Thanks to the generosity of the Exeter Hebrew Congregation we now have our own Torah Scroll. This was presented to us at the service at Exeter Synagogue for erev Shavuot. Sixteen members of Kehillat Kernow were driven in a very comfortable mini bus (patient driver: David Hearle) straight to the synagogue. We were welcomed very warmly and enjoyed a wonderful service during which our chairman, Harvey Kurzfield, was presented with one of Exeter Synagogue’s Torah Scrolls. This was a truly memorable occasion for all present and the whole community is grateful to Exeter Hebrew Congregation for making this possible. The scroll has now been with us for several weeks and has been used during all our Shabbat services.
On 9th June, 2003 an historic event took place in Truro. For the first time in many, many years (possibly for the first time ever!) the Chief Rabbi paid an official visit to the Jewish Community of Cornwall. Accompanied by Rev. Malcolm Weisman (Ministering Rabbi for small communities) and half a dozen policemen, Chief Rabbi Dr. Jonathon Sacks arrived at the Brookdale Hotel in Truro as part of his tour of the South West. He immediately asked to be introduced to each member present and shook hands and chatted with at least fifty people. Thus he made a roomful of people feel instantly happy and relaxed on their own territory!
I then had the pleasure of introducing him formally to the group as a whole and, at the same time, on behalf of Kehillat Kernow, presented the Chief Rabbi with our own Cornish Mezuzah, an extremely rare and precious gift. He was suitably impressed (I hope).
Malcolm Weisman then said a few words about the tour which had already included visits to Exeter and Plymouth.
Dr. Sacks then gave a talk about the current state of affairs in the World with particular reference to Israel itself, and he exhorted us to continue to give Israel our support, suggesting, that, if it were possible, as many of us as possible should show that support in the most practical way of all – by visiting Israel regularly.
It was not all serious, however, and the more humourous side of the Chief Rabbi’s nature came across as he told us a number of genuinely amusing stories.
At the end of the session he answered a few questions, signed several copies of ‘The Dignity of Difference’, and then was whisked back to London by his security team.
Everyone I spoke to later seemed inspired or moved in some way by the visit. Certainly as a group which finds itself geographically isolated at least, we were enriched. We look forward to a return visit some time in the future.
I have just updated the About Us section with some forward-looking information from Harvey. Its a good update for people new to Kehillat Kernow as the original rendition was created several years ago. A lot of good things have happened since then. I hope that I’ll also be able to add more photos, regular newsletters and such like in the near future. Please email me your suggestions or text/photographic material for inclusion in the site.
We are awaiting news from Exeter Hebrew Congregation. We have been offered a loan of one of Exeter Synagogue’s Torah Scrolls. As soon as we know the exact dimensions of the scroll we will be having a portable ark made for the safe housing of this most precious of all our sacred texts. Plans are also afoot to build a proper stand upon which to rest the scroll during services. Both of these are being donated by members of Kehillat Kernow.
Just thought I would quickly post some of the camera photos on the website for public viewing on the following day. Here are some photos taken at the Carnon Downs communal Pesach seder. Excuse the blurring, I took the “Orange” approach and “Messed About with Photo Messaging” as on their commercial. More will follow, just as soon as I receive them on my email.