January 2013 Tevet/Shevat 5773
The KT Class of 2012
Inside this month: Discover a visionary side to Judaism with Rabbi Pete on page 2 Catch up with Lutsk, our twinned community, on page 11 Read all about our fabulous Chanukkah party on page 13 And learn to Beat the Winter Blues on page 14
VISIONARY OR REFLECTIVE Which are we?
It seems to me that there are two types of Judaism. There is a Judaism that is visionary, that sees beyond its own horizons and understands its potential, and its responsibility to impart its message to the whole world. That is Judaism at is most potent, a world changing force that can (and in the past has) delivered powerful messages of hope and guidance to its own people and to humankind. Then there is a Judaism that is more concerned with itself. A number of not very complimentary adjectives for this type of Judaism come to mind: self-indulgent or inwardlooking for example. But that is too negative: Judaism also needs to think about itself and its own integrity, so I shall call this second type of Judaism reflective. It could be argued that these are not distinctive ‘types’ of Judaism at all; they are simply opposite ends of the same spectrum. All variations of Judaism throughout history have contained an element of each of the aspects of being visionary and reflective. Particular times and circumstances have required a greater emphasis on one or the other. For example, the religion that was to become Judaism was at its most visionary in the time of the Prophets of Ancient Israel and Judah. The very existence of the religious culture and indeed the people who had practised it was in danger of extinction under the threat of Assyria and later Babylon. This was a pivotal
moment that required a powerful vision to prevent the principles that underpinned the religion based in Jerusalem from being swallowed up by the prevailing belief that defeat by a more powerful nation also meant the failure of the victims’ deity, who was then superseded by that, or those, of the victors. A theological revolution occurred that changed religious belief and its associated structures for centuries to come. The destruction of Samaria and Jerusalem were not due to the weakness of Israel’s God, but rather divine punishment for the people’s failure to carry out the instructions and fulfil the will of that God. The Prophets reminded the people and rebuked them for their failings – and at the same time constructed a document that would enable the Babylonian exiles to have an awareness of their connection with their ancestors and their land. These documents eventually became the Torah and formed the ‘historical’ part of N’vi’im. History and the Persians then permitted the Jews to resettle in Judea, and a reflective period followed as Judaism evolved in the hands of various groups, with only the Pharisees’ version of the people’s heritage surviving the ravages of Roman persecution and brutality. Pharisaic Judaism was both visionary and reflective. Its development of a Judaism
that was to be lived by every individual member of the Jewish community was no less breathtaking and visionary than the Prophets’ assertion that Israel’s God required justice, not sacrifice. But it was also reflective: in order to be accepted, it needed to assert that the document that had been influenced by the Prophets and produced by their followers was actually written by God. The Rabbis suggested that every ruling they made – legal, ritual, theological, political even – was divinely ordained and was contained in the document give to Moses at Mount Sinai over a millennium earlier. This triggered almost two more millennia of a Judaism that was almost exclusively reflective. Given that the experience of the majority of Jews during this period was as a persecuted minority, this is hardly surprising – the main instinct was for survival; by definition a reflective approach. It is worth noting, however, that the occasions when Judaism did become genuinely visionary during this long period occurred in those times and places where Jews interacted with the surrounding world, rather than being forced into isolation (either by their own survival instincts or by the
will of that outside world). The contributions of the Jews of Spain to the world of philosophy, science and travel, for example, were rare visionary moments in centuries of reflective outpourings, among which can be included the Talmud, the Kabbalah and the Codes. Even a ‘revolutionary’ movement such as Chasidism in the 17th century belonged more to the reflective than the visionary aspect of Judaism, since it was almost exclusively concerned with Jews and their immediate world. It was the Emancipation at the end of the eighteenth and start of the nineteenth centuries that reignited Judaism’s visionary potential. Judaism and the world met each other once more, and that meeting – largely absent from the Jewish experience for almost two millennia – required a reassessment of Israel’s ancient heritage no less dramatic than that demanded in the days of the Prophets or the Rabbis. Assailed by new scientific, historical, social and political realities, a bewildered, and in many ways complacent, Judaism was suddenly forced to redefine itself. It could remain reflective, ignore the new reality and lock itself back into the ghettoes that had been its home for so many centuries. It could embrace these new freedoms and abandon all previous connections with its heritage, visionary or reflective (though in many cases its influence would remain). Most sought various ways to strike a balance between their Judaism and the new world of possibilities. The numerous ‘movements’ within Judaism in the last two centuries reflect this. It could be argued that one of
the most significant visionary movements of recent times was Zionism. I would contend that, because its main concern was with the creation of a state in which Jewish people could live, ostensibly in safety, it is actually another example of reflective Judaism, concerned with itself rather than with all of humankind. The current situation seems to confirm that. If the visionary/reflective measure is applied to modern Judaism elsewhere in the world, I fear that Judaism would once again find itself placed at the reflective end of the spectrum. In the UK we have several movements each claiming in their own way to represent ‘authentic’ Judaism. We are alarmed by the actions of Israel, whose behaviour frequently falls well short of the visionary. We engage in educational activities in an effort to increase our Jewish knowledge, but mainly in a way that is reflective. We construct ever-increasing numbers of Jewish schools, taking our children away from the outside world. In our synagogues and our rabbinic bodies we look increasingly to ancient texts and rituals to define and shape our Judaism instead of trusting in our own ability to be visionary. We emphasise the need for study and personal spiritual development, often at the expense of direct social engagement. It is my belief that Liberal Judaism needs to find itself a new vision. The history of our heritage makes clear that Judaism is only truly visionary when it engages with the outside world, absorbing its qualities and speaking out against its failings. We live in a world that has both
in abundance, and is suffering under the weight of choice, contradiction, bewilderment with which its inhabitants are constantly bombarded. We need to find a voice that clearly distinguishes between the two (using our heritage where necessary but also recognising that we have the right and the obligation to create new criteria, and having sufficient confidence in our own visions rather than simply feeling obliged to reflect those of our ancestors). In doing so, we will be re-establishing a connection with the true visionaries of our movement: the Prophets and the founders of the progressive movements of Judaism, including Liberal Judaism. One final thought. The earliest founders of our religious heritage were visionary and revolutionary. They were the people who had grown up in an environment of slavery and persecution, who saw in the collapse of the social order that was caused by whatever Egypt’s plagues actually were, an opportunity to strike out for freedom. It was a brave and frightening vision. They could have remained in Egypt, reflecting on their identity and their condition that was its consequence. Had they not grasped the vision, demonstrated the courage necessary to implement it and – most significantly perhaps – developed a religious faith based upon its lessons of freedom and personal dignity, we would still be slaves in Egypt. It is time to rediscover that vision, that courage and construct a religion worthy of it.
Rabbi Pete Tobias 3
Religion School Welcome back to a new Religion School term. We ended last term with a wonderful Chanukkah celebration: a dramatic presentation of the story of the Maccabees. Here are some pictures:
This term we will carry on with our look at the earliest stories in the Bible, meeting all those interesting characters from the book of Genesis… And learning Hebrew, of course! Dates for January: Sunday 6th Jan Sunday 13th Sunday 20th Sunday 27th
No Religion School - holiday 10.00 am – 12.15 pm Religion School 10.00 am – 12.15 pm Religion School 10.00 am – 12.15 pm Religion School
And parents: please join us at 12.15 pm for that brilliant Religion School service to end the morning!
Bar-/Bat-Mitzvah Class The bar-/bat-mitzvah class makes it into 2013! On Saturday mornings we will continue our study of the origins and significance of the document we call the Torah. The bar-/bat-mitzvah class meets on the following dates: Saturday 12th January 9.30 – 10.45 am Saturday19th January 9.30 – 10.45 am
Kabbalat Torah The 2012 KT Group celebrated their ceremony during Chanukkah on December 14-15. The pictures can be found on the front cover. Potential participants for the 2013 KT group are invited to the service on January 26th 2013, which will be followed by a meeting to discuss arrangements for the next KT group
Adult Education Basic Judaism discussions continue to take place regularly with one class on a Friday evening and one on a Saturday lunchtime. The basic text for these classes is Rabbi Pete’s ‘Liberal Judaism: A Judaism for the Twenty-First Century’ which is available at shul, priced £9.99. Although these classes are primarily intended for those converting to Judaism, other members are welcome to join the group, which meets after the services on these dates this month: Saturday 12th January The Jewish experience of history Friday 18th January Anti-semitism On Saturday, the class will follow the 11.00 am service, starting at around 12.45pm and ending at 1.45pm and on Friday after the 8.00pm service, ending around 9.30pm. Refreshments will be available. Please note that those involved in the conversion programme are expected to attend the service as well as the class that follows it: attendance at services is an integral part of the conversion course.
Thursdays At TLSE Adult education continues at TLSE on Thursday mornings and evenings, following the same course at 11.00am and again at 7.45pm. During January we will continue to look at snapshots of significant Jewish philosophers and scholars. The class will meet on January 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st. Previous classes have led to fascinating discussions, to which everyone is welcome.
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Car Park Passes 2013
New Car Park passes will be sent out with subscription letters. Please remember to display them when visiting TLSE to avoid embarrassment with security. If any family requires a second pass please contact Rebecca in the shul office. Special prize to Rosita Rosenberg for spotting the deliberate mistake on the front cover of last month’s Hakol. Ed.
Dear Editor It occurs to me that we at TLSE are missing an opportunity for self promotion. On my evening visits to TLSE for either the Thursday evening adult education classes or the Friday evening services I notice that on entering the Shul we are faced with a big notice board that with one exception, the luncheon club, carries no posters about TLSE, and if one turns right and enters the main hall past the toilets the photos are of Lutsk and if one turn left and goes towards the kitchen the panels there detail the history of TLSE and lots about what Jonathan Black did but nothing about the last 9 or 10 years when Pete has been our Rabbi. So why don’t we have a vibrant notice board on entry to the synagogue which hits visitors, potential members and existing members with some of the exciting things that are going on at the present time and that Pete has introduced and is involved with? These could include the various Berlin trips (for KT and adults), Shul or Rock, features on the current bar and bat mitzvah members, his appearances on Radio, his books, services for pets and lots more. I wonder if on reflection other members feel the same and I look forward to receiving feedback through future editions of Hakol. Peter Ellinger (If you have been to the Shul recently you may have noticed someone has taken notice of this plea!)
Services|January 2013 Fri 4th Jan 5.45 pm Fri 4th Jan 6.30 pm Sat 5th Jan 11 am Council Rep: Davina Bennett
Tots’ service Kabbalat Shabbat Supper Shabbat morning service 4; Deut 12,1-28; Objectives of the Temple Mount faithful Theme: Synagogue
Fri 11th Jan 5.45 pm Fri 11th Jan 6.30 pm Sat 12th Jan 11 am Council Rep: Nick Belkin
Tots’service Erev Shabbat service Shabbat morning service 5 Deut 16,1-17; Isaiah 1,11-17 Theme: Prayer
Fri 18th Jan 8 pm Sat 19th Jan 11 am Council Rep: Sue Woolf
Erev Shabbat service Shabbat morning service 1 & Bat-Mitzvah of Carlie Diamond Ex 19,1-6,20,1-14; Micah 6,6-8 Theme: Justice
Fri 25th Jan 6.30 pm Erev Shabbat service Sat 26th Jan 10 am Tots’ service Sat 26th Jan 11 am Holocaust Memorial Shabbat morning service & birthday blessings/Tu Bishvat Holocaust Memorial Booklet; Ex20,19-21; Holocaust Prayer; Council Rep: Michael Reibscheid Theme: Holocaust Readings
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Community Connections| 20th Anniversary Linda Kann: Joint Chairman – Community Connections, recalled how Exodus first started as the Reform Movement’s Refusenik campaign in the 1980’s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became apparent that not all the Jews there wanted to emigrate to Israel or elsewhere, and there were moves to establish Progressive Jewish groups in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. In 1992, it was decided to launch Exodus 2000 as the Reform Movement’s twinning programme for communities in the UK and FSU. The late Rabbi Shafritz z”l was Chairman, and with Linda Kann as project co-ordinator they worked closely with other volunteers and with the WUPJ to support the growth of Progressive communities there. The Liberal Judaism movement joined in 2000, and are now firm supporters of this work. There are currently six FSU-born Rabbis working in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine – five of whom trained at the Leo Baeck College in London. Other lay-leaders are trained at the Machon centre in Moscow from where they return to their communities as leaders and educators. With assistance from the Friends of Progressive Judaism and the EUPJ we have been able to fund some UK Rabbis and lay leaders to teach there, and Linda spoke of the many visits she herself has made to various communities to see the progress that has been made to revive Judaism in places where it seemed to have been all but lost. Looking to the future, Linda explained how we decided to change our name to Community Connections to better reflect the work we are doing now supporting communities by connecting them with “twins” in the UK. Things have changed since the “early days” - travel is easier, and e-mail and skype make communication so much simpler. Thanks were expressed to all who had been involved over the last 20 years – with the hope that our partnerships will thrive and all our communities continue to flourish. Rabbi Danny Rich noted three reasons why these links are important: (i) We are each responsible for every other Jew. (ii) We have a duty to help poor Jews. (iii) We can benefit our own communities by widening our horizons and getting involved outside our own synagogues.
Lutsk twinning/TLSE After 2 years when there was very little correspondence with Lutsk, we now have a new correspondent - Anna Fyodova. She started sending regular emails a couple of months ago (her English is quite good) and she seems keen to help us revive our link. She is a business studies student at the University in Lutsk, but is also quite involved with the community there. She was a leader / madricha at one of the summer camps there, and when we were there in 2010, she was helping at the services and events. Opposite is her latest email together with a link to some photos, that shows their main hall that was arranged to match our shul in Elstree.
I am sorry for so delayed reply! In November there were are a lot off actvities. Two weeks ago our children had vacations and our members made camp for them. Everyday kids spend time in community. Each day had some subjects. As usually at the last day of camp our kids made little concert for parents and themselves. This Saturday we had The global day of Jewish Learning. We had 5 rooms with different options. In first we all together had learned niguns. That was option for everyone.Next 4 rooms were for each age brackets. The youngest members of community with parents cooked donuts such as for Chanukkah. So we prepare for Chanukkah. In another room kids who older made pictures about world Creation with different creative techniques. Youth club made candles. We used wax for that, it was very interesting and cheerfully. So now we had very beautiful candles of wax for Shabbat and Havdalah. The last room was for the eldest members of our community. They had cafe-midrash. They spoke about jewish traditions there. When every room had done theirs tasks we looked for result off everyone. Then we made Havdalah together and it donuts. This Saturday our youth club will go to Rozhische with little concert for kids from Rehabilitation Centre for Children with defects. They usually visit our community and we would like to make something for them too. Also we are preparing for Festival of National Minorities in Lutsk, which will be held 18th oh November. Also, about our website we still had troubled with it. Sergei plans to make one new website with help of professionals who will moderate and update it regularly. I sent you some our pictures from camp and the global day of Jewish learning. I'm sure, it will be interesting for you and members of Elstree: https://plus.google.com/ photos/109135597327283043390/albums/5808766636172497105 Best wishes Anna TLSE needs new volunteers to revive our link. Perhaps someone would like to correspond with Anna on behalf of TLSE - to send regular emails and photos about our events, services etc? Or perhaps we could find some new members for our Lutsk Planning Group who might like to explore some future plans with us? Or an IT "expert" who could arrange a Skype link? If there was interest, we could even try to do another small group trip to Lutsk in 2013 - but we would need someone to help organise it. Lots of ideas but we need more people to take part. Ann Etkind is happy to stay involved, but would love to find someone to help her run this project, keen people with some fresh ideas.
Care & Welfare|Chanukkah Tea Party
Once again, our C & W committee provided a great afternoon of fun and food. The amount of sandwiches, latkes, cakes and doughnuts consumed had to be seen to be believed. During this time Ruth Breckman, on her electronic organ, played popular numbers and challenged people to ‘name that tune’. After tea, it was the turn of everyone else to join in and sing. Songsheets were provided with words from various musicals and this was thoroughly enjoyed by all. A cast for the next production of Singing in the Rain is now available after Rabbi Pete and Harry did their version of Gene Kelly’s choreography. Thanks again, to our wonderful Care & Welfare team, for a great afternoon.
Sunday 17 March 2013 Pop Up Fair at The Liberal Synagogue Elstree 12.00 – 5.00 pm For one day only TLSE will turn itself into a Pop Up Fair everything you and the family want under one umbrella. Stalls galore ranging from Handmade Cards, Cakes, Preserves, Hair braiding, Face Painting, Massage, Forever Living products, Bookstall, Photos, Stella and Dot Jewellery, Gardening products and much much more. Penny’s Pantry will be open all day in the newly redecorated Back Hall As well as stalls there will be a number of workshops including: If you are looking for tips on Computers our resident IT Dr Mike will solve your IT questions. Craft Workshop Photography Session Actors Unite for a Dramatic Showdown Are you willing and able to help on the day please get in touch with Penny. If you are interested in taking a stall for just £15 please contact Penny Beral 01923 955367 Penny@pennyberal.co.uk
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We are sorry to announce that Edit Entin has passed away.
Get well soon message goes to Elizabeth Shane after her recent operation
Do You Need To Borrow A Wheelchair? The Care and Welfare Committee have a lightweight wheelchair that is available for anyone who would like to borrow it. Contact Carol Hurst for further information
Crockery on loan Are you having an event that requires extra crockery and cutlery? Look no further as the synagogue has acquired crockery and cutlery, which we can lend to you for a small donation. Please contact Carol Hurst for more information on 020 8950 1862
We send our condolences to Allan Newman on the loss of his wife Jasmine.
How To Beat The Winter Blues One in four of us suffer from winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Here are tips on staying bright when it is anything but outside.
Can the change of season really affect my mood?
Yes. SAD can leave sufferers feeling depressed, tired and lethargic. Other symptoms include sleeping problems, overeating, difficulty concentrating, irritability and loss of libido. Although the exact causes are unclear, one theory is that light entering the eye at daybreak triggers the pineal gland in our brain to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin-and on dark winter days this signal isnâ€™t strong enough. Another factor could be that lack of sunshine causes us to produce less of the feel good hormone serotonin. Symptoms are generally worse from December to February and get better in spring
What is the difference between SAD and the winter blues?
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL SERVICE
Research shows that A Shabbat morning service seven percent of the dedicated to the memory of those population suffer from who perished in the Holocaust SAD, while 17 percent Saturday 26th January have â€œsub-syndromal 11.00 am SADâ€?, otherwise known as the winter blues. People with the blues experience only mild symptoms, while the symptoms of SAD can be very debilitating and may even interfere with work and relationships What can I do to feel better? Get as much natural light as possible. If you are stuck in an office, try to sit by a window, and go for a walk at lunchtime when the sun is high. Exercise is also a great antidote, as it boosts serotonin levels. Pick an outdoor activity such as a local walking group
Is what I eat important?
Yes it is. There is a temptation with SAD to load up on sugary foods and carbohydrates like cake and bread but it is important to get a balanced diet. To for foods that release energy slowly, such as wholegrains, vegetables and nuts and get plenty of vitamin D, as this plays a role in producing serotonin. Sunlight stimulates our skin to make vitamin D, but in winter we can top up depleted levels by eating eggs and oily fish.
When should I see a doctor?
As soon as you feel you are not coping and your symptoms are interfering with your life, then seek professional help For info about SAD contact www.sada.org.uk
Do you have a Diary|January 2013 Fri 4 Jan 17.45 Kabbalat Shabbat for Tots business that 18.30 Kabbalat Shabbat supper you would like Sat 5 Jan 11.00 Shabbat morning service Tues 7 Jan 10:00 Pilates to promote? A major raffle will take place in conjunction with this year's quiz night. All business donations will receive in return acknowledgement on the night PLUS a quiz round sponsored in your business name.
Fri 11 Jan
If you have shop, business or maybe a restaurant, this is an ideal opportunity to promote yourself and show your support for TLSE by donating gift vouchers. We also looking for a principal sponsor for the whole event, For just ÂŁ125, you will have ' The TLSE Annual Quiz night Sponsored by.....,' it will be printed on all future ads and flyers/posters together with additional publicity on the night. For further information and donations: Please contact Stephen Monk: email@example.com
Kabbalat Shabbat for Tots
Erev Shabbat service
Shabbat morning service
Sun 13 Jan
Tues 15 Jan
Wed 16 Jan
Thur 17 Jan
Erev Shabbat service
Shabbat morning service & Bat-mitzvah of Carlie Diamond
Sun 20 Jan
Tues 22 Jan
Thur 24 Jan
Fri 25 Jan
Erev Shabbat service
Sat 26 Jan
Tu Bishvat/ Holocaust Memorial Shabbat morning service
Sun 27 Jan
Tues 29 Jan
Sat 12 Jan
Fri 18 Jan Sat 19 Jan
Thur 31 Jan
The New H3|During its renovation and after completion
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Celebrating Chanukkah|At TLSE
Monthly magazine from The Liberal Synagogue Elstree