also relief at being able to see and interact with others in the community at long last.
nly a few hours earlier, the call had gone out to faith groups, friends and neighbours, and from everywhere donations kept flooding in. We were asked to collect tinned and packaged food, hygiene items like shampoo and toothpaste, and first aid items. As bags arrived, the 18 volunteers grabbed them and piled them onto tables in the lobby. These were quickly sorted into boxes, packaged, sealed and labelled. A few hours later there were over 140 boxes, many black sacks of nappies and paper items, and over £400 in donations. A volunteer driver agreed to drive the truck to the Goods for Good partner charity warehouse in Northampton.
From there, Goods for Good will, along with partner charities, arrange the distribution to Polish cities like Rzeszow, Przemysl, Lublin, Pilzno and Warsaw. The boxes will eventually arrive at other distribution centres, and by agreement with Ukrainian authorities be ready for transportation to Ukrainian hospitals in cities like Lviv and Borislav. 22 | Pesach 2022
Goods for Good local teams have been doing this work for over 30 years and have built strong local networks through Government organisations, local municipalities and authorities, churches, synagogues and other groups to help get the goods distributed wherever there is need. And Russia’s war has led to a far greater urgency and volume of donations. Similarly, Pinner United Synagogue volunteers have been among others doing this kind of work for many years.
Here was a major opportunity to step up the work, and it was heart-warming to watch the operation swing into top gear. Thanks to all volunteers and those who have supported this collection. We have set this up literally within 48 hours https://goodsforgood.org.uk/blog/ page-124 Funds can be transferred via www.goodsforgood.org.uk/donate
END OF AN ERA by Stephen Collins
For over 30 years, Gaby Glassman has inspired and organised Pinner Synagogue’s annual Yom Hashoah commemoration. From small beginnings it blossomed into an event of almost national significance within the Jewish community.
ith her unrivalled list of contacts among survivors, Gaby was, without fail, able to attract guest speakers suited to whichever anniversary was most appropriate for a particular year. And on top of that, her prestige meant that we were regularly graced with attendance by Ambassadors and senior Embassy officials from several European countries each year, together with local government officers, including the Mayor of Harrow, local MPs and local faith leaders. Perhaps of greater significance from a long-term perspective, Gaby focused on involving the ‘third generation’ in the commemoration. Thus, there would normally be six young candle-lighters assisting survivors to kindle commemorative candles, and a particular effort was made to invite pupils and staff from local schools to attend. With the cancellation of the 2020 commemoration because of the lockdown, and despite a considerable amount of planning having been undertaken, Gaby decided to retire from this responsibility, having understandably already contemplated this step after so many years of service. Through most of this time Gaby was assisted by a small Yom Hashoah Committee. Membership evolved over the years (and several other non-Committee members provided vital assistance), but at the time of Gaby’s retirement it consisted of (in alphabetical order) Lawrence Brown, Naomi Capper, Lindsay Collins, Stephen Collins, Sharon Mire, Lisa Olins and Robin Woolf. We did not want Gaby’s retirement to pass unremarked, so we presented her in with an engraved crystal vase to recognise her immense contribution. The inscription reads:
80 years serving Holocaust survivors and refugees nationwide
Presented to Gaby Glassman by the Pinner Yom Hashoah Committee with gratitude for her thirty years of leadership in Holocaust remembrance and education The photographs show the vase in its display case and the presentation to Gaby by Robin Woolf on behalf of the Committee.
Stay connected email@example.com · www.ajr.org.uk · 020 8385 3070 AssociationofJewishRefugees
23 | Pesach 2022
ַח ג שר ֵ ׁ ּ ָכ ש מֵ ַח ׂ ָ ְו
The connec ti
D A s continue
Guy, aged 5, lives in the UJIA Carmiel Children’s Village thanks to
w it h
a UJIA le gacy 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 HELPING YOU ON YOUR WAY TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES gift left by Gerald to UJIA in his Will.
O N Tgift A to C UJIA T Ucan S make, T O call F I Denise ND O UT HOW To ﬁnd out more about the difference aClegacy Lederman on 0207 424 6425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org EMPLOYMENT SERVICES BUSINESS
020 8371 3280
United Jewish Israel Appeal is a registered charity No. 1060078 (England & Wales) and Sc 039181 (Scotland).
REGISTERED CHARITY 1164762
Remembrance Sunday 14 November 2021 At the annual Act of Remembrance held at the Pinner War Memorial, Stan Conway placed the Wreath to remember the thousands of Jewish Servicemen and Women who fought and served for our freedom.
tan, aged seven, remembers the Anderson Shelter in their back garden, and nearly falling off his bunk bed when there was a huge explosion. At age 18, he was called up to do National Service and chose the RAF, subsequently training as an Air Radar Mechanic. He was housed in a corrugated iron billet with a motley crew – Scouse from Liverpool, Brummy from Birmingham, Paddy from Ireland, Taffy from Wales and Jock from Scotland. As for him, he was probably called a Limey from London! During his RAF service, his family was invited to a wedding, and he came home on leave for the weekend in order to attend. There he met Phyllis, the girl of his dreams, and asked her for a dance. Well, who wouldn’t fall for a handsome bloke in RAF uniform and boots! The rest is history. 24 | Pesach 2022
Over the last two years, we have missed our Shabbat services which provide a focus to the week and the opportunity to meet with friends. We thought we would share some of the lovely Shabbat images that have helped to sustain us through this difficult period.
EXHIBITION: A JEWISH COMMUNITY IN HARROW Headstone Manor Museum is marking Pinner Synagogue’s 80th anniversary with an exhibition which will run until 8th May. It showcases through objects, archival and digital material and what it means to be a Jewish community in Harrow. Find out more at www.headstonemanor.org
25 | Pesach 2022
My Aliyah Story by Ben Brookarsh
Ben was interviewed by his sister Naomi, on his decision to make Aliyah and draft into the Israeli Army. Ben moved to Pinner aged five. He attended Moriah Jewish Day School followed by JFS, West Herts College and the University of Birmingham. He graduated in June 2018 and made Aliyah in the same month. What inspired you to make Aliyah and to draft into the army? My family brought me up with a love for Israel. This was further enhanced by many family trips, school trips and tours of Israel. Whilst at university, I encountered lots of antisemitism. Suddenly, I was targeted for being Jewish. I was accused of genocide acts against children. Abuse, both verbal and physical, was hurled at me. My Jewish identity was challenged and I stepped up. I found myself engaged in Israel activism on campus. I felt everyone was against me and didn’t hear much of a Jewish voice on campus - even from the Jewish Society. The hatred shocked me and this fuelled my love and passion for Israel. It seemed pointless fighting antisemitism on the streets of Birmingham and London. I knew I needed to be in Israel to be a greater part of this fight. I no longer felt comfortable on campus nor in the UK. I realised my future was in Israel. I felt I needed to do my bit. My decision was made.
26 | Pesach 2022
Tell me about your Aliyah experience? I made Aliyah through Garin Tzabar – an organisation supporting lone soldiers wanting to make Aliyah. They guided me through the whole process. I attended sessions in London prior to moving. There was a series of very strict, cold and tough interviews which made me question my decision. This narrowed down the selection of individuals ensuring we were all there for the right reasons. We bonded tightly as a group and became like a second family to each other. Garin Tzabar supported us through each stage of the process. What was challenging in the Aliyah process? I had a great support network making Aliyah with Garin Tzabar. I didn’t have to worry about anything. I was guided along the whole process. I was told I was going to live on Kibbutz Kfar Masryk near Akko - and it has really worked out for the best. Everything was decided for me. One surprise was when the Office of the Chief Rabbi wrote on my certificate that I was a girl which led to some initial difficulties!
Community Matters From the moment I left the plane, saw the sunset of Tel Aviv, had pizza in Raanana and said to my friend: ‘this is gonna be good’, I knew I had made the right decision. My dream had now become my new life.
What is one thing you really enjoy about living in Israel? I really like the active life style – good weather, nature, beaches, waterfalls, hikes, scuba diving, fishing. Living on the kibbutz with friends, there is always something to do. Sitting outside in the evening with the birds chirping is a great life.
What is one thing you find difficult living in Israel? When I made the decision to serve in the army, I thought it would be two years’ service. I was released from the army in December 2020, I cut my card and, in my head, thought I was finished. Then being called back to milluim (reserves) was a shock. I was told army service was just an introduction and the real service is milluim until age 45!
What do you like about the kibbutz lifestyle and living in the north? I love the community feeling. Living in the kibbutz everyone knows each other. I have everything I need - access to cars, food, accommodation, healthcare. Everything goes into one account for payment, and I don’t need to do anything.
What advice do you have for young people considering Aliyah? Just get up and do it if that’s what you want to do. If not now, when?
one month close to Gaza.
What was your most memorable experience as an oleh in the army? You’re always with friends in the army. When walking the street in uniform, people come up and give you cakes, food, sweets – they appreciate what you do. In Hebron someone came up to me on the street and gave me a box of donuts for Chanukah. I would be bought meals in restaurants, with desserts on the house. It was a great feeling.
What support did you have as a lone soldier in the army? Lone soldiers have special benefits – an extra day off a month and a month off as special leave. You have extra financial support and the kibbutz supports you as a soldier. There were four preparation sessions in London to provide support with the process before making Aliyah.
How did Covid-19 affect your army service? Covid-19 affected everything. I couldn’t leave the base. Normally, I went home every other weekend, but now I couldn’t go home for two months. No one could leave the base. There was no travelling and it was tough. The reserves were cancelled because of Covid, so there was more pressure on all the soldiers during their service.
How did you find settling into society after your army service?
I guess I changed when I learnt Hebrew – my personality changes when speaking in Hebrew.
So far, it’s been an easy transition. I was made very welcome in the work setting. I feel a big love for Israeli culture. Most people light up when I tell them I made Aliya and did army service. The general reaction is that people are appreciative and thankful.
Hebrew Ben and English Ben are different people.
What are you doing now?
What unit were you in and what was the training like?
I am working for a private company that is based on the kibbutz, making apps and websites. I feel very settled and happy on the kibbutz. I have lived here for nearly three years and have been working for seven months. I have my own apartment and am enjoying furnishing and redecorating it.
How have you changed having made Aliyah?
I was in Nachal which is an infantry unit. I did a three-month ulpan in the army at Michvei Alon. This was followed by eight months’ combat training involving many sleepless nights in the shetach (field). The training was physically and mentally tough. The comradeship keeps you going. My final hurdle was the Masa Kumta, a 30km plus march through the night. Receiving my green beret from my officer in a ceremony at the end was very rewarding. During service, I was on the Lebanese border followed by four months in Hebron, and
What message would you like to send to the Pinner community? I would like to say a big hello to my many good friends in Pinner. If you are in Israel, it will be a pleasure to see you.
27 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
Letter Nun Dear Pinner
Welcome to the fourteenth in a series on the Hebrew Alphabet, in which we are exploring the meaning behind the Aleph-Bet letters. As we approach this Pesach, we will all be reflecting on a very challenging year globally. As I write this article, by chance I am self-isolating with Covid-19 in our spare room, contemplating the meaning of freedom - the main theme of Pesach. We should all use our freedom for good purposes!
he fourteenth letter is Nun, pretty much midway through the Aleph-Bet. With this being the Pesach edition let us also try to connect the Nun to our festival season. The letter Nun has two forms the ‘straight’ and ‘bent’. The bent Nun (Nun Kefufah)is always at by Simon Hodes the beginning or the middle or a word, while the straight Nun (Nun Peshutah) is always at the end of a word. There are various interpretations of the bent and straight Nun: ● The Talmud (Shabbos 104a) tells us that the bent Nun represents someone who is bent over, perhaps in penitence, while the straight Nun alludes to one who is straight and proud. ● The Maharal teaches that the two Nuns represent the two fundamental approaches to serving G‑d: fear and love. If one serves G‑d out of fear, they are hunched over. If one serves G‑d out of love they stand straight. ● Rashi comments that if a person is ‘bent over’ throughout his life, they are humble and subservient to Torah law and order, and to G‑d. In the World to Come they will stand tall and straight, for G‑d will bless them with tremendous reward. ● Another interpretation is that the bent Nun alludes to one who has fallen and the straight Nun to one who has
human eye, this world seems to be controlled by the laws of nature, because we cannot see G‑d. In Aramaic, Nun means a fish. This is associated with fruitfulness. Jacob for example blessed his children to be like fish - which multiply greatly and are protected under the water. Nun has the numerical value of 50. This is highly significant as it represents the Jubilee year (Yovel) following seven cycles of seven years and spiritual enlightenment. In the Jubilee year, all land in the Land of Israel is ‘given their freedom,’ and returned to their original owners. 50 is said to be the age of wisdom.
Various key words have the letter Nun For example, when we pray alone, we are told to begin the Shema with the phrase ‘G-d, Faithful King’ (El melekh ne'eman). אמָן ֱ ֶ נNote that Ne’eman has both forms of the Nun and means faithful and reliable with the long Nun representing continuity. Psalm 145 (Ashrei) is an acrostic so the verses follow the letters of the Aleph-Bet. Each letter appears at the beginning of a verse, except for the letter נ. Commentators say that the reason for this is that the letter hints at ( נְפִיל ָהnefilah) downfall, and therefore King David left this letter out. However, Nun also represents light (ner) and the soul (neshama) reminding us that whatever happens, there is always hope.
So how to link Nun to Pesach? Moses is the hero of our Pesach story and although he was our greatest prophet, he is not remembered for his wisdom or might - but for his humility. Moses is likened to the letter Nun, with his disciple called Joshua Bin (not Ben) Nun.
straightened up. A motivational lesson. As a suffix at the end of a word, the Nun represents an intensified adjective of a Hebrew word. For example, a שקר is a lie, but a שׁקר ָן ַ with a final Nun is a liar. A ג ַנ ָבis a one-time thief – with a final Nun a regular thief. To remember is זֵכֶר, but add the Nun and you get זיכרוןan eternal commemoration.
The Nun is said to have several meanings: The Zohar tells us that the Nun stands for deceit. To the 28 | Pesach 2022
From 2nd day Pesach we start counting the Omer representing our ancestors’ journey from slavery in Egypt to receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai. We are told to count for seven weeks - and then on the 50th day we celebrate Shavuot. Note that mankind counts seven cycles of seven weeks, and then G-d marks the 50th day. Our sages teach that 50 is ‘beyond nature’, in the same way that a Brit Milah (circumcision) is on the 8th day of life - beyond the natural seven-day cycle of our human week. Wishing you and your extended families a Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach.
Thoughts & Perspectives
THE SWEET STORY OF CHAROSET Charoset (tsvrc), one of the symbolic foods at the Pesach Seder, is the sweet paste that takes its place on the Seder plate, as we celebrate our redemption from slavery. The word comes from the Hebrew word ‘cheres’ (src), meaning clay.
nlike other Seder items, such as the matzah and bitter herbs (which are mandated) and the egg (which is symbolic), the by Margery Cohen charoset does not seem, at first glance, to have an important role of its own. Nevertheless, in its own way, the charoset represents what Passover is all about, even more than some of the other foods. The Talmud offers different explanations on the symbolism of charoset, and these serve as the basis for the ingredients and texture of this Passover paste. R. Yohanan says it is, zekher latit, ‘in memory of the clay’ - that is, the mud and straw with which the Israelite slaves made bricks. R. Levi says, zekher latapuah, ‘in memory of the apple trees’, drawing on the verse from Song of Songs, ‘under the apple tree I aroused you’ (8.5) referring to the Israelite women in Egypt who brought their husbands to the orchards and convinced them to continue having children in defiance of Pharoah’s decree. Abaye, a Rabbi of the Talmud who lived in Babylonia, merges the two explanations, saying that one should therefore make it thick in memory of the clay, add grated spices in memory of the straw, and make it sharp in memory of the apples. There are almost as many ways to make charoset as there are Jews who eat it. It is, after all, a Jewish food, and there is nothing Jews like better than to argue over meaning and to dissect the possibilities. Each community of Jews, no matter where history and fortune has taken them, creates a local version of charoset for the Seder table. If there is anything that speaks to the resilience of the Jewish people over the centuries, it may be the ability to adapt customs and recipes to suit local conditions. Families pass on their unique recipe to future generations, or someone along the way may decide to add something new one year - and it sticks. The recipe becomes as much a Passover symbol as it is a symbol of the family who has been making it over the decades.
I love the sweet taste of charoset, but the thing about it that speaks to me the most, is that there is a story behind every recipe. After many tastings, I know my favourite one! In fact, my memories of charoset go way back to my childhood. My family came from Iraq and besides great Iraqi dishes, our version of charoset was the BEST thing I’d ever tasted! It is known as Ha’leq (possibly derived from halqan, an Arabic term for ripe dates). It is an ancient Babylonian date syrup that many Iraqi Jews today prepare for the Seder. It requires a tedious process of boiling down, squeezing, mashing and straining dates until you reach the proper consistency. The result is a rich, decadent syrup like a cross between honey and black molasses. It was divine! My mother would make it every year, and when I once asked for the recipe, I was warned: ‘It’s a lot of work, and you need an enormous amount of dates to give you just a small amount of haleq.’ Today, you can take the easy way out and buy a jar of Silan – a date syrup with a great taste and texture! At our Seder, we would have a bowl of thick haleq and a bowl of ground walnuts on the table. Each participant had to mix some of the ground nuts in with the haleq, thereby going through the motions of ‘making our own mortar’ in remembrance of the slaves in Egypt! The charoset is a symbol with many meanings - a mix of sweet and sour, crunchy and soft, plain and spiced. It is at once the bitterness of the bricks of slavery and the bravery of the Israelite women. It is the complexity of life, where freedom and slavery, joy and sadness, love and pain, mix together. It is like Hillel’s sandwich: the matza of freedom and the maror of slavery, stuck together with a little charoset. Leaving Egypt is a process, not a one-time event. Charoset is about real life - a crunchy sandwich with chunks of bitterness and a sweet taste that lingers on the tongue, reminding us of our redemption and our heritage.
29 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
Farmers Dance Before Shemittah Begins in Israel by Rabbi Kurzer
As Rosh Hashanah 5782 approached, a beautiful video circulated the world of religious farmers near Sha’alvim. Israel danced together as they left their field – but not just for the two days of the festival. They knew this was the last time they would work on their field for an entire year because of ‘Shemittah’ What is a Shemittah year and why do we have one?
working the land.
The Torah instructs us to observe every seventh year as a Shemittah year, referred to as a ‘Shabbat Ha’Aretz’ - a Sabbatical year for the land. Just like Shabbat, the Shemittah year has many restrictions and can be daunting, but what these farmers inspiringly demonstrated to us was the incredible joy and love that Shemittah is intended to inspire.
2. Heter Mechira – Jewish farmers sell their land to a nonJew for the year of Shemittah in a sale facilitated by a Bet Din, rather like the selling of chametz over Pesach. This modern method (first used in 1888!) is the subject of great debate but also has very significant halachic authorities who have approved it.
Among the approaches suggested by commentaries, Rav Rimon suggests that the reasons we are commanded to observe Shemittah stem from one fundamental truth – G-d states, ‘For the Land is Mine’ (Vayikra 25:23). The Talmud uses similar phraseology saying, ‘The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, plant for six years and release [the land] during the seventh, so that you shall know that the land is mine’. This not only explains the requirement to declare Shemittah produce ownerless but also explains how Shemittah helps avoid conflict, encourages us to nurture our spiritual side and endows the fruits grown during the year with holiness.
3. Otzar Bet Din – a centralised court is given responsibility to employ agents (often the farmers themselves) to distribute the farmer’s produce across the country. This does not permit planting or any similar activity and therefore works for fruit but not vegetables. It is often sold in separate shops or sections of shops, and has kedushat shevi’it (sanctity of the seventh year), meaning that it must be treated differently and disposed of respectfully.
What are the restrictions of Shemittah? The verses in the Torah explicitly prohibit planting, gathering, harvesting and working the land (Vayikra 25:4-5) and there are a number of further restrictions, both in Torah and Rabbinic law. In practical terms, the laws affect people in Israel in three main ways: 1. The fruits and vegetables they can buy. 2. The way they care for their garden 3. How they treat the produce they buy. We will focus on the first issue. What fruit and vegetables can I buy in Israel in Shemittah? In the UK we are used to products requiring a hechsher, but in Israel, even the fruits and vegetables do! Whilst many are careful in their purchases, to ensure that the Shemittah laws have been kept correctly, this can create controversy. Observing Shemittah on a national scale in a modern economy, without the Biblical blessings creates challenges to which there are a number of solutions. These continue to be debated and are beyond the scope of a detailed analysis in this article. Nevertheless, here are some of the methods used to get produce to mass market during a Shemittah year in Israel. 1. Yevul Nochri – land in Israel already owned by non-Jewish farmers who are therefore not subject to the restrictions of 30 | Pesach 2022
4. Matza Menutak – technology has enabled large quantities of vegetables to be grown detached from the ground in hothouses which means that they are not subject to Shemittah restrictions. What about outside Israel? Although in Israel there is reliable labelling, produce shipped abroad is more ambiguous. For instance, oranges imported from Israel are clearly not from the Shemittah year the moment the year has begun, as they have to ripen, be harvested and shipped. But they may be problematic the following year since it is impossible to know which farm they came from and how they were handled during Shemittah. Therefore, many organisations, including the London Beth Din, the OU and other reputable kashrut authorities across Europe and America publish lists detailing which months may be more problematic for different fruits and vegetables. At other times, Israeli fruits still carry the holiness of Israel and can be enjoyed with that in mind after separating terumot and maasrot (more details can be found on www.kosher.org.uk/terumahandmaaser). Is Shemittah more trouble than it is worth? Like all laws of kosher, Shemittah encourages us to think carefully about what we put in our mouth, as well as making us conscious of the how it is grown and caring for the land and the farmers producing our food. The restrictions remind us of the sanctity of the Land of Israel and its fruit. Shemittah is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the gift of Israel and our nation’s connection to this unique and special land.
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D A WORK AVENUE
The connec t io Guy, aged 5, lives in the UJIA Carmiel Children’s Village thanks to
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ַח ג שר ֵ ׁ ּ ָכ ש מֵ ַח ׂ ָ ְו
a UJIA le gacy gift
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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 GeraldH to E UJIA L PinIhis N Will. G YOU ON YOUR WAY TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES To ﬁnd out more about the difference aClegacy gift ONT AtoCUJIA T Ucan S make, T O call F IDenise N D Lederman OUT HOW on 0207 424 6425 or email email@example.com
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31 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
Listening to Young Men We wish a hearty Mazaltov to Anthony Nicholls, who has recently completed a PhD at Birkbeck College, London on Young Anglo-Jewish Masculinity. We asked him to share his experience with us.
y thesis was an interview study of young male British Jews and how they talked about what being a young Jewish man in Britain meant to them, the stimulus for this being the contrast in society that I had noticed from when I was a teenager. I was born in 1944 and the Britain of the 1950s by Anthony Nicholls and 60s was assumed to be monocultural white. My formative years were in Hull attending an all-boys grammar school where I gained my British identity. For my Jewish identity I attended one of the three orthodox synagogues in the city where I sat with a group of elderly men who told me about their experiences in the trenches in the First World War and I also went to Jewish youth groups. I read Medicine at Westminster Medical School, London graduating in 1968 and worked in hospital practice for seven years, mainly in Paediatrics, before entering suburban General Practice in 1975 and retiring in 2009. I then did a Masters in Jewish Studies at King’s College, London and graduated in 2011. In the last quarter of the 20th century there has been a dramatic increase in cultural diversity, especially in the larger cities. There have been changes in transport, media and popular culture, and an increased presence of women in the professions. The availability of contraception and abortion, the end of censorship of books, theatre and films, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, all of these have changed attitudes towards sexuality and authority. The internet and multiple ways of communication mean that young people are growing up with many more influences than previous generations. So, I was wondering how young male Jews were faring in modern Britain. What did they think about their future and their social environment? Is religion relevant for them and is Judaism worth continuing? Does any form of nationalism have any meaning now that our lives are governed commercially by multinational corporations and politically by multi-nation organisations such as the United Nations, NATO and, at the time of the study, the European Union? Britain is a nation built upon successive waves of immigration 32 | Pesach 2022
the forebears of Anglo-Jewry among them - so what does it mean to be British when a substantial percentage of the population does not have English as its first language? What does it mean to be a male when the duties and privileges of patriarchy have been undermined by changed employment opportunities and the emergence of feminism? How can masculinity be constructed in the absence of the challenge of physical prowess in conflict and the dismantling of the traditional heterosexual gender identity? In reacting to these changes young men have had to move from the battlefield to the gym and sports field, from the factory to the office, and have had to master domestic skills of the kitchen and nursery - and nobody has asked young Jewish men what they think about all this. My questions are: ● How do young Jews understand and perform Jewishness and masculinity in contemporary Britain? ● How do they talk about their experience of being a young Jewish male in Britain and what are their concerns? I conducted in-depth interviews with 16 young Jews chosen to be representative of a diverse range of religiosity and academic ability to reflect the diversity of this population to hear the range of opinions. Research involving interviews with individuals raises ethical issues and especially when the participants include children under the age of 16. Using my 45 years’ experience in medical practice to aid this research, and having worked in Paediatrics in both hospital practice and in primary care settings, I was accustomed to talking with and listening to young people revealing sensitive and confidential issues regarding their lives. The reaction of the participants to the interview varied considerably. For some I had the impression that they had prepared an opening speech as if introducing themselves to a selection panel. Some were quite reticent and needed encouragement and reassurance that everything they might say was completely confidential, that I was not going to try to change any of their opinions and that I was interested in what they had to say. For some this was the first time that they had been able to talk about themselves and their opinions without being interrupted or challenged. By making a safe space it allowed some of them to be vulnerable and to talk about the
Thoughts & Perspectives fear of being a young man on the streets or their experience of receiving antisemitic verbal abuse.
others had a more international outlook and there was a further contrast between attitude to London and that to the rest of the country.
Having gained their confidence they were prepared to speak to me as a ‘concerned and interested adult’ who was listening With regard to being male, I wanted to reject the hard (physical) to and accepting their opinions, being an audience for them against soft (intellectual) modes of masculinity and instead to expound views that they may have been reticent about I suggested that it is better considered as being between in raising with their parents. By just being myself and not competitive (dominant and dominating) masculinity on the trying to appear as a contemporary I think they respected one hand against a cooperative model with which physicality my integrity and they felt comfortable and intellectualism can combine. I argued about bringing up some subjects that cooperation produces a more stable and By changing the masculinity axis aroused strong feelings. For instance, emotionally satisfying mode of living. and promoting cooperation as one became angry and contemptuous Cooperation enhances emotional masculinity I hope this can feed on three occasions; speaking about intelligence and by promoting a into the wider public perception of religion generally, Extinction Rebellion, supportive social framework, men would what it means to be a man and the rainbow poppy (gay soldiers be able to deal with challenges which amongst the war casualties). Another might question their manliness and have became quite agitated speaking about overwhelmed them. Competition has an important place the Haredi world (a cult), Jewish schools (bigoted parents), in life, for social, academic, and professional advancement and Israeli politics (right-wing governments). I had the but it can and should be without the negative connotation impression that a third was being uncooperative and trying to of dominance and hegemony which have traditionally hide his opinions but he became animated in his dismissal of characterised masculinity. By changing the masculinity axis Reform Judaism and women rabbis. and promoting cooperation as masculinity I hope this can feed I was interested in the interaction of their Jewishness, into the wider public perception of what it means to be a man. Britishness, and masculinity; how each aspect affected and I am creating a space for men to be vulnerable and seek help was affected by each other. I found their Judaism lay in a for their problems without being belittled or ridiculed. I propose range between strict keeping to ritual on one hand against that young Jewish men are inhabiting a continually changing an affinity to Jewish culture (history, family, tradition) on the position in a fluid, three-dimensional matrix to construct their other. Some were narrowly focussed on being British and Jewish British masculine identity.
This Pesach, will you help us to continue to care for the 10,000 lives we touch every single week? At Jewish Care, we love to celebrate Shabbat and festivals with our residents, tenants and members across our care homes, Retirement Living schemes and our newly reopened day and community centres.
Our Meals on Wheels drivers visit vulnerable members of the community with delicious Kosher meals. Our clients look forward to their calls every week from our dedicated team of telephone befrienders and our Helpline and Social Work and Community Support Teams continue to be there for everyone in the community that needs us. All of this, and so much more is only made possible thanks to our generous supporters. We hope you can continue to support us and the 10,000 lives we touch every week. On behalf of everyone who relies on Jewish Care, we wish you and your famillies a happy Pesach.
If you are able to make a donation, please call 020 8922 2600 or visit jewishcare.org/donate
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33 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
Volunteering In Yiddish by George White
I would like to tell you why speaking in Yiddish means so much to me and the people with who I meet weekly.
y parents, who were both born in Poland before World War II spoke Yiddish as their mother tongue. This continued throughout their lives with both myself and my sister (although my sister would reply in English). It was not until she and I were married, with neither my wife nor brother-in-law speaking Yiddish, did conversation change to English when we were with my parents. Yet if I was with them on my own, we continued to speak in Yiddish. One day our young daughter announced that daddy was speaking French! We had taken my speaking Yiddish so much for granted, we never thought of explaining it to the children. In retrospect I regret not speaking to them in Yiddish too, as it was only after my parents passed away that I realised I had no-one to speak with and may well soon forget it. My association with the Holocaust Survivors Centre [HSC] goes back over 25 years to when my parents, themselves Survivors, used to go. The HSC is managed by Jewish Care with wonderful staff members and a dedicated set of volunteers. It was in August 2019, that I renewed my link with the HSC through the Jewish Voluntary Network. HSC were looking for someone to help facilitate a weekly Yiddish conversation session on Wednesday mornings. I gladly accepted the role, alternating weekly with a young Mexican couple. The group consists of between 10 and 15 Survivors, who are still full of life and vociferously participate in the conversations. I attended for one week as a guest and began facilitating a week later. I feel both honoured and in awe having conversions with these amazing people, most of whom are well into their 90s. Many of them have received royal honours for their work - talking to and educating, not just the Jewish community, but also the wider population nationally about the Holocaust. Many have met, and some remain in communication with, members of the royal family. Many of them have over the years appeared on TV as part of the commemorations for Holocaust Memorial Day and Yom HaShoah. Some of the members came over as evacuees before the war while others came after suffering the horrors of incarceration and hiding. 34 | Pesach 2022
We discuss topics of the day (politics, religion, culture, life in general) and everyone has very definite views which can lead to some vigorous discussion. There is also some reminiscing of a world now disappeared. I usually get a grilling of what I am up to, especially updates on our bungalow’s renovation and our latest trip to Israel. Sometimes guests are invited in. On one occasion I introduced my sister, who received a 20-minute stiff interview, but enjoyed the experience. On another, a fitness instructor was invited towards the end of the session to lead a workout. The exercises were to be carried out sitting down and were to help with hand, face, and leg movements. What we did not know was that the fitness instructor was a lady aged 102! The members were promised a 10-minute session. However, after about 15 minutes they started complaining to me in Yiddish to get her to stop as they had had enough and wanted their lunch. In March 2020 Covid-19 arrived and the live sessions ended until, in June 2020, the conversations moved to zoom. Each member incredibly managed to come online, and the conversations continued until August 2021 when we were able to meet face-to-face. To inaugurate this new phase, we all met for lunch in a private garden hosted by an HSC volunteer. It was a very emotional meeting. Throughout this period everyone has been careful, managed the isolation, continued to have a very positive attitude and are continuing to flourish and demonstrate the survival spirit that has kept them going and I hope and pray will continue to do so. HSC has now relocated from Hendon to Golders Green. The move has not been without complications due in no small part to the Survivors being very vocal as to the facilities and their set-up. They enjoy meeting each other, picking up on idiosyncrasies, and putting the world to rights. For me, it is a chance to not only keep my mother tongue alive but to relive conversations and jokes I shared with my parents. If I close my eyes, I can sometimes think it is their voice I hear.
Thoughts & Perspectives
Blood on the Doorposts by Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
The other day I found myself flicking through a fashion magazine from 2019 and couldn’t help thinking how irrelevant the contents were – even if it was just to say which shoes were trendy that season. It was ‘BC’ - ‘Before Covid’- and so what did people in 2019 know about shoes? In a similar way, though vastly different, I remember everything before and after Princess Diana’s early death and the events of 9/11. I imagine many people reading this will also recall where they were when these events took place.
'In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.' - William Blake
here are countless times in life when we stand at the precipice of a decision. It is a moment that delineates between a before and after. It could be getting results of a medical test, getting married, going into a final exam or perhaps signing on the dotted line for a large purchase. These are moments that stay etched in our minds and we can pinpoint how we felt before and what changed after. Dr Erica Brown refers to these as threshold moments and explains that they can be physical doorways which we pass through in which we feel anxious about what will be. A stage-door, a dentist’s practice, perhaps a job interview. Sometimes these physical transitions can be very challenging and lonely experiences. Judaism provides a ritual for these moments to make them less anxiety provoking, for example becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah, going to the mikveh and even kissing a mezuzah.
slaughtering a sheep which was an important Egyptian G-d. Doing this final act of defiance meant making a statement that the people were rejecting the Egyptian lifestyle and were committing to belief in one G-d. This was a scary thing to do and the act of doing this in the privacy of one’s home was a sign for oneself, not for anyone else. It was a threshold moment, marked on the doorway of a home, which would forever mark the difference between a slave mentality before leaving Egypt and freedom to follow one’s own beliefs afterwards.
ש֔ם ָׁ ת֣ם ֶּ א ַ ש֣ר ֶׁ ֲתּים ֙ א ִ ָב ּ ה ַ הדּ ָ֨ם לָכֶ ֜ם לְאֹ֗ת עַ֤ל ַ ֩ וְהָי ָה ת֖י עֲלֵכֶ֑ם וְלֹֽא־י ִֽהְי ֶ֨ה בָכֶ֥ם ִּ ח ְ ס ַ ָ הדּ ָ֔ם ּופ ַ א ֙יתִי ֙ אֶת־ ִ ָ וְר מצְרָֽי ִם׃ ִ אר ֶץ ֶ֥ ְב ּ ת֖י ִ ֹכ ּ ה ַ ְב ּ ח֔ית ִ ש ְׁ מ ַ ְ נֶ֙ג ֶף ֙ ל
We live in a world where making an outward statement of one’s beliefs and opinions is common stance. It becomes your whatsapp status, your Instagram profile or your Facebook page. Whilst perhaps meaningful and important, the real test is what we do in our own private spaces. In my opinion there is a certain beauty in the fact that halacha means that we can’t take pictures of Shabbat and post them online, and that our seder table is only privy to the people sitting around it. We are asked to conduct a seder where we loudly and proudly tell our story, where we engage all of our senses in recalling our transition from slavery to freedom, and open our front doors to Eliyahu HaNavi (the prophet Elijah) however strange this may feel. No one else sees all this but we do and G-d does – just as G-d saw that the blood on the inside of the doorposts had internalised the change that was about to happen, and that this family was ready to be freed.
The blood will be a sign for you. To which Rashi explains that it was smeared on the inside of the doorpost and not on the outside. G-d didn’t need to see the mark on the outside of the homes, but rather G-d was paying attention to whether the individual people could make that jump across a precipice. To leave Egyptian society, however marginalised they were inside it, to become an ‘outsider’. This was demonstrated by
Interestingly, the word ‘pesach’ sounds similar to ‘pe-sach’ which means entrance or doorway. Seder night itself has the potential to be a ‘threshold moment’. A time of reaffirming our beliefs, which may often feel at odds with the culture around us. The actions involved in eating strange foods and reciting the Hagaddah serve to reorient us to who we really are, to give us the strength to remember that when we pass through different doorways, whether physical or allegorical, we have the ability to make choices that will propel us forward through a doorway to a new and different reality.
The story of Pesach was a threshold moment for us as a nation, and this is highlighted by looking more closely at a specific verse which adds a twist to the story as we know it. I had always understood that the reason the Jewish people put the blood on their doorposts was so that G-d could identify the Jewish homes from the Egyptian ones and ‘pass over’ them during the plague of the firstborn. What seems strange though is that this should be necessary for an omnipotent G-d who surely knows which house is which? The verse in Shemot 12:13 says:
And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
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Thoughts & Perspectives
I am an Advocate for Change by Anna Lawson
There is a mistaken belief, says sociologist Howard S. Becker, that ‘human beings are governed by deep and relatively unchanging components of the personality or self, so that important changes at late stages in the life cycle are viewed as anomalies that need to be explained away.’ I agree with him that these social scientists are mistaken. Here’s why.
have myself seen people react with discomfort or fear at the thought of change. However, humans are not fundamentally unchanging, rather we become comfortable with structure and familiarity of our lives. Change can be extremely difficult to achieve. Later in life, changes are often regarded with suspicion and people ridiculed, rather than given support. For example, Rabbi Akiva, at the age of forty went to study Torah for the first time, alongside youngsters in Yeshiva who mocked him for his age. His wife Rachel was taunted for neglecting the opportunity to become wealthy while she awaited his return from twelve years of study. Rabbi Akiva later became one of the greatest sages in Jewish history. We can learn from this to support and celebrate positive change in everyone, even late in life. Four years ago, my year in seminary in Yerushalayim provided me with daily opportunities to change and develop my personality, Jewish observance 36 | Pesach 2022
and beliefs. I had a strong support network around me of Rabbis, teachers, mentors and friends. When I returned to London, although I was no longer in an environment where the very atmosphere promoted change, I felt equipped to continue on an upwards trajectory and I dedicated a lot of time and thought to solidifying the concepts and values I explored in Eretz Yisrael and I integrated them into my daily routine. However, the very concept of a ‘daily routine’ made further change difficult. I felt myself easily slipping into a routine - getting up for work every day at the same time, going to university, writing assignments and planning lessons. I knew I had to fight in order to continue to make changes, but it was easier to slip into a daily pattern of autopilot activities. However, during the lockdowns, this was disrupted, and I had a lot of time at home. This could have been a brilliant opportunity to kickstart changes, and although I did make some positive
changes, that period offered its own challenges. I was ensuring I kept in touch with friends, teaching online and looking after my own mental health. It is more recently that an unexpected event helped me break out of the ease of daily routine and continue my upward journey of positive change. Those who know me well will remember my many years in Bnei Akiva. During my year in Eretz Yisrael, I made the difficult but necessary decision to distance myself from Bnei Akiva. After four years with no involvement, simply to help out a friend, I agreed to attend winter Machane (camp) in 2021 as a technical organiser. I spent ten days surrounded by growthand-change-minded people, learning and teaching Torah and ideology in an authentic, observant and loving way. I felt that the very atmosphere was one of supportive change. On returning home, I realised how much I had gained from Machane – I was
Thoughts & Perspectives inspired to advance my learning, continue to evaluate my internal self and make positive changes. I joined Lilmod Ul’Lamed, a women’s educator programme run by Bnei Akiva, Mizrachi UK and United Synagogue aiming to produce skilled female educators, leaders and role models. Additionally, I started teaching a group at Student Bet Midrash, a learning opportunity for high school and university students. Machane also reminded me of my desire to make Aliyah, an old dream which I had partially forgotten. The most unexpected experiences can lead to positive change. I never thought I would take another Machane and yet
I am an advocate for change. Through my own personal experiences, I have learned that positive internal change can only benefit a person. It is a difficult thing to achieve and can cause stress and worry, but if we are thoughtful, reflective, open and willing, I believe everyone can make small or big changes no matter how old they are or what stage of life they are at.
it led to a cascade of incredible changes and shifts for me. Someone we meet, something we hear or somewhere we visit could be the next catalyst for change if only we have our eyes and hearts open to these opportunities.
Struggling to cope is more normal than you think. Uncertainty and isolation can cause any of us to experience feelings of distress or anxiety. Whatever you are going through, you don’t have to face it alone.
Additionally, it is so important to be supportive of changes which others make in order to create an environment where change is encouraged, rather than viewed with suspicion or scepticism. Everyone has a right to change, so what will your next change be?
If you need support or are supporting someone who needs help, contact Jami. jamiuk.org/get-support or call 020 8458 2223
If you’re struggling to cope or need immediate help, contact Shout’s 24/7 crisis text service. Text Jami to 85258
Free, safe and anonymous online counselling and support. qwell.io/jami
Change the life of someone living with mental illness. Donate today at jamiuk.org/donate Registered charity no. 1003345
37 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
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38 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
University Challenge by Maia Roston
Finding the simple things
It is natural to assume that university is the place for finding oneself, gaining a sense of true independence or ultimately just a place to grow up. All these notions became increasingly difficult to pursue when lockdown began.
vidently, our university experience is radically different to those who completed their degree before Covid-19 hit us. The predicaments that students were facing completely changed. The question ‘Should I go out tonight because I have a 9am lecture?’ changed to ‘Should I listen to my seminar in my bed or at my desk?’ There is no doubt that our university experience was considerably clouded, and as a result so was our pursuit in finding the excitement in our day to day lives. It was very easy to spiral into a negative mindset about all the things that we, as students, missed out on. I was certainly guilty of doing so. I believe the challenge that we faced was how to find authentic joy in the simple things and alter our mindset. Once we began to appreciate the smallest of moments, there started to be so much more happiness in our daily lives. Friendship was one of the simple things that changed everything. One walk, one text or one thoughtful gesture could brighten up not only someone’s mood momentarily, but have a longlasting effect. It was the camaraderie we felt with each other, and the sense of togetherness which was so vital during the days when we could go nowhere but to our own house. Being able to lean on friends was extremely necessary at this time and changed our days. The second simple thing I focused on was to live in the present as much as possible. Although hard to do, it was so worthwhile. I tried to focus on what was happening on that one day. I realised that our thoughts define how we view everything.
Therefore, if we place too much prominence on the future, Maia seated on the left we begin to feel tentative and uncertain. There was so much speculation about what would happen in the summer or, for those of us continuing, even in the next academic year. I learned that these thoughts spiralling out of control caused no positive effect, but as we started to live from day-to-day these negative sentiments started to fade. I believe that endeavouring to remain in the present and appreciating the present made each day at university appear in a more positive light. I also learned to focus on myself, my needs and what made me feel happy during such uncertain times. It is in no way selfish to focus a substantial part of your energy in this way. It was such a unique period, and I realised that we may never get this amount of free time with very little significant worry. My friends and I began to appreciate this, and learned to love the nothingness in our days. It was essential for us that we took the time to define ourselves on our own terms by doing things that made us the happiest. This did not need to be going out till four in the morning. Instead, sitting in our living room and laughing together for hours was of much more importance than we ever realised.
have entered our third year, is that the lessons we learned throughout Covid-19 have changed the way we appreciate everything. I feel Covid-19 made us grow up in ways that normal university life would not have done, and I feel lucky to be completing my last year with this new-found appreciation of all the little things that we are so lucky to experience. I believe that we can alter the way we perceive day to day life. Covid-19 helped me and my friends to become enamoured with ourselves, our friendships and our thoughts. These are some of life’s most simple concepts that can alter the way we see everyday things. Finding authentic joy in the simplest of things really did us all the world of good.
Now life has started to feel more normal. We are able to go out and go to lectures. It took me and my friends time to get used to this, but now it feels very normal. The only difference, now that we 39 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
EXPERIENCES AT THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES A personal report by Dr David A Zideman
The XXXII Olympiad was held in Tokyo from 23rd July to 8th August 2021. The Games had been postponed due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and now, one year later, the world was looking on to watch it succeed. At the Opening Ceremony this was beautifully illustrated by the 1700 drones making an image of the world overlooking the Olympic Stadium and the Games.
he Games were titled the Tokyo 2020 Games and comprised 11,656 athletes from 205 countries. There were 339 events in total, in 33 sports, and within those sports there were 50 sport disciplines - the most in Olympic history. Competitions included the new Olympic sports of skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and karate, as well as events such as 40 | Pesach 2022
BMX freestyle and 3x3 basketball. As a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Medical and Scientific Commission Games Group, I travelled to Tokyo 16 days ahead of the Opening Ceremony. The IOC Medical and Scientific Games Group comprises several international healthcare professional experts, including pharmacy, physical therapies, dental,
imaging, sports medicine, public health, and emergency medicine. My role was as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Medical Commission, specifically for the provision of emergency medical services at the Games. It was my job to look at what was going on and not to undertake any treatment unless I really had to. Basically, I was there to observe and ensure everything was correct and safe.
Thoughts & Perspectives If not, I would negotiate corrections and, where necessary, undertake retraining for the medical teams. At the time of my departure Covid-19 was still a worldwide pandemic and numbers were rising in Japan. The media were concerned that the Games would become a worldwide super-spreading event. All Tokyo was placed under a Covid-19 state of emergency which severely curtailed travel and meetings, and resulted in most restaurants being closed or operating very limited opening hours. Prior to arrival in Japan, all athletes, officials, staff, and media had to provide three negative PCR tests, with a further test on arrival in Japan. Whilst in Tokyo, we were all subject to daily PCR sputum tests, as well as recording our daily temperature and physical status on the Tokyo 2020 COCOA app. In total, over the time of the Games, 624,000 tests were undertaken within the Games bubble, amounting to approximately 33,000 tests per day. Figures published reported a total of 467 positive tests, of which 50% were in the local Japanese workforce. There were only 33 positive tests in athletes and 34 in games officials, all of whom were isolated. Of the 417 close contacts, only seven were confirmed positive and isolated. In summary, the test, trace and isolate policies together with the social distancing, hand hygiene, mask wearing, and room ventilation were extremely effective. Furthermore, results showed no evidence of the Japanese subvariant being detected in countries beyond Japan in the post Games period. So, against all speculation by the media, the Olympics was not a superspreading event, provided one kept to the rules and requirements. My own arrival in Tokyo coincided with the upsurge in the Delta variant in the UK and I was therefore subject to three days’ hotel quarantine. This time was spent acclimatising to Tokyo and catching up with the many documents and papers associated with my role. Although I was restricted to my room, I participated online in the daily 7am Games Group meeting and I was able to meet up with my colleagues who had also travelled from the UK. Time passed quickly and I emerged on the morning of day four refreshed, fully briefed, and ready to go. With 50 sport discipline venues spread over Tokyo and the surrounding metropolitan districts, together with the
football venues outside Tokyo and the marathon venues in Sapporo, the task of visiting all the venues to review their emergency medical facilities was never going to be easy. Under normal Olympic Games conditions, I would have visited Japan in the previous year and observed a number of test events, but Covid-19 had severely restricted travel and many of the test events were cancelled or limited to minor competitions. My last visit to Tokyo was in February 2020
sport disciplines and undertook follow up visits at a further eight venues. I also attended specific venues on days where the sport discipline was considered at a particular high risk of trauma. Although the trauma injuries could be similar, the field of play environments were very different. In mountain bike, as the picture shows, teams were trained to extricate injured athletes from some very difficult situations whereas on the BMX track the problem was managing the injured
The steep BMX track
just before the Games were postponed. Subsequently my contact was via frequent conference calls and although these answered a lot of questions, they could not substitute for on-site reviews. During my quarantine I developed a venue visit plan based on their risk of associated trauma. These IOC Games Group visits were not considered inspections but a review of the athlete medical rooms and the competition areas (the Field of Play), the medical staff, the medical equipment and medication, with each visit being guided by a simple review template. Apart from the Covid-19 risk, there were also concerns about the high ambient temperatures and humidity during the Games. Special heat mitigation measures were in place, including the provision of shade and ice. Specialist treatment of heat-related illness by whole-body coldwater immersion for athletes with heat stroke was installed at 11 venues. By the day before the Opening Ceremony, the Games Group had visited 79% of all the Olympic sport disciplines, equivalent to 85% of all available sport disciplines, as several sport disciplines were scheduled to be held later in the Games calendar in venues already occupied by other sports. In total, I personally visited 35
athlete on the very steep track curves. The Olympic Games in Tokyo was a success, despite the pessimism of the press and media before the Games. The two unique medical concerns of Covid-19 and heat-related illness were adequately managed, and the trauma and illness rates were comparable with previous Games. Working with Olympic athletes and the teams around them is always amazing, but the daily schedule is tough. I was up at 5am every day, with a Games Group meeting at 7am, and my day often not finishing before 1am – and that’s for four weeks in a hot and humid environment. I came home exhausted but delighted that I had made some small contribution to this amazing event. By the time you read this, I will have been to Beijing for the Winter Olympic Games. The challenge of Covid-19 remains, in addition to the other challenges of high trauma risk sports in a harsh, cold environment. I was unable to visit Beijing prior to the Games and there have been very few test events. The Medical Games Group are going to have to deal with what has been prepared when we get there, which makes the challenge tough, but interesting. And then there is Paris in the summer of 2024. 41 | Pesach 2022
Thoughts & Perspectives
by Steven Freeman
If you have been to Pinner Shul, you will have walked through the main entrance, seen the wooden and metal Mechitza and admired the Memorial Wall with the glazed sculpture. Perhaps you were also aware that there is a Keilim Mikvah at the rear. But did you know that they were all designed by Steven Freeman, an architect by profession, who is now the Pinner Jewish Woodturner? Here is his story of how he learned to turn.
e have been members of Pinner Shul for over 35 years, where my wife Anita worked in the shul office, and both our daughters had their Bat Chayil. We have loved being part of this active community. From a young age I have always been creative and artistic in various ways. I enjoy gardening, painting and working with wood. We have a wonderfully mature garden, full of colour, that constantly brings delight, visited by lots 42 | Pesach 2022
of birds and often by our grandchildren who come to plant spring bulbs. Our guest cloakroom is decorated with many of my sketches and our house is part gallery with my many woodturning projects on display.
all the bedrooms, to making children’s furniture, to building an entire kitchen from scratch, I have put both my mind and my hands to these projects. Cheap and convenient furniture from IKEA was not available in those days!
When Anita and I bought our first home there were always maintenance jobs to be done, shelves to be put up and things to be fixed. So, I soon learnt how to be both creative and handy, as money was tight back in those days. From designing and building wardrobes in
A number of years ago I took up woodturning as a hobby. I bought a second-hand lathe from a gentleman in North Harrow. Google and YouTube were not yet invented, so it was difficult to source information on how to use the lathe. I read books, watched videos and
Thoughts & Perspectives soon acquired the skills to transform a log of timber into something useful or decorative or both. Most areas in the UK have Woodturning Clubs where Turners share information. The clubs also put on demonstrations by well-known professional woodturners and it’s a great place to gain knowledge and information. When I first got my lathe, I was working long hours so it was difficult to attend meetings. But I took a couple of lessons to ensure the basics were covered and I learnt not to injure myself while working with a piece of wood spinning at high speed. As an architect, I have to be precise in what I am drafting. Usually all lines on architectural plans are straight and drawn to a regulated pattern. Woodturning and sculpturing on the other hand, allow me complete freedom to be more open and relaxed with my design, which means I can be more innovative and artistic. My sources of wood or timber come in various forms. Sometimes friends, neighbours and family give me logs from felled trees in their gardens, or I purchase ready cut rounds of exotic timbers from various suppliers. I also enjoy finding and recycling timber from skips and from building sites where I have been involved in my work as an architect. Skips are a great source of plywood and other offcuts of timber. I glue these together to form blocks of wood which make lovely ornamental bowls, candle holders and plant holders. Sometimes I turn wet timber, which is quite enjoyable as while the wood is spinning in the lathe, you can apply the turning tool to the wood. Water escapes, and the shavings fly off in long ribbons. It’s a lovely spectacle. A lot of professional wood turners will turn roughed out bowls from wet timber, allow them to dry over a period of time and then return them to the lathe to re-shape them. The choice of timber always defines in some way what one can make with it. You never know what lies beneath the bark of the log until it is
removed and this can alter the perceived design. Every time I set out to turn an object or begin a sculpture, it may not turn out as intended, or may end up in the bin, though it’s always fun trying out something new. If I am given a log of timber from a friend’s garden, I work to design and turn the log into something attractive and useful, giving it back as a gift, often to the astonishment of the contributor. Normally the first question I get asked is ‘Did you make this?’ The second question is usually ‘How do you make it?’ Most of my woodturnings and other creations are given away as gifts or donated to charity. We support Pinner Village Gardens whose volunteers arrange fund raising events for the charity to benefit from the sales. You may also have seen my work at the Shul’s Open Gardens days, where items were sold to raise funds. It is very peaceful being in my mancave/wood turning workshop at the bottom of our garden, with wood shavings, piles of timber ready to be turned, different machines whirring and spider webs dangling all around me. I enjoy seeing a discarded log from a felled tree - which would otherwise be put into garden waste or even wood chipped - evolve into a striking yet functional object. This always astonishes me and gives me great pleasure. Although Anita supports me in my creations, I drive her bananas by forgetting to change my clothes before I come back into the house from my dusty workshop! I do try and dust myself down, but I never fully succeed. Many woodturners craft pens and other fiddly smaller items, for which I find I have no patience. However, last Chanukah I tried my hand at making Harry Potter wands of all shapes and sizes for my grandchildren who are
avid fans of magic. I love to recycle tree branches into garden sculptures which hang in our garden and in our daughters’ gardens, and get changed over the years. Our four grandchildren are still at the age where they love and believe in fairies so I have made them fairy doors with intricate gold hinges and decorated large turned mushrooms with windows and doors to amuse them. A few years back a four-page article displaying my work appeared in ‘The Woodturner’ magazine. It contained many pictures of my creations, which made my family very proud. When I was growing up in South Africa, I remember one of my school teachers saying ‘Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop’. I think that having a hobby, no matter what it is, gives you the opportunity to enhance your life, to de-stress while remaining mentally productive, and to create the most beautiful objects. I have read that having a hobby reduces blood pressure, lowers the risk of depression and dementia, and is of benefit all round. I get great pleasure from woodturning and hopefully everyone who has one of my creations feels the same.
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Thoughts & Perspectives
by Carol Walzer
For many of us, Mauritius is the island off the east coast of Africa, that we remember from our geography lessons. For me, living there as a teenager, I had no idea of the wartime events that affected Jews in this tropical island paradise.
y father, in his role of civil engineer in the Admiralty, had been posted to Mauritius to oversee the construction of radio telecommunications masts, and on arrival in Mauritius he was in contact with the South African Board. They explained that there was a very old Jewish cemetery on the island and asked if he could pay a visit to see what state it was in. On his return I remember well his descriptions of how sad it was to see the cemetery run down and completely overgrown with vegetation. A report was duly sent back to South Africa. One day we received a message asking if we could look after the then Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Dr Louis Rabinowitz, z’’l, who was planning to visit the island. Being the only Jews on the island at that time, my parents had tried their best to observe what Judaism they could. Shabbat and key Jewish festivals were celebrated as far as possible, along with basic dietary laws. Of course, in true Jewish style the Rabbi was invited to have a meal with us, but with no kosher facilities on the island my mother had a hard task deciding what to serve – or even to know if he would accept our invitation! He was however delighted to accept and before his arrival asked if he could bring us anything from Cape Town. My mother’s response was ‘three packets of matzo meal please!’ In fact, he arrived with five packs of fine matzo meal, along with three small pieces of packaged 44 | Pesach 2022
kosher cheese from his flight meal, much to the amusement of my mother. This request obviously appealed to him and on his return to South Africa ‘Fine Matzo Meal’ was used as the subject of one of his sermons, in which he described his visit to our family home. He explained that ‘Fine meal’ has a symbolic connotation in Hebrew deriving from the verses of Vayikra ‘when any will offer a meal to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour.’ During his short visit, Rabbi Rabinowitz recounted the sad history of this little Jewish cemetery which was a complete revelation to us and is little known to wider Jewish communities. In 1940 some 3,600 Jews escaping Nazi persecution were taken on an arduous journey by ship to Palestine. A few were allowed to remain but due to lack of entry permits and Government concern over Nazi spies being hidden amongst them, most were denied entry by the British Government despite intervention by Winston Churchill. Some were deported to Trinidad and the rest (the majority from Vienna) were sent on their way to Mauritius. On arrival, they were installed in detention camps, with men and women housed separately. Though not maltreated, they suffered from tropical diseases and inadequate food and
clothing. There was one Jew on the island at the time who heard of the plight of the detainees and managed to liaise between them and the South African Board. Along with the Jewish Agency, they eventually managed to get supplies and medicines through to them. Husbands and wives were reunited, but by then many had died. At the end of the war most of the refugees sailed to Israel, leaving behind 127 who had perished during the four and a halfyear exile. They were buried in the Saint Martin Cemetery and the burial ground was handed over to the South African Board. Unfortunately, over the years the cemetery was left to fall into disrepair. It has taken many years, but this rundown cemetery has now been completely restored and renovated in conjunction with the South African Board and Mauritian authorities. It continues to be well maintained as a site of religious and historical interest. On a return visit which Stephen and I made to the island at the millennium, we discovered that one of the few Jews there was the owner of a crocodile farm – a great job for a Jewish boy! Against all odds a slow revival of Jewish life in Mauritius has now begun and a small synagogue has been established in Curepipe in the centre of the island. Do visit when you can!
People’s Page WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS Michele Ashton Sophie Kurzer WELCOME TO NEW TRIBE MEMBERS Jack Frohlich Ella Jayson Charlotte Messias Daniel Messias Lauren Messias MAZALTOV TO NEW PARENTS Stephanie & Jonathan Dobkin - Daughter Jolene & Martin West - Daughter MAZALTOV TO NEW GRANDPARENTS Dee & Mervyn Beth - Granddaughter Sherrie & Jonathan Charlton - Granddaughter Jane & David Cohen - Granddaughter Leonie & Howard Lewis - Grandson Maxine & Richard Segalov - Grandson Beverley & Graham Sherling - Granddaughters Hilary & Graham West - Granddaughter Gail & Maish Weinstein - Granddaughter MAZALTOV TO NEW GREAT GRANDPARENTS Linda & Martin Bancroft - Great Grandson Louis Bennett - Great Granddaughter Elaine Charlton - Great Granddaughter Cynthia & David Messias - Great Grandson Cynthia Zneimer - Great Granddaughter MAZALTOV ON THEIR BARMITZVAH Thomas Canter Bailey Kaye Leon Kinsley Alexander Wasserstein MAZALTOV ON THEIR BATMITZVAH Emily Black Charlotte Canter Lola Hayeem MAZALTOV ON THEIR ENGAGEMENT Anna Lawson to Benzion Joseph MAZALTOV ON THEIR WEDDING Jonathan Goldstone to Sophie Polak Tom Goulde to Orit Kropp Zoe Goulde to Alex Harris Michael Silverstone to Emily Hiller MAZALTOV ON THEIR SPECIAL BIRTHDAY Julian Knopf - 50th Birthday Elyse Sultan - 50th Birthday Shelley Harris - 60th Birthday Sherrie Charlton - 65th Birthday
Jane Cohen - 65th Birthday Eric Furman - 65th Birthday Harvey Kasin - 65th Birthday Helen Kasin - 65th Birthday Stephen Nelken - 65th Birthday Linda DeRose - 70th Birthday Merrill Dresner - 70th Birthday Charlie Fenton - 70th Birthday Howard Lewis - 70th Birthday Eli Bernstein - 75th Birthday Pamela Cohen 75th Birthday Wendy Reece - 75th Birthday Linda Bancroft - 80th Birthday Barbara Conway - 80th Birthday Ruth Harris - 80th Birthday Jane Leaver - 80th Birthday Thelma Secker - 80th Birthday Ralph Simons - 80th Birthday Gerald Wiseman - 85th Birthday Elaine Wiseman - 85th Birthday Yvonne Braude - 90th Birthday MAZALTOV ON THEIR SPECIAL WEDDING ANNIVERSARY Elizabeth & Michael Singer - 10th Anniversary Zara & Irwin Spilka - 30th Anniversary Maisie & Ian Holland - 45th Anniversary Carole & Michael Lesser - 50th Anniversary Sue & Melvyn Lesser - 50th Anniversary Ruth & Andrew Stuber - 50th Anniversary Linda & Martin Bancroft - 60th Anniversary CONDOLENCES ON BEREAVEMENT Brenda & Jack Coleman - Grandson Merrill Dresner - Mother Hazel & Wally Gallick - Son Simon Gordon - Mother Dawn & Jack Goulde - Son Philippa Goulde - Brother Tom Goulde - Brother Gill Grusd - Husband Zoe Harris - Brother Doreen Havardi - Husband Tania Kalisch - Father David Korman - Mother Melvyn Lesser - Brother Marilyn Levene - Husband Alan Line - Father Jane Messias - Mother Debbie Russell - Mother Elaine Sasto - Mother Ernest Simon - Wife Colin Siskin - Brother Paul Slagel - Father Doreen Spitz - Husband Bernard Woolf - Wife CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF Sarra Black as at 11th March 2022
46 | Pesach 2022
Emily Hiller & Michael Silverstone
Charlotte Canter & Tommy Canter
Orit Kropp & Tom Goulde
Sophie Polak & Jonathan Goldstone
Zoe Goulde & Alex Harris
47 | Pesach 2022
Baby Blessing Ceremony Meet our newest recruits
On second day Succoth, Pinner held its baby blessing ceremony. This was the first of its kind for over two years because of the impact of Covid. Babies who were the children of Pinner members, or in most cases now, grandchildren or even great-grandchildren of Pinner members were brought up to the Bimah to be blessed by Rabbi Kurzer, and to receive a special certificate and teddy bear. Here is our gallery of all the babies who were blessed, with the names of their parents and Pinner grandparents/great-grandparents. What a gorgeous lot of beautiful babies!
Jonah Ilan Daniels
born 17 February 2020 Parents: Isabella and Richard Daniels Pinner Grandparents: Sonya z’l and Steven Daniels
48 | Pesach 2022
Ira Linden Firestone
born 30 January 2021 Parents: Katie and Anthony Firestone Pinner Grandparents: Anne and Charlie Fenton
Orly Isabel Fine Gabay
born 13 February 2021 Parents: Ruth Fine-Gabay and Dan Gabay Pinner Grandparents: Doreen and Jeffrey Samuels and Jonathan Fine z’l Pinner Great-grandmother: Elaine Charlton
Max Benjamin Harris born 4 January 2021 Parents: Philippa and Jeff Harris Pinner Grandparents: Erica and Michael Moss
born 28 May 2020 Pinner Parents: Sara and Yonatan Levin
born 2 January 2020 Parents: Romy and Adam Presky Pinner Grandparents: Shereen and Nigel Presky
Delilah Faye Forman
Hugo Sebastian Sacks
born 24 December 2020 Parents: Deborah and Raymond Sacks Pinner Grandparents: Liz and Laurence Harris and Melanie and Stewart Sacks
born 6 August 2021 Parents: Emma and Joshua Forman Pinner Grandparents: Michelle Jay and David Jay
Joshua Benjamin Simon born 14 December 2020 Parents: Simone and Brett Simon Pinner Grandparents: Estelle and David Kaye
49 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
‘Natural Reserve’ by Zadok Ben David by Margery Cohen
If you missed this exhibition last winter, keep a look out for this artist’s next show – he is interesting, imaginative and inspiring.
ble Tours, Pinner Shul’s inhouse outings organisers, was formed a few years ago by the families of Ian Abrahams and Leonie Lewis. With the easing of lockdown, they arranged a coach trip to Kew Gardens to see Natural Reserve, an exhibition of works by this award winning, London based Israeli artist and sculptor. Zadok explores the relationship between humanity and the natural world through delicate miniature artworks and monumental installations. The exhibition offers a timely opportunity to reflect on the fragility of our natural world, which feels more relevant than ever with the unfolding climate crisis and global pandemic. It centres on themes of tragedy and hope, as well as shining a uniquely creative light on the relationship between humanity and the natural world. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a stunning 360-degree floor installation called Blackfield, made up of more than 17,000 tiny steel flowers painted, etched and assembled entirely by hand on a sandy base, and occupying the entire floor area of the room. These tiny floral motifs were based on illustrations from 19th century Victorian encyclopaedias. As you enter the room, you see a field of flowers in black. As you walk round to the other side of the room, you see the flowers in glorious colour. So, from an initial view of a field blackened after a war, you see the other side which presents a picture of hope and optimism. This is a breath-taking piece that provides an opportunity to experience Zadok’s unique vision of nature and to reflect on the contrasts between life and death, pessimism and optimism, tragedy and endurance. 50 | Pesach 2022
We moved on to a thought-provoking video installation called Conversation Peace which is a universal metaphor for conflict or dialogue – depending on your perspective. Alas not in video in this magazine, the image shows a pair of human silhouettes facing each other, either in confrontation or conversation. The narrative introduces a peaceful land that gradually deteriorates into a war. Meanwhile, the soundtrack softly evolves from an atmospheric sound of birds and nature to a more stressful tone. The message for us is to reflect on how easily peace can descend into a futile war.
Home & Away is suspended in a darkened space and viewed only under UV light. We all love butterflies. We like them to rest on our arms, we admire their colours and we follow them around. But we want to kill cockroaches! This work is a metaphor for us to realise that we are part of nature and not its master, and that we are not here on earth to curb nature to our own needs.
Black Box was a stunning, three-metre, stainless steel disc titled ‘The Other Side of Midnight’. It showed over 2,000 hand-painted miniature butterflies on one side and cockroaches on the other side, and invited us to reflect on perceptions of attraction and repulsion, delight and fear, beauty and ugliness. Taking you into a new world, Black Box
Along the gallery walls were displays of elegant Flower Boxes, together with some individual displays. These were made from hand painted stainless steel, and based on images drawn from 19th century science books and drawings contained within Kew’s expansive archive. It was fascinating to see how the manipulation of scale, shadow and reflections added
unexpected dimensions to the flowers The exhibition also featured a large outdoor sculpture called Winter Lights. Made from Corten (weathering steel) that rusts when exposed to the elements, the piece takes the form of a tree comprised of interlinked human silhouettes. This allows the piece to evolve before your eyes, mirroring the changing seasons in nature Zadok ben David says: ‘I’m delighted to be able to share my work, including some new and expanded pieces with visitors to Kew, particularly as the messages of this exhibition have never felt more important.’ Thank you, Able Tours, for a most enjoyable day out!
Bat Mitzvah Bracelets by Jackie Black
My granddaughter Emily has been a regular at Pinner Shul since she was a baby, and has always enjoyed being there. She and I were probably the longest serving attendees at the children's service, and I always said I learned something new every time I went. Emily then graduated to the wonderful Bat Mitzvah class started by Sara Levin our Community Director, which she enjoyed very much.
n the meantime, Emily got busy making bracelets. She had been given a box of beads, including some with letters. Her first attempt was to make a bracelet for me with the letters “GRANDMA”. As she had enjoyed making it, she went ahead with some more, which she sold for charity for the very reasonable sum of £1.50 each. She had been aware of Great Ormond Street Hospital and felt it was a good charity to support. The bracelets sold well, and a cheque for £100 was sent to the Hospital. Emily is proud to say that some of her bracelets are being worn in America and Israel, by the grandchildren of friends.
When I booked Emily’s Bat Mitzvah, I asked Doreen Samuels who is an absolutely brilliant teacher if she would come out of retirement and teach Emily, and to our delight she agreed. She did a fantastic job, and Emily really enjoyed the lessons. Doreen had also suggested that we should consider the option of a Havdalah Bat Mitzvah. Emily has always loved Havdalah and over recent years had taken over making it for me, so was delighted with this idea. We decided to have a Havdalah service in the Shul, followed with entertainment by a magician, on 18th December, the day after her 12th birthday.
Then at the beginning of December, Omicron arrived and we were not sure what would happen. Thankfully we were able to go ahead, and had a fabulous evening in the Shul. With the help of lots of candlelight, flowers, balloons and very kind helpers, the Shul was transformed into a fantastic venue. The Havdalah service was led by Rabbi Kurzer, followed by Emily’s D’var Torah on Light - beautifully delivered by the very enthusiastic Bat Mitzvah girl! Both Elaine and I were so very proud of our wonderful, kind, thoughtful and beautiful daughter and granddaughter. 51 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
Even more of
I seem to be back by popular demand…. Many thanks for all the positive feedback I have received from you all about this series of articles. I would like to know if you have done any of these walks so if you see me wandering around Pinner (which is most of the time) please feel free to come and tell me. Sadly, at the time of writing, the threat of Covid-19 is still with us, so you need some more distractions. So for the third time, here are some suggested walks to entertain. by Lawrence Brown
A Forest View
Walk 1 - The Ashridge Estate and in particular a walk to and up Ivinghoe Beacon The fine wooded estate, owned by the National Trust, is delightful throughout the year (I particularly recommend bluebell time), with a mix of woodland and pastures with walks at all levels of difficulty and muddiness.
What I particularly like doing any time when the weather and ground isn’t too muddy is the walk from just behind and to the right of the Bridgewater.Monument (it's the pointed thing near the café) to and up the Ivinghoe Beacon. Please be aware that walking boots are strongly recommended! This takes about three hours there and back and you will get stunning views from the top. The beacon is old, very old, and associated with an Iron Age fort. It is also quite high (about 750 feet above sea level) but the path up isn’t too much of a schlep and the views are amazing!
View from the top
The main car park and centre is located just off the B5406 outside Berkhamsted but sadly can only be easily visited by car There are, you will be pleased to know, both a cafe and toilets. 52 | Pesach 2022
It is well signposted and the walk takes you through woods
Home & Away and pastures. If you don’t want to do this, then just wander the Estate. It is very fine, with lovely vistas and views, as are the cream teas…
be honest, I personally find the Palace itself, while physically imposing, a little underwhelming and the town itself a bit of a tourist trap.
Walk 2 - From Richmond to Hampton Court (or maybe just Kingston)
Returning from Hampton or Kingston involves an overground train to Waterloo. Currently I suggest factoring in a 40-minute walk from there to Baker Street to avoid the rush hour if its uncomfortably busy.
Okay, that’s the countryside covered, so here is a riverside walk. Last time I suggested following the Capital Ring from Richmond - this time lets go in the other direction.
Walks 3 - Limehouse Basin to Paddington along the Regents Canal Don't worry, I haven’t forgotten to include a canal side walk - so here is one passing such nice places as Victoria Park, Islington, Kings Cross, Camden Lock, Regents Park, Little Venice and finishing in Paddington Basin.
In recap, getting to Richmond from Pinner is easy - tube to Finchley Road, short walk to Finchley Road and Frognal station and the overground to Richmond. Once in Richmond we will go down to the river and this time turn right, keeping an eye out for the local seals on or in the river (I kid you not - I did a double take when I first saw them). You simply follow the path at the side of the Thames. The walk to Kingston, which takes a couple of hours is very pleasant, mostly mud free and flat, not only being next to the river, with fine views and vistas, but passing Ham House (17th Century and worth a visit), Teddington Lock and lots of posh riverfront housing on the other bank. Once you arrive in Kingston, it should be time for a little R&R so I suggest you take advantage of one of the Thameside pubs and restaurants. These are mostly just beyond Kingston Bridge and if you don’t like them the town is a few minutes away. Fully refreshed and revived, it’s time for a decision. Kingston itself is well worth a wander around with fine shops and markets, as well as what is claimed to be one of the oldest bridges still surviving in England - the Clattern Bridge. Walking on to Hampton takes another hour, and if you want to do this it’s important to go back and cross Kingston bridge and NOT continue on the Kingston side! I have found that walking on that side forces you away from the river through darkest Surbiton - which is, sadly, very boring. You will arrive at Hampton Court Palace which is next to Bushy Park. The town of Hampton itself lies across the river, over a bridge.
Hampton Court (courtesy of Wikipedia)
If it’s a nice sunny day (remember them?) then I recommend a wander around the palace grounds or Bushy Park as, to
Built in the early 1800s, it is named after the Prince Regent and is just under nine miles long with 12 locks - just the right distance for a pleasant day’s walking, with a number of points from where you can get back to Pinner. Getting to the start is easy - take the Met line to Aldgate, walk down to Tower Gateway and take the DLR to Limehouse - the start is a couple of minutes away where the canal meets the Limehouse Basin. Once on the towpath you simply keep walking. The surroundings are a mix of parkland and urban life. Getting to Victoria Park takes around an hour and a half and is an excellent pit stop.
Victoria Park (courtesy of Wikipedia)
From there the walk to the start of the Islington Tunnel is urban but does have the advantage of a number of canal side pubs. Once there (if you set off in the morning, you will be there in time for lunch), you have to leave the canal side as it’s not possible to walk through the tunnel (its over 1/2 mile long in the dark!) and travel topside through central Islington. Once you have crossed the A1, go down to Chapel Market (home of an ‘interesting’ vegetarian Indian buffet btw), cross Penton Street and then head for Muriel Street to rejoin the canal. It’s mostly straight on but I suggest you use a smartphone for directions for this bit as it’s easy to go wrong. Once back on the towpath you walk through Kings Cross, Camden Lock and Regents Park. At the A5, you have to go up and follow the canal at street level for a while as there is some complex electrical stuff, followed by a stretch for canal residents only. Even so it’s worth walking and once you are back on the path it goes all the way to Paddington.
Enjoy! 53 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
Recipes Fit For a Queen We celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Year with two recipes for you to enjoy over the extended Bank Holiday – and all the year round.
Coronation Chicken The recipe 'Poulet Reine Elizabeth' now widely known as Coronation Chicken was created by Angela Wood, a 19-year old student at the Cordon Bleu School, and could be said to be her crowning glory! She worked on it for several days to perfect the blend of flavours. Suzanne Goodman uses Evelyn Rose’s recipe for this iconic dish. »
» » » »
1½ lb (675g) cooked chicken breast or the flesh from an entire roasted 4lb (2 kg) chicken ½ pint (275 ml) mayonnaise 1 tablespoon medium strength curry powder 2 rounded tbsp. mango and ginger chutney 1 teasp grated peeled fresh ginger
The Rice Salad
» » » » »
12 oz (350g) long grain Basmati white/ brown rice 1¼ pints (725ml or 3 cups) chicken stock 1 large red pepper, seeds removed, finely diced 4 rounded tbsp. seedless raisins 6 tbsp. vinaigrette
To make the Chicken Salad 1. The chicken can be roasted or poached as preferred. Remove all the skin and cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, curry powder, chutney and fresh ginger. Stir in the chicken and leave covered until required. This can be prepared any time of the day, but allow enough time for the salad to stand for at least 30 minutes to let the flavour develop
To make the Rice Salad 2. Bring the chicken stock to the boil and add the rice, cover and simmer for 15 mins, then take off the head and leave covered to steam for a further 5 minutes. Uncover – the rice will have absorbed all the liquid and can be fluffed up with a form. Put into a bowl and add the red pepper and raisins. Spoon the vinaigrette over the rice mixture and mix gently with a fork. Refrigerate in a covered contained for several hours.
54 | Pesach 2022
To assemble the Coronation Chicken Spoon the rice onto an oval platter, and pile the chicken salad on top.
Home & Away The extended holiday weekend for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee coincides with the Festival of Shavuot. So how better to celebrate than with a cheesecake!
Jubilee Refrigerator Cheesecake by Gail Weinstein
A delicious indulgent treat ideal as a dessert or with a cup of tea. » » » » » » » »
150g chocolate digestive biscuits, crushed into fine crumbs 50g butter, melted 500g full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese 100g sifted icing sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 200 ml double cream 300g strawberries for the inside edge and middle of the cake (see steps 3 and 6) 200ml Sour cream (see step 7)
For the topping:
» » »
250g strawberries (cut up) plus a few more for decorating 3 tablespoons sugar 100ml water 10 grams kosher gelatin added to 50ml cold water
Method: 1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter. 2. Spoon the biscuit mixture into a 20cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment. Use a metal spoon or your fingers to press the biscuit crumbs down firmly and evenly. Chill in the refrigerator until set. 3. Select strawberries of equal size and slice them in half, from the point down to the stem. Place the sliced strawberries next to each other, around the inside edge of the tin on top of the biscuits. Keep the cut side of the strawberries facing outwards. 4. In a large bowl, using a whisk or a wooden spoon, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed. 5. Fold in the double cream until fully incorporated. 6. Spoon half the cream cheese mixture over the chilled biscuit base, being careful to not dislodge the strawberries. Layer more slices of strawberries over the cream cheese layer. Add the rest of the cream cheese mixture avoiding creating any air bubbles. Smooth the top of the cheese cake with a palette knife.
7. Give the sour cream a light stir and then carefully smooth on top of the cream cheese mixture. 8. Place the cake in the fridge to set while you make the topping. 9. To make the topping: Place the gelatin into a bowl and add the 50 ml of cold water. Mix together and then set aside for 5-10 minutes. 10. In a small saucepan place the strawberries, sugar and water. Cook over mediumhigh heat until the sugar is dissolved and then simmer for 5 minutes. Puree the strawberries with a hand blender until very smooth. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes then add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted and combined. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature and then carefully pour it over the cake. 11. Refrigerate the cheese cake overnight until set. 12. To serve, carefully unmould the cake tin and decorate. Tip: Take a knife and carefully go around the inside edge to loosen the cake. Place the cake onto a raised flat surface i.e. a sturdy glass, then release the catch and gently push down the sides of the tin until the cake has been released.
55 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
The Seasons of My Year by Barbara Woolf
Life’s passage is not a ridgeway walk from Alpha to Omega I’m not above looking down Nor do I walk in a spiral curling from my birth on earth To infinity above. I do not stop. Relentlessly I turn from one season to the next Treading my own particular path.
Can my seasons be your seasons? Where are the barley sheaves? Although summer’s near Ruth cannot glean among the fallen wheat. The sun’s increasing heat makes me look up. No mountains here, but a realisation That our Laws of life do radiate from above.
My beginning is not your beginning The season of my birth is Midsummer. That is when My head protruded and my eyes saw the full-blown roses My nose smelled their scent and my ears Heard the contented hum of bees.
The sun’s midsummer peak is the culmination of my year The season of my birth is not your beginning. You have your own path to tread, So, let us all move on as one Relentlessly moving from one season to the next All following our individual paths.
Rosh Hashana, the season of my conception, is when Next year’s buds urge off their redundant predecessors Turning leaves red by a miraculous chemical reaction. It’s when the warm, vigorous colours can no longer Counteract the oncoming chill The Succah fruits are sweet and juicy, but we need A woolly coat to dwell in peace. My path leads on to Chanukah. It has a verticality. I pause and watch the candles tipped with flames Drawn heavenwards. I accept their illumination As compensation. I am grateful for The miracle that such small lights, Burning for so short a time, can brighten up this season, The darkest of the year. Now I turn to winter, the dormant season. Trees are gaunt and spectral, the ground crisp and lacking soul. Then Tu B’Shvat. No signs of life above. Beneath the trees the violets glow Amongst last year’s crunchy leaves. And Purim comes To give us gladness. We glimpse our freedom, but no more. Suddenly there’s turmoil. As though a tidal wave’s upturning stones Forcing away the sediment and imperfections of the past So my house is cleansed. It is prepared To host the calm and joy of Seder The next eight days separate the bitter bondage of winter From the freedom of Spring. Lighter nights And cool sunshine encourage the blossom of new birth.
56 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
WHY WHY WHY? by Geoff Goodman (aka Confused of Pinner)
First the Egyptians Then the Philistines Then the Greeks Then the Babylonians Then the Romans Then the Crusades Then the Spanish Inquisition Then the Pogroms Then Hitler Then the Holocaust
But then Independence and Israel in 1948! Then I was born in 1948 Then in 1948 - War of Independence Then in 1956 - Suez Crisis Then in 1967 - 6 Day War Then in 1973 - Yom Kippur War THEN - THEN - THEN WHY - WHY - WHY
On the closing of Edinburgh House by Leonie Lewis
It started back in 1747 The S and Ps creating a small haven To care for its elderly and frail And others more recent, from beyond the Pale Showing much love and care Always with fondness and flare Residents, resigned to their stay Some would have it no other way Sitting in large red chairs Some sleeping, others stare Vacant or thoughtful, who knows Old people set out in rows The rooms are hot, no fresh air Fragrant smells are sadly rare Some totter with their stick Others amble, no longer quick Minds are confused, I won’t stay any more I don’t need help - where is the door? I want to see them, I want to go Where do I live? Here you know! Same routine each day Meal, music or games to play A few like small children are led To the toilet, then to bed He sits in the bright hallway Snoozing or smiling, the same each day He waves a hand and drinks his tea
A welcome hello...is it for me? A popular old man, a pin up boy Sprightly at first, but extremely coy Women keen to sit and chat He`d say, I’m not interested in that! Watching five fish swimming in the tank, or Talking about The Beaches in the Second World War Remembering things about life About family, children but especially his wife Celebrating Shabbat & Jewish time Challah, singing, kiddush wine Rummikub or bingo, catching a ball These were on offer – not for all Special events for their family Chanukah Lighting, Bar B Q, a Purim Tea Helping loved ones feel at home But bottom line, many remained alone Covid spread fast, responses a bit late Our dad died. It was to be his fate. Time now to close; the home is tired No more staff need to be hired Edinburgh House, closing its doors A changed name, but the same cause Residents passed or moved on The Care Home’s job has been done Dedicated to our dad Len and others who died in care homes during Covid-19
57 | Pesach 2022
Home & Away
A CANTERBURY TALE
by Sandra and Richard Breger
We find them here, we find them there… In November last year we visited Canterbury. A few minutes from our hotel we stumbled across Jewery Street - one of several streets comprising the old Jewish Quarter. Intrigued, we wanted to learn more.
here was a Jewish presence in Canterbury as early as 1180 AD. It is said that this community is probably the second oldest after London. Large numbers of Jews arrived after the resettlement of the seventeenth century. A community is known to have existed in Canterbury in 1720 and there is a record of a synagogue dating from 1763. It was eventually demolished to make way for the new railway. It was replaced between 1846 and 1848 by what today is known as the ‘Old Synagogue’ a Grade II listed building in Kings Street. Chief Rabbi Dr Adler officiated at the opening ceremony, and the foundation stone was laid by Sir Moses Montefiore. Sadly, the community declined and by 1911 only three families remained. The synagogue was open during the First World War to cater for Jewish members of the forces from the nearby army base. In 1931 the building was sold and the scrolls and two pointers were handed over to the Oxford Hebrew congregation for safe-keeping.
constructed of Portland cement, which gives the appearance of granite. Its majestic presence belies the fact that it measures only 40x27x30 feet in height and seats about 100 people. We were curious to see it from the inside. To gain access we phoned the school bursar’s office. They were wonderfully helpful and at very short notice arranged a visit for us.
We discovered this architectural gem while walking around the city. Since 1982 Before you enter the it has been owned by The synagogue, you walk through King’s School. It undertook beautifully kept gardens, a large-scale restoration – and are greeted by an sympathetically, in keeping imposing pair of columns with the original character with lotus capitals that flank and design. Today the the entrance. The Egyptian school uses the building influence is striking. On the View from the for teaching music and for Ladies' Gallery right, alongside the shul recitals. The school’s Jewish stands the mikvah, built Society holds meetings here in 1851. It is the only Egyptian Revival and it is available for private hire. The mikveh known to exist. Today it is used synagogue was designed by Hezekiah as a music practice room. As you enter Marshal. He was commissioned to design the shul foyer a steep flight of stairs on a building in the Egyptian revivalist your right leads to the ladies’ gallery. The style - borrowing architectural features, two-tiered rows of pews decorated with motives and imagery of ancient Egypt. pyramids on the ends are original. The only other known surviving example of a synagogue designed in this style Looking down from the gallery you can is in Hobart, Tasmania. The building is envisage the scene: 58 | Pesach 2022
Source & Copyright CHAS (Canterbury Historical & Archaeological Society)
‘The ark, the main attraction, is very beautifully worked in imitation veined marble, the columns on each side being enriched with the lotus leaf. Over the ark are portions of the Decalogue, and still higher some dazzling stained glass, with the words in Hebrew ‘Know before whom thou standest!’ The reading desk is in the centre; and behind that, immediately over the entrance door, the gallery for the females, which, as usual is barred off. Carrying the same style throughout, the gallery is supported by obelisks. The windows, of which there are one on each side of the ark, and three in each sides of the building, being of a long, narrow description, impart a peculiar softened light to the interior. On one side of the ark is also a prayer for the royal family, handsomely executed.’ The Gentleman’s Magazine 1848.
This glimpse into the past was evocative and moving. We would recommend a visit to anyone who happens to be passing through Canterbury as we were.
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