Can there be a more impressive scene? Moses, the humblest of men, the stammerer, devoid of ambition, who has surrounded himself with no pomp or ceremony, servant of God, leader and servant of the people, knowing he is near death, that he will not enter the promised land, but without bitterness or resentment, delivers the greatest of addresses. He reminds the people of their long journey to where they now stand, both physically and morally. He recounts the most important laws and puts before the community the choice they have between good and evil, life and death. He warns against idolatry, complacency, and forgetfulness. He warns against idolatrous prophets, who are not real prophets. And what is this at the beginning of R’eih?
The curse will come if you do not obey the commandments of God your
Lord, and you go astray from the path that I am prescribing for you today,
following other gods to have a novel spiritual experience.
One of the most significant developments in the last fifty years in the west, particularly in the UK, has been the decline in the number of people regularly attending places of worship or identifying themselves with a traditional religion. At least this is true of the main religion of the country, i.e. Christianity. In some cases, people have simply lapsed into secularism and become agnostic or atheist. In other cases, they have still had spiritual yearnings but have looked for meaning elsewhere, in alternative or new religions. The conceptualisation of faith in these cases is often vague, sort of eastern, sort of pagan. It is precisely to avoid a similar fate for Judaism that Moses reminds the people that the stories and the laws and the words of God should be placed in their heart and soul and, oh so importantly, taught to their children both at home and away from home. The Torah is for then, for now and for the future. And to keep it ever relevant, it has, is and will be questioned and interpreted by sages and men and women of faith through the ages.
So how can you possibly resist hearing the insights of Harvey Kurtzfield, who will be leading the service this Saturday, starting 10:30 a.m.?
This is the subject of some research being carried out by Hila Zaban, an UK-based Israeli research fellow working in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Dr Zaban is also looking at the types of connections that British Jews have with Israel. Her research is mainly based on interviews and participant observation, but as part of this project she is also running a survey.
The purpose of the survey is to reach people all over the UK, not just in London, in order to understand broader trends among British Jews and their connections with Israel.
Dr Zaban would be most grateful to anyone who completes her online survey. It takes about
ten minutes to answer and is fully anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.
On Sunday, 10 September, from 2-4pm, there will be an Open Day at the Jewish Cemetery and Dissenters’ Burying Ground (also known as Congregationalists) at Ponsharden in Falmouth adjacent to Sainsburys Store. Keith Pearce, historian and authority on Cornish Jewish cemeteries will be on hand to discuss the background and personages buried in the Jewish cemetery and Dissenter historians, Rob Nunn and Tom Weller, will lecture about the adjacent Dissenters Burying Ground. Both cemeteries are presently undergoing restoration led by Falmouth Town Council with the help of the Friends of Ponsharden Cemeteries. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is being submitted to raise the additional necessary funds. The open day is in conjunction with the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage. Parking available at Park and Float/Ride car park.
I have added the latest additon of the newsletter: Kol Kehillat Kernow to the Newsletter page.
You’ll need to be a Kehillat Kernow member to view this.
Have Ark, will travel-Anthony Fagin’s portable Ark which holds our two Torah scrolls, made its debut on Shabbat Mattot-Mas’ei on the 28th of Tammuz, where a Shehechianu was duly pronounced. The Ark, made of plywood with a ceramic crest on top, will be lighter and perfect for the upcoming High Holidays when two scrolls are required. Anthony’s expertise and fine craftsmanship resulted in the perfect solution for housing the two scrolls. Anthony donated the Ark to the KK community for which we are all very grateful. Bravo!