VOL. XLV No. 6
Liberal Judaism is a constituent of the World Union for Progressive Judaism
Celebrate and support our youth movement
IBERAL JUDAISM will be looking to the past in order to build for the future at our movement’s first ever fundraising dinner. We will share stories and memories from throughout the history of our youth movement – whether you knew it as LJYNetzer, ULPSNYC-Netzer or FLPJYG. And we are delighted to announce that Julia Middleton (pictured) will be the keynote speaker. Julia is the founder and CEO of Common Purpose, one of the world’s biggest leadership development organisations. Julia is passionate about helping people to develop as leaders and she campaigns to encourage leaders from all backgrounds to make an active and tangible contribution to their communities and to wider society. With her commitment to enabling the next generation to stand up, cross boundaries and tackle the complex challenges they and the world face, Julia is a perfect fit to speak at a dinner in honour of our peer-led youth movement. The event takes place from 6pm on Tuesday 27 November at Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, EC2V 6BN (dress code: lounge suit). It is a fantastic chance to reunite with your peers – from your time as youth participants, leaders and/ or parents – and to support the youth movement which creates our future. LJY-Netzer has become a home for so many young people who have not found a place elsewhere. It is hard to explain exactly why this is but most would agree that it is due (at least in part) to the movement’s truly inclusive nature, the trust it builds between its members and the resulting community that it builds.
The dinner will raise much-needed funds for the LJY-Netzer Bursary Fund. This will ensure that, in future, a far larger number of children can attend the fantastic LJY-Netzer events throughout the year. It will also mean that the movement can offer the individual support that many participants need. Throughout the years the impact that LJY-Netzer has had on its graduates is obvious and has been felt far outside the Liberal Jewish world. Alumni of our youth movement have gone on to embody the values of social justice and responsibility by working in politics and the charity sector, creating businesses and charities and becoming
teachers, social workers, doctors and so much more. The graduates of our youth movement truly represent the principles of our movement put into practice. In addition to the LJY-Netzer Bursary Fund, we are also raising money for a brand new education department. Creating an education department, and increasing what Liberal Judaism can offer its members, will enable us to engage more people and provide educational and training opportunities to all our members wherever they are. Buy your tickets (£75) or tables of 10 (£750) today at www.tinyurl.com/ LJDinner and help LJY-Netzer to continue doing what it does best.
A rabbi, an imam and a priest walk into a sukkah...
...and leave with a promise from the council to take 50 refugees from war-torn countries. Read about the Sanctuary Sukkot campaign on pages 2-3.
Page 2 LJ Today
It’s #OurTurn as Liberal Jews com Four Liberal Judaism communities united with Citizens UK and Safe Passage to help refugees this Sukkot. As we mark 80 years since the Kindertransport rescue operations that brought 10,000 children to safety from Nazi Europe, these Sanctuary Sukkot actions were part of the #OurTurn scheme which aims to provide the same welcome in Britain to those fleeing persecution today.
Finchley FINCHLEY PROGRESSIVE SYNAGOGUE (FPS) has won a pledge from Barnet Council to take more refugees from war-torn countries. Their Sanctuary Sukkot event saw Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius agree that the borough will take three refugees each year over the next 10 years. He was joined in making the pledge by local MP Mike Freer and Barry Rawlings, the leader of the Labour opposition group on Barnet Council. The decision means that Barnet has become the first Conservative-led borough to say that it will take more child refugees if the Government provides the necessary funding. FPS has long worked as part of Barnet Citizens – along with Middlesex University and refugee support groups – previously winning a commitment from the council to welcome 50 Syrian families, who are now all living in Barnet. Many of those resettled families were at the Sukkot event (pictured).
In a passionate speech, Finchley’s Rabbi Rebecca Birk said: “By engaging positively with Barnet Council we have already secured the resettlement of 50 Syrian families that now call our borough home. Many visit the synagogue each week and have become true members of our community. “Finchley Progressive Synagogue members strongly believe that we can and must do more to help refugees, as a borough and as a country. I am delighted that Barnet continues to be a leading humanitarian voice on this issue and I hope we can encourage other councils to do the same.”
Speaking via video link, Richard Cornelius replied: “Rabbi, you originally persuaded me to take some Syrian refugees in Barnet. I think it has been very successful and your community played an important part in this. I’m sure you’re going to again now. “In this year, the anniversary of the Kindertransport, Barnet can hardly fail to fulfil its part of this ambitious plan.” Liberal Judaism senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, and vice president Rabbi Harry Jacobi were also at the event, which was covered by the Jewish News, Jewish Chronicle and Barnet Times. Harry spoke movingly of his own arrival in Britain as a child refugee fleeing the Nazis. Reflecting on the event, Danny said: “This amazing success in Barnet is to the credit of locals and the hard work of Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Finchley Progressive Synagogue and their partners in Barnet Citizens. “I am also proud of the early pioneering leadership of the Syrian refugee campaign by Liberal Judaism – long before it was popular.”
Janet added: “It has been three years since Kingston Council agreed to resettle refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. We thanked them for their work so far and asked them to extend their welcome and, in this 80th anniversary
year of the Kindertransport, to specifically include children in their refugee pledge.” Liz Green, the leader of Kingston Council, made a commitment to meet these ambitions if the community worked alongside the council.
Kingston LEADERS of different faiths constructed a sukkah in the town centre of Kingston upon Thames (pictured). Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel of Kingston Liberal Synagogue (KLS) was joined by Reverend Sandy Cragg of All Saints Church, Isobel Robinson of St John’s Church and Rev Dr Karl Rutlidge of Kingston Methodist Church, as well as KLS members Rabbi Janet Darley and Vince Daly. Vince is also chair of the Kingston Community Refugee Sponsorship organisation René said: “The festival of Sukkot is a reminder of the impermanence of life. It should make us even more aware of other human beings whose life is threatened and who don’t have a secure place to live.”
LJ Today Page 3
ws come out to welcome refugees Leicester LEICESTER CITY COUNCIL has pledged to accept and support at least five child refugees each year, for the next 10 years, after the Sanctuary Sukkot event at Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation (LPJC). Seventy people attended the event, including LPJC’s Rabbi Mark Solomon, Imam Shafi Chowdhury of the City Retreat and Reverend Tom Wilson of the St Philip’s Centre. The keynote speakers were Ben Abeles – a 93-year-old Kindertransport survivor who became a world-renowned physicist – and a young refugee from Sudan called Noor who spoke movingly about her recent experiences of conflict and displacement, and finding a safe and welcoming home in Leicester. Other speakers included young community members Rachel Benn and Solomon Diamond who spoke about the refugees in their family. Mark (pictured) said: “Sukkot is about leaving safety and remembering our origins. As Jews we think back to our stories of ancient times of fleeing from slavery and persecution, and yet finding in that a place of hope for the future. We think back 80 years when Jewish
children and adults and other people fled persecution... thank God they found their sukkah, their place of safety. “Right now other people are fleeing and crying out for safety - and it’s our responsibility to provide that.” The commitment to take at least five refugees from war-torn countries each year was made by Councillor Sarah Russell, the Deputy City Mayor with responsibilities for young people. She said: “I believe we are a welcoming city and that is why Leicester is going to commit to be part of this campaign. We are committing to take five children a year but we hope to be able to work with communities and government to be able to take more.
“This national campaign and how we can support them locally is key. It needs communities, it needs to be fully funded and it needs people like yourselves.” There were many other Leicester councillors at the event, representing all political parties and including Councillor Ross Grant, the Lord Mayor of Leicester. Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth spoke eloquently, pledging his support and telling how he was moved to tears listening to Ben Abeles reading a letter sent to him in 1939 by his father, from whom he had parted for the last time. The event was organised by LPJC members Claire Jackson, Michele Benn, Helen Pearson, Naomi Diamond and Helen Lentell.
Birmingham SUKKOT in Birmingham brought together 20 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders, along with current refugees, to plan a strategy on how to bring child refugees to Birmingham. During the Kindertransport, Birmingham resettled 23 Jewish children and the group want to convince the city to extend the same welcome again to refugees today. The event was led by Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue. The Sanctuary Sukkot was a prelude to an action by Citizens UK Birmingham when a group, including more than 50 faith leaders and politicians, received a pledge from Birmingham City Council to explore taking 80 child refugees.
Turn to pages 8-9 to see more pictures from Sukkot and the High Holy Days
Page 4 LJ Today
The sweet sound of Peace A new rabbi
for the LJS
More than 100 British Progressive Jews enjoyed a special performance by the Peace Drums Youth Band to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Israel’s Leo Baeck Education Center. Located in Haifa, the Leo Baeck Education Center is a beacon for Jewish values and an important part of the peace-building process. With nearly 2,700 students, a community centre, sports facilities and vibrant Progressive synagogue, the egalitarian Center serves more than 35,000 people of all faiths and personal identities. Both Hebrew and Arabic are spoken across its campuses. The Peace Drums Youth Band consists of 12 young people from the Leo Baeck High School and the nearby Mar Elias High School, located in the Arab village of Ibillin. The band was the brainchild of interfaith leaders in Delaware, USA, brought to life by professional percussionist Harvey Price, as a way to invest in lasting peace in the Middle East.
Harvey introduced the group at the concert, which was held at Alyth (Reform) Synagogue in North London, and even on occasion joined them on stage. Rabbi Ofek Meir, the director of the Leo Baeck Education Centre, and Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, the chair of the UK Friends of Leo Baeck Haifa, spoke at the event. Aaron said:“The Leo Baeck Education Center is a clear illustration of what Israeli society can look like. If you ever lack hope, it provides such an injection. “This concert was an incredible and very fitting way to celebrate 80 years of such a vital institution and I hope it will encourage people to visit Haifa and see this living investment in peace for themselves.” Fawda, a Christian Arab girl in the band, added: “We live all together in Israel; many religions, Muslims, Jews, Christians. Peace Drums gives us the chance to meet, learn how to get along and make new friends of all faiths.”
Become an ambassador for Judaism LIBERAL JEWS are encouraged to join the Board of Deputies accreditation scheme, which aims to support Judaism education around the country. The idea of this new pilot scheme is to create Judaism ambassadors, who will offer educational presentations about Judaism as a living faith to schools and other educational settings in the non-Jewish world. The scheme will be rolled out around the country over the next 12 months. During this period the Board of Deputies aims to train 40 fully accredited Judaism ambassadors. Mentors will be made available to support and accredit ambassadors. The mentors, who have experience
delivering lessons for both children and adults, will impart presentation skills, effective use of artefacts and knowledge of Judaism. They will also discuss how to deal with the preparation before a visit and how to answer difficult questions. Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, said: “It is important that British schoolchildren receive visits from practising Jews from all denominations. “Therefore I encourage Liberal Judaism members to sign up to be part of this very worthwhile Board of Deputies initiative.” If you wish to be an ambassador, please email email@example.com
THE LIBERAL JEWISH SYNAGOGUE (LJS) has welcomed Rabbi Elana Dellal to its rabbinic team. Elana, who is originally from the United States, has wanted to be a rabbi ever since she was a teenager. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, where she focused on Judaic studies, Elana studied for the rabbinate at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. It was during a course sabbatical that she fell in love with London and the LJS. She said: “I took a year’s leave to work for Liberal Judaism in London. During that year I had the opportunity to visit the LJS. I feel very fortunate to now be returning to London and joining this involved and progressive community.” After her ordination from Hebrew Union College in 2011, Elana worked for three years as a part-time congregational rabbi at Temple Sholom in Cincinnati where she was in charge of the young family programming and worship. For the past three years, she has focused her rabbinate on pastoral care. Elana completed a year-long chaplaincy residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and then worked as the rabbi at a Jewish hospice in the city. Elana added: “I am excited to bring to the LJS my love for Jewish text, culture, music, history, social justice and most of all my love for community.” Elana began her part-time role at the LJS in the summer. She joined the community along with her husband George and three young sons, Jonah, Oliver and Raphael. She will work alongside LJS Senior Rabbi Alexandra Wright. They are supported by Student Rabbi Igor Zinkov. The community also held a moving farewell service for Rabbi Rachel Benjamin, who is retiring from the pulpit at the end of this year. Rachel said: “These past three and a half years have been the most fulfilling and enjoyable of my rabbinic career, which began 20 years ago. It is my privilege and pleasure to work closely with my colleague and friend, Rabbi Alex, and I have received here the most extraordinary welcome, warmth, support, encouragement and kindness.”
LJ Today Page 5
The sermon that led to a historic swim
Jews and non-Jews swam together in Kolín in the 1930s (left) before the Nazi invasion and now, after 80 years, are doing so once again (right)
Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein on how a 1978 service inspired the first swim in Kolín for over 80 years YEARS that end in eight seem to have special significance to me. This year of 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, in which my grandfather was killed. Both the State of Israel and my wife Sharon were born in 1948. And 1978 was the year in which I gave my most effective sermon! On Yom Kippur 1978, at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS), I spoke about the Torah scroll from which I had just read. I knew it was on loan from the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust at Westminster Synagogue and from the certificate they had provided I saw it was from the town of Kolín. The rest of the facts for my address came from the Jewish Encyclopaedia. From this scant material I wove a short history of the Jewish community that once used the Torah scroll. At the end of my sermon, as an aside, I asked if somebody could do a bit more research if they ever visited the country. I was not hopeful because it was darkest Communist times. But a member, Michael Heppner, came up to me and said he went to Czechoslovakia on business and would see what he could find. The full story can be found on the NPLS website. That sermon has led to countless visits to Kolín by NPLS members of all ages.
AN ONLINE grave search facility is now available for Edgwarebury Cemetery and Hoop Lane Cemetery.
It led to other Liberal congregations with Czech Scrolls making similar contacts and doing research, notably Nottingham, Kingston, Birmingham and South London. It also helped me to connect Dublin Progressive with Amsterdam Liberal as they both have a Torah from Brandýs nad Labem. This ‘Kolín Connection’ changed my life, giving it an extra focus. It also inspired a new passion in our community, including our synagogue’s very architecture with the historic arch, rescued in Communist times, that surrounds our Ark. Likewise, we have inspired the town itself to take a keen interest in its former Jewish community which was destroyed in the Shoah. The people of Kolín have restored the synagogue (built in 1696), installed a permanent exhibition and created other events and exhibitions which run every year on different aspects of the Jewish community. They and we have installed more than 60 Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) around the ghetto in the centre of town to commemorate those murdered by the Nazis. Books have been published, plaques dedicated and frequent events organised in the synagogue. At the end of August 2018, a novel idea was added to the ways of memorialising the Jewish community of the town. Before the Second World War, Jews and Christians swam together in the mighty River Elbe that flows through Kolín. This stopped in Nazi times and had never been reinstated since then. One of those swimmers was Hana Greenfield, who had spent much of her youth in the 1930s splashing around in the River Elbe with both Jewish and non-Jewish friends. She was one of the few survivors of the Nazi deportation of the 480 Jews of Kolín.
Searches can be made by either forename or surname and there is no need to enter a year of burial.
Hana survived being sent to Terezín, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. After her liberation, she moved to Britain and then Israel, becoming a noted author, journalist and educator. She helped to keep the memory of Kolín’s Jews alive, instituting an annual prize for school students. She died in 2014. NPLS member Jane Drapkin (herself a wild water swimmer) was inspired by Hana’s memory. Working with the sympathetic Mayor of Kolín Vit Rakušan and Hana’s daughter Meira Partem, Jane organised for 76 men, women and children to take part in a wild river swim. Thus the Hana Greenfield Memorial Swim was born - becoming the first time in more than 80 years that anyone has swum in the river, which has been the subject of a two decade long clean-up. As well as members of NPLS, the Jewish participants included members from our Edinburgh and Bedfordshire Liberal congregations. Four generations of Hana’s family had also come from Israel for the event. They included her 92-year-old widower Murray Greenfield who, like myself, was there to cheer on all those taking part. The swim was so popular that the mayor announced it will become an annual event... a way of remembering when Jews and non-Jews lived happily together before the Nazis arrived. The Shabbat services held in the synagogue the day before the swim were especially moving with Hana’s son reciting from the Torah and her granddaughters reading the blessings. I guess it shows that you never know where a sermon will lead. • Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein is president of Liberal Judaism
You will find the link clearly marked on www.edgwareburycemetery.org.uk with a ‘how to’ guide in the next lj today.
Page 6 LJ Today
LJY-Netzer Machaneh Kadimah Sum
Participants made new decorations for the portable LJY-Netzer ark
A camp-wide paint fight provided plenty of mess and lots of smiles
Staying hydrated in the hot weather was a key message for all
Campâ€™s oldest age group Chalutzim (school year 10) enjoyed a disco
Liberal youth of all ages, and from all around the UK, got together for two weeks of magic
LJY-Netzer leaders enjoyed reviewing the Kadimah video footage
There were plenty of opportunities for dressing up throughout camp
LJ Today Page 7
mah Summer Camp 2018 in pictures
Plagim (school years 5-6) built dens as part of an outdoor activity
Ananim (school years 3-4) built pillars to represent LJY ideology
her for two weeks of magical, creative, fun and engaging activities at Machaneh Kadimah
Sports day saw participants competing at various fun challenges
Nechalim (school years 7-8) learnt about Liberal Jewish values
Yamim (school year 9) left camp for two days to bond on a group hike
Art sessions were always fun - especially when painting each other!
Page 8 LJ Today
Your favourite New mantle honours Essex star festival snaps
THE CONGREGATION at Eastbourne Liberal Jewish Community headed to the beach at Langney Point for a tashlich service led by Rabbi Roberta Harris-Eckstein.
THEY start early at Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS), where seven young shofar blowers were recruited. The youngsters – who were all trained by regular shofar blower Carole Kettle – showed off their skills at a special Rosh Hashanah tea held at the synagogue.
THE CHEDER children at Nottingham Liberal Synagogue helped to build the community’s Sukkah.
THERE were prayers, celebrations, readings and plenty of food in the Sukkah at Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation.
THE COMMUNITY at East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue (ELELS) introduced a new white mantle for their Czech Torah Scroll for the 5779 High Holy Days. The mantle was donated in honour of Jenny Sclaire – a leading member of ELELS who died just over a year ago – by her cousins Jacqueline and Gilbert Herzog. It was designed and embroidered by Kathy Sylvester, a member of Nottingham Liberal Synagogue. It was used at the ELELS Erev Rosh Hashanah service led by Rabbis David Hulbert and Richard Jacobi (pictured above with Jacqueline and Gilbert).
The ELELS Czech Scroll originated in the tiny Jewish community of Blatná, a Moravian village south of Prague. The 28 gold stars on the mantle represent 28 Jews from Blatná who were deported to Terezín in 1942 by the Nazis. Three of them perished there, while the remaining 25 were all murdered in Auschwitz. Rabbi Richard Jacobi said: “Jenny Sclaire was a huge part of our synagogue and Liberal Judaism in our region. She is greatly missed and our congregation had be looking for an appropriate way to honour her memory. “Jenny donated a blue Torah mantle for our Czech Scroll a few years ago, because the act of remembering those who were murdered in the Holocaust was so important to her. “This new white Torah mantle, for the High Holy Days, completes the pair – ensuring that all throughout the year we can remember both those Jews of Blatná and also Jenny and her contributions to our community.”
Cheder students New York to old reunite at Reading York on Sukkot READING LIBERAL JEWISH COMMUNITY was delighted to welcome back Student Rabbi Lev Taylor to lead its Rosh Hashanah services this year. Lev is now in his second year of rabbinic training at Leo Baeck College and talked about how it was both exciting and daunting to return to his home community to lead the services. In his sermon on Erev Rosh Hashanah Lev said: “This synagogue really has pioneered a future for Liberal Judaism. For such a small community, it is remarkable how many of the children who were in cheder at the same time as I was have gone on to be engaged Jews. This is not, by any means, a coincidence. This synagogue created such an amazing intergenerational community for us.” At the end of the service, Lev was joined by his fellow cheder student Graham Carpenter (pictured), who introduced the community’s High Holy Days appeal in aid of Tzedek.
A MOTHER and daughter from New York spent some of Sukkot in York Liberal Jewish Community’s Sukkah after finding out about it on the internet. The community only discovered they’d had visitors when they found a note from Hannah and Olga Kliger when tidying away – as the Sukkah (pictured) was open to passers-by throughout the festival. The note said: “We are Jewish and were passing through York today looking for a Sukkah to break bread and fulfil the mitzvah while on vacation. We found your website and were hoping to meet you all but must have missed you. We stayed a few minutes and made a blessing. Thank you so much for your hospitality.”
LJ Today Page 9
Wembley’s interfaith New Year Remembering the Jews of Frydek-Mistek
THE Jewish and Muslim communities of Wembley joined together to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with a special service led by Rabbi Dr Frank Dabba Smith. Mosaic Liberal Synagogue welcomed guests from Wembley Central Masjid for the Jewish New Year, bonding over a shared desire to do good in the local community and wider world. Frank said: “We have a long and good relationship with our friends at the Wembley Central Mosque that
has included celebrating festivals together, collaborating on our shared concerns about hate crime, working with EcoPeace-Middle East and training police officers together. “We also work closely with Christian communities and, especially, the Methodist Church. I am co-leading a group of Methodists next month on a fact-finding pilgrimage to the Middle East where we will be especially concerned with water issues.”
A SPECIAL service at Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue took place on Shabbat Shuvah – the Shabbat that occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – in order to remember some of those who died in the Holocaust. The annual event commemorates the original owners of Brighton’s Czech Torah scroll, the community of Frydek-Mistek. The last Jews of the city were deported on Erev Shabbat Shuvah in 1942. Rabbi Elli Tikvah-Sarah called up eight people during the service to represent eight of the members of the FrydekMistek community on the deportation list. The eight, ranging from a teenager through to an octogenarian, each reflected the age of one of the city’s residents murdered by the Nazis. Those called up read a short profile about the particular individual concerned, all of which were printed on a leaflet for everyone to take away with them.
Ann celebrates ‘We need a Shofar so good at Ealing her 90th at LJS bigger sukkah’
EALING LIBERAL SYNAGOGUE’S shofar player Sam Eastmond (pictured) is a composer, bandleader and trumpeter. In his professional life Sam’s work with his large ensemble, The Spike Orchestra, is largely focussed on the musical exploration of Jewish identity. He is the only British artist to have been asked to record as part of legendary New York composer John Zorn’s Masada series. Sam is also musical director and founder of the Jewish Music Institute Youth Big Band (JMIYBB), a new ensemble of young musicians fusing together music of Jewish origin and cutting edge contemporary jazz sounds. JMIYBB will be performing at Radlett Reform Synagogue and JW3 in December. Visit www.jmi.org.uk/big-band for dates.
HOLOCAUST survivor Ann Kirk celebrated her 90th birthday with a special Shabbat service at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS). Ann read the Haftarah during the service. She was accompanied by husband Bob (pictured), who also came to the UK on the Kindertransport and met Ann at a club for young Jewish refugees. The couple, who now live in Northwood, have made a huge contribution to both the LJS and Liberal Judaism as a whole. Ann was technical editor on Liberal Judaism’s Siddur Lev Chadash and Machzor Ruach Chadashah. Bob was chair of Leo Baeck College and president of the LJS. Today, they work tirelessly to raise awareness of the Holocaust. The Shabbat service was led by Rabbi Alexandra Wright, who gave a moving sermon. She said: “Thank you for all that you continue to bring to the LJS. We are full of gratitude.”
MORE than 25 people joined Pam Fox and Michael Hart for a short ceremony and Sukkot party at their home in Havant, where the sukkah was decorated with produce from their garden (pictured). The response was so positive they will need to build a bigger sukkah next year!
NOW the High Holy Days are over, it’s time to look towards Mitzvah Day. The UK’s biggest faith-based day of social action takes place on Sunday 18 November. Join East London & Essex Synagogue member Miles (pictured) and make sure you are signed up at www.mitzvahday.org.uk
Page 10 LJ Today
New exhibition tells story of The rabbis who loss, longing and rediscovery warned about
A MEMBER of Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community (GLJC) has put together a new exhibition of paintings by Jewish artists which explore the struggle and challenge of living a life fully. Titled Life, it will run at the Lansdown Hall & Gallery, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, from Wednesday 31 October until Saturday 3 November. Paul Hervey-Brookes was inspired to source and curate this inspirational exhibition by his own personal journey following the loss of his husband Yann Eshkol, at the age of 34, to a brief but bitter battle with cancer. It will tell the story of loss, longing and rediscovery through the work and personal stories of the artists.
Paul, who is one of the UK’s leading garden designers, said: “I first found a painting in Tel Aviv by Leo Kahn. It was beautiful, but it was his own story - of founding Israel’s first textile factory after his most important life work, the mural in the synagogue at Bruchsal-Baden, Germany, had been destroyed – that was even more powerful. It was a reminder of something my late husband had said – ‘life is to be lived, it’s not always easy’. “I have since pieced together work by nine artists, all of whom faced a cruel twist of fate outside of their control but who all continued on. “They created beauty to explore not only Jewish history, from Russian pogroms to the Second World War and beyond, but also to tell a collective story of endurance and still finding something good and inspiring in darkness.” The exhibition spans the 20th century and contains exclusively Jewish work, featuring leading artists including Joseph Constant, Meir Steingold, Edward Levin and Charles Polowetski. It is free to visit, but it is hoped visitors will make donations towards an agroforestry project in Israel that has been set up in Yann’s name. Yann was a talented artist and sculptor, who was a key part of the growth of the GLJC and Jewish life in the region.
A NEW book by Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein, professor of Jewish history at Leo Baeck College, examines the Jewish preaching in response to Nazi persecution and mass murder between 1933 and 1945. While many scholars have focused on contemporary sources pertaining to this period, the sermons delivered by rabbis around the world describing and protesting against the ever-growing oppression of European Jews have been largely neglected. Agony in the Pulpit is a response to this neglect and to accusations that Jewish leaders remained silent. With passages from sermons delivered by 135 rabbis in 15 countries, no other book-length study has presented such abundant evidence of rabbis, in all streams of Jewish life, seeking to rouse their congregants to full awareness of the catastrophic realities taking shape. Agony in the Pulpit is published by Hebrew Union College Press. To purchase a copy please visit http://press.huc.edu/
Stephen’s A better song for peace new play By Daniel Zylbersztajn
A BRAND NEW show by Liberal Jewish Synagogue member and award-winning playwright Stephen Laughton will run from Tuesday 11 December until Saturday 5 January at The Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington, London. The bittersweet comedy, entitled One Jewish Boy, explores key moments over a four-year relationship between a ‘nice Jewish boy’ from North London and the ‘nice not-so-Jewish girl’ he falls desperately in love with. The play is described as a messed-up tale of inherited trauma, the miracle of Chanukah, raging antisemitism, the end of youth and staying in love... with the shadow of hatred festering at its core. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.oldredliontheatre.co.uk/one-jewishboy.html
ON Yom Kippur, Kehillah North London sang a new version of Salaam – starting with the usual Hebrew version before changing to Arabic. Salaam by the group Sheva has become one of the most popular peace songs in Jewish circles. It expresses the hope for and self-assuring certainty of a future of peace and presumably is to be understood as a symbol of outreach. It calls not just for peace as ‘shalom’ in Hebrew, but for ‘salaam’ in Arabic. But I felt a true peace song should have more than just one Arabic word so worked on a full translation with the help of two Arabic, Hebrew and English speaking real peace-makers I knew: Palestinian author Rayek Rizek and Libyan Jewish exile in the UK Raphael Luzon - both of whom are known for their intense efforts in Arab-Jewish relations and exchange.
Cantor Tamara Wolfson then asked me to present the song at Kehillah. The transliterated versions are below:
Hebrew - Od yavo shalom aleinu, od yavo shalom aleinu, od yavo shalom aleinu, ve al kulam (repeat). Salaam, aleinu ve al kol ha olam, salaam, shalom, salaam, aleinu ve al kol ha olam, salaam, shalom. Arabic - Sayati alslam ‘elayna, sayati alslam ‘elayna, sayatai alslam ‘elayna, waal al’jamia (repeat). Shalom, elyna w’el kul el-alem, shalom, salaam, shalom, elyna w’el kul el’e alem, shalom, salaam. English - Peace will still come upon us, peace will still come upon us, peace will still come upon us, and everyone (repeat). Peace, upon us and the whole world, peace, peace, peace, upon us and the whole world, peace, peace. • Read the full story at www.dzx2.net
LJ Today Page 11
LJY-Netzer is Liberal Judaism’s Zionist youth movement. It gives young people the opportunity to develop a strong Progressive Jewish identity, make lasting friendships and have loads of fun
A wild summer and the whirlwind continues Ben Combe looks back over a busy and successful few months for LJY-Netzer
Israel Tour (left) was a highlight of the LJY summer and plans are already in place for the next year, starting with a Shnat Experience Day (right)
IT HAS certainly been a wild summer. Three months of fun, games and ideological revolutions have finally come to an end - and what a time we’ve had! LJY-Netzer put on three separate tours to Ukraine, Israel and Central Europe, as well as our Machaneh Kadimah Summer Camp from which you can see a spread of pictures on the centre pages of this issue of lj today. We can confidently say that it’s all been incredible. Whether you were a 13-yearold trampolining your way through Bournemouth or a 23-year-old climbing the Odessa Steps, and whether you joined us in Stonehenge or Sarajevo, we hope you’ve had an amazing summer with us. We in the office have been steadily recovering and setting out the plan for the next 12 months. We’ve got two incredible summer tours in the works, plus our wonderful weekend events, annual Veidah decision-making forum and numerous other meet-ups and dinners throughout the year. So stay tuned and get in touch, via the details below, to learn more.
So long and good luck The only downside to the end of the summer was having to say goodbye to two incredible movement workers Hannah Stephenson and Simon Lovick. Hannah and Simon held our movement together with kindness and grace. We wish them the best of luck as Simon sets out on his travels and Hannah begins a career as a teacher. A taste of Israel The first highlight of the autumn was our Shnat Experience event, giving 10 young Liberal Jews a flavour of what it is like to spend a gap year in Israel. The group spent the day living, cooking and working together – as well as learning more about the Shnat Netzer programme. They were also visited by past Shnatties, who spoke about their gap year experiences. From all pitching in to cook a delicious curry to talking about our Jewish values and inspirations, the day allowed our
members to find out more about both each other and the new-look gap year programme. Shnat Netzer has been operating for more than 20 years and helps young people discover their strengths, understand their Jewish values, make new friends of many nationalities, learn Hebrew and experience the many different sides of Israel. There is still plenty of time to register interest and find out more, including at a Shnat information evening later in the year. For information, please email Ellie on firstname.lastname@example.org Shana Tovah Finally, we wish you a Happy New Year. We hope you had a joyful and meaningful Rosh Hashanah. We celebrated with a service in Regent’s Park followed by a lovely picnic. Keep an eye out for details of our future festival celebrations.
• Ben Combe is a movement worker for LJY-Netzer
Contact LJY-Netzer: Ben Combe (email@example.com), Helen Goldhill (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ellie Lawson (email@example.com); Director of Youth - Rebecca Fetterman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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President Rabbi Dr Andrew Goldstein Chair Simon Benscher Deputy Chair Ruth Seager Vice Chair Karen Newman Treasurer Rosie Ward Secretary Amanda McFeeters Israel and the Diaspora Graham Carpenter Data Ed Herman Social Justice Jane Drapkin Strategy Robin Moss National Officers Ros Clayton and Jackie Richards Vice Presidents Monique Blake, Henry Cohn, Lord Fink, Jeromé Freedman, Louise Freedman, Rabbi Dr David Goldberg, Sharon Goldstein, Lucian Hudson, Rabbi Harry Jacobi, Willie Kessler, David Lipman, Corinne Oppenheimer, David Pick, Rosita Rosenberg, Tony Sacker, Harold Sanderson, Joan Shopper, Beverley Taylor and Ken Teacher Chair of The Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors Rabbi Aaron Goldstein Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive Rabbi Danny Rich Director of Strategy and Partnerships Rabbi Charley Baginsky Community Partnerships Rabbi Sandra Kviat Music Cantor Gershon Silins Interfaith Rabbi Mark Solomon Operations Director Shelley Shocolinsky-Dwyer Director of Administration Alexandra Simonon Events and Fundraising Thomas Rich Strategy and Communications Project Manager Yszi Hawkings PR Simon Rothstein Archivist Alison Turner Office Coordinator Rafe Thurstance PA to Senior Rabbi Daisy Bogod Director of Youth Becca Fetterman LJY-Netzer Ben Combe, Helen Goldhill and Ellie Lawson