I had planned to have this newsletter ready for Rosh Hashanah, but planning for Rosh Hashanah evening took over, so we are now in the period of reflection between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Certainly there is plenty to reflect on, within ourselves, within our own community, and with the wider world in which we live. Our readings on Rosh Hashanah also made us think there are many different perspectives on how we do this, so each of us has to find the way that suits us.
Some of us also attended the Rosh Hashanah morning service in Gloucester, which was Rabbi Anna Gerard’s first official duty following her period of leave. She spoke again about the Binding of Isaac – a challenge of all challenges, so I guess we all have to think how far we are prepared to go for our beliefs and principles.
Wishing everyone in the community G’mar Chatimah Tovah – Happy New Year.
In this edition:
Chair Chat Hereford Peace Service JMI Yiddish Summer school. Ladies who lunch. Charity Update. New year message from Charles Clore Centre. Hebrew groups.
Saturday September 10
We were very grateful to Rabbi Michael Standfield for leading our service on September 10. He was very interesting, particularly about his time as a rabbi in Johannesburg and Durban, and it was also nice for him to meet up with Rosalie and Michelle, his former congregants from Middlesex New. Many thanks also to Rabbi Danny Rich for arranging his “stand in” at very short notice. Another new venue for us at Ledbury Community Centre – quite convenient but too big for our current needs.
Preparation for Rosh Hashanah
As Rabbi Michael reminded us, the period before Rosh Hashanah is a time to seek reconciliation. I am not sure that Joey Barton, the controversial and outspoken footballer and part time philosopher, has entirely got the message about apologies. After withdrawing an unreserved apology to one of his team mates for an altercation, he tweeted, “Apologising doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It means you value your relationship more than your ego.”
Rosh Hashanah Supper
The answer to encouraging people to come out on Erev Rosh Hashanah is obviously food. We had a record attendance of 25 people at the Burgage Hall in Ledbury. Julian and Cherry led an evening of readings, stories and songs to welcome the New Year and to explore its meaning. This was a very thoughtful, innovative and inclusive approach, the highlight of which was the traditional blowing of the shofar. The wonderful buffet laid on by Cherry with her team of willing helpers was a magnificent spread with a particularly impressive array of cakes. As a community, we are extremely fortunate to have people like Julian and Cherry in our midst. They worked tirelessly to make the evening such a success, ensuring that everyone was involved, well fed and included.
Peace Day Service – Herefordshire Interfaith group – 25th of September 2016
The second Interfaith Peace Day service to be held in Hereford Cathedral, was a moving event at which a large number of faiths were represented, including Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Baha’i, Quaker, and Christian. After an introduction by the Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, there was a candle lighting ceremony for all the faiths, and we were then honoured to be the first event in the programme. Six members of HJC – Mark, Rosalie, Eva, Alison, Cherry and Julian joined in with singing Od Yavo Shalom Aleynu, which was led by Cherry Wolfe, and accompanied by guitar. We received very positive feedback from other participants in the service, so we must have been doing something right. One of the other very powerful contributions to the service was a ‘Qirat’, a Muslim chanting of a passage from the Koran, which had a style and tone not so different from that of a traditional Chazzan. There was also some fine singing and chants by the Interfaith choir, as well as a rather unexpected song from a Christian musical which had been performed in Belfast. Mark and Julian also read Psalm 23 in Hebrew which was then sung together in English by the congregation.
After the service we were served with local apple juice, and had chance to meet with other participants and those attending the service, which was very enjoyable, as we always find we have more in common than differences on these occasions.
This is a worthwhile event which I hope can be more widely supported in future and also include those not necessarily so directly involved in faith groups.
We are very grateful to Vanessa Pomeroy who took photographs of the service, two of which are included here.
Ot Azoy Yiddish Course
In August, Cherry Wolfe attended a Yiddish summer schools at SOAS in London, run by JMI (Jewish music Institute). We recorded an interview with her about the course.
Why did you decide to go on a Yiddish course?
When I was growing up my parents sometimes spoke Yiddish, or bits of Yiddish at times when they didn’t want I or my brother to understand what they said. The sense of that Yiddish around me is still with me, and I want to explore my connection with it and with my ancestors and their stories and where they come from.
When did the course run and how was organised how long did it last?
It’s a summer course which is like a crash course for one week. It happens every summer in London and there were also Yiddish courses in other cities around the world but the one in London runs at SOAS, the school of African and Oriental studies near King’s Cross.
What was your overall experience of the course?
The students were diverse and came from a variety of different backgrounds. They weren‘t all Jewish: there were some who came from a mainly academic background, or those who had other kinds of interest, for example there was a young Polish woman I met, a young woman who originally came from Latvia and lived in the States, and an academic woman whose area was Slavic languages, and felt that Yiddish had an important place in that. The teaching was excellent, and I enjoyed the classes thoroughly.
Would you say you need to have a background in Hebrew or that having a background in Hebrew helps with learning Yiddish?
It would help but is not essential, though it is harder when you start without any background in the Hebrew alphabet which is what Yiddish is written in.
Was it primarily language or did you do music or other aspects of Yiddish culture?
It‘s a very intense week and very full. We do language in the morning: written language, spoken language, and we did homework and conversation in the afternoon. We have two music sessions for those who want to join those: song repertoire session after lunch for an hour, and then later in the afternoon there‘s Yiddish choir. There were film sessions about Yiddish film although I didn‘t go to any of these, as I chose to go to Yiddish choir. There are evening talks which are also very interesting, about different aspects of Yiddish culture and its historical context, covering the last 150 years approximately.
I‘m told you went on a walk in the East End?
That wasn‘t strictly a part of the course but it was connected, and it was an antifascist tour of the East End street, along Cable Street and parts of the East End where Mosley had tried to march in 1936.
Can you say anything about the way the course was organised and put together?
I thought it was very well put together. I felt I learnt a lot in the week, and I could have done with a month really, and all the staff were very helpful. It was very busy and quite tiring, but very well organised.
Would you recommend the course to others?
Absolutely I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I know many people who go year after year, and there is also the song school which is happening at the same time, which we join in some sessions with, but they are studying song repertoire for the whole week.
What did you do about accommodation the course?
One of the possible options for accommodation is that there are some SOAS halls of residence very near to where the course is taking place, and I stayed there for the course of the week.
Thank you very much telling us about JMI‘s Yiddish Course.
Ot Azoy: Details from JMI: https://www.jmi.org.uk/event/ot-azoy-2016/
Obituary – Ralph Eskinazi
Ralph Eskinazi, who died at the beginning of September, and his wife Val, have long supported Herefordshire Jewish community and attended several of our services and events over the years. Since their move to Malvern some years back, Ralph and Val have also been welcome visitors at many of our Malvern Seders, either at our house or at the Grandi family house. Ralph has always had some interesting anecdote or contribution to make to the proceedings.
Ralph was a fascinating character. Born in Cairo, and brought up in Egypt, where he had a French Lycee education, he came to Britain at the age of 18. He began work as a draughtsman and subsequently had a career as a planning engineer.
He had an enthusiasm for many aspects of life, from being an expert backgammon player, to regular swimmer at Malvern Splash, to being a member of a Greek culture club. He was interested in many aspects of Judaism and Jewish life and culture. Ralph and Val were lifelong members and regular attenders of Birmingham Progressive synagogue after their marriage. Barry Roseman of Birmingham Progressive synagogue said of Ralph: “It was clear from the attendance at the funeral and the evening prayers, that in life Ralph touched many people as the two gatherings cut across any boundaries in our community as well as those from outside.”
In the last five years, Ralph was lucky enough to be able to spend time with his grandson.
We wish a long life to Ralph’s widow Val Eskinazi, his two sons, Simon and David and his two sisters.
Angela West writes:
Ladies who lunch…in this case at the Estero Lounge in Monmouth, where we discussed the Daughters of Zelophehad,
(Num.27,1-11) – five remarkable sisters who petitioned Moses concerning their inheritance rights, and got a change in the law from Sinai! We were considering this (and other stories of bible women) as possible topics for discussion at the Jewish Cultural Group that meets in Monmouth.
Hanna’s sister Gail was also with us and took the photo.
Hebrew groups in Malvern and Monmouth are again up and running after the summer break. As well as preparing for Rosh Hashanah with prayers and songs, the Monmouth group also took on the task of translating some of the Torah text of the binding of Isaac. There’s a lot of knowledge in the group once we all share what we know.
HJC High Holyday Charity Appeal
As a community HJC aims to raise at least £100 for each of our chosen charities, and this year we are hoping to raise even more, as we have an increasingly active community, and we have very worthwhile causes to support. Our chosen charities are the Charles Clore Centre, and Combat Stress.
Many of you have already given donations but if anyone else would like to contribute, please send donations to our Treasurer, Alison Turner. Cheques payable to Herefordshire Jewish Community.
We are delighted to say that, following our Rosh Hashanah evening, we have already raised £300, a record for our Community, so thank you to everyone for your generosity.
We wish health and recovery to Judith Labelter who is currently housebound with mobility problems.
No picture quiz this month, but if you would like to feature in the next edition let us know. Last edition pictures were of course of Rosalie Tobe.
New Year message from Mohamed Fahili, Charles Clore Community Centre
What brings us hope in this upcoming year?
25 youths gaining life-skills for their national service
32 children enhancing their focus through Karate
35 women empowered to find employment
42 ballet dancers synchronising their steps
43 children expressing themselves through art
54 young musicians connecting through notes not words
60 pre-schoolers transitioning with confidence into school
60 new learners discovering the power of English words
68 children playing and laughing at our 3 daycare facilities
Hundreds of visitors celebrating Shared Society in action.
This is The Meeting Place
Our Meeting Place. Your Meeting Place.
A place for all – Christian, Jew and Muslim.
A place to find hope and cherish it.
We thank you for your ongoing support which has helped us become what we are today. Our Centre is doing so much for so many beautiful Arab and Jewish children in and around Akko. And the vision doesn’t end here. There is still so much more we can do together.
Stand up and be counted.
We at The Sir Charles Clore Jewish Arab Community Centre all join in wishing you and all your friends and family a sweet New Year filled with hopes for a better world.
Mohammad Fahili – Director
Clare King Lassman
Sir Charles Clore Jewish-Arab Community Centre http://www.ajcenter.org.il
UK International Jewish Film Festival, 5 – 20 November 2016
There is an exciting programme of films for this festival. Most showings are in a range of venues in London with occasional events in Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Glasgow. If you happen to be in London during this period, do try and catch something. Always well worthwhile.
Details at: http://ukjewishfilm.org/
High Holyday services
Yom Kippur services at Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community (GLJC). See details below.
Kol Nidre 11th October 7.00pm at Up Hatherley Village Hall (UHVH), Cold Pool Lane, Cheltenham GL51 6JA
Yom Kippur 12th October 11.00am – 7.30pm approx. at Friends Meeting House, Greyfriars, Gloucester, GL1 1TS. with Morning and Additional Service, Study or walk, Afternoon service,
Yizkor and Concluding Service then breaking the fast with a communal chavurah meal.
Our next service is the Simchat Torah service on Saturday 22nd October at Bridges Centre, led by Rabbi Anan Gerrard. This is always a most enjoyable and informative event, so please try to come along. Children especially welcome.
We are still waiting to hear of date and student Rabbi for our annual Lech Lecha service in November, but this is usually a most interesting service, so we hope you can join us. We will post information on Rabbi and location as soon as we know.
Monmouth – Tuesday 1st November 4 p.m. Bridges Centre.
Malvern – t.b.c.
Deadline for next newsletter will be 15 November 2016
Please send in contributions in WORD or pdf format if possible, but articles sent in by post are also welcome. In general contributions should be no longer than 500 – 750 wds, but longer contributions may be included if appropriate. Pictures also welcome, but please try to keep image sizes small and below 1 Mb. All contributions are welcome but depending on format, the editor reserves the right to edit or hold over to a future edition if needed.
Herefordshire Jewish Community Contacts
|For all enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
||Or phone our Chair, Mark Walton
on 01594 530721 after 6pm.
HJC Diary of Events
|Saturday Oct 22nd
||Simchat Torah Service – led by Rabbi Anna Gerrard
||Bridges Centre, Drybridge Park, Monmouth, NP25 5AS
|Saturday 12th (5th/19th) November
||Lech Lecha Shabbat service led by student Rabbi
|Sunday 20th November
Other Events of Interest
|Tuesday October 11th
||GLJC Kol Nidre Service
||Up Hatherley Village Hall (UHVH), Cold Pool Lane, Cheltenham GL51 6JA
|Wednesday, October 12th
||GLJC Yom Kippur Services, followed by breaking of Fast & meal.
||11.00 a.m. (t.b.c.) – 7.30 p.m.
||Friends Meeting House, Greyfriars, Gloucester, GL1 1TS