yitro – wise old bird

A wise old bird who, at the beginning of this week’s parsha, arrives in the Israelite camp with his wise daughter Zipporah, who  earlier saved Moses from the wrath of God when on his way back to Egypt together with his wife and two sons. What do we know about Yitro? He is described as the priest of Midian. The Midianites were a pagan nation at the time of Moses, but Yitro appears to be a monotheist and refers frequently to ‘the Lord’ as if he himself is a believer. Yitro is also identified as the father of the Druze and he could surely not have asked for more illustrious descendants, just as they could ask for no more illustrious ancestor. The Druze are a remarkable people. In Israel they number just 143,000. They call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid “People of Unitarianism or Monotheism” or “al-Muwaḥḥidūn”. They are recognised as a religious minority and serve in the IDF and in civic and political life. Many of them have achieved high positions of authority. Their role in Israeli society has parallels with that of Jews in many countries in which they have lived, for, like the Druze, Jews have invariably striven to be patriotic members of the countries they have inhabited.

But I digress again, or do I? To return to both man and parsha, his advice to Moses to set up a sort of civil service to help him administer justice and leave himself time for the really important work precedes one of the most monumental sections of the Torah. Yitro’s conversation with Moses is followed by the foundation block of the Covenant, namely the Ten Commandments, which are delivered to the Israelites in the most solemn and awe-inspiring manner as they stand at the foot of Sinai.

To show us more with his customary skill, touch and wisdom will be Adam Feldman. Come along on Saturday at 10:30. You will not be disappointed.

Footnote: According to the Midrash, Jethro had been looking out for Moses ever since he was a baby in Pharaoh’s palace:“And she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter,” etc. (Exod. 2:10). Pharaoh’s daughter used to kiss and hug Moses, loved him as if he were her own son, and would not allow him out of the palace. Because he was so handsome, everyone was eager to see him, and whoever saw him could not turn his eyes away from him. Pharaoh also used to kiss and hug him, and Moses used to grab Pharaoh’s crown and put it on his own head. The magicians of Egypt sitting there said, “We fear this one who grabs your crown and puts it on his head may be the one, as we have been saying, who will take your kingdom away from you.” Some of the magicians suggested that he be slain, others that he be burned alive. But Jethro, who sat among them, said, “This child has yet no understanding.” (Sh’mot Rabbah 1:26) The Book of Legends: Legends from the Talmud and Midrash, Hayim Nahum Bialik and Yehoshua Hana Ravnitzky (eds.), translated by William G. Braude, p. 60.

Chanukkah Party

The KK community representing four generations came out in droves to welcome in the 7th night of Chanukkah at a party hosted in the home of Pat an Leslie Lipert. 

Dreidls were spun. Chocolate gelt was equitably distributed among young and old. Churros and donuts, latkes and salmon, salads of every description and hot vegetarian dishes were prepared by members, not to mention a myrad of scrumptious desserts to complement this most happy celebration to commemorate the victories of the Macabbees when the light of the Ner Tamid burnt for a miraculous eight days. The service was led by Vice-chairman Adam Feldman as people lit their chanukkiahs to surround the reception areas with a blaze of light piercing through the darkness.

Following the service, a moving tribute, most thoughtfully and eloquently presented by Chairman Jeremy and Mai Jacobson, was made in honour of years of service to the community to Pat and Leslie Lipert. A rare, antique Yad of either Egyptan or Syrian origin was presented to the Liperts for communal use in our services along with an attached medallion honouring their contribution to the community. 

The Liperts wish to thank all members of the community who made this loving presentation possible and will, like all present and future generations of Kehlllat Kernow, take special pride whenever this yad encircling our Torah is brought out for services.Todah rabah!

Photos of this event supplied can been seen clicking by here.

Kol Nidrei and Yom Kippur Observances

All the High Holy Day services were well attended this year at Roselidden Farm on the 8th and 9th of October with many visitors from afar and our own community of Kehillat Kernow.  Services were masterfully led by student rabbi, Eleanor Davis, and included on Yom Kippur afternoon, a special discussion of modern sins and their connection with the twenty-two sins cited throughout the service as part of the atonement liturgy in our machzors on this solemn holiday.  

With Jeremy Jacobson’s reading of  the Jonah story in the afternoon  and the concluding Shofar blowing by Adam Feldman, the holiday concluded with Havdalah, and a breaking of the fast with a fine supper arranged by Peter and Jos Haddenfield of Roselidden Farm.

Special thanks to all those who contributed to making this a most meaningful observance and to Mai Jacobson, Rachel Brown and Leslie Lipert who took all the pictures.

PIctures of Kol Nidrei and Yom Kippur can be viewed by clicking onto the Photo Gallery above.

Rosh HaShannah Shines Despite the Weather

It may have been raining on Erev Rosh HaShannah and on the  day of 5780, but the sun certainly shone inside The Barn at Roselidden Farm in Helston when a large number of people from within the Cornish community  and from the greater community gathered together for services and delightful celebratory cuisine, both traditional and contemporary to observe the first part of the High Holy Days.

 Led enthusiastically by KK’s  talented Adam Feldman, the service was warmly received and much appreciated. 

The catering was done by Peter and Jos Hadfield while the traditional wine, whiskey, apples and honey, Challah and honey cakes were  contributed by members of the KK community.

All good wishes for a happy, healthy and good new year: L’Shannah Tovah. Hag Sameah!

Photos of this event supplied can been seen clicking by

Mai Jacobson and/or Rachel Brown

World Cup VS Bar MItzvah

The Fiction, Film, Food Event at Malpas Village Hall on the afternoon of 22nd September proved that both secular and religious rites of passage can somehow be managed with the showing of Sixty-Six for members of Kehillat Kernow and the greater community from the Cornwall Faith Forum. Add some popcorn, scones, brownies, and some Rosh HaShannah goodies, it was a fine combination of the best of British and the best of Jewish.

The funny and moving film told the story of a Jewish boy whose Bar Mitzvah was scheduled on the day of the famous 1966 World Cup at Wembley. Talk about a conflict of interests. A way around this tricky situation is happily resolved and offered much food for thoughtful and light-hearted  inter-faith conversation that belies the adage that sometimes, one can be all things to all people. Organised by Adam Feldman, this popular venue always promises to be of interest to a varied group of pictures. 

Photos can be seen by clicking here.

Jewish Community of Cornwall