va’yikra – Leviticus

What a story has unfurled over the Book of Sh’mot (Exodus). An Israelite, brought up in the heart of Egypt, married to a Midianite woman, is chosen by God to lead his people from the clutches of the empire which nurtured him. The people escape from Egypt and are saved from the might of its imperial army by a miracle, or by that army’s own military strength, whose weight literally bogs soldiers, chariots and horses down in the mud, where they are drowned by the returning sea. For the Israelites there follows a host of adventures, of ups and downs, of moments of glory and moments of shame, as they veer between faith and love of God on the one hand and fear and petulance on the other. Sh’mot finishes on a high, however, as the Tabernacle is erected and all its furniture and furnishings are installed, everything “as God had commanded Moses”. The Maftir of the final parsha (final section of the weekly portion of Torah readings), P’kudey (Accounts) ends on a particularly comforting and mystical note as it describes how “the cloud covered the Communion Tent, and God’s glory filled the Tabernacle.”

And so we come to the third Book, Va’yikra, where we plunge into a series of detailed descriptions of the many sacrifices demanded by God. In the daily Sacharit (morning service) in Orthodox communities, some of these offerings are described and, in the Amidah, Jews pray for the restoration of the Temple services. We don’t do this in Reform synagogues and many of us would find it difficult, possibly distasteful, to witness animal sacrifices. Indeed, I suspect that not a few Orthodox Jews would too. However, do we have the ‘right’ to feel this way? I suspect that much of our aversion to sacrifices is due to the distance that now exists for the vast majority of us between the act of killing animals and our consumption of them. Besides, we should remember that the vast majority of animals sacrificed by our ancestors were eaten either by the Priests, the Levites or by the people offering the animals. Is it not perhaps something to be admired, that the food that was eaten was also dedicated to God? Would this not make the act of killing animals and eating their flesh more significant, more holy?

To get to understand sacrifices better, to pray, sing, read and converse come along this Saturday at 10:30. Pat Lipert will be leading the service and, apparently,  there is a whiff of frankincense about it. 

Holocaust Memorial Day Events in Cornwall

Several events were held during the weekend of January 25-28th throughout Cornwall to remember and honour the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.  Many members of Kehillat Kernow turned out to participate by visiting schools, giving commentaries, saying prayers and attending exhibitions. At Truro Cathedral, candle lighting ceremonies on Friday and Saturday, along with an exhibition about the catastrophic effects of racial, ethnic and religious intolerance mounted by the Cornwall Police Diversity Team and the Inter-faith Forum, took place. At the Peace Pole at the Dor Kemmyn Field at Penmount Crematorium in Truro, members of the Faith Forum conducted prayers for peace and remembrance of those innocent victims lost in the Holocaust. At the Redruth Baptist Church, spearheaded by Elder Andrew Chapple, the third year this church has conducted Holocaust Remembrance ceremonies, a special Anne Frank Exhibition was mounted along with candle lighting for the six million Jews annihilated by the Nazis and followed by prayers from the Baptist Community and the Jewish Community of Cornwall. In Plymouth, a HMD luncheon was held along with the religious and memorial programme to highlight those lost in the Holocaust and in the Rwandan genocide.

Pictures at the Baptist Church can be seen in the photo gallery by clicking here.

Pictures at the Truro Cathedral & Dor Kemyn can be seen in the photo gallery by clicking here.

Books…Books…Glorious Books!

The 1st of December got off to a rousing start with the sprit of Tzedekah in full swing. The annual Book Swap and Cake extravaganza at The Kurzfields took place.  This charity event which raises money for the Cornwall Hospices began many years ago to honour the memory of one of our dear members, Kate Fagin (z’l). Many people from our community and members of the greater Cornwall community were present to find many new good reads and to offer some of their own in exchange A raffle was also held. The splendid tea, coffee and myriad array of sweet goodies only added to the day and donations were generous and very gratefully received. Thank you Jacqueline and Harvey for all your hard work to make this yearly event so very special.

Jacqueline has asked me to let you know that they made £594 at the Book Swap. Jacqueline says, “Thank you to all who came and made the afternoon so enjoyable.”

To see pictures click here.

Film Food Night-Ushpizin

Happy Beginnings, Happy Endings

Saturday November 3rd was our evening for food and film. Despite the rain outside,  the sun shone inside Malpas Village Hall.  We came, we ate, we watched and  we enjoyed. The Israeli food fest was only equalled by the charming Israeli film, Ushpizin.  Ushpizin means ‘visitors’ (hopefully Tsaddiks, but not in this case), who are welcomed, housed and fed inside your Succah during the 8-day festival of Sukkot.  Despite the poverty of the childless couple, their fervent  prayers are answered and in many ways, “nes gadol hayyat sham.”

We began in joy with an abundance of fine dishes prepared by our members, all with an Israeli theme. Each time we meet, we are all overwhelmed with the amazing array of culinary treats laid out before us. As Gloria Jacobson said, “When is there ever a Kehillat Kernow event that is ever under-catered!”

The film after added to our naches, filled with sadness, hope, joy and a very happy ending. The baddies turned good; the couple were blessed with a son, their lives, like ours, were filled gratitude and the knowledge that despite all, life is very good when you look towards the light.

To see the pictures taken on the night clik here.

Cornwall Jews and Muslims talk story

Over forty members of Kehilat Kernow and members of the Islamic Community Centre gathered together at Carnon Downs on Sunday, 7th October, for a session of story-telling representing their traditions. Members of Christian communities and members of the Faith Forum also attended.

Jeremy Jacobson, Chairman of KK, introduced the afternoon social event along with Dr. Dureid Rifai, head of the Islamic Community Centre.

The afternoon event highlighted the various traditions we all bring to our communities and how much all of us have in common.

A series of stories told by Jeremy, Harvey Kurzfield, (with help from two members of our community and a member of the Islamic community), Rachel Brown, Isaac Feldman, Ahmed, Miranda  (Atilano) Brown, Dr. Rifai, and David Hearle followed.

The afternoon exchange culminated with a sweet and savoury buffet prepared by both communities.

Click here for pictures.

Jewish Community of Cornwall