Please note that service reminders aim to build a bridge between the last Saturday service two weeks before and the one being announced. They will therefore often focus on the previous parshah rather than on the one in the title.

Imagine the wonder of it: to witness the plagues, each one more awful than the one before, to see the hail lash the land and darkness to descend for three days, but only outside the Israelite neighbourhoods, to sense the angel of death passing overhead but to be safe inside one’s home, then, after the departure from Egypt, to gaze up at a huge pillar of cloud guiding the way by day and a pillar of fire by night. Most of all imagine what it must have been like to watch the waters divide, allowing passage to the whole people, only for the waters to return and drown the pursuing Egyptian forces: chariots, horses, spearmen and bowmen, officers and soldiers, every last one of them. Wondrous, but traumatic.

Now if I were the Managing Director of Promised Lands and I were interviewing the Israelites for the position of settlers in the land of Canaan, I would not have been much  impressed by them. My first question would have been:

“Can you give me an example of when you have faced a challenge?”

A truthful reply would have had to be along the lines of, “Well, after God led us out of Egypt, we reached the sea and then saw the Egyptians pursuing us. That was a real challenge.”

“And what did you do?” I would have continued.

“Well, we sort of… um… we panicked, I suppose. Mind you, we did give Moses a good telling off for getting us into the scrape in the first place.”

“I see, and now,” passing to the next question on my list, “Can you tell me of an occasion when you took the initiative?”

Their faces might have lit up a little here, as they replied, “Yes, after we defeated the Egyptians… ah, we mean,.. after God helped us defeat the Egyptians – for which, by the way, we thanked Him with a wonderful song –  we came to this place called Marah and couldn’t drink the water.”

“Mmm, yes and…”

“We complained to Moses. We did it without being prompted.”

“And did that solve the problem?”

“Ah yes,” they might have answered, gaining in confidence. “You see, Moses was really impressed. He threw bits of wood from a tree which God showed him into the water and then we could drink it.”

At this point, I would have wished to draw the interview to a quick close but I might have risked one more question.

“Can you give an example of when you have thought and acted strategically?”

“Oh yes, that’s easy. After the affair with the water, we began to take the long view and consider our history, so we accused Moses of taking us out of Egypt to starve us. The thing is that in Egypt we got lots of food, even if we did have to work hard and suffer the odd humiliation and beating.”

Now I would definitely have stopped the interview. I would have thanked them for coming and told them I’d let them know at the latest within the next forty years. And that would have been the end of it for the Israelites. I would have moved on.

“Sarah,” I would have said to my PA. “Have the Nomadic Turkmen representatives come in, will you.”

Except that it wasn’t the end for the Israelites, not the end for us, because God was able to see the potential in the people, despite their complaining and backsliding. They might have kept losing faith in God, but God didn’t lose faith in them. And with His gentle guidance, by the end of B’shallach, they were able to fight a battle against Amalek and win. A fit preparation for Yitro, which starts with Moses’ father-in-law giving him some excellent advice to shift some of the burden of leadership from his shoulders onto those of leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds and leaders of tens. In this way, the people begin to take responsibility for themselves and to face up to challenges. They are ready now to receive a great revelation. To hear this, come to the service at Three Bridges School this Saturday at 10.30. Harvey Kurzfield will be leading us.

Movie Night

Bagels and Batteries (not included)

Pat Lipert

The first film/nosh/cultural event of the season took place on Saturday, the 28th of January at Malpas Village Hall in Truro. If you weren’t there, you missed something very special.

About 17 KK members of all ages kibitzed together over coffee in the kitchen/dining room of this well-appointed venue where Adam and Melanie Feldman, who organised the event, handed out dough for making bagels. And what bagels! Most of us had never made a bagel before. Once enough bagels had been made to feed England, we went into the ‘movie house’ section of the hall to view Steven Speilberg’s ‘Batteries Not Included.” Just enough time for the bagel dough to rise and then be baked.

Heneini! We returned to the dining room and before us was a feast of freshly baked bagels, an avalanche of delicious fillings, salads and fruit. We ate with gusto!

Caption: Is that a bagel!-Exuberant young chefs obviously make fantastic bagels.

Pictures of this event can be seen on our photo gallery.

Remembering the Holocaust

Pat Lipert

From January 25-28th, several venues were arranged in Cornwall to honour all those who died in the Holocaust in observance of Holocaust Memorial Day. School visits, services at the universities in Falmouth and Exeter, Truro Cathedral and Redruth Baptist Church were held with six of our members participating. Many of the events were organised by Cornwall County Council and the Diversity Team of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

Memorial Service-An inter-faith gathering of over 80 people attended the Service to remember all those who died in the Holocaust at the Redruth Baptist Church. From left to right are: Andrew Chapple, Elder of RBC, Adam Feldman, Jeremy Jacobson, Gillian and Michael Saldivar (RBC). Pat Lipert led the service.

Harvey Feted at KK Luncheon

Thirty-nine members of the KK community came out to honour and celebrate the chairmanship of Harvey Kurzfield on Saturday, 3 December at Trevaski’s Farm.

The feelings of all those families present couldn’t have been more heart-felt. In fact, many of the younger members had been B’nei Mitzvot as a result of Harvey’s tutoring.

Chairman Jeremy Jacobson, who organised the event, lead a series of speeches highlighting the reasons why Harvey has been held in such high esteem and in genuine affection during his 16-year tenure as KK’s founding chairman. Jeremy’s thoughtful comparison of Harvey to the Patriarchs and to Moses in terms of his human qualities were poignantly presented. He was followed by Treasurer Leslie Lipert who recalled many of the touching moments he had experienced working with Harvey over the years. Pat Lipert read an Elizabethan sonnet addressing some of the highlights of Harvey’s life and Adam Feldman, co-Chairman, presented Harvey with a letter signed by all Council members granting Harvey lifetime Presidency of KK in an eloquent address. That was followed by the giving of a special Torah Mantle and Mappa designed and created by Anne Hearle. This new mantle with a dedication to Harvey on the front will be used for all our regular Torah services in the future.

The younger members of the community then delivered the Priestly Blessing, something Harvey usually does for them during regular Shabbat services. Harvey received his blessing under the Tallit.

The three-course meal, carefully planned by Jeremy with members of the restaurant, left everyone full and grateful to have been a part of such a special event. Many thanks to Jeremy for all his hard work in making sure this was a very special simchah.

Photos taken at Harvey’s Luncheon

Jewish Community in Cornwall