This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War because of their identity. The lessons from Srebrenica are that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged which underlines the importance of why we must never forget about the tragic events that took place and remain resolute in our commitment to tackling hatred, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination in all forms.
The Srebrenica Memorial Day theme for 2022 is ‘Combatting Denial: Confronting Hatred’. Despite the unequivocal fact that genocide was committed, denial of the Srebrenica genocide as well as the crimes against humanity committed across Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 to 1995 remains prevalent. Denial brings not only more pain and suffering for the survivors who live in the UK and elsewhere but serves as a rallying call to continue the division and hatred as well as to glorify the murderers. In the UK, communities are only too aware of the damaging impact that denial can have for individuals and community cohesion. Divisive propaganda and misinformation is thriving, and clear and established facts are denied and manipulated, frequently resulting in minority communities being scapegoated and vilified to create mistrust and promote hatred that threatens community cohesion.
This year’s twin-aimed theme, therefore, seeks to shine a light on the importance of combatting denial and the need to confront the hatred behind the denial.
Kehillat Kernow, therefore, joins others in remembering and honouring the memory of the victims and will continue to work towards building a more cohesive, stronger and safer society free from hatred, discrimination and prejudice.
When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, our sages moved from sacrifice to prayer and from a centralised place of worship to many places. Wherever Jews went, they built synagogues or adapted already existing buildings for services.
On the last Saturday of April, we found our usual place of worship had an extra lock to which we did not have the key. What did we do? We went to our Chair’s home and set up shul in the garden, moving garden furniture around, bringing more chairs from the house out into the garden and laying a cloth on the table. As luck would have it, we had a scroll with us, since the Chair’s wife had the day before found the place for the weekly reading.
The weather was favourable and everything went well, including the kiddush lunch after the service. One of the congregation said it was the the most spiritual service she had ever attended, while another, new member, commented afterwards, “This is the first service I’d atttended and perhaps the garden location will be the first of many. It was magical.”
Even so, we do hope to be back in our normal location this month.
After much discussion, with heavy hearts, the Council has decided to cancel this year’s Seder. There are basically two related reasons for this decision.
Firstly, Covid cases have been rising at an alarming rate in Cornwall, which now has the highest number since the pandemic started and also the second highest percentage numbers in the UK. Just within our small community we currently have nine confirmed cases. There is a risk for those who are in some way vulnerable, and among those who have booked for the Seder there are several. The Council does not think it right to take what we now see as a considerable risk at this time.
Secondly, among those in our community who have recently been diagnosed with Covid, three of them are Council members who have a role in the Seder’s preparation and two of them are the chief organisers. Of course, some or all of these people will hopefully be recovered by 15 April and will almost certainly not be infectious. The problem is that it is now that the preparations are happening and the Council isi afraid that they are simply not well enough to work at present. Despite this great thanks to Anne and David for doing so much already and even continuing to work while feeling ill up until today.
Any monies sent in payment for places at the Seder will be returned.
We are all terribly sad to have to cancel our first Seder for three years. Those of you who have attended a KK Seder in the past know that they are a highlight of our ritual year and renowned across the land….
After over two years in the wilderness, we are breaking free from the shackles of the pandemic and emerging step by step into freedom. Pesach this year will be doubly sweet, a reminder of the emergence from slavery, and a return to a life which we are freer to enjoy, while remembering our responsibility to use our freedom to make the world a better place.
The first night of Pesach will be on Friday 15h April and we will be celebrating it in traditional style. There will be the familiar story, given new life by the reading of our Deputy Chair Adam Feldman, together with Murray Brown and with contributions from other members. We will have the traditional seder plate, and a wonderful buffet organised by Anne and David Hearle and lovingly cooked and prepared by some of the talented chefs of the community.
Our seder is a wonderful occasion for both children and adults. Who will find the afikomen this year? If you are to be in Cornwall for Pesach this year, you may wish to join us, in which case please email .Please note, however, that available places will be limited.
Looking for food for Pesach? There are several suppliers, but many people use Sabeny. Visit their website, or email them for their food list, or call them on 203 6973410.
Young KK regular Holly Hancock was unable to attend the Tree Planting at Paul (see below), so she and her dad planted their own trees for the Jewish refugees. They were thinking particularly of their family who left Germany during the Second World War to escape what what was happening to Jews and to make a better life in the UK.
Holly’s grandmother is happy that Holly is engaging with her faith, a faith which her grandmother felt obliged to hide for many years. Let the trees, Holly and other young people in her position, all full of promise, grow to make the world a better and more beautiful place.