Herefordshire Jewish Community Newsletter February/March 2015


Although we have not met for a service from early December until this week, it feels as if there have been busy times both for HJC and the wider Jewish Community of recent weeks.

The two most significant events in the wider community have been of course the horrific events in Paris on 7/8 January and Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27 January (and associated events). As we have been remembering those who were involved in, and those who survived the Holocaust in WW2, we have been reminded both that all those who were put into camps and in most cases murdered in WW2 were not only Jews, but Sinti/Romany, homosexuals, the disabled, and other minorities. Equally we have been reminded that genocides have taken place since then in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia and other more recent examples which are almost too much to for us to take on board. The Chief Rabbi in his Holocaust Day address asked all of us to turn our remembrance into action, to help prevent such happenings in the future.

The events in Paris, and elsewhere have made us realise that anti-Semitic acts are also part of the current climate in which we live, and we need to very conscious and watchful over this. At the same time, it is important that we do not focus only on these, as if we think attacks on other minorities (including Muslims) do not occur. As Liberal Jews we are particularly concerned about diversity within our own communities, for example through the inclusion and respect given to LGBT+ members of Liberal Communities. The more able we are to accept difference and diversity within our own communities, the more able we may be to accept it on a larger scale. As mentioned later in this newsletter, Interfaith work, and working within our wider communities to help educate those around us about what is means it be Jewish, is a good starting point.

Julian Brown

Chair chat


Seems like a long time ago now as so much has happened in between. It’s a long time also between our services so I am very much looking forward to the next service with Rabbi Anna on February 7. We had a very nice Chanukah party at Andrea’s house, as usual. It was lovely to see Maya back from university and obviously enjoying the experience and we enjoyed her rendition of “See the Conquering Hero Comes” from Handel’s “Judas Maccabeus.” What could be more appropriate?

Jews in Britain and security

I was asked to talk about this on BBC Hereford and Worcester and took a brief straw poll amongst our Council members. None were thinking of packing up and fleeing the country. It’s easy for us to be fairly complacent in our largely rural community where we are not visible or distinctive and are very well integrated into many walks of life. However, it must be different in London, Manchester or Gateshead where there is a palpable sense of unease. I would still maintain that Jews are as safe in this country as anywhere (probably more so than in Israel at the current time). Security precautions in synagogues and schools are not a new thing but obviously heightened in the current circumstances. It is salutary to remember that the Jewish community in Germany and Austria in the early twentieth century were extremely well integrated and felt very safe. It is very important, therefore, to stand up against any forms of religious discrimination whether it is against Jews, Hindus, Moslems or Christians and, in particular, to do everything we can to safeguard our democracy. As Daniel Finkelstein wrote in “The Times”, “For the Nazis to kill the Jews it wasn’t enough for them to persuade the German people to hate us. They also had to persuade the German people to despise democratic politicians and the accompanying rule of law. In dark moments when I think, however fleetingly, that disaster could overtake us all again, my nightmare always begins with reflections on the casual disdain it has become fashionable to use when talking about politics.” At the end of the day to quote the oft used phrase, “Britain is good for Jews and Jews are good for Britain”. Let’s work to ensure that it stays that way.

Freddie Knoller’s Journey

This was an outstanding documentary, following his journey from Austria to Belgium to southern France back to Belgium then Paris, followed by a period in the Resistance before being betrayed and sent to Auschwitz. He survived the camp and the “death march”, weighing only 6 stone when liberated. He is now in his 90s and living in North London and still playing the cello which has meant so much to him. This was a truly life affirming film. I was also much moved by the Holocaust Memorial Day event televised on BBC2, particularly by the playing of Simon Wallfisch, grandson of Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who played in the camp orchestra at Auschwitz and was in the audience to hear him play. And to round it off, “Surviving Auschwitz” was a fascinating documentary about the different ways the experience affected survivors in Israel, London, Poland and America. All these programmes are still available on BBC I Player and well worth watching if you missed them. I must admit that I ducked out of the epic 3 hour + documentary, “Shoah”, based on the testimony of survivors.

Mark Walton

Editor’s Comment

Cherry and I watched the section of Shoah televised in 26 January week, having previously seen the full 11 hours when it was first released around 1987. It is a remarkable work which through painstaking testimony and intelligent filming shows you the attitudes amongst ordinary people who in a myriad of ways became parties to Hitler’s final solution.

Shabbat Service 7 Feb Colwall

Twenty two people attended a service lead by Rabbi Anna Gerrard in Colwall this week, so our community is alive and well. As usual Rabbi Anna had something interesting to say; she spoke about this week’s Parasha – Yitro (Jethro) covering the 10 commandments and their relevance to the present day, and including what they do an do not say regarding gender balance. She also told us of a new initiative taken by Rabbis of Liberal, Reform, Masorti and Orthodox synagogues to give a combined voice (to be called Tselem) on issues of social justice. While this is not Political (as there is such a wide range of views) it still relates to political responsibilities. This is the first time such a wide range of Rabbis has met and worked together in this way, and there is much work to be done, so watch this space.

Food Bank Contributions

We had some very generous contributions to the Food Bank for our last service, so it would be good if all members who are able to contribute, keep this in mind for our next service. Remember you can include toiletries and cleaning items, as well as tinned, dried and long life food items. Just add a couple of items when you do your next shop. As we continue to read, the demand for food banks is increasing, so if each of us could simply provide one meal for someone in need, that would be a great help.

Next Service

Our next service will be on 7 March at Colwall and will be a Purim Service, led by Rabbi Anna Gerrard. If you have a gragger (to make a loud noise when we read the Purim story) and are able to wear something different in keeping with Purim, that would be welcome. Also last year we had some lovely varieties of hamataschen (three cornered pastries) to eat , so bakers may like to have a try.

Herefordshire Interfaith Committee

Bringing Hope in 2015

A new initiative for the New Year is bringing together representatives of Faith groups across Herefordshire with Herefordshire Police Force and Hereford Council, and with the support of the new Bishop of Hereford, Right Reverend Richard Frith has got underway.

An initial meeting in the spirit of ‘peace and good will’ took place in the run up to Christmas on December 10th at the Bishops Palace. Here it was agreed to establish the Herefordshire Interfaith Group, committed to promoting harmony, understanding and respect between people of faith and also embracing those of no faith. Importance was placed on education of both young and old about the power of Faith and the diversity of religious practise.

Meeting together for the first time were representatives from: the Church of England; the Christian Life Centre; Society of Friends (Quakers); First Church of Christ, Scientist, Hereford; the Jewish community; the Muslim community; Tibetan Buddhism; local SACRE alongside members of the Herefordshire Police Force and Herefordshire Council.

It is hoped that HJC will be able to support this initiative, and Cherry and Julian hope to attend future meetings where possible, but anyone else in HJC who is interested in this and can attend meetings should let them know.

Community News

Alison and Marc Turner are delighted to announce the birth of their son Isaac George William Edward Turner, born on 26 January 2015, weighing 7lb 15oz. He is named after the Biblical Isaac as a child of older parents, who never expected to be able to have a child of their own, and after Alison’s father, the accountant and Zionist George N aphtali Behr, z’l and Marc’s uncle, Percival William Baker, z’l and Alison’s uncle, journalist and author Edward Behr, z’l. This is a combination of quiet and modest but very skilled men and a war correspondent who wrote on Algeria and Hirohito among others and was very widely travelled. We hope Isaac will take on some of these qualities as he gets older, at the moment his interests are milk, sleep and cuddles. 

Other Events of interest

Borderlines Film Festival 2015

27 February – 15 March

The Herefordshire/Shropshire Borderlines Film Festival includes two films in particular, of Jewish/Israeli interest:

  • Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem – courtroom drama which deals with the difficulties of obtaining a ‘get’ (divorce certificate) in Israel, which is entirely up to the husband to grant or not. ‘Viviane struggles against her passive-aggressive husband and the rabbinical judges to legally end her marriage, but the process takes years thanks to a bias that keeps women shackled to their husbands.’ Showing 9 and 11 March in Hereford

  • Dancing in Jaffa is a heartwarming documentary about a dance teacher ‘who pairs Palestinian and Israeli children in an experimental peace process. Predictably, things don’t go entirely smoothly both off and on the dance floor. ‘In just 10 weeks one-man teachers 150 11-year-old Jewish and Palestinian Israelis to dance together.’ Showing: 6/7/10 March, Courtyard Theatre, Hereford

It also includes, for those interested, 3 films from Palestine, which of course, may make for difficult viewing : Omar, Open Bethlehem (including introduction and Q & A session with the director) and Villa Tourma (also includes introduction and Q & A session )

For full details of times and venues go to: or ring box office on (01432) 340555.

Deadline for next newsletter will be 15 March

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 down. All contributions are welcome but depending on format, the editor reserves the right to edit or hold over to a future edition if needed.

HJC Diary Dates





Saturday 7 Feb

Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Anna Gerrard

11 a.m.

Ale House, Colwall

Saturday 7 March

Purim/Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Anna Gerrard

11 a.m.

Ale House, Colwall

Thursday 9th April

Communal Seder

6.30 p.m.

Parish Hall, Belmont, Hereford

Week of 20 April

AGM – date to be confirmed

Saturday 16th May

Shabbat Service led by Rabbi Anna Gerrard

11 a.m.

Ale House, Colwall

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I moved to Hereford in 2012, before that I was a Londoner, from North and Northwest London. I continue to work as Archivist at Liberal Judaism in London 2 days a month. I am also Archivist for HJC.

4 thoughts on “Herefordshire Jewish Community Newsletter February/March 2015”

  1. Hi all
    Sorry about the sudden change in appearance of this site, I have been trying to make it better and ended up here. There will be more improvements as I learn more about this way of doing things.

    for HJC

  2. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. But just imagine if you added
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    “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this website could definitely be one of the very best in its niche.
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    1. Yes I’m trying to get this sorted out so that pictures appear, they are in the original newsletter but for some reason do not make it on to this website.

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