In one or two recent services, we have discussed the challenges of some of the laws appearing in the weekly readings when we examine them in the light of contemporary sensibilities. The rules of priestly purity, for example, are difficult to reconcile with our modern attitudes and policies regarding disability and difference. In B’har, however, we cannot but be taken aback at the enlightened, inspired spirit of the laws given to Moses to pass on to the children of Israel. In a world in which, throughout most, if not all, of history, people have striven with one another to create power and wealth and amass as much land as possible, the laws of the jubilee year are remarkable. Basically, they make it impossible for any single person or family to become the owner of a vast estate. The instructions not to exploit, humiliate or lord it over debtors and the poor share the same inspired, ethical spirit. 

B’chukkotai, continues in similar vein, reminding me of modern UK practice with regard to leasehold property. The parsha also anticipates the book of D’varim in its enumeration of blessings and curses following on from good or bad behaviour respectively. But enough from me, for, this coming Shabbat, we are in for a special treat in the form of Rabbi Maurice Michaels, who is coming to Cornwall to lead our service. When Rabbi Maurice took up his post in Bournemouth, he was described by the local Daily Echo as being an “inspirational rabbi”. Besides having a previous career in commerce and industry behind him, he has served, among other positions, on the Board of Deputies and as Chairman of what is now Reform Judaism. Several of our members have attended services in Bournemouth and I for one can vouch for his ‘inspirational’ leadership. 

Rabbi Maurice will also conduct, as I have possibly mentioned already, a special service to welcome Mai Jacobson and Roger Chatfield into our community. How can you miss such a promising Shabbat day?

Banner Turnout for Pesach 5779

The largest Seder in KK history happened this year with 80 people attending the first night of Pesach at Trelssick Gardens in Feock, Truro.People came from near and afar to celebrate the traditional Haggadah service which highlights our Exodus from Egypt.

Masterly led by Vice-Chairman Adam Feldman, the first night of Seder was filled with song, prayer, meaningful and funny commentary throughout. Song, prayer, four cups of wine, a spectacular Mah Nishtana by our under 13’s, and much role playing by many members and visitors who attended made it a most lively and super Pesach.

Many thanks go to Chairman Jeremy Jacobson who welcomed and greeted all the guests in his very witty introductory remarks, to Harvey Kurzfield who officially passed over the service leadership to Adam, to Leslie Lipert who worked behind the scenes, to all the chefs who created a most spectacular seder meal, and most especially to Anne Hearle and her husband, David, who organised the entire festival.

Hag Sameach and enjoy your Matzah. You are commanded to do so. Never mind the crumbs

Photos of Pesach Sedar 5779

Obedience at Disobedience

The Film/Food/Book/Fact Club met April 6th at Malpas Village Hall for another fantastic evening of good food, conviviality and discussion to view the film, ‘Disobedience,’ based on the book by the same title by Naomi Alderman.

Both the film and the book raised all kinds of avenues for discussion as both genres examined the impact of the death of the revered eminent Rabbi Krushka on the alternative lifestyles in the orthodox community of Hendon.Issues of freedom of choice verses tradition, various interpretations of Jewish law and how it could and should be practised, the physical and psychological impact of being raised in a strictly orthodox community and what constitutes happiness were all addressed through various central characters in depth and through stereotypical personages of stock Jewish members of a closed community:the gunzer machers, the movers and shakers, the academics, the variant family units, the frumers and the free spirits.

Many thanks to Adam and Melanie Feldman for arranging the venue, Jeremy Jacobson who provided the film, and to all those members and guests who helped with the ‘washing up’ to ensure that it was another fine, unmissable evening for the Film/Food/Book/Fact Club. If you haven’t attended one of these KK  events, make sure you catch the next one!

Click here to view pictures taken on the night.

Pesach in Cornwall

Spring is coming and, with it, one of the most wonderful festivals of the Jewish year: Pesach. It is fitting that, at the same time as the world around us begins again to burst into growth, we celebrate the throwing off of the bonds of slavery. We clean our houses, looking for chametz and in the process, sweep away the dust and crumbs at the back of drawers and cupboards, the grey cobwebs in the corners of our kitchens. Pesach is also a time to look inside our hearts and perhaps clear away a few dusty habits and modes of thought grown stiff with complacency. And it is a time to celebrate together the great gift of freedom and the coming together of the people of Israel in a shared covenant with God.

The first night of Pesach this year will be on Friday, 19 April and we will be celebrating it in grand style. There will be the traditional story, given new life by the ever fresh reading of our Honorary Life President Harvey Kurzfield and Deputy Chair Adam Feldman, the traditional seder plate, and a wonderful buffet lovingly cooked and prepared by some of the talented chefs of the community.

Our seder is a wonderful occasion for both children and adults. If you are visiting Cornwall during Pesach and wish to join us, please contact Anne Hearle for details.

One last thing. This year the seder begins on Erev Shabbat, so we will be lighting candles for both Shabbat and Yom Tov. Please bring with you your candlesticks, candles and kiddish cup. We will then have two mitzvot for the price of one, plus a beautiful seder table covered with joyous lights.

Jewish Community of Cornwall