Young KK regular Holly Hancock was unable to attend the Tree Planting at Paul (see below), so she and her dad planted their own trees for the Jewish refugees. They were thinking particularly of their family who left Germany during the Second World War to escape what what was happening to Jews and to make a better life in the UK.
Holly’s grandmother is happy that Holly is engaging with her faith, a faith which her grandmother felt obliged to hide for many years. Let the trees, Holly and other young people in her position, all full of promise, grow to make the world a better and more beautiful place.
On 30 January, 2022 Kehillat Kernow, the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), the Cornwall Faith Forum (CFF) and local people converged on the historic Cholera Field at Paul, near Mousehole in Penwith to plant an oak tree. The tree is one of eighty being planted around the UK to mark places where Jewish people have been given homes and shelter. Paul is one of these places as, together with Mousehole, it offered homes to 100 children and 5 teachers from the Jews Free School in East London in 1941 when they were evacuated because of the Blitz. Their stories are recorded in From East End to Lands End by KK member and local author Susan Soyinka
The tree was planted by another KK member, David Hearle, with help provided by children from Mousehole School. One Mousehole resident, Melvia Williams, who remembered the Jewish children’s arrival ‘as if it was yesterday’ attended the ceremony and spoke of a warm coming together of the two groups of children. Besides the tree planting itself, the ceremony included welcome speeches by CFF Head and Priest in Charge at Paul Church Andrew Yates and by KK Chair Jeremy Jacobson, talks by AJR representative (and coincidentally KKK member) Dr Bea Lewkowicz and by Susan Soyinka, plus the recital of Psalm 104 by everyone, a moving rendition of El Malei Rachamim by KK Vice-Chair Adam Feldman and, finally, the Priestly Blessing recited in Hebrew by Adam and in English by Andrew.
After the ceremony, which was attended by around 100 people, Kehillat Kernow, together with Paul Church, invited the attendees to an informal lunch of Cornish pasties (vegetarian included!) tea, coffee and wine. The ceremony was a great success, bringing together communities and organisations in an affirmation of chayim (life) and chesed (loving kindness).
We are back! For the first time in two years, Kehillat Kernow finally met together face-to-face for a Shabbat morning service. It was an emotional affair and also a challenging one as we tried to remember how we had done things in the past. When should we cover the Sefer Scroll with the mantle? What was the tune we used for this section of the Amidah? Should we dress the Torah Scroll before the Haftorah or after? We struggled a little, but we got there in the end. We completed the service, reading, praying, singing with the same intensity as before, perhaps more, as we revelled in the occasion. Kiddush lunch which would in the past have lasted a half-hour or so, went on for well over an hour as we chatted and chatted and chatted. A wonderful occasion, tinged with sadness at the absence of our greatly missed service leader among service leaders, our guide and touchstone but tinged also with joy that we were able to honour her in our observance of Shabbat.
(KK Friends and Members can see more photos of the occasion here.)
On Sunday, 14 November at 2pm, members of Kehillat Kernow attended in person or zoomed into the annual AGM at the Lipert ‘s house. Our AGM’s are special: we have a view of the sea, we hear about all the things we managed to accomplish over the year, and we get to plan for the future. What could be better? Despite another year being restricted with Covid, we got together, we met, we prayed, we went for walks, we heard lectures, we participated in a variety of games and cultural activities either in person or on line, and we continued to reach out to other-faiths and same faith communities through a myriad of programmes and, most importantly we thrived.
The meeting was followed by an informal buffet, food and drink, and a great deal of talking. After all, following a year of not meeting for some of us, there was a great deal of catching up to do. For more details about the meeting, see the December newsletter and for an opportunity to view some pictures form this event, click on to the photo gallery.