The day after the night before

March ended and April began for Kehillat Kernow on a spiritual, social and culinary high. Friday 31st brought down from remotest London David and Hannah Jacobs. David led a joyful Shabbat evening service, followed by a delicious meal with many tastes prepared to perfection by Estelle Moses.

On Saturday morning, David led the service, together with Pat Lipert, who gamely stood in at the last moment for Liz Berg, who sadly had to return home due to feeling very unwell. The service was followed by kiddush, and kiddush was followed by a most interesting exploration and discussion of Pesach, chaired by David and Hannah. We looked at a variety of haggadot and noted how these were influenced by the historical and cultural context in which they had been produced. We then focussed on the four sons or, in some modern haggadot, four children and their four questions. Some most imaginative representations of these have been produced and working out, for some of them, which of the children are which is itself a challenging question.

It is always good to be stimulated by the particular focus that different individuals bring to old topic and questions, and stimulated we were.


Spring is coming and, with it, one of the most wonderful festivals of the Jewish year: Pesach. It is fitting that, at the same time as the world around us begins again to burst into growth, we celebrate the throwing off of the bonds of slavery. We clean our houses, looking for chametz and, in the process, sweep away the dust and crumbs at the back of drawers and cupboards, the grey cobwebs in the corners of our kitchens. Pesach is also a time to look inside our hearts and perhaps clear away a few dusty habits and modes of thought grown stiff with complacency. And it is a time to celebrate together the great gift of freedom and the coming together of the people of Israel in a shared covenant with God.

The first night of Pesach this year will be on Monday 10 April and Kehillat Kernow will be celebrating it in grand style. There will be the traditional story, given new life by the ever fresh reading of our Honorary Life President Harvey Kurzfield, the traditional seder plate, and a wonderful buffet lovingly cooked and prepared by some of the talented chefs of the community.

Our seder is a wonderful occasion for both children and adults. If you are visiting Cornwall during Pesach and wish to attend the seder, please contact Anne Hearle on  01736 731686 for details.

Ki Tissa

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 parshah rather than on the one in the title.

Moses is not mentioned in Tetzaveh, nor God in the Megillah, which we read for Purim, and which, this year, fell immediately after Shabbat. Is this for the same reasons? In the former, Aaron, the older brother takes centre stage. In the latter, Ester does. Are Moses and God absent? In a way they are and in a way they aren’t. Moses listens to God’s instructions for making the priestly vestments so that Aaron and his sons will be sanctified, giving honour to them, to the tribes of Israel and, of course, to God. Had Moses been made of another mettle, he might have wanted to be the High Priest himself. Had God wanted humanity to be puppets, He might have arranged everything hands on. As it is, Moses is happy to stand back and allow others into the limelight,  but he is still there doing his job. Similarly, God allows courage and virtue to emerge in the human heart, but He is still there, weaving a delicate, living web of possibilities. For a more scholarly discussion of these themes, see Rabbi Jonathan Sachs: ‘Who is Honoured?’ – Covenant & Conversation: Tetzaveh 5777 and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis: ‘D’var Torah: Purim’.

Now Ki Tissa begins with instructions for a census, a ‘lifting of the heads’ and continues with more instructions for the building of the sacred space of the Tabernacle. Moses is absent from the camp, so the people, thinking themselves bereft of leader and of God, go to pieces. When discussing Terumah, Pat Lipert talked of the parallels between the creation of the sacred space and that of the just, social space. Both require order, direction and assumed responsibility. Without these disciplines, a people unused to organising itself creates that which is grotesque and absurd. Guided by God and Moses, they can craft the most beautiful Holy of Holies. Guided by nothing but fear and desire, they spew out a golden calf.

Fortunately, their sinful mistake is forgiven. They are given a second chance. More laws follow, and the divine glory rests on Moses, so that, when he descends, some of it is still visible to the people.

Come and be counted, lift up your heads this Shabbat at Three Bridges School, starting 10.30. Adam Feldman will forge insight and joyful song, and no golden calf will raise its hollow head.

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.

Jewish Community in Cornwall