Elkan’s view from Radlett

ELKAN’S VIEW FROM RADLETT 9th September 2015

 Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection. In Jewish tradition it is only one of four new years. The others are 1st Nissan – Kings and festivals; 1st Elul – animals; and Tu B’Shvat, 15th Shevat, the New Year for Trees.

Rosh Hashanah, changes the number of the year (to 5776), marks Shemittah the seven-year cycle of rest for the land, and Jubilees, the 50 year cycle which we no longer know.

This issue therefore seemed the right time to review some of the past year.

I’ve written from Jewish communities in Hong Kong Thailand and Croatia, as well nearer home from Plymouth. I’ve reported on Shavuot in the Negev and the delights of living in a Jewish state (when was the last time a passport officer wished you a Shanah Tovah?). I have frequently written from Radlett, and will officiate there and mark the 53rd year in which I have been privileged to lead communities in prayer on Yamim Noraim.

Last year has undoubtedly been difficult for Jews all over the world, and there is no indication that next year is going to be any better. We continue to witness the sheer idiocy of Obama’s legacy on Iran, the consequences of which have yet to be realised.

The Israeli government continues to handle the situation insensitively instead of turning this crisis into an opportunity. Much for Israel will hang on next year’s presidential elections

Anti-Semitism has become worse in most countries of the world including Britain. The murders in Denmark and France have clearly sounded warnings in those communities, and in Britain we have yet to see the result of the growing political power of the Muslim community, together with the influx of refugees from the Middle East who have been brainwashed to hate Jews.

But all is not bad. Israel continues to lead the world in so many areas, and to provide a modern Jewish state that has been absent in our past history. Rosh Hashanah marks a renewal and a vote of confidence in our future.

I wish all my readers all over the world a Shanah Tovah uMetukah, a good and sweet 5776

Penzance Jewish Cemetery Restoration

The Penzance Jewish Cemetery restoration has been completed overseen by the Friends of Penzance Jewish Cemetery on behalf of BOD Heritage Limited, the owners.

The contract was given to local craftsman Mike Penaluna who tragically died shortly after starting the work. We are grateful to Leo Penaluna, his son for completing the work to a very high standard. The cemetery walls and entrance now look in a pristine condition.

The funds for the project were donated by over 60 individuals and organisations principally by the Heritage Lottery Fund and including the Cornwall Heritage Trust, The Town Council, many local residents, Jewish charities and descendants of those buried in the cemetery. We have posted the new photos in our photo gallery.

Clearance of Falmouth Jewish Cemetery

Question: How do you get 265 years of intrusive vegetation cleared in only 3 days?
Answer: Find two two old Jews and give them the job.

David Hearle and Anthony Fagin, members of Kehillat Kernow with a combined age of 144 years, using tools both ancient and modern, stripped back the vegetation and pollarded the self-seeded trees that for aeons had progressively been engulfing the site of the historic Jewish Cemetery in Falmouth. For the first time in generations it is now possible to see all the gravestones. Many still remain standing, albeit it at precarious angles, while others have fallen. Of those that have fallen, several have been vandalised. But at least a proper survey can now be undertaken of the remedial work that needs to be done to repair and re-erect the fallen stones in their proper places and to repair the perimeter walls and other architectural features of the cemetery.

An alliance called Friends of the Ponsharden Cemeteries has been formed with volunteers responsible for restoring the adjoining Dissenters’ Cemetery and also involving representatives of Falmouth Town Council and Historic England. Work is now well advanced on the preparation of a project proposal that will be sent to potential funders in the hope of securing sufficient funding to enable restoration work to start (subject to the granting of formal approval since both sites are Scheduled Monuments).

The eight  photographs in the photo gallery show the clearance work under way, the cleared site and a member of the local fire brigade putting a damper on proceedings having been called out by passing motorists who were alarmed by the bonfire.

Words and pictures by Anthony posted by Leslie

Jewish Community in Cornwall