Category Archives: News

Lev Returns to Kehillat Kernow

By popular demand, Lev Taylor, Reform Judaism’s student rabbi returned to take a service at Kehillat Kernow for Shabbat Va-ethannan on Saturday, 17th of August. Lev is one of four rabbinical visits we have had to take services this Spring and Summer. Others were: Rabbi Maurice Michaels, Rabbi Amanda Golby, David and Hannah Jacobs.

Lev, who is entering his third year of graduate studies at Leo Baeck College in the Sternberg Centre in North Finchley, has become a favourite of our community after his visit during the last High Holy Days for the  Yom Kippur services.  His service this go round was warmly received by many KK members who made a special effort to be there and also to deliver a fine, robust Kiddush luncheon following the Shabbat morning Torah service. 

Following the service, Lev visited the Penzance Jewish Cemetery with his hosts for the weekend, Pat and Leslie Lipert.  Many thanks to Lev for returning to our community and for giving us an inspiring service and sermon.

Click here to see the pictures.

Va’ethannan

The names we give today to the five books of the Torah are revealing. In the beginning is Bereshit, which, with vibrant intensity balanced by serene elegance, launches the Torah, life and the world. Shemot and Exodus are both apposite names. The latter is a perfect introduction to the story of our, well, exodus from slavery, Egypt and the past. The former is more subtle. Names are wrenched from people who are enslaved or are imprisoned in concentration camps. Their names are replaced by numbers as one part of the brutal process of dehumanisation. Our names, after all, are part of our identity and have their stories to tell. It is fitting then that, immediately before we read of the slavery of our ancestors, we start with the names of their tribal parents. We never stopped being people. 

Vayikra (and He called) Moses. Why? To tell us the levitical, and other, laws. B’midbar is perfect, for, while it also includes more laws, it also focuses on the forty years we spent in the wilderness, seemingly going from pillar to post, but really preparing to arrive, to become Israel. 

Which brings us to Devarim. Words, just words, words which make us human. God uses words in Bereshit to create the world. Adam and Eve complete the creation of the animals by naming them. Together with music and art, words are what enable us to transcend our mortality.  While they may be used to hurt, deceive and lie, at their best, they enable us to soar with the angels, though our feet may be made of clay. They are what dreams are made from. They weave harmony, beauty, Torah.

Now we have come to the second parsha of Devarim, Va’ethannan, which is packed with riches, some of which have entered into our liturgy, and a special guest, namely Student Rabbi Lev Taylor, will tell us more, lead us in prayer and song (for, remember, Lev Taylor has a full-hearted, melodious voice). Don’t miss him this Saturday at 10:30.

Sh’lach l’cha

Can you have too much of a good thing? Certainly, the Israelites had. After complaining about their limited diet. God sends them quails, so many that the people gather staggering quantities of birds and then eat until they are utterly nauseated. Poor Moses! He’s had enough of ‘a good thing’ too, weary of the kvetching and backsliding of the people he leads and teaches. To make matters worse, Aaron and Miriam complain about their brother’s choice of a foreign wife and the fact that God talks to him more than to them.  Moses, who has recovered some of his equanimity after the episode with the quail, immediately asks God to forgive Miriam, for Moses is a patient teacher and a forgiving brother.

Then we are into Sh’lach L’cha and the episode of the spies. This time it seems to be God who has had enough, and Moses who begs Him to forgive the people. God does, but He condemns them to forty years of wandering through the wilderness and the death in the wilderness of all those who were adults when they left Egypt. There is more evil to come, but that is in the next parsha. For now, we will stick with Sh’lach L’cha.

Adam Feldman will be leading the service this Saturday, starting at 10:30. Now, there’s someone who is a patient and humble teacher, too, so come along and listen, learn and practise. 

Banner Turnout for Pesach 5779

The largest Seder in KK history happened this year with 80 people attending the first night of Pesach at Trelssick Gardens in Feock, Truro.People came from near and afar to celebrate the traditional Haggadah service which highlights our Exodus from Egypt.

Masterly led by Vice-Chairman Adam Feldman, the first night of Seder was filled with song, prayer, meaningful and funny commentary throughout. Song, prayer, four cups of wine, a spectacular Mah Nishtana by our under 13’s, and much role playing by many members and visitors who attended made it a most lively and super Pesach.

Many thanks go to Chairman Jeremy Jacobson who welcomed and greeted all the guests in his very witty introductory remarks, to Harvey Kurzfield who officially passed over the service leadership to Adam, to Leslie Lipert who worked behind the scenes, to all the chefs who created a most spectacular seder meal, and most especially to Anne Hearle and her husband, David, who organised the entire festival.

Hag Sameach and enjoy your Matzah. You are commanded to do so. Never mind the crumbs

Photos of Pesach Sedar 5779

Obedience at Disobedience

The Film/Food/Book/Fact Club met April 6th at Malpas Village Hall for another fantastic evening of good food, conviviality and discussion to view the film, ‘Disobedience,’ based on the book by the same title by Naomi Alderman.

Both the film and the book raised all kinds of avenues for discussion as both genres examined the impact of the death of the revered eminent Rabbi Krushka on the alternative lifestyles in the orthodox community of Hendon.Issues of freedom of choice verses tradition, various interpretations of Jewish law and how it could and should be practised, the physical and psychological impact of being raised in a strictly orthodox community and what constitutes happiness were all addressed through various central characters in depth and through stereotypical personages of stock Jewish members of a closed community:the gunzer machers, the movers and shakers, the academics, the variant family units, the frumers and the free spirits.

Many thanks to Adam and Melanie Feldman for arranging the venue, Jeremy Jacobson who provided the film, and to all those members and guests who helped with the ‘washing up’ to ensure that it was another fine, unmissable evening for the Film/Food/Book/Fact Club. If you haven’t attended one of these KK  events, make sure you catch the next one!

Click here to view pictures taken on the night.