There are a lot of unclean animals about: camels, hyraxes, long-eared owls, hoopoes, skinks and salamanders, to mention just a few. Not eating them may or may not have been a challenge for the early Israelites, but keeping their dead carcasses away from themselves and their dwellings would surely have been so when living in an environment so much less sanitised than ours. Quite a few reasons have been given to explain why certain classes of animal are forbidden, including health and hygiene, differentiating our diet from idolatrous peoples living nearby and a concern that it was a double violation of life to eat creatures which themselves killed and ate other creatures. And then there is the explanation that, by differentiating unclean and clean animals, we are reinforcing the distinction between the holy and the unholy and binding ourselves closer to God.
Crossing boundaries can be extremely dangerous, as is illustrated by the fate of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu. What exactly did they do wrong? According to Rabbi Akiva, they offered strange fire. Rabbi Yose says they entered the Holy of Holies at a time when divine service was not commanded. Rabbi Eleazar says they offered secular, not holy, fire. There are other, similar interpretations, but it seems that, while they committed some violation, they were not regarded as evil. God Himself seem to mourn their fate when, through Moses, he says, “I will be sanctified among those close to Me.” Besides, Moses tells “the entire family of Israel to mourn for the ones whom God has burned.” They are thus tragic figures, newly initiated as God’s priests, eager to serve, but blinded by a mistaken understanding of their role.
This week we are following the Orthodox calendar in our choice of parsha in honour of one of our two service leaders, Murray Brown, who, together with Adam Feldman, will be guiding us in our prayers, songs, reading and conversation. Come along on Saturday at 10:30 to join us.
The first night of Passover and Shabbat were celebrated with gusto on Friday, the 30th of March, at The Barn in Trelissick Gardens in Feock by members of Kehillat Kernow and many visitors from around the world and greater England.
It was more than sufficient and an exuberant first night of Seder from start to finish.
Beginning with the lighting of the Shabbat and Yom Tov candles, the welcoming words from Chairman Jeremy Jacobson, the leading of the Haggadah reading with Life President Harvey Kurzfield, the four questions delivered by our children, to the after dinner service led by Adam Feldman, KK Vice Chairman, it is no wonder that our Pesach celebration is so popular.
It was a night to remember our past, a time to rejoice in all we have, and a hope for a safe, auspicious new year.
Many thanks to Anne Hearle who organises our first night of Pesach along with her family, David, Noah, Leah and Elisha to perfection, to all the chefs who catered to everyone’s needs, to our service leaders, Harvey and Adam and to Jeremy and Leslie Lipert who see to so many of the necessary details.
Hag Sameach! Next Year in Jerusalem and Cornwall!
To see pictures click here.
On 2nd April, Godfrey and Winifred Simmons’ son, Bernard, together with his wife, Barbara and daughter Rachael came to Penzance from Bristol to see the recently installed memorial plaque.
Thirteen members of Kehillat Kernow took a trip to the Courney Library at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro on Sunday, the 25th of March, to see their collection of Jewish manuscripts. The various scrolls, sedurim and related documents of the Jews of Cornwall, were arranged especially for private exhibition for the community by Angela Broome, librarian.
Of special interest were three Torah scrolls once used by the Falmouth Jewish Community until the end of the 19th century. A fourth scroll, now in Kehillat Kernow’s possession having been donated to our community from the Museum, is used in special services. A minute Megillah, a scroll of The Book of Esther, written in impeccable handwriting by a very gifted sofer, was remarkable for its condition and almost microscopic perfectly lettered script. In addition, an 18th century Italian Haggadah for Pesach, along with a personal prayerbook of Alfred De Pass, a major donor to the museum’s art and cereamic collection, was seen.
Many other items of historical interest were also on display.
Following the visit, members were given a tea in the adjacent café courtesy of Kehillat Kernow. Arrangements for this special visit were done by Chairman Jeremy Jacobson, Secretary Rachel Brown and Angela Broome.
Click here to view pictures in the Gallery
The value of KK’s Arnold and Leatrice Levine Library was more than amply verified on Saturday, 10th of March when members of the community, armed with their reading fare, mostly borrowed from the KK Library, convened at Malpas Village Hall. A four-hour discussion of the books we had read not only provided vast amounts of Jewish information we didn’t know before, but also provoked much thought and lively discussion while feasting over a vast array of gourmet goodies.
All subjects from Jewish history, anecdotes, archaeology, fiction and non-fiction to commentary on man’s relationship to God through the ages were covered.
We began with the musical adaptation of liturgical music composed by Isaac Feldman and went into the intricacies of Abraham’s affect on Christianity and Islam,, the Jewish position in a myriad of societies from 1492 to 1900, heard about some of the more fascinating finds at Masada, spoke of Amoz Oz and Herman Wouk, and ended up with a multitude of examples of cultic and non-cultic deific worship in human beings search for spirituality.
If you are missing out on our Film-Book-Food Club, make sure you re-arrange your schedules because the next event is already in the process of being organised.
To see photos of the evening click here.