All posts by Pat Lipert

Ponsharden Open Day Huge Success

Well over two hundred people passed through the Dissenters and Jewish Cemeteries at Ponsharden in Falmouth on Sunday, the 10th of September to learn about their historic roots and the people who are buried there.

Sponsored by The Friends of Ponsharden Cemeteries, the event was held in conjunction with the European Days of Jewish Culture and Heritage and National Cemeteries Week. Restoration is currently underway led by The Friends, the Falmouth Town Council, and Historic England. An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been submitted to raise the necessary additional funds.

On hand to guide people through the site were Keith Pearce, local historian and authority on Cornish Jewry, Rob Nunn and Tom Weller, experts on the adjacent Dissenters’ Burial Ground, members of The Friends, and Anthony Fagin, custodian of the Jewish Cemetery. Headphones were provided which contained an audio trail to introduce people to the lives of some of those people buried there created by Ruth Mitchell and Derek Frood of the Ripple Theatre.

Of special interest, was a visit by Kathryn and Elliot Berman from Israel, to visit the graves of Kathryn’s ancestors. Kathryn is a 7th generation direct descendant of Esther Elias who died in 1780. Her burial with an unusual granite headstone is believed to be one of the oldest recorded Jewish burials in Cornwall. Also buried there are her husband, Barnet Levy, as well as some of their children and other members of that family. A special Kaddish was said for the Bermans as well as other memorial prayers.

(Photos of the event taken by Leslie Lipert and Anthony Fagin can be seen in the Photo Gallery)


In two week’s time, it will be the first of Elul. How appropriate, then, that we are beginning the last book of the Torah, Devarim, as so many of the themes of the High Holy Days are included in the final Discourses of Moses as the children of Israel find themselves after 40 years, in the Transjordan, about to enter the Promised Land. Moses at 120, has his last chance to address the people of Israel before he ascends Mount Nebo to die. The connections he makes through his Discourses cement for the Jewish people all that has gone on before with the present time. We Jews, then, seem to live in Devarim and now, both inside man-made time and space and eternal time, Olam veh Olam.

The man-made time of which Moses speaks discusses specifically what has gone on before, the successes and the failures, the devotions and the defections and how that relates to the present situation as all Israel looks across the Jordan to contemplate the land God promised them through Abraham, so many years before, and also to envision the future that they will enjoy. It is a momentous moment. But, in order to do so, the people Israel must also contemplate Olam veh Olam, eternal time, by adhering to the Torah, to merit the keeping of the Promised Land.

This fifth book then, represents evolutionary growth; it complements and enriches the four books which have come before it. This is why Devarim, or the Greek term, Deuteronomy, is sometimes called Mishneh ha-Torah, the second law, second teaching. Its core is from God, a book divinely inspired but also with the insight of complex living in an age many hundred of years later after the death of Moses when it was compiled. This ability of Torah to transcend man-made time, to be part of and apart from man-made time, is what gives Torah its timelessness, its relevance today as it did for those living thousands of years before.

And so this week in Va-etchanan, we find ourselves with Moses, tragically denied access to the Promised Land, as he begs God to allow him to enter. Rather than give up, he, like the true leader and man of overwhelming integrity and perspective, chooses instead to teach us again The Shema and the Commandments. For more specific information about how he does this, come to this week’s service to hear Pat explain the Parsha.

5th August – Pat Lipert


MATTOT-MAS’EI 22 July 2017

The children of Israel seem destined to have their ups and downs, even as we approach the last few chapters of B’midbar. The years in the wilderness haven’t yet taught them to walk in God’s ways. After the triumphant and glorious declaration by Balaam of what the Israelites can become in the Promised Land, they find themselves mired in the orgiastic practices of Baal-peor as they succumb to the charms of the Moabite women. It is up to Pinchas to save the day after God’s anger against their mass idolatry results in an epidemic plague and orders from Ha Shem to spear the ringleaders. Pinchas’s heroic and dramatic act of expiation for the Israelites’ latest transgression, sometimes seen as a bit over-zealous, is rewarded: The plagues cease and his right to the priesthood are declared. Once that happens, it is back to administrative business, ensuring this next, more pious generation of conquistadores are accounted for and prepared for military service. The land of Israel is apportioned by lot and size of each tribe; Joshua is named as Moses’ successor and a religious calendar is declared.

The seriousness of vows and the power of keeping one’s word is the central theme of the final two parashot of this upcoming week’s Shabbat as the children of Israel make final preparations for entering the Promised Land. Will they be up to the task? Will they remain steadfast? Will they accept their responsibilities to realise the destiny God has planned for them? Insight into these most dramatic of times for the Israelites can be gained by listening to Liz as she leads this week’s service.


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 parashah rather than on the one in the title.

Chukkat, commandments which cannot be rationally understood but are accepted to show man’s love and trust in God, comes immediately after the completion of the tabernacle and the challenge in Korach to Aaron’s priesthood. The opening lines are concerned with the curious purification from contamination by a corpse ritual, involving the ‘porah adumah,’ the sacrifice of the Red Heifer. This is a transitional parashah as the children of Israel move farther away from Sinai into the wilderness of Zin, and closer to the Promised Land. Moses is denied access to the land of Israel as a result of his anger; Miriam and Aaron die. It is up to the next generations to make the covenant manifest as they make their way through Transjordan, encamp on the steppes of Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho.

This leads us into one of the most endearing passages in Torah with Parashah Balak, as Balaam and his talking donkey try to make their way towards the encamped Israelites to curse them rather than bless them. It is the source of ‘Mah Tovu’ which we sing at every service.

To find out more, come to this week’s service and listen to Adam who will  explicate this wonderful passage.

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.