2019 AGM

Kehillat Kernow

AGM Meeting

17 November 2019

Present:  Jeremy Jacobson, Leslie Lipert, Pat Lipert, Rachel Brown (Secretary), Adam Feldman, Harvey Kurtzfield, Anthony Fagin, Carolyn Shapiro, , Jacqueline Kurtzfield, Roger Chatfield, Cynthia Hollisworth, Heath Hollisworth, Estelle Moses, Gaye Jewell, Stephanie Berry, David Hearle

Apologies: Anne Hearle, Bonnie Rockley, Gloria Jacobson, Mai Jacobson

Welcome by Jeremy and Minutes of last AGM 
 Minutes of last meeting approved by Jeremy Approved by Jeremy
Minutes arising if anyNone reported 
Council Offers ReportChairman’s remarks (Sent by email) The writer and critic Walter Benjamin once wrote, “Friendship is not the abolition of distance. It is bringing of distance to life.” I understand him to mean by this apparently counterintuitive observation that friendship enables us to understand sympathetically the qualities, views, habits and practices of another person, so that, instead of the differences alienating us, we come to appreciate them. The more we learn, the more we appreciate. While Benjamin was talking about friendship, we can apply his words to group and institutional relationships as well. This is yet another reason, one I would add to striving to be lagoyim (a light to the nations) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) which I mentioned this time last year as reasons why we need to engage with the wider community. Fortunately, we continue to so engage.   One of the most evident and important ways we do this (and how could we not?) is to participate in the National Holocaust Memorial activities around, and even beyond, Cornwall. Our co-operation with the Redruth Baptist Church, which has almost become a tradition, this year saw us attending an exhibition on Anne Frank and then participating in prayers offered by our two communities. As in previous years, we also took part in candle lighting and prayer and reading ceremonies in Truro Cathedral. New for this year was an event organised around the Peace Pole at the Dor Kemmyn Field outside Penmount Crematorium. We also played a part in a programme in Plymouth University organised by the Equality and Diversity Advisor, through the reading of a ‘Survivor’s Testimony’.   Crimes against humanity are, unfortunately, not confined to history. The evil attack on the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand prompted the Islamic Community Centre in Cornwall to hold a solidarity event, which Kehillat Kernow attended and at which we contributed a speech on the centrality of respect and love for the stranger to the ethos and practice we were commanded in our sacred texts.   On a more mundane, but also important, level, we have continued to respond to calls for talks on different aspects of Judaism both by schools and by adult groups, including a prudence of vicars who meet regularly in St Austell. Besides the work we do as a result of requests sent directly to us, we also contribute to faith-in-education days organised by the Cornwall Faith Forum, with whom we participate in regular activities designed to promote cross-community awareness and understanding. These include World Peace Day and focus groups on particular aspects of faith. We have, besides, shown groups of both school students and adults around the Penzance and Falmouth cemeteries.   Finally, in respect of our outreach work, I would mention the welcome we habitually extend to visitors to our services and festivals and the invitation we sent to members of the Faith Forum to attend the cultural afternoon we staged as part of the European Heritage Week. The culture in this case was the showing of the film Sixty-six, dovetailing too with our Film-   Fact-Fiction and Food Club. The film tells a sympathetic and humorous story of how Jewish and religious cultures interact, and possibly clash, with the secular. While we are on the subject of our Club, I should mention some serious ‘Disobedience’, not on the part of our members, but of several of the characters in the book and film of this name which we read and watched in March. The three central characters of the story face a dilemma not uncommon in Orthodox families and communities, one which is easy to simplify and present as a choice between black and white. The novel shows that things are more complex, and a lesson for all of us is that Orthodox is not wrong and Liberal and Reform right. Judaism, indeed life in general, presents us with a constantly evolving web of trails to  consider and choose from.     Other activities during the year included a tree planting in the Dor Kemmyn field also in March. The previous Kehillat Kernow tree having been destroyed by deer, David Hearle took great care to choose a deer resistant oak, which is now strong and well-established. There was a well-attended event talk by Lisa Cooper in May on her book A Forgotten Land: Growing up in the Jewish Pale. The book tells the story of her grandmother’s family in Ukraine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, set within the context of pogroms, World War I, the Russian Revolution, and civil war. Although not organised by Kehillat Kernow, many of our members visited the exhibition of paintings by Albert Reus in Penlee House and Gallery in March, while a few attended a lecture by Susan Soyinka on her book Albert Reuss in Mousehole, The Artist as Refugee.   This year we lent a hand for the Bat Mitzvah in December of Zehava Cohen. Zehava read her Torah and Haftarah portions to a large congregation of KK members,  family and friends. Zehava acquitted herself very well, proving how hard she must have worked. Encouraging, too, is that, unlike some young people, who, Bar/Bat Mitzvah over, are not seen in the synagogue for long periods, Zehava, has become more regular in her attendance and shown a keen interest in Judaism.   Where would we be without our regular Pesach and High Holy Day celebrations? This year’s seder was the best attended on record. It was led by Adam Feldman with great panache and was thoroughly enjoyed by adults and children alike, helped perhaps by the, as ever, excellent array of dishes prepared by some of the hardworking chefs of our community. Similarly, Rosh Hashanah, both evening and mornings services, were led by Adam, since sadly our Life President, Harvey Kurzfield was not well. Again, we had a very good turn-out and Rachel Brown and Roger Chatfield took a little of Rosh Hashanah to Harvey at home so that he did not completely miss out. For Yom Kippur, we were again blessed by the presence of a student rabbi, this time Eleanor Davies, who, while quite different in style from last year’s student rabbi, Lev Taylor, brought her own special qualities to the service. For the second year running, there was not a bit of the day when   we did not have a reasonable congregational presence, and Kol Nidre and the afternoon and evening services on Yom Kippur were very well attended. Sadly, besides Harvey, there were several stalwarts absent from either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, or both.    The backbone of our activity continues to be our Saturday services, as is only natural. Owing to the poor health of some of our service leaders, as the year has progressed, we have gradually been reduced to two of these. Pat and Adam have shouldered the responsibility and the work with self-denying courage and dedication and it is in no small part owing to their well-prepared and engaging services that our community has continued to live. It is, however, not sustainable to continue thus. Both Adam and Pat have enough on their plates as it is. Pat has, therefore, recruited four new shilchei tzibbur to swell the ranks, providing them with some helpful training and guidance. At least one of these new service leaders approached his first service, nonetheless, with some trepidation.   The increasing load falling on the shoulders of Pat and Adam was hopefully assuaged a little by the visiting rabbis and others who have delivered services over the year. I have already mentioned Student Rabbi Eleanor Davies for Yom Kippur. We were also lucky to receive visits from David and Hannah Jacobs, as in previous years, and Rabbi Amanda Golby, who visited Cornwall in the summer and took a Shabbat service. The summer also saw the return of Student Rabbi Lev Taylor, who delivered a service which included a superb, insightful sermon.   And then there was Maurice Michaels,  Rabbi of Bournemouth Reform, who travelled westwards in order to take a service in May and to conduct a ceremony of affirmation on behalf of Mai Jacobson and Roger Chatfield. At the end of the ceremony, Rabbi Maurice said that he was sure Mai and Roger would contribute much to the Jewish community. He was right. They have both become active, supportive members, engaging with their Judaism to the full. Thank you Roger, thank you Mai, and thank you, Pat, for years of patient coaching and wise guidance,   A community without new and young members, however active, risks dying out. We have been fortunate this year to welcome several, including young families with children. We need to nurture such members and do our best to attract more. In this way, Kehillat Kernow will continue to live as a community. Our newest member, only a few weeks old is Diego, or Ya’akov. May he be a blessing to his family and to the community   The future life of our community is perhaps a good place to end. As I draw to a close, I recall something said by Student Rabbi Eleanor Davies on Yom Kippur and to which I have referred already in the latest newsletter, namely tzedaka or charity as giving to the   community. This does not need to be financial, although if anyone wishes to make a donation, we would not turn it down. No, I am thinking of the giving of time and energy. I sometimes think we could be doing more. What about the festivals, for example? Purim, Succot, Simcha Torah – wonderful, joyful occasions. At the same time, we cannot forget that we are a small community, thinly spread across the Duchy and beyond. The challenge is to find a balance. Where should this be?   I apologise for not quite ending, but I cannot forget that we have only just started a new Torah cycle and the  theme of the first derusha, delivered by Pat on the Shabbat of Bereshit was the ethical framework set by the act of Creation. A key part of that framework is guarding the Creation itself, in other words our stewardship of the earth we live on. Surely, we have a responsibility here not only as individuals, but as a community. What can we do? What should we do? I would suggest that, over the next few months, we give this some thought and come up with some practical ideas.   It remains for me to thank all those members of the community who have given of their time and skills over the year. I think of those who have prepared food for the seder, those who bring food to our kiddish lunches, those who help others when they are in difficulty, those who visit the sick. If I tried to mention everyone, I would risk forgetting a name here or there, so I will just mention a few examples of particular dedication. Thank you, Pat and Leslie, for so many things it would take me an age to enumerate them all. Thank you, Anne Hearle, who, together with David, ensured that we our annual seder was well provided for. Thank you, Adam, for so many services and who, together with Melanie, ensured again that we have an excellent venue for our Club nights. Thanks to Rachel Brown for another year of getting things done. Thank you, Anthony Fagin, for helping, together with Leslie, to maintain our relationship with the Ponsharden Cemeteries project, and for much good sense. Thank you, Roger, for engaging with, the role of Security Officer. Finally, thank you, Harvey, who for so long continued to give as much as he was able. Antony thanked Jeremy for everything that he does for Kehillat Kernow.   Secretary’s report NoneTreasurer’s report22nd August Accounts approved  1/11/19 Bank £6,808  1/11/19 Deposit £65,000  15/11/19Cash book £5560.22 Restricted BOD £105 FC £24,034.89  Total £24,139.89 IV..Librarian report (sent by email) Twenty-one editions were made this year to the Arnold and Leatrice Levine Library making our total number of Jewish-related reading material at 1,268.  Access to all the titles s be made by going into our KK web-site and arrangements for borrowing any of these materials can be made by contacting the librarian, Pat Lipert.   This year we had four more editions of Jewish Renaissance, a very valuable resource loaded with much material about Jewish history, cultural events and literary output worldwide. We all received information about this periodical from Jeremy in October. Two histories related to the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the economic miracle that is Israel, a well as three Hebrew grammar books. Two other volumes, related to custom and practise as well as five DVDs (from Jackie Mason to Woman in Gold to the Ten Commandments to Yentl, to The Hebrew Hammer to Jacob the Liar). In the literature area, we acquired Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man, an a Parashah Play for children of all Ages.   Some members of the community still have some of our library books, not having returned them for two years. Please make an effort to chek your shelves and get them back to our library.  . 
 Proposed Constitutional Amendments sent with the agenda   Proposed by Rachel Seconded by Leslie Unanimously agreed   
Election of Members  All current members happy to be re-elected Proposed by David Hearle Seconded Estelle Moses Unanimously agreed 
 Estelle would like to do more for the other holidays.  We are having Chanukah party and will consider having a Purim party on 7 March instead of planned Club night.  Adam suggested a hammentachan making party with a movie.  Estelle would also like to do something for Simcha Torah. Rachel suggested putting this on the committee agenda.Pesach 11 April Shabbos walk straight from shul picnic followed by a walkNeeds of the Community     Stephanie to liaise with Jeremy re Purim party   John Adelson to make a Chanukah Quiz
AOBEmail from Elkan Levy sent his best wishes to KK.Email Joy Dunn wishes us a Happy New Year and enclosed a donationStephanie Berry discussed her concerned about the Baptist Church Holocaust memorial service.  Discussion ensued. David suggested that we do our own service and invite them.  David and Stephanie agree that we shouldn’t have to placate other.  Gaye says we shouldn’t lose sight of the Holocaust as a Jewish tragedy.  Jeremy read the email from Kevin Silver re Holocaust exhibition at the cathedral.  Rachel suggested that we ask the cathedral if we can have a Jewish service for our faith prior to evensong. David feels that we should do it separately from the Church services. Cynthia is a daughter of a survivor and is willingly to share her family’s story at any event. Jeremy suggested us holding our service on a Sunday, discussion followed about us having a service in 21 April in Yom Hashoah and invite these other people. And then still attend the secular genocide services.  Carolyn to organise a room at the University.Roger is meeting with Sarah Newby new diversity officerRoger mentioned a possible sukkot trip to BournemouthStephanie wanted to discuss the charges for the student Rabbi, and did we have a choice of Rabbi. Jeremy said we were lucky to get a Rabbi.  Discussed the difficulty to lead a service without knowing the community and their rituals.         
Any Other Business Kehillat Kernow Hanukah menorah is now for sale 
Date of Next Meeting    Sunday 15 November