No Service on 1 October

Please note that there will not be a service on Saturday 1 October. There will be services on the evening of Sunday 2nd for Erev Rosh Hashanah and in the morning of Monday 1st for Rosh Hashanah. Details will be posted the week before.



It’s been a good summer including the unforgettable 50th anniversary of the Belmont Synagogue where I was the first Minister.

To the great relief of Israeli parents the Chofesh Hagadol, the long vacation, has come to an end and the children have gone back to school. One parent wrote a long prayer of thanks, based on the Shehecheyanu blessing, that the holidays had finally come to an end! Israel is now getting ready for the Tishri festivals. The blazing heat of the summer is beginning to pass and the climate is altogether more pleasant.

There are concerns. The level of rainfall this year has been very low and an island has appeared in the middle of Kinneret because the water level has dropped fifteen feet below the maximum. Unfortunately the outlook is for a dry winter, so please pray fervently on Shemini Atzeret when Jews all over the world recite Tefillat Geshem, the prayer for Rain!

The American elections are a topic of extreme interest. Almost every discussion among Israelis will sooner or later turn to the Trump or Clinton question. Last week I went to a whole programme about this, and came away no wiser.

Religion is again becoming an issue in Israeli politics. The stranglehold that the ultraorthodox parties have within the coalition has begun to be challenged on two fronts. The first major issue is the question of the egalitarian prayer Plaza at the Kotel which is open to nonorthodox Jews. A clear agreement was signed in January 2016 but has not been implemented and the Supreme Court has asked for the whole matter to be brought before it. One of the justices even asked whether the government needed the court to pull its chestnuts out of the fire.

The other issue concerns work on the high-speed line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the Tel Aviv Underground. It had been agreed that work on these projects will take place on Shabbat. Under pressure from his coalition partners Netanyahu stopped the Shabbat work. In this case the High Court told him that he had no power to do so and for the moment it goes on.


Ki Teitzei

Please note that service reminders aim to build a bridge between the last Saturday service two weeks before and the one being announced. They will therefore often focus on the previous parshah rather than on the one in the title.

We are now deep in the stream of Moses’ discourse as he goes through all of God’s laws, accompanying these with promises and warnings. It is as if he were a very wise old man speaking calmly and encouragingly with his children before he leaves them to go into the future depending on their own will and actions. Appoint yourselves judges, he says, at the beginning of Shof’tim. Do not erect sacred pillars or engage in any of the revolting practices and idolatry practised widely in the region. Resolve difficult judicial questions by consulting the Levitical priests (and Levites). Do not allow your monarchs to aggrandise themselves. Root out sorcery. Some of the rules are an expression of compassion, such as allowing those betrothed, those who have recently planted a vineyard, or even those who are simply faint-hearted, to return home before a battle.

Ki Teitzei continues in similar vein. Women captured during a war may not be sold as slaves or kept as servants if the captor does not wish to marry them. It is not clear, however, what choice the women themselves had in the matter. And what about the rebellious son who does not amend his ways even after flogging and may be stoned to death? The rules continue. You must help a neighbour’s donkey if you see it fall under its load. Do not take a mother bird along with her chicks. If a man bears false witness against his wife he may be flogged. A rapist will be put to death. And so it goes on, ruling after ruling, all designed to enable Israel to construct a just and fair society. If you don’t believe me, and even if you do, come along to Three Bridges School on Saturday at 10.30. Adam Feldman will put us right.

Letter from a Moshav by Jo Gore



No miracle birth but I have been in Israel now for 9 months!

I finally succumbed and took a job at my friend’s company in Ra’anana – not my ideal location, or job, though definitely a medium-term plan to get me out of Tel Aviv… Soooo not a city-girl anymore, though the beaches and sunsets are absolutely stunning. The longer I stay in Israel, the more I like the idea of living on a kibbutz, so I’ve got the next best thing and am on a moshav that’s a mere 15 minute (electric) bike ride to the office. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain before I figure out alternative transportation!  I’ve taken a lease on an apartment that is the top floor of a family house – there’s a big balcony, with a sofa that overlooks the equestrian centre, OK and the construction cranes in Kfar Saba. There are fruit trees growing all around so I’m looking forward to the ripening of pomegranates, mangos, lemons… and that’s just what I can see from my balcony.

I spent the weekend shopping and unpacking as I seem to have expanded from the 3 suitcases of stuff I first came out with. Have joined so many Facebook groups I picked up a table with 4 chairs, a leather sofa and chair from various places, and a new bed, so the place isn’t as barren as it could be. It’s really weird as I keep thinking I’ve got all of my stuff already and don’t need more, but it’s mostly in Fowey, so may as well be in Timbuktu!

Ruth and Stevie made their annual pilgrimage to see me for a week in the summer and we enjoyed trips to Haifa, Jerusalem, Jaffa and a yoga class at the nemal, making more Facebook memories to be reminded of in the future (though glad they didn’t take pics of me asleep at the Pink Floyd tribute concert, I was star-gazing…) – I seem to have had numerous reminders daily for months about trips by said duo, Hannah, Grace & Mils and the Pasters, along with general Fowey sailing and regatta fun!  Simmons has been out a couple of times too. All may attest to my driving skills – I passed my test to get an Israeli licence so am now expected to drive like a crazy person!!!

My language skills are regressing, now I’m more settled I think I’ll have to take lessons again – it’s just so easy not to bother… but I mamash (really) want to be fluent!!! I also took a calligraphy lesson in Jerusalem and am looking forward to practicing on graph paper with my special pens, watch this space…

I don’t really have any news, though I got a call asking me what my favourite whisky is as I joined up to a group that meet every month and they wanted to get my favourite in – now have a craving for some Lagavulin…

Trust you’re well and looking forward to hearing your news and seeing you when you come visit…

Lotsoflove xxx

Jo Gore

Jewish Community in Cornwall