The two parshas which come immediately after the episode of the golden calf and which, this year, form a double parashiyot, are marked by their brightness and serenity. They begin with Moses asking the people to contribute to the building of the Tabernacle. From then on, everything that happens is good, with the people giving either of their possessions or of their labour. They bring bracelets, earrings, ornaments, sky blue, dark red and crimson wool, fine linen, skins and leathers, silver, copper, and acacia wood. As for the tribal leaders, they bring precious stones, fragrances and their best olive oil. Such is the enthusiasm and generous energy of the people that Moses has to tell them not to bring more. Now, with all necessary materials assembled, it seems that everyone is busy, as craftsmen and workers hammer and mould, carry and carve. The camp is filled with the noise of busy, happy work. The step-by-step description, first of the building, sculpting, weaving and sewing, followed by the  assembly of the Tabernacle, with all its parts – Ark, Table, Lamp. Incense Altar, Drape and Altar, Washstand, and Enclosure – has a mesmerising effect. The narration is imbued with a kind of tenderness springing from a people  joyful in God’s work. It is a tenderness which, despite all the setbacks and backsliding which will characterise our history, is realised in the Psalms of David and Songs of Solomon and even in the words of the Prophets, when they remember that God will remember His people. In more modern times we continue to add to this store with new songs and prayers, particularly during Shabbat.

It is good that the Book of Shemot, which starts with the fight to leave Egypt, should end on such a positive note, made most patent by the maftir describing the cloud covering the Communion Tent and God’s glory filling the Tabernacle.

And so on to Va-yikra, God calling to Moses and, through him, to the people. We start with the laws of sacrifice, and who better to introduce these than Pat Lipert, who is deep in her thoughts and her books in order to give you a service to remember this Saturday at 10.30.

Knowledge, Knowledge Everywhere….

The value of KK’s Arnold and Leatrice Levine Library was more than amply verified on Saturday, 10th of March when members of the community, armed with their reading fare, mostly borrowed from the KK Library, convened at Malpas Village Hall.   A four-hour discussion of the books we had read not only provided vast amounts of Jewish information we didn’t know before, but also provoked much thought and lively discussion while feasting over a vast array of gourmet goodies.

All subjects from Jewish history, anecdotes, archaeology, fiction and non-fiction to commentary on man’s relationship to God through the ages were covered.

We began with the musical adaptation of liturgical music composed by Isaac Feldman and went into the intricacies of Abraham’s affect on Christianity and Islam,, the Jewish position in a myriad of societies from 1492 to 1900, heard about some of the more fascinating finds at Masada, spoke of Amoz Oz and Herman Wouk, and ended up with a multitude of examples of cultic and non-cultic deific worship in human beings search for spirituality.

If you are missing out on our Film-Book-Food Club, make sure you re-arrange your schedules because the next event is already in the process of being organised.

To see photos of the evening click here.

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, 30th March 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 on  01736 731686 for details.

One last thing. This year the seder begins on Erev Shabbat, so we will have both Shabbat and Yom Tov candles to light. 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.

Memorial services for the six million

Holocaust Memorial Services on the 26-28th of January to mark Holocaust Memorial Day were held in Cornwall to acknowledge the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. The Cornwall Jewish Community participated in all these events which were held at Truro Cathedral and the Redruth Baptist Church.

On Friday and Saturday, the 26th and 27th of January, two days of services took place at Truro Cathedral. The weekend-long programme was a joint effort by Anglican church, the Devon and Cornwall Police and the Cornwall Council. An exhibit, The Power of Words, to educate the public about the impact holocaust experiences have had on the lives of so many people including  the six million Jews lost in the Holocaust, in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. Candle-lighting services to mark the loss of Jewish lives were held. KK member Liz Berg and Chairman, Jeremy Jacobson participated in those events.

On Sunday, the 28th of January, A special inter-faith service, organised and sponsored by Andrew Chapple, Elder of the Redruth Baptist Church, and Jeremy Jacobson of Kehillat Kernow. was held.

A specially created Yom HaShoah Memorial Service by the Cornish Jewish Community was led by Pat Lipert, the second to be held at the Baptist church. Many members of Kehillat Kernow attended and participated in this service which also included programme participation from the greater Christian and Baptist community. KK Members who read special prayers, testimonies of witness, poems and liturgy  including Jeremy Jacobson, Rachel Brown, Harvey Kurzfield and Adam Feldman.

Cambridge comes to Cornwall

Two distinguished and accomplished visitors from the Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue in Cambridge led our end of the year Shabbat Va-y’chi services on the 30th of December: Mike Frankl and Fiona Karet Frankl. Both Mike and Fiona celebrated the Shabbat, along with their two delightful friends and bearded collie, Archie, after travelling from Looe in windy weather to be with us. A large turnout with visitors as far away as the USA and Germany, joined the KK regulars for a lively Shabbat of songs, prayers and much fellowship at the Kiddush which followed.
We were treated to new tunes and insightful commentary by Fiona and a fine lecture by Mike on the Jewish connection with the Hyksos in Egypt during the time of Joseph and Jacob.
Many thanks to Fiona and Mike for a fine end of the year Shabbat.

Jewish Community in Cornwall