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.

K’doshim reiterates many of the laws already announced, particularly in Mishpatim. There is a different emphasis now, reflected in the name of the parsha, i.e. holiness. “You must be holy, since I am God your Lord and I am holy,” God tells Moses. The ethical weight of the laws is palpable and again there is an insistence on justice, fairness and compassion. “Do not falsify measurements… Do not curse, even the deaf… Do not pick the incompletely formed grape clusters……the above must be left for the poor and the stranger.” Not harvesting every single ear of corn nor every grape has an ecological meaning now, over and above the original consideration given to the needy. Today’s super-mechanised harvesting techniques mean that nothing falls to nourish birds, dormice and other creatures in the period when they need to store fat for the winter to come.

The parsha is punctuated with a refrain reminding the people of the holiness of God and the holiness they are being expected to share in. And this leads naturally to Emor and the even higher level of holiness demanded of the priests. The rules governing their behaviour are followed by those marking out the most holy periods of the year, starting with Shabbat and continuing through the festivals from Pesach to…. Well, to reach the end, you should come to the service on Saturday at Three Bridges School, starting at 10.30. Pat Lipert will be leading the service.

This Thursday is Yom Ha-Atzma’ut, Israel Independence Day.

Pesach 5776

At the recent Seder, a good time was had by all, despite the absence of esteemed Newsletter Editor and stalwart Seder chef Pat Lipert, and Treasurer and general logistics wizard Leslie Lipert, who crossed the Atlantic to sample an American Pesach. The potential imbalance of populations was restored by the movement the other way of Rachel Brown’s parents   , who travelled from New York to Cornwall to spend Pesach with daughter and grandchildren.  Kehillat Kernow Chair Harvey Kurtzfield and Vice-Chair Adam Feldman led the service with great verve. The food was carefully and tastefully prepared by members of the community and the afikomen was found by Isaac Feldman, the last time he will qualify to take part in the search. Once again, we experienced the moving yet joyful story of the Exodus.

Elkan’s view from natanya


Rabbi Dr Joseph Ber Soloveitchik (1903-1993) was the major leader of Modern Orthodoxy in the United States during the 20th century. In his essay “Kol Dodi Dofek  – Listen – my beloved knocks”, Soloveitchik discusses the religious significance of the creation of the State of Israel and the obligation that its existence imposes upon all Jews. 

 In one chapter he traces six occasions when he believed that Gd specifically intervened to ensure the establishment of the State of Israel, and he describes these as “knocks” that “The Beloved”, Gd himself, made. 

 The first was in the political arena. It was unbelievable in 1947 that Russia and America should both vote for the partition resolution which established the State of Israel. He believes the United Nations was specially created to pass it because “one cannot point to any other concrete accomplishment on the part of the United Nations”. 

 The second knock was on the battlefield. Gd heartened the hearts of the Arabs who went to war instead of accepting the 1947 Partition Plan. Had they done so the State of Israel would have been without Jerusalem, most of the Galilee, and much of the Negev. As there was a battle, so Israel was able with divine assistance to defeat its enemies. 

 The third knock was theology. Soloveitchik understood the doctrinal assertion that there was a “new covenant” under which Christianity had the right to the land of Israel. The victory of Medinat Yisrael and its possession of the Holy Land totally overturned this false concept.  

 The fourth knock was on the heart of those who were trying to forget their Jewishness. The existence of Israel raises a level of Jewish consciousness even amongst those who are most assimilated. 

 The fifth knock is that our enemies have discovered that Jewish blood is not cheap and that we have the ability, indeed the duty, to defend ourselves.  

 The sixth knock is “a new phenomenon in the annals of our history”, that every Jew is entitled to find safety and habitation in Medinat Yisrael – who knows what might have happened if the State of Israel had been born before the Holocaust.  

Ceremonies to Mark Restoration of Penzance Jewish Cemetery

The restoration was completed in August 2105. For more details of this and of the cemetery in general go to Penzance Cemetery on this site and to Friends of Penzance Jewish Cemetery.  A great deal of credit for the restoration rests with Leslie Lipert, Treasurer of both Kehillat Kernow and the Friends of the Cemetery, in raising the funds, and with Jon Pender, former Planning Officer and Chairman of the Friends, in processing the listed building applications and overseeing the restoration itself.

Two ceremonies are scheduled to mark the restoration. The first of these will be a re-sanctification, which will take place on 13 March, to be attended by the Jewish community in Cornwall and to be led by David Jacobs.

The second ceremony will take place on 18 May and will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Colonel Bolitho OBE, Colin Spanjar, of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, local dignitaries, significant donors and friends of the cemetery. Please note that attendance at the civic ceremony is strictly by invitation.

Jewish Community in Cornwall