All posts by Pat Lipert

Cornwall Jews and Muslims talk story

Over forty members of Kehilat Kernow and members of the Islamic Community Centre gathered together at Carnon Downs on Sunday, 7th October, for a session of story-telling representing their traditions. Members of Christian communities and members of the Faith Forum also attended.

Jeremy Jacobson, Chairman of KK, introduced the afternoon social event along with Dr. Dureid Rifai, head of the Islamic Community Centre.

The afternoon event highlighted the various traditions we all bring to our communities and how much all of us have in common.

A series of stories told by Jeremy, Harvey Kurzfield, (with help from two members of our community and a member of the Islamic community), Rachel Brown, Isaac Feldman, Ahmed, Miranda  (Atilano) Brown, Dr. Rifai, and David Hearle followed.

The afternoon exchange culminated with a sweet and savoury buffet prepared by both communities.

Click here for pictures.

New Booklet on the life of Lemon Hart

A new publication on the life of Lemon Hart, one of Cornish Jewry’s most famous ancestors who lived in Cornwall in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, has now been published by the Penlee Gallery and Museum Penzance.

Written by local amateur historian, Keith Pearce, an expert on the history of Cornish Jewry, the biographical booklet contains much new information not previously published before on Lemon Hart and his family. Hart, most famous for his rum which still bears his name, has been the subject of much colourful mythology related to slave ownership, slave ships and plantations, and that he supplied the British \Naval ships with their ‘tot’ ofrum.  This publication  attempts to separate fact from fiction so that a more accurate picture of Hart can be established.

The booklet is available through Penlee House, local, national and online booksellers for £5.00.

Out of the Wilderness

With the last two parashot of B’midar, we conclude the first four books of Torah. The second law of Torah (Devarim Mishneh Torah), which we call Devarim and the Latin name, Deuteronomy, which means the same thing, begins the concluding section of Torah. Mishneh Torah means  that this final book is a ‘Copy’ of the contract made between God and the Jewish people at Sinai, and is “renewed again,” according to R. Jonathan Sacks, as “the written record of the agreement.” The children of Israel  await on the Plains of Moab for the  crossing over the Jordan into the Promised Land. The journey from Kadesh-Barnea to the Plains of Moab should have taken 11 days according to God’s original plan; instead it took 38 years which is clearly explained in B’midbar.

And so, the last two Parashot, Mattot-Mas’ei, bring us to and prepare us for this momentous point in time of the religious history of the Jewish people. The books in the Tanakh which follow Devarim, comment on what happened subsequent to the crossing over the Jordan.

The final two Parashot in B’midbar, wrap up the  proclamations for the Jewish calendar and secular obligations  set down in PInchas which we discussed at the last Shabbat service:  the obligation of women who inherit property to marry within their clan, the war against the Midians and the moral obligations upon the victors in dealing with captives, the settlement in the Transjordan, the listing of important place-names to highlight the power of God and His divine intervention at the various places of encampment along the 38-year journey when the children of Israel rose and fell, slipped and redeemed themselves time and time again.

This Shabbat parsha, then, is a dramatic and poignant point in Torah; we have finally arrived to begin to manifest the Divine plan God has laid out for us. Will we slip? Will we fall? Will we be worthy of inheriting the land which God promised us all those generations ago  to Abraham? Will we listen to Moses’ final discourses and acquire the spiritual strength to begin the conquering and settlement of Eretz Yisrael? Will we become a ‘nation of priests’? Tune in and listen to Pat this coming Shabbat to find out what our prospects are.

Pat Lipert

From Chukkat to Pinchas

At the last service, we left the children of Israel on the Plains of Moab overlooking the Jordan after their monumental 40 year journey from Egypt into the wilderness and their arduous struggle to reach the Transjordan. Generations have died off; as they settle here, the ups and downs of their final months of camping out before Joshua leads them into the Promised Land is about to be narrated in the final few chapters of B’Midbar. The wonderful story of Balaam and his ass takes place, and to tell the truth, the ass, operating on much higher moral ground than either Balaam or the Israelites at times, must set the example. But, because God is in control, as Balaam looks down upon the Israelite encampment, he utters the famous lines which begin most of our Shabbat services: How good are you tents O Jacob! But are they? For this maybe God’s story and plan being enacted, but the children of Israel seem unable to allow the rest of the narrative to go without a hitch. No sooner do they settle in, than the temptations of Moabite women and false gods enter the picture. Again! This, of course, leads us to the next series of conflicts when another heroic figure in our history, Pinchas, must try to save the day. To learn more about the whys and wherefores, another heroic figure, our own Adam Feldman, will be on hand to let you know the details at this next Shabbat service. Be there!

(Pat Lipert)

Chief Rabbi and Rebbetzin visit Penzance Jewish Cemetery

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and his wife, Valerie, paid a visit to the Penzance Jewish Cemetery early in the day on Friday, 15 June whilst they were on holiday in Cornwall for a few days.  They were welcomed by Ms. Louise Connell, Director of the Penlee Gallery and Museum, and Leslie and Pat Lipert from Kehillat Kernow.
They were shown around the cemetery and learned some interesting facts about the historic cemetery and some of the people who are buried there. As a gesture of hospitality and sincere welcome, Leslie Lipert, treasurer of Kehillat Kernow and The Friends of Penzance Cemetery, presented the Chief Rabbi with the community’s signature Mezzuzah with its Cornish and religious symbolism.
The visit, done in a private capacity, was part of the many interesting sites the couple visited whilst on their holiday in Cornwall.